I’ve been doing this Universalist thing for about fifteen years now, and Unitarianism before that. I’m pretty well versed on several of the major themes within Universalism — perhaps more so than most — but I’ve probably forgotten more than I’ve retained. (That’s OK: recognizing the finite capacity of human beings before the infinitude of God is a continuing theme in the work of Hosea Ballou.)
One of the items I had forgotten but rediscovered recently was an article that any serious student of Universalism should have handy for ready reference. Here’s the citation, go get it:
Rowell, Geoffrey. “The Origin and History of Universalist Societies in Britain, 1750-1850.” 22 Journal of Ecclesiastical History (January 1971): 35-56.
How he distinguishes the heritage of the Elhanan Winchester stream and the James Relly/John Murray stream of Universalism makes the article interesting and applicable for American Universalist; the author also admirably ties in older mystical strains. Consider it a companion piece to George H. Williams’s bicentennial (American Universalism; the fourth edition is in print thanks to Skinner House) essay.
The author was then the assistant chaplain of New College, Oxford. Nice. Given his credentials, I imagine this man is the same as the current (Church of England) Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. I laughed when I connected the two facts. I have an inordinate interest in expatriate churches and have seen his smiling face (and crooked collar) a dozen times at the Diocese of Europe page.
Note: if he is the same one, he would have been about twenty-seven years old at the time. So if you’re old enough to be reading this, get cracking on your work.