Wanted: a comprehensive list of Universalist, Unitarian and Unitarian churches

No April Fools, but an honest request. One of those resources that other communions have that we do not have is a comprehensive list of every Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist church that has been: the living and the dead. At the very least it would help establish a frame for a missiological history and might surface some “hidden histories” that challenge received narratives, say, around the success or failure of the midcentury Fellowship movement. (Which the Universalists also had, with a non-competative arrangement  with the Unitarians, details to come. Or that gold mines, oil wells or a-bomb plants attract Unitarians.)

We can start with something easier? Say, all churches in existance in 1959 (to account for those that rejected consolidation and didn’t join the new UUA; another one of those histories) and onwards?


By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. What is wanted is adequate pay and support for someone to do the work. This is the slowest, least exciting kind of research: collecting, collating, indexing, and labeling. When people talk about the NSA collecting “everything,” they mean, “and not doing the hard work of interpretation.” When people talk about the need for a centralized denominational database, they mean, “without having to pay individuals to do a regular update and provide a pastoral response.”

    I know you know this, Scott, but when you talk about “a comprehensive list of all congregations,” you’re talking about a full time job for about three or four researchers, each for about three or four years, with support from editors, software technicians (to set up the Excel database), and a library science person to set up links to the resources.

    I have fantasized about this many times, and regularly do similar types of work, for myself or other “amateur” — meaning “unpaid in money” — UU historians. Hopefully, the court ruling for the Northeastern basketball team will lead a lot of us to wonder about our “amateur” ministries and stewardships.

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