A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism, Volume One: From the Beginning to 1899

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
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 A panel of top scholars presents the first comprehensive collection of primary sources from Unitarian Universalist history. This critical resource covers the long histories of Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism in the United States and around the world, and offers a wealth of sources from the first fifty-five years of the Unitarian Universalist Association. From Arius and Origen to Peter Morales and Rebecca Parker, this two-volume anthology features leaders, thinkers, and ordinary participants in the ever-changing tradition of liberal religion. Each volume contains more than a hundred distinct selections, with scholarly introductions by leading experts in Unitarian Universalist history. The selections include sermons, theologies, denominational statements, hymns, autobiographies, and manifestos, with special attention to class, cultural, gender, and sexual diversity. Primary sources are the building blocks of history, and A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism presents the sources we need for understanding this denomination’s past and for shaping its future.
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About the author

 Dan McKanan is the Emerson Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of five books, most recently Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Beacon Press, 2011) and Eco-Alchemy: Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and the Environmental Movement (University of California Press, 2017). A member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford, he lives with his spouse and daughter in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Additional Information

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
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Published on
Dec 31, 2017
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When Dorothy Day died in 1980, many people assumed that the movement she had founded would gradually fade away. But the current state of the Catholic Worker movement?more than two hundred active communities?reflects Day?s fierce attention to the present moment and the local community. ?These communities have prospered,? according to Dan McKanan, ?because Day and Maurin provided them with a blueprint that emphasized creativity more than rigid adherence to a single model.? Day wanted Catholic Worker communities to be free to shape their identities around the local needs and distinct vocations of their members. Open to single people and families, in urban and rural areas, the Catholic Worker and its core mission have proven to be both resilient and flexible. The Catholic Worker after Dorothy explores the reality of Catholic Worker communities today. What holds them together? How have they developed to incorporate families? How do Catholic Workers relate to the institutional church and to other radical communities? What impact does the movement have on the world today??While many observers inside and outside the Catholic Work today view Dorothy Day?s death in 1980 as a sharp boundary between the more orthodox past of the movement she co-founded and its less coherent present, The Catholic Worker after Dorothy belies its title and presents its history in an unbroken sweep, a living tradition, from its founding to the present. Dan McKanan reminds us that the Catholic Worker was never monolithic in its doctrinal orthodoxy as some suppose. He documents how the tendencies and tensions that are often lamented as confirmation that the present-day movement has succumbed to the ?secular confusion of the age? were part of the Catholic Worker scene and vigorously discussed during Day?s lifetime.? Brian Terrell Executive Director of Catholic Peace Ministry Des Moines, Iowa?All of us, ?after Dorothy,? now share the haunting, beautiful and difficult work of loving God and each other with the authenticity and grace that originally inspired the movement. With a fresh rendering of the historical narrative, Dan McKanan shares the wisdoms of preceding generations and tells that the fire of Christian love contained in the daily practice of the works of mercy can heal us and take our forebears? ?revolution of the heart? into the future.? Michael Boover Catholic Worker and Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies Anna Maria College Paxton, Massachusetts?The Catholic Worker Movement celebrates its 75th birthday (1933-2008). It did not dissolve after Dorothy?s passing in 1980 and Dan McKanan explains why. The seeds of the movement were planted in the most fertile and enduring soil?the daily practice of the works of mercy. The work itself is the tie that binds, sustains, unites and brings great joy. There are no hard line dogmas; a gentle personalism is all that's required. It's that simple.? Willa Bickham, Brendan Walsh Co-founders, Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker
From the days of the apostles to the present, Christians have formed intentional communities. While some Christian communities withdraw to avoid contamination from "the world," others reach out in loving service to, and dialogue with, their neighbors. Dan McKanan advocates the latter approach: Christians must be willing to "touch the world" in order to unleash the transformative potential of their communities. In this book, McKanan explores two contemporary community movements that touch the world by honoring the diverse spiritual and vocational paths of the families and individuals who join them. One of these movements, Camphill, derives its inspirations from the esoteric vision of Christianity outlined by Rudolf Steiner. It boasts a worldwide network of schools and villages composed of members with and without developmental disabilities, living and working together most often in agricultural settings. The other is the well-known Catholic Worker movement founded in New York by Dorothy Day and peter Maurin. The Worker movement today includes nearly two hundred urban houses of hospitality and rural farms, along with countless individuals who have taken Day's and Maurin's ideals into everyday life. Blending theological and ethnographic approaches, McKanan builds his study on participant observation, archival research, and interviews with members of more than twenty communities. What emerges is a winsome and optimistic vision of the impact transformative Christian communities can have in a blessed and broken world.
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