Unitarian and Universalist History And Polity…Independent Study

It’s that time of the semester, registering for next semester.

Since I’m at a non-UU seminary, I get to set up my own UU History and Polity course as an independent study.

I have most of the usual suspects on my reading list, but I was wondering if there are any hidden gems out there that I should also think about putting on my list. Or if you know of any books that deal with African Americans in our movement that is NOT Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, I would really like to know about it.

I am especially looking for more polity books, so if you have suggestions, I’m really open.

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5 thoughts on “Unitarian and Universalist History And Polity…Independent Study

  1. Kim, I don’t know if Alice Blair Wesley’s Minns Lectures are on your list, but they have a lot good to say about polity. I know that I need not say this to you, but many of the UU students at Non-UU schools just give history and polity a “lick and a promise” just enough to get through the MFC. They come out very under-prepared. Remember this: theology is polity is theology. You don’t grasp one, you can’t grasp the other. Don’t let those Quakers convince you that consensus is better than democratic polity 😉 E-mail Burton Carley at our church in Memphis and ask him for the Conference on the Free Church papers. Some real good stuff there. Missed you in Tulsa.

    All my best to you, Suzanne Meyer

  2. BLACK PIONEERS … did leave out some pioneers. Try Chapter 19 in Rusell Miller’s The LARGER HOPE Volume 2 for information on the Revs Jordan (the school is having a reunion this year). There is definitely a need for more research (and books) on this topic – I can name a couple of other pioneers – but have limited information on them.

  3. Kim,

    I would check out the following resources:

    “Interdependence: Renewing Congregational Polity” (A Report by the Commission on Appraisal, Unitarian Universalist Association, June 1997)
    http://www.uua.org/leaders/leaderslibrary/congregationalpolity/index.shtml

    “Congregational Polity” by Conrad Wright
    http://www.uua.org/documents/mfc/wright_congregational_polity.pdf

    Both of these polity resources are accessible and are also on the MFC reading list.

    I would also sign up for the UU History Renaissance Module – this is a weekend workshop for religious educators that provides a standardized basic training in UU history that is useful to Religious Educators in local congregations.

    As a minister, this would provide a chance to do some hands-on collaboration with a DRE and also learn how to present UU history in ways that are accessible to children, youth, and adults (a useful skill for learning how to do the “worship for all ages” segment in a worship service).

    Good luck.

  4. It’s kinda hard to know what might be missing when I don’t really know what you’ve got already, but Vic Carpenter’s book on the Empowerment Controversy probably ought to be somewhere on your list. The UU Historical Society has recently published a “readers edition” of the Cambridge Platform which I believe is available through Skinner House. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t read too much history, because (as Suzanne points out) not only is shared history what we have in place of a shared theology, but our history is very much a record of our attempts to “walk together” in one spirit despite often being of different minds.

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