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Commission on Appraisal Unitarians Face a New Age 

Unitarians Face a New Age

The Report of the Commission of Appraisal
to the American Unitarian Association, 1936

pp. 173-206

Over half a century later, this report is still the most complete ever done on Unitarian organization and program. While almost any part of the Commission’s work bears on polity, the second half of the book (page 215 onward) deals with “Institutional Organization and Functioning” and so deserves special attention.…

Commission on Appraisal – Unitarians Face a New Age: “Findings and Recommendations”

Unitarians Face a New Age

“Findings and Recommendations”

Commission of Appraisal to the
American Unitarian Association – 1936

pp. 3-31

The Commission of Appraisal, chaired by Frederick Eliot, was an overt attempt to use modern sociology to look a the Unitarian movement.…

“Work and Dreams and the Wide Horizon” By Louis C. Cornish

Selections from Work and Dreams and the Wide Horizon

by Louis C. Cornish

(Beacon Press, 1937)

Chapter IV “The Fellowship Committee,” pp. 36-44
Chapter IX “Poignant Problems”, pp. 98-107
Chapter XXI “The Free Church Fellowship”, pp. 268-97

Louis Cornish (1870-1950) was President of the AUA (1927-1937).…

“Handbook for Unitarian Churches”

Handbook for Unitarian Churches 

AUA (undated but prior to 1927)

pages 7 – 14

This document, probably late in Samuel Eliot’s administration (1900-27), gives a summary of Unitarian polity and the AUA. It serves as an introduction to Section VII.

The Handbook for Unitarian Churches is available here.…

“The Community Church” By John Haynes Holmes

Chapter IX, Parts I & II

“The Community Church: Organization, Message and Work”

by John Haynes Holmes

in New Churches for Old

(Dodd, Mead, 1922) pages 249-53

The distinguished John Haynes Holmes opposed the re-election of Samuel Eliot a President of the AUA, because he feared Eliot was creating a bureaucracy and a strong centralized denomination. …

“Official Report of the Proceedings of the General Conference”

Official Report of the Proceedings of the 27th Meeting of
The General Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches
held at Montreal. Canada. September 25 – 28. 1917
(Boston, Press of Geo.H. Ellis Co., 1918)


“Report of the Council” by Rev.

“Unitarian Yearbook 1900” By The American Universalist Association

Unitarian Yearbook – 1900 

(American Unitarian Association)

The by-laws of the AUA and the National Conference and the Rules of the Committee on (Ministerial) Fellowship of 1900 serve as benchmarks for the beginning of the century.

Note that Conference membership was strictly institutional not individual.…

“Past Experiences with Unitarian Organization” By Francis A. Christie

“Past Experiences With Unitarian Organization”

by Francis A. Christie (1923)

Francis Christie (1858-1938) became an instructor at Harvard Divinity School first then in 1893 began 33 years of teaching at Meadville Theological School as a professor of church history.
This is a rare effort to deal with the history of denominational organization.…

“An Address to Unitarians” By Sidney E. Mead

“An Address to Unitarians”
(original 1950, revised 1957)
by Sidney E. Mead
in Proceedings of the Unitarian Historical Society, Vol. 12 (1958)

Sidney Mead is a distinguished American church historian, a UU, and a former President of Meadville Theological School.…

“The American Unitarian Organization” By George Willis Cooke

Chapter VI “The American Unitarian Association”

by George Willis Cooke

in Unitarianism in America

(American Unitarian Association, 1902), pp. 124-54

Cooke’s history ends in 1900, the 75th anniversary of the American Unitarian Association. While dated, the chapters have a completeness and an immediacy of event that later, more objective histories, do not carry.…