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“The Church and the Parish in Massachusetts: Usage and Law”
George E. Ellis
in Unitarianism: Its Origin and History
(American Unitarian Association, 189C)
George Ellis (1814-94), ordained in 1840, was for 30 years minister in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was a frequent contributor to AUA publications and a student of the “Unitarian Controversy.”
This edited version of his lecture, originally given in Dedham, in 1888, is generally credited with allowing the Unitarians “to inherit” a denomination.
The unedited text demonstrates even more than what is included, the bitterness caused by the Dedham Decision.
- What arguments could be advanced for both the parish and the church?
- Can Unitarians today defend a decision which chose often religiously uncommitted “property holders” over those who carried on the work of the church as important in their lives?
- What attitudes in contemporary thought are drawn down from Dedham? What practices seem-to result from a decision that “gave” churches to the Unitarians?
The full text is available via Google Books. For the relevant excerpt, see here: “The Church and the Parish in Massachusetts: Usage and Law.”