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Ceremonies for Special Services in Universalist Churches, 1949, Humiliati

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In the mid 1940’s, a young group of seminary graduates from the Crane School of Theology at Tufts University had a vision.  Concerned that Universalism was outdated and in fatal decline, this small group of ministers at the beginning of their careers sought to “pursue an intense spiritual journey into ministry and work mightily to transform the Universalist Church from a struggling dissident Christian sect into a religion of greatness.”  They formed the “Humiliati” – an intentional, semi-monastic religious community, with the goals of establishing a theological basis for pushing Universalism beyond Christianity, complete with new worship and rites of passage for a reinvigorated Universalist Church (read more about the choice of name here). The original members of the Humiliati included Gordon McKeeman, Albert Ziegler, Earle McKinney, Raymond Hopkins, David Cole, Frederick Harrison, Charles Vickery, and Albert Harkins.  The group was active from 1945-1954.  The legacy of the group is mixed.  Indubitably, the group inspired a whole generation of ministers and seminary students to think more creatively about worship and religious practice and helped pave the way for the consolidation of Unitarianism and Universalism.  But many also believed that moving Universalism beyond Christianity was too dramatic a reinvention to appeal to the mass of church goers.

For More Information on the Humiliati, click here.

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