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John Buehrens begins his new history with the observation that "Religion is people." While previous accounts of Universalism and Unitarianism have focused on a few great men, this history shines a light on the contributions of many, both exalted and obscure, whose stories illustrate the texture of lived religion. Both faiths are chronicled in parallel development through their consolidation in 1961. Beyond presenting Universalist and Unitarian history in America as more than a list of luminaries, Buehrens weaves a historical tapestry rich in color and meaning that will serve to deepen the faith of modern Unitarian Universalists.
Praise for Universalists and Unitarians in America
"John Buehrens's people's history is at once a comprehensive narrative of Unitarian Universalist history and an invitation to rethink that history. The big names are all here, but they share space with forgotten feminists, rural radicals, and faith-filled capitalists. By telling many stories, Buehrens invites all Unitarian Universalists to find their place in our tradition's living heritage."-Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School
"John Buehrens has given us a lively and informative account of American Universalism and Unitarianism, and has brought a number of important figures in UU history into well-deserved recognition. Universalists and Unitarians in America provides an excellent and very welcome narrative of the movement in the twentieth century, emphasizing its notable contribution of important leaders such as Mary White Ovington and John Haynes Holmes to crucial progressive political causes. His well-considered explanation of the merger of the two denominations in 1961 is a highlight, and he also provides an indispensable account, both well-researched and experienced first-hand, of the new UU movement that emerged in the later twentieth century."-David M. Robinson, author, The Unitarians and the Universalists and Emerson and the Conduct of Life
"At last! A vibrant history populated by real human beings, not just dates, ideas, and famous figures. John Buehrens brings the North American Unitarian and Universalist traditions to new life through the stories of people both ordinary and fascinating, all struggling to realize their dreams for liberal religion in the context of their times." -Susan Ritchie, minister, North Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Lewis Center, Ohio
"In this grassroots chronicle of Unitarian Universalism, John Buehrens takes a number of fascinating roads less traveled by. He moves some of the focus away from men, ministers, and institutions, and introduces us to laypeople, women, and families who shaped our story just as much as our already celebrated heroes did. It is both an engaging complement to, and a useful corrective for, many of our existing histories."-Peter Hughes, author, The Origins of New England Universalism: Religion without a Founder