In this powerful collection, editor Kate R. Walker and contributors look back over more than two hundred years of Berry Street essays and offer analysis and historical context.

Product Code: 6685
ISBN: 9781558968707
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 512
Size: 10 x 7
Published Date: 07/30/2021
Availability:In stock
Price: $26.00

For more than two hundred years, Unitarian and then Unitarian Universalist ministers have gathered to hear one of their own deliver an essay of reflection and critique on their profession. The Ministerial Conference at Berry Street, or as it’s more commonly known, the Berry Street lecture, was started in 1820 by famed Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing. It is believed this essay series is the longest running of its kind in the United States.

In this powerful collection, Berry Street scribe and editor Kate R. Walker and contributors look back over the essays on record and offer analysis on what was said and the historical context surrounding them; selected essays have also been included in this volume. The voices and ministry of thundering preachers, inspiring activists, and dedicated academics point toward a compelling future. When examined as a whole, their threads weave a rich and complex pattern.

And yet Walker and contributors also look at what was not said and who was not invited to speak. As Unitarian Universalism enters a new era of ministry in our congregations and outreach to the wider world, our commitment to being a radically inclusive faith demands these teachings. Our survival as a liberal religious faith depends on learning from our failures so we don’t repeat them.

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1820–1836: Creating a Community by Ourselves by Mark Harris
1840–1859: Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? by Amber Beland and Manish Mishra-Marzetti
1860–1869: Calls for Unity and Continuity by Barbara Coeyman
1870–1889: Unitarians Fight for Relevance by María Uitti McCabe
1890–1908: More to Do Than Displace Falsehood by Nicole C. Kirk
1911–1937: Complications of the Spirit by Rebecca Parker
1941–1959: The Quest for Unity by Dan McKanan
1960–1969: Insular Perspectives by Rosemary Bray McNatt
1970–1979: The Decade After Empowerment by Ian W. Riddell
1980–1989: Higher Truth from Saint and Seer by Meg Richardson
1990–1990: At the Cusp of the Millennium by Lindasusan V. Ulrich
2000–2009: Light, Strength, Animation, and Zeal by Marco Belletini
2010–2019: Boom! by Kate R. Walker

Perspective Matters
Selected Essays

“What the contributors to this volume have found is something worth celebrating. The voices and the acts of ministry of thundering preachers, inspiring activists, and dedicated academics, revealed and preserved in two centuries of essays, point toward a compelling future even as they do not have a clear view of that future. Their threads weave a complex, rich, and fluctuating pattern of curious and stubborn visionaries who believed in our saving message of universal love in the embrace of the holy. They did not falter in their determination. Supported by both reason and passion, they called for the liberal religious voice to be carried into the forefront of our country. They gave us, the inheritors of their ministry and vision, the capacity and wisdom to respond to contemporary issues with a humble understanding of what it takes to combat oppression. And that gift is worth celebrating.”

“Unitarian Universalist ministers are called to continue a long history of prophetic ministry and challenge the status quo among the people we serve. But who challenges the ministers to get out of our complacency? For 200 years, the Berry Street Essay has fulfilled that need. These essays shake us out of our comfort into new ways of thinking and feeling and being. They renew us to our calling, help us grow in our ministries, and even comfort us in our crises. This new collection of essays and analyses helps us learn from the past as we work to create a more just and equitable future.”?

? —Rev. Cheryl M. Walker, President, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 2017–2019

“For 200 years now, the Berry Street essay has provided an opportunity for liberal ministers to hear an honored colleague offer discourse on some aspect of what Channing called ‘The Demands of the Age on the Ministry.’ Liberals are by definition open to cultural change. These essays have often asked us to critique the cultural atmosphere around us. Liberals can also tend to self-congratulation and these essays, at their best, often challenged us to be more self-critical, and to see how ‘new occasions teach new duties.’ This tradition has helped to serve not only the evolving, diversifying ministry, but to better guide us in serving the congregations and laypeople who continue to ask us to be their spiritual leaders.”?

—Rev. John A. Buehrens, author of How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice

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