2018 Schedule Overview

Thursday, October 18th:

9:00 am         Harvard Divinity School Library open for archival research

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm    Registration at the Walker Center (late registration after the evening talk)

3:30 pm           Historic UU Walking Tour of Downtown Boston

5:30 pm           Dinner for Conference Registrants in Boston

7:00 pm           Distinguished Scholar Talk #1:

  • Dr. Catherine Brekus at First Church Boston   Free and Open to the Public; Reception to follow


Friday, October 19th:

All Friday programming will be held at the Walker Center

7:30 am           Breakfast

8:15 am           Chapel       

8:45 am       Paper Session #1:

  • Arliss Ungar--"Eliza Tupper Wilkes  (1844-1917): Universalist and Unitarian Missionary"
  • Barbara Coeyman - "A Conversation Revisioning Early Women Ministers:  The Story of Lydia Ann Jenkins"

10:15 am           Break

10:30 am           Paper Session #2:

  • Richard Kellaway--“Unitarians: The Brightest and the Best?”
  • Clyde Grubbs--“Decolonize! Wrestling with Unitarian and Universalist heritage of colonialism”

12:00 pm         Lunch

1:45 pm           Paper Session #3:

  • Michelle Walsh--“Taking Pride in the Messiness: Impurity of Unitarian Universalist Theology”
  • Isaac May--“Fruits Not Roots: Activism and Denominational Solidarity”

3:15 pm           Break

3:30 pm           Paper Session #4:

  • Jay Atkinson--“Reverent Radicals: The Enduring Legacy of the Polish Brethren”
  • Kim Beach--“The Prophetic Theology of James Luther Adams”

5:00 pm           Social Time

5:30 pm           Dinner

7:00 pm           Author Discussion with Dorothy Emerson and Nicole Kirk moderated by Dan McKanan

  • Business meeting to follow


Saturday, October 20th:

All Saturday programming will be held at the Walker Center

8:00 am           Breakfast

8:30 am           Chapel Service

9:00 am           Distinguished Scholar Talk

  • Catherine Brekus

10:30 am         Break

11:00 am         Paper Session #5:

  • Alex Jensen--“Moral Injury in US Wars and Implications for Military Chaplaincy”
  • Stephanie May--"Origins of Belonging"

12:30 pm         Lunch

2018 Gathering

Please join us for our annual meeting on Oct 18-20, 2018 at the Walker Center, just outside Boston, MA.

In addition to papers on participant's current research, we will be engaging the theme of “American Exceptionalism: Religion, Identity, and Power.”

This theme invites us to explore the legacy of U.S. American identity as a “chosen nation” through the lenses of religious studies, ethics, theology, and history. In the midst of contemporary, political debates about American identity and values, this theme provides the opportunity for scholarly reflection on the relationship between theology and politics, religion and nationalism, identity and exceptionalism, and their relevance to the UU tradition and contemporary thinking.


Registration is now open! 

Please register online now.

2018 Distinguished Scholar

Joining us as this year’s Distinguished Scholar will be Catherine Brekus, the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at Harvard Divinity School. 

Her current research interests include the religious history of American exceptionalism and the relationship of Christianity, capitalism, and consumerism in the United States. At Collegium she will present two talks, “Chosen Nation: Christianity, Nationalism, and American Destiny” and “City on a Hill: From the Puritans to the Unitarians.”

She is the author of of many articles and books, including Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845, which explores the rise of female preaching during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelicalism in Early America, which argues that the evangelical movement emerged in dialogue with the Enlightenment.

Read more about Catherine Brekus here.