The following Chronology has been modified from
Chosen Faith by Buehrens and Church
Universalism: A narrative history by Bumbaugh.
of Alexandria proponent of universal salvation, i.e.,
318 Arius taught that Jesus was not co-equal to God the
Father, not quite human nor divine. Followers were known as Arians.
325 Nicene Creed which established the
dogma of the Trinity was
adopted by Council of Nicea under Constantine the first Christian Roman
emperor. Unitarianism "the Arian heresy"
was no longer
544 Universalism, the belief in universal salvation, was
condemned as heresy by EmporerJustinian in his Declaration of Faith. Those who were Unitarians or Universalist were
persecuted for centuries after.
1531 Michael Servetus publishes On the Errors of the
1539 Katherine Vogel burned at the stake in
Poland for denying the Trinity.
1553 Servetus burned at
the stake in John
Calvin's protestant Geneva for denying the Trinity. His death
convinced many that one should not be killed because of religious
1566 Francis David preaches against the doctrine of
the Trinity in Transylvania.
1568 King John Sigismund of
Transylvania, a unitarian, issues the Declaration
of Turda an edict of religious tolerance.
However, he dies shortly after.
as a heretic, dies in prison.
Socinus arrives in Poland
John Biddle, founder of English Unitarianism, banished to the Scilly
Eighteenth-Century England and America
Thomas Emelyn imprisoned at Dublin for anti-Trinitarian beliefs; birth
of Georges de Benneville, early universalist advocate .
Benneville preaches universalism in Europe; birth of Theophilus Lindsey,
later leader of London Unitarians.
De Benneville emigrates to Pennsylvania; birth of John
Murray, founder of organized American Universalism.
Murray emigrates to America; preaches
in Thomas Potter's chapel at Good Luck, NJ.
First Universalist congregation in America gathered at Gloucester,
Mass., with Murray as minister.
Judith Sargent Stevens (later
Murray) publishes a Universalist
Liturgy of King's Chapel,
Boston, revised to omit references to the Trinity.
King's Chapel congregation ordains James Freeman as its minister,
becoming Anglican in worship, congregational in polity, and unitarian in
Universalists adopt Philadelphia
Articles of Faith
Priestley, British Unitarian minister and scientist, emigrates to
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia organized with Priestley's
The oldest Pilgrim
church in America (founded at Plymouth in 1620) becomes unitarian.
Universalists at convention in Winchester, N.H., adopt a confession
Thomas Jefferson compiles his own version of the Gospels,
Bible, inspired by Priestley.
Ballou publishes A Treatise on the Atonement, rejecting the
doctrine of the Trinity;
Henry Ware, Sr., a unitarian, elected Hollis Professor of Divinity at
Ellery Channing preaches 'Unitarian Christianity" in Baltimore,
helps gather first Unitarian Church in New York City.
The American Unitarian Association founded.
The General Convention of Universalists in the United States founded.
Waldo Emerson one of the key originators of American
Transcendentalists presented the "Divinity
School Address" at Harvard.
Parker's "Transient and Permanent in Christianity"
preached in South Boston.
Meadville Theological School a Unitarian school established in
Death of Margaret Fuller, author of Woman in the Nineteenth Century.
Ordination of Olympia
Brown as Universalist minister
first woman to be regularly ordained by any denomination.
Death of Thomas
Starr King, Universalist minister and pastor of the First Unitarian
Church of San Francisco, who "saved California for the Union."
National Conference of Unitarian Churches, organized by Henry Whitney
Bellows, gives Unitarians a more effective denominational structure.
Organization of the Universalist General Convention (renamed in 1942 the
Universalist Church in America).
Organization of the Free Religious Association.
Lombard College's Universalist Divinity School established in Chicago.
Meadville joined Lombard in Chicago in 1926 to form Meadville
Lombard Theological School.
Death of Emerson;
American Unitarian Association becomes a congregational and
representative body, later absorbing the National Conference;
Publication of Ten Great Religions, by James
Universalists establish churches in Japan.
Parliament of Religions held in Chicago, organized by Unitarian
minister Jenkin Lloyd Jones.
A joint commission first discusses merger of Unitarian and Universalist
Congress of Free Christians and Other Religious Liberals formed
(later the International Association for Religious Freedom).
Beacon Press launched, broadening
the American Unitarian Association's publishing program.
Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice organized by John
Haynes Holmes (also a founder of the NAACP , the ACLU, and the
Fellowship of Reconciliation).
Capek's Service of Flower
Communion first celebrated in Prague
Second Commission on Unitarian-Universalist merger.
Manifesto I published
of Faith adopted by Universalists.
American Unitarian Association Commission on Appraisal issues report.
Frederick May Eliot elected president of AUA (d. 1957).
Unitarian Service Committee
organized. They adopted the Flaming
Chalice as their logo.
Church of the Larger Fellowship
organized to serve Unitarians living in areas without Unitarian
The Universalists adopt the Off-Centered
Cross as their symbol
A. Powell Davies, minister of All Souls, Washington, D.C., inspires
the founding of ten suburban congregations; fellowship movement
organized under Monroe Husbands.
of the Unitarian and Universalist Faiths resulting in the Unitarian
Universalist Associationwith Dana McLean Greeley as first president.
Hymns for the Celebration of Life published.
Reeb killed at Selma, Alabama.
Robert Nelson West elected second UUA president; controversy over black
empowerment vs. integration.
Manifesto II published
Paul Carnes elected third UUA president; dies in office in 1979.
Eugene Pickett elected fourth UUA president.
William F. Schulz elected fifth UUA president; new statement of
Principles and Purposes adopted.
John A. Buehrens elected sixth UUA president. Denise Davidoff elected
Singing the Living Tradition published.
Statement of principles and purposes amended to include the sixth
source, the spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions.
Manifesto III published