Minister’s Reflections

I have just returned from Boston, where I visited the new Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters and saw the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, an important milestone in the formation of a UU minister. The interview went well, and I had a few adventures in Boston while I was there. I stayed at the Beacon Hill Friends House, a Quaker intentional community with guest rooms in an 1810 mansion on Beacon Hill, one the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, with narrow cobbled streets and street lamps still lit by gas. Many literary figures – and many, many Unitarians – lived on Beacon Hill in the 19th century. It was a beautiful place to stay, and Friends and UUs have a lot in common, so I felt right at home. On the way to meet a friend in Copley Square, I went by the Arlington Street Church, right on the Boston Common, one of the most important, and oldest, Unitarian churches in Boston, and on a whim I went in and asked to see the sanctuary. I was dumbfounded. No one had ever told me that this church has sixteen of the most spectacular Tiffany stained glass windows I have ever seen, the largest number in any one place, as well as the carved wooden pulpit where William Ellery Channing, one of the founders of Unitarianism preached in the early 1800s. It was grand and formal, and quite the contrast to the Western churches I’ve called home. I offered up a little prayer to the many ministers of that church, that I would be worthy to carry on their legacy. Here are three “then and now” pictures of the church,