Universalist Churches of America

March 1, 2007

I haven’t checked these people out yet (beyond a quick scan of their website) so I’m not in any way endorsing them, but I thought I would highlight a post made by Eric Stetson:

I am in the process of organizing an ecumenical organization called the Universalist Churches Association. This will be a community of faith (churches, ministries, and individuals) representing and proclaiming a coherent theological Christian Universalism. We are essentially trying to resurrect the Universalist Church of America in a new form.

This organization is brand new — it was founded in January 2007. Several Christian Universalist ministers, evangelists, authors and scholars from a diversity of traditions have already gotten involved. Rev. Kalen Fristad, a Methodist minister, traveling evangelist, and author of the book “Destined For Salvation,” is chairman of our board of directors.

This is going to be a very serious, significant organization uniting Universalist Christians — or at least we hope and expect that this will prove to be the case, God willing.

Visit our website: www.universalistchurches.org

If you like what we are doing, please spread the word!

Eric Stetson
Executive Director,
The Universalist Churches Association

They have an online Statement of Belief, which seems to be freshly written (and somewhat longer than Winchester).  

I would be interested in the comments of anyone who has come across this group and knows who they are, what theological approach lies beneath their beliefs and so on.

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9 Responses to “Universalist Churches of America”

  1. Scott Wells Says:

    Hmm, I wonder how long this will last?

  2. Eric Stetson Says:

    Demas wrote:

    “I would be interested in the comments of anyone who has come across this group and knows who they are, what theological approach lies beneath their beliefs and so on.”

    First of all, thank you for making a post on your blog about the Universalist Churches Association. I am glad you have an interest in what we’re doing.

    I would be happy to tell you myself who we are and what our theological approach is. (Of course, others may also wish to chime in and tell you what they think of us and our approach, but here is my own view for your consideration.)

    Who we are:

    I run a website at http://www.christian-universalism.com , which includes a directory of churches at http://www.christian-universalism.com/churches . Most of the churches listed on there so far lean in a Pentecostal direction — but that is just because of what I have found out there, not because I am specifically looking for those kind of churches. I hope this directory will grow broader in the future as I find more churches from different traditions.

    I publish a bimonthly printed newsletter, “The Christian Universalist Connection.” I recently started a small house church in Northern Virginia, where I live. I have written a book that will be published this spring by Sparkling Bay Books, a small Christian publisher, called “Christian Universalism: God’s Good News for All People.”

    I am a former member of Assemblies of God. Before I converted to Christianity I was a member of the Baha’i Faith, which is a universalist religion that arose from Islam. Today, I consider myself a moderate-to-progressive, mystically inclined Christian Universalist. I personally lean toward the theology of Origen.

    I am by far the *least* accomplished person involved in starting the UCA, but I have a lot of vision and initiative. As I mentioned before, Rev. Kalen Fristad is our chairman. Other board members (so far) include:

    – Dr. Ken Vincent, professor emeritus of psychology, expert on near-death experiences, and author of the book “The Golden Thread: God’s Promise of Universal Salvation.” His background is in the UUA and Universalist Convocation. He runs the website of the Universalist Herald magazine, http://www.universalist-herald.net

    – Charles Slagle, an evangelist and former prison minister, and the author of a book called “From the Father’s Heart: A Glimpse of God’s Nature and Ways.” He comes from the Pentecostal tradition. He has a website at sigler.org/slagle

    – Pastor G. A. Roach, who leads a church in Amarillo, Texas, and serves as a full-time hospital chaplain. His background was in the Southern Baptist tradition.

    There are several other ministers and evangelists we are currently in discussions with, who might join the board of directors. But these are the people involved so far.

    As for our theological approach, here is how I would sum it up briefly: We come from a diversity of backgrounds and traditions and seek to bring together a diversity of Christians in a big-tent approach, focusing on only the *essential* teachings of the Gospel from a Universalist perspective. Our organization will be neither “liberal” nor “conservative.” We are not religious fundamentalists, nor are we secular humanists. Other than the major points of faith that we uphold, we want individuals to decide for themselves what to believe based on study, prayer, meditation, and freedom of conscience. Our organization will never try to dictate to people all kinds of detailed doctrinal positions. But on the other hand, we will never abandon a strong spiritual belief system centered around the ancient Christian teachings of apokatastasis (universal reconciliation/restoration) and theosis (divinization of human beings in the image of Christ). Those are our core beliefs and we will seek to proclaim them vigorously as truth.

    I hope these brief explanations are helpful.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to discuss the UCA on your blog.

    Divine blessings,
    Eric
    http://www.universalistchurches.org

  3. Eric Stetson Says:

    UPDATE:

    The Universalist Churches Association has decided to change its name to the Christian Universalist Association (CUA). This is because of complaints by a couple of UUs that we were using the same initials as the old Universalist Church of America which became part of the UU organization.

    Because of the name change, we have moved our website to http://www.christianuniversalist.org. The old address will redirect to the new address, but from now on we will be using the new address and the new name.

    I am also pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. John Morgan has joined the Christian Universalist Association board of directors. Rev. Dr. Morgan is a retired minister who served the Unitarian Universalist movement for over 25 years as local church pastor, new congregation organizer, and extension minister charged with helping to renew older churches or begin new ones. One of his many books is “A Testament of Devotion,” the story of the earliest Universalist churches in America, many out of the Pietist heritage. His two new books include “Daybreak and Eventide,” a collection of prayers and worship services for individuals and small groups; and “In the Shadow of Grace,” the story of his grandfather, Evangelical preacher G. Campbell Morgan, with excerpts from his letters and sermons. He now teaches philosophy and ethics at a community college and attends a Quaker Meeting.

    Eric Stetson
    Executive Director,
    The Christian Universalist Association
    http://www.christianuniversalist.org

  4. Eric Stetson Says:

    UPDATE #2:

    I am pleased to announce that in addition to Rev. Dr. John Morgan, yet another person has joined the Christian Universalist Association board of directors: Rick Spencer.

    Rick Spencer is an evangelist who organizes large conferences for Christians who believe in the all-inclusive love of God. He also works to encourage the founding of new house churches based on this teaching, and to network believers from a variety of theological backgrounds and geographical locations. Rick Spencer has been involved in mission work in Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, India, Jamaica, Kenya, and Sri Lanka, and has founded seven different food pantries in the Central Texas area. He is an independent Pentecostal.

    Rick Spencer’s Restoration Nation ministry website: http://www.imrestored.com

    Eric Stetson
    Executive Director,
    The Christian Universalist Association
    http://www.christianuniversalist.org

  5. Marco Says:

    Interesting ideas you have Eric.

    Sorry my english is weak. How do you decide which is the true church of christ. I was born catholic, but …

  6. demas Says:

    Hi Marco, thanks for stopping by – personally I believe that as long as you think that the phrase ‘true church of Christ’ must refer to a particular visible human organisation you will be disapointed – all earthly organisations are run by falliable humans, after all. Demas

  7. Paul Haley Says:

    Hello Eric. Several months ago I was introduced to the idea of Christian universalism (actually in a book by Richard Rohr)and have been greatly intrigued and hopeful for it (to the dismay of my wife and others). However recently a passage came to me that would seem to be counter to total restoration and I wonder if you may have some insight. Jesus, referring to Judas, in Mark 14:21 stated that “it would have been better for him (Judas)if he had not been born.” It would seem that if Judas were to be eventually restored Jesus would not have made this comment. Any thoughts? Paul

  8. Michael Paul Says:

    If anyone knows of a universalist fellowship in the Sacramento, CA area, please send me an email and let me know about it. I’ve been cyber-searching UR since I became aware of it recently and I would like to attend meetings if there are any in my vicinity.
    Thanks,
    Michael Paul


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