|Our pastor is the Rev, Charles Brock, who has been involved in religion for 35 years at ‘the home of lost causes’ [Oxford, England] as a teacher of theology, chaplain to the University, activist in interfaith activities, and minister of a village church. He is an author and in the process of some ideas partly developed there but re-formulated at the Institute on the American Dream at Penn State Erie where he also teaches college courses on Introduction to Islam, Jesus of Nazareth, and Religion in American Life & Thought.|
Emeritus Fellow & Chaplain, Mansfield College, Oxford University, UK
Senior Research Associate in Religious Studies, Penn State Erie
Director – Institute on the American Dream, Penn State Erie
A bit of history...
In the first centuries of the Christian era, Christians held a variety of beliefs concerning the nature of Jesus. In 325 CE, however, the Council of Nicea promulgated the doctrine of the Trinity-God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-and denounced all those who believed differently as heretics. In the sixteenth century, Christian humanists in Central Europe - in Poland and Transylvania - studied the Bible closely. They could not find the orthodox dogma of the Trinity in the texts. Therefore, they affirmed-as did Jesus, according to the Gospels-the unity, or oneness, of God. Hence they acquired the name Unitarian.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, radical reformers in Europe and America also studied the Bible closely. They found only a few references to hell, which they believed orthodox Christians had grossly misinterpreted. They found, both in the Bible and in their own hearts, an unconditionally loving God. They believed that God would not deem any human being unworthy of divine love, and that salvation was for all. Because of this emphasis on universal salvation, they called themselves Universalists.
In continuity with our sixteenth-century Unitarian forebears, today we Unitarian Universalists are determined to follow our own reasoned convictions, no matter what others may say, and we embrace tolerance as a central principle, inside and outside our own churches.