BEYOND THE GRAVE, LOVE AND IMMORTALITY
by Floyd Vernon Chandler
BEYOND THE GRAVE, LOVE AND IMMORTALITY is a collection of sermons and articles by a Universalist minister of many gifts. For F. Vernon Chandler, the titles of Colonel, Reverend, and Doctor all apply. He is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who has served as Parish Minister, Prison Chaplain, and Military Chaplain. Chandler has also been affiliated with the UNIVERSALIST HERALD for many years both as Editor and Board Chair.
Chandler’s theology spans both Christian and Interfaith Universalism. He is a believer in afterlife and, most of all, a believer in the infinite mercy of an all-loving, compassionate God. His sermons and articles reflect a mature understanding of Universalism from early Christianity to the present. Chandler’s sermon, “What Is Universalism?” is brief, easy-to-understand, and one of the best explanations I have ever read.
His writing reflects a man of compassion who has lived in the real world, and the world is better because of his work. His sermons to prisoners are especially moving and show a real sensitivity for a forgotten segment of God’s children. Like most Universalists, he is not only an eternal optimist but a “died-in-the-wool” Liberal. His championing of such causes as a living wage for the working poor and environmental issues are “hard-core” and at the heart of Universalist values. In spite of his advocacy for vegan vegetarianism, I would be happy to join his church any day!
Universalist Christians, Liberal Christians, and Unitarian Universalist theists need to read this book.
Book reviewer: Ken R. Vincent
AT THE FOOT OF COLD MOUNTAIN
by Phyllis Inman Barnett
Phyllis Inman Barnett has recently published the book AT THE FOOT OF COLD MOUNTAIN, A Narrative and Pictorial History of Sunburst and the Universalists at Inman’s Chapel.
It gives a small view of the rural roots of Universalism, and portrays the life of a Universalist family in the western North Carolina mountains from the early 1850s until 1957, when Inman Chapel was closed.
The book also provides a brief history of the area and discusses the logging community of Sunburst to give context for the section on Friendly House, the Universalist mission at Inman’s Chapel at the foot of Cold Mountain.
James Anderson Inman, who had struggled to keep Universalism alive in his remote mountain community, died in 1913. The Reverend Hannah Powell, a Universalist Minister from Maine was sent to North Carolina by the Women’s National Missionary Association in 1921 to try to keep the small church open.
Powell’s mission programs at Inman’s Chapel operated through the 1940s and included a free health clinic, an adult education program, a summer school, a preschool, a lending library, and a daycare service for working women.
The epilogue contains the narrative and pictorial record of the restoration of Inman Chapel begun in 2007.
Phyllis Barnett is a member of the Unitarian Universalist of Clearwater, Florida. It is her wish that UUs will agree that the diverse roots of the Unitarian Universalist faith need to be shared and preserved.
The book was published in the winter of 2009 and is available for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping from PigeonRiverPress@aol.com. For further information call: 727-397-0711 or 828-648-1418 or contact the author at 14800 Gulf Blvd. #202, Madeira Beach, Florida, 33708
Reviewer, Carol Simmons is a member of Outlaws Bridge Universalist Church, Albertson, NC.
AWAKENING THE SOUL
by John C. Morgan
Awakening the Soul is a wonderful “download” from a seasoned minister’s soul --- a cornucopia of thought-provoking, spiritual readings from a variety of sources, seasoned with the hopeful message of Christian Universalism. John C. Morgan is a Christian Universalist minister with sixteen years of pastoral experience in the theologically diverse Unitarian Universalist denomination.
Although structured as daily devotionals, this book provides a treasure-trove of material appropriate for Christian or interfaith ministers and lay leaders to use during group worship. This is the stuff that “Orders of Service” are made of! Liberal Christians will be especially delighted with the classic quotations and stories from prominent Universalists, including John Murray and George De Benneville. One example is this from Olympia Brown (the first woman in the United States to be ordained by a denomination): “The foundation of democracy is the realization that every human being is a child of God…, always trusting in the one God which ever lives and loves.”
The overall tone of the book is best described by John Morgan himself at the end of the Preface: “In the end, it won’t matter how much you have, but rather how much you have given. It won’t matter how much you know, but rather how much you love. And it won’t matter how much you profess to believe, but rather how deeply you live the few enduring truths you claim as ultimate. All the rest is discipline.”
Awakening the Soul by John C. Morgan is available from: Amazon.com and the publisher, Skinner House Books (www.uua.org/skinner).
Reviewer, Ken R. Vincent is author of "THE GOLDEN THREAD, GOD’S PROMISE OF UNIVERSAL SALVATION."
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