Our congregation is the founding congregation of Universalist in Columbus Ohio. Founded in 1844, we had a church building constructed at 186 S 3rd Street by 1847. Elisabeth gave us a taste our hour history in today's service.
We don't know a lot about what our spiritual ancesters thought and felt, but Elisabeth constructed an interesting narrative of what was going on in the nation in those years and interpreted that through a Universalist lens. Interestingly, a lot of issues that concern us today were issues that concerned people back in 1844. There were concerns over how far technology has gone, will the telegraph replace the Post office? Great leaps in transportation concerned them now that the steam engine tracks have reached Columbus, and transportation is accomplished with a mechanical steam engine? We were in the middle of a trade dispute with China (at the periphery of the opium wars.)
In politics, no one expected the election of James K Polk and a lot of people were upset about his policies of taking on new territories without a promise that the new territories will remain slave-free. We even had lying and fake news. A small booklet was published to let people know that the other guy, Henry Clay of Kentucky, "spends his days at the gaming table and his nights in a brothel." The Whig national convention in 1844 was held in Baltimore Md at the Universalist Church Building.
After the service, we had a sit-down discussion for those who wanted to stay about the issues raised by Elisabeth. The Universalists were among the first to start to wrestle with the idea that our wealth and our morality come in conflict and maybe we can live on less wealth in order to get more morality working for us.
We also discussed what is the purpose of a congregation? Why do we assemble here each week? One of the reasons is our collective belief in the inherent worth of fighting for social justice. If you are a like-minded individual, please come sit with us some Sunday. We don't bite.