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Spring 2010

A Theology of Personal and Societal Transformation: The Bicentennial Legacy of James Freeman Clarke

James Freeman Clarke and the Church of the Disciples: Religious Community as an Agent of Personal and Societal Transformation

Rev. Dr. Paul S. Johnson

Date: April 20, 2010 

Location: Arlington Street Church, Boston 

Clarke’s principal life work was founding and leading Boston’s Church of the Disciples which he served from 1841 until his death in 1888. Dedicated to the practice of Jesus’ teaching, the congregation was guided by three basic principles: (1) financial support through voluntary contributions rather than the sale and rental of pews; (2) development of close personal relationships among congregants by means of a wide range of activities engaging intellect, affection, and will; (3) widespread congregational involvement in worship and governance. Their fascinating story holds lessons for building successful congregations today. 

Rev. Dr. Paul S. Johnson has served as the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, Manhasset, New York, since August of 2002. Previously, he served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. 

Rev. Johnson holds a B.A. in history from Trinity College (IL), a master's degree in counseling from Minnesota University (Mankato), and the M.A., D.Min. and D.D. degrees from Meadville/Lombard Theological School, affiliated with the University of Chicago. He is a past president of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association and currently serves as vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Meadville/Lombard Theological School and as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Commission on Social Witness.


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