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The New Massachusetts Universalist Convention

Annual Meeting 2003--All UUs Invited!

“Adin Ballou: American Prophet of Peace”

Saturday, October 4, Mendon, MA

The New Massachusetts Universalist Convention is moving its annual conference to the fall, beginning with “Adin Ballou: American Prophet of Peace” on Saturday, October 4, 2003 at the Mendon, Mass. meeting house of the Unitarian Congregation of Mendon & Uxbridge.

Adin Ballou was a theorist of non-violent resistance and founder of the Hopedale Community, one of the most successful of 19th-century “utopian” experiments. His message is both an inheritance to celebrate and a challenge to Americans and to the world.

Mendon is on route 16, about 5 miles from the Milford exits on route I-495. The meeting house is just off route 16 at 13 Maple Street.


$20 per person--includes continental breakfast and lunch.
Child Care:
Available if registration is postmarked by September 19.
Building is wheelchair-accessible.

By September 26 (if requesting child care, by September 19), please send us by U.S. Postal Service the following information:

  • your name,
  • your postal address,
  • your phone number,
  • your email address (if you have one),
  • the number of registrations (at $20 per person)
  • and (if requesting child care) the names and ages of the children.

Please send this information along with your check, made out to “New Mass. Universalist Convention,” to:
        New Mass. Universalist Convention
        c/o 30 Briarwood Circle
        North Easton, MA 02356



8:30-9:15 a.m. Breakfast, Registration & Schmoozing
9:15-9:45 a.m Worship, The Rev. Hank Peirce
9:45-10:00 a.m. Break
10:00-11:15 a.m. Keynote: "Adin Ballou: American Prophet of Peace," Lynn Gordon Hughes
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Small Group Reflection
12:15-12:30 p.m. Business Meeting and Group Photo
12:30-1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15-2:15 p.m Simultaneous Presentations
  • “Adin Ballou: Unitarian Universalist,” Peter Hughes
  • “Adin Ballou and the Failure of the 6(no make that 4)% Solution,” Peter Reilly
  • "Money and Meaning: Thomas Whittemore's Universalist Solution," Jim Sherblom
  • “The Other ‘U’,” Richard Trudeau
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-3:30 p.m. Presentations Repeated
3:30-3:45 p.m. Closing
4:00 p.m. Tour of Hopedale

Presentation Descriptions

Keynote: “Adin Ballou: American Prophet of Peace”

Lynn Gordon Hughes
We are accustomed to think of Adin Ballou as a saintly character - a prophet of peace. Yet he was not always of a peaceful disposition. As a child he admired Napoleon Bonaparte, and was "perfectly bewitched" by the military pageantry at a militia muster. As a young man he subscribed to what historian Richard Hofstadter has called "the paranoid style in American politics." In theological controversy, his take-no-prisoners style of argument made him many enemies, even among his fellow Universalists. What transformed this proud, touchy, angry man into a pacifist hero? In the keynote address, Lynn Gordon Hughes will trace the experiences and influences that created the Adin Ballou whose life we celebrate today.


“Adin Ballou: Unitarian Universalist”

Peter Hughes
In the 1830s, while he was a Restorationist (Universalist) minister serving the Unitarian church in Mendon, Massachusetts, Adin Ballou engaged in a fruitful relationship with some sympathetic Unitarian clergymen, an early entente between Unitarians and Universalists. After this period of rapprochement, Ballou adopted and adapted some of the ideas that were shared as he moved towards founding a Universalist and Unitarian utopia at Hopedale.


“Adin Ballou and the Failure of the 6(no make that 4)% Solution”

Peter Reilly
The economic reasons the Hopedale Community came to an end.


“Money and Meaning: Thomas Whittemore's Universalist Solution”

Jim Sherblom
Whittemore was born in 1800, grew up in poverty, was poorly educated, and his father died when he was 14. He went on to become a prominent Universalist minister, evangelist, newspaper editor, publisher, historian, musical composer, bank president, railroad executive and investor. How he came to terms with money and meaning in light of his Universalist faith and particular gifts can perhaps be a exemplary model for making sense of our lives in the early 21st century.


“The Other ‘U’”

Richard Trudeau
Universalism as a living faith within the UU movement, a faith which--like mainstream UUism--embraces World Religions and Humanism but also--unlike UUism--seeks to stay in touch with its Christian roots.


Presenters (in Order of Appearance)

The Rev. Hank Peirce, minister of the UU Church of Medford, MA, is of old swamp yankee stock, having grown up in the First Unitarian Church in New Bedford, MA. Hank was drawn toward Universalism while seeking a practical theology for himself and his congregation. Hank spent several years working with punk bands and has been featured in a number of books and on MTV.
Lynn Gordon Hughes, our Keynote Speaker, is secretary of Friends of Adin Ballou and editor of new editions of two major works by Adin Ballou, Practical Christianity and Christian Non-Resistance. She is the author of To Live a Truer Life, a children’s book about the Hopedale Community. Lynn is a graduate student in history at Brown University.
Peter Hughes, retired after 13 years as minister of the First Universalist Church of Woonsocket, RI, is vice-chair of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society and chief editor of the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography. He has written the Dictionary entry for Adin Ballou and articles for the Journal of Unitarian Universalist History on the origins of New England Universalism and the Restorationist controversy.
Peter Reilly is a Certified Public Accountant who has served a number of volunteer organizations, including Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc., Interlock Media, the United Way, and AIDS Project Worcester. He was one of the founding directors of the New Massachusetts Universalist Convention. Peter has a longstanding interest in Adin Ballou and the Hopedale Community.
Jim Sherblom is the ministerial intern at First Parish in Watertown. He serves on the President's Council of the UUA as well as the UUMA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. Jim, his wife Loretta, and their two children Sarah (21) and Robert (18) have been active members at First Parish in Concord for the last 17 years, where Jim also serves as the Chair of the Wright Tavern Center for Spiritual Renewal.
Richard Trudeau  is minister of the UU Church of Weymouth, MA, and edits the newsletter of the New Massachusetts Universalist Convention.  He also teaches college mathematics.


From Rte. I-495: take exit 20 (Rte. 85) or exit 19 (Rte. 109) toward Milford and pick up Rte. 16. Follow Rte. 16 through Milford and Hopedale into Mendon. At the first traffic light in Mendon, turn left. After about 1/8 mile turn right at a traffic island onto Maple Street.

From Rte. 146: follow Rte. 16 through Uxbridge and into Mendon. After passing the Fino Automobile lot and other businesses on your right, and just before Lowell’s restaurant, bear right onto Maple Street.

The white New England-style meeting house is at 13 Maple Street (star). The sign in front says “First Parish Unitarian.” The congregation’s website is The phone number is (508) 473-8681.




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