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The New Massachusetts Universalist Convention

Annual Meeting 2006--All UUs Invited!

“The Great Unfinished Business”

Saturday, September 30, Dorchester, MA

The Rev. Roberta Finkelstein will give the keynote address ("The Great Unfinished Business") at the New Massachusetts Universalist Convention’s Annual Conference on Saturday, Sept. 30, at First Parish Church in Dorchester, 10 Parish St., Dorchester, MA.

Worship ("The Good Luck Legend") will be led by the Rev. Edmund Robinson and members of the First Church in Belmont, MA. The day's program will also include a workshop by the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Strong ("Remember Universalism into Life,"), a presentation by the Rev. Richard Trudeau ("The Tragedy, and the Glory, of Christianity,"), a panel of “old-time Universalists” reflecting on how Universalism as they remember it differs from today’s UUism, and an optional car-pool to one or more Dorchester Universalist sites led by Phil Lindsay. The day will run from 8:30 to 4:30 and include food (continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack) and lots of good conversation.



$25 per person--includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.

Make checks payable to "New MA Universalist Convention."

Child Care:
For information please email or call Richard at (508) 230-8173 by September 16.
All events take place on the first floor, which is wheelchair-accessible except that a wheelchair will not fit into the rest room.

By September 23 please send us the following information:

  • your name,
  • your postal address,
  • your phone number,
  • your email address (if you have one),
  • the number of registrations (at $25 per adult)

Please send this information either by email to:

or by post to:
        New Mass. Universalist Convention
        c/o 30 Briarwood Circle
        North Easton, MA 02356



8:30-9:15 a.m. Continental breakfast, Registration & Schmoozing
9:15-10:00 a.m Worship: "The Good Luck Legend," Rev. Edmund Robinson & Members of the First Church in Belmont, MA
10:00-10:15 a.m. Break
10:15-11:15 a.m. Keynote: "The Great Unfinished Business, " Rev. Roberta Finkelstein
11:15-11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sharing and (brief) Business Meeting
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch (including vegeratian options)
1:30-2:30 p.m Simultaneous Presentations

(a) "That Old Time Religion," Panel
(b) "The Tragedy, and the Glory, of Christianity," Rev. Richard Trudeau

2:30-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-3:45 p.m. Simultaneous Presentations

(c) "Remember Universalism into Life," Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Strong
(d) "Universalism in Dorchester," Phil Lindsay (car pool)

3:45-4:30 p.m. Closing, Snack, Social Time

Presentation Descriptions

Worship: "The Good Luck Legend"

Rev. Edmund Robinson and Members of the First Church in Belmont, MA
The Good Luck Legend is a dramatic telling of a story which was often told in Universalist circles in the past, about how John Murray, the founder of Universalism in America, came to be persuaded to preach this gospel on these shores. It presents two vignettes, the first is of Murray while still in England and still an orthodox Methodist, trying to dissuade one of his flock from the heresy of Universalism and, in the argument, being converted himself. The second is his encounter on the shores of New Jersey with an illiterate farmer named Thomas Potter who, it turns out, has been waiting for decades for a preacher who will preach the true gospel: that God loves everyone too much to damn anyone. These two turning points led Murray to become our first Universalist preacher.


Keynote: "The Great Unfinished Business"

Rev. Roberta Finkelstein
When the American Unitarian Association merged with the Universalist Church of America, there were so many logistical issues to attend to, theological issues were left behind. Some among us believe that the vexing theological questions of contemporary Unitarian Universalism (diversity, the language of reverence, various anxieties and reactivities) are the result of that unfinished business.


That Old Time Religion”

A panel of "old-time Universalists" discuss what it was like to be Universalist before consolidation with the Unitarians.


"The Tragedy, and the Glory, of Christianity"

Rev. Richard Trudeau
The history of Christianity contains both in abundance. If we see how they are intertwined, we will be able to separate them.


Remember Universalism into Life”

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Strong
An overview of a curriculum published by the New York State Convention of Universalists, and then an experience of one session.


Universalism in Dorchester”

Phil Lindsay
Participants will car-pool to some Universalist sites in Dorchester

Presenters (in alphabetical order)

Rev. Roberta Finkelstein
was raised in the Unitarian side of the faith at the Community Church of New York. After a first career as a nurse and certified nurse-midwife, she attended Wesley Theological Seminary and was ordained into our ministry in 1992. She has served churches in Oakton, Manassas, Stephens City, and Sterling VA, and is currently completing an interim ministry in Frederick, MD. She is delighted to have accepted the call to be the settled minister in Portsmouth, NH (South Church) beginning August 15th. Rev. Finkelstein has served the denomination in many different ways. She is currently the co-chair of CENTER, a committee of the UU Minister's Association charged with creating programs to meet the continuing education needs of UU ministers. She served for 6 years on the Commission on Appraisal. She was a primary author of Belonging: The Meaning of Membership, and participated in the first 2 years of preliminary research for Engaging Our Theological Diversity.
Phil Lindsay
is a long-time Dorchester community activist, currently dividing his volunteer time between First Parish Church, Dorchester and the Dorchester Historical Society. The two activities are related in that First Parish Church was founded in 1630 and is one of the oldest churches in Massachusetts. Phil's goals include opening minds to the fact that Dorchester is a dynamic and important part of the past AND present. Phil works as the Oil Program Manager for the 15,000-member Mass. Energy Consumers Alliance. He also manages the 70-year old family business, R.H. Lindsay Company, Wool Merchants, in his spare time.
Rev. Edmund Robinson
was raised an Episcopalian in South Carolina, but saw the light and became a UU in 1978. He practiced law for 20 years and, with his first wife, raised two children before coming to Harvard Divinity School in the mid-90s. After being ordained, he served the UU Church of Wakefield, MA for five years while practicing law part-time, and in 2004 was called to serve the First Church in Belmont (MA), UU. He is on the boards of the New Massachusetts Universalist Convention and the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science. He is married to Jacqueline Schwab, a folk pianist.
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Strong
is a third generation Universalist, has been a minister of religious education for over 20 years, serving congregations in both Rochester and Syracuse, New York. Currently she serves as the Massachusetts Bay District Religious Education Program Consultant. As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Religious Education History Group she is involved in research and loves to squirrel herself away in the archives and attics of Unitarian Universalist churches.
Rev. Richard Trudeau
is minister of the UU Church of Weymouth, MA and edits the newsletter of the New Mass. Universalist Convention.


First Parish Church in Dorchester is located at the top of Meetinghouse Hill. It's a white colonial building. Enter on the Parish Street side, which is on the right as you're facing the building.

By public transportation: Take the MBTA's RED LINE (Ashmont Branch) to FIELDS CORNER. Exit the station down to DORCHESTER AVE. (Fields Corner Side). Go LEFT on Dorchester Ave. to the intersection (lights). Turn LEFT and walk up Adams Street about 1/2 mile to the First Parish Church.
By car:  
From the South Shore Heading North on I-93 Get off at Exit 11: Granite Avenue – Ashmont
Continue straight ahead for 2.5 miles. First Parish is the white colonial church on the right. Markers along the way include:
0.5 miles—McDonald’s on the right; Hollywood Video on the left at the intersection of Gallivan Blvd [Route 203]. Continue straight ahead. Granite Avenue becomes Adams Street
1.5 miles—Neponset Ave merges in from the right. Adams Market and Codman Lock Co. are on the left; McHoul’s Funeral Home is on the right. Continue straight ahead.
2.0 miles—You’ll come to Field’s Corner shopping district at the intersection of Dorchester Ave. Continue across Dorchester Ave. straight ahead up the hill
2.5 miles – You’re at the top of Meetinghouse Hill. The church is on the right.
From Boston Heading South on I-93 Get off at Exit 15: Columbia Road—JFK Library
Bear right at the bottom of the ramp
Go a few hundred feet to Dorchester Avenue—there are two gas stations and a church (not ours) on the corners
Turn left on Dorchester Ave.
Go exactly one mile. Truong Thinh Supermarket is on the right.
Turn right immediately after the supermarket onto Linden St.
Go up the hill to the stop sign.
Turn right on Adams St.
Go to the top of the hill. The church is on the right.
From Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, etc. Take Route 203 East towards Dorchester
Turn left on Dorchester Ave (first major intersection after Washington St). Lawson’s Barbershop is on the right corner.
Go 1.4 miles to Fields Corner – you’ll go past the Fields Corner T stop and under the railroad trestle.
Turn left at the traffic light at the intersection after the railroad trestle. This is Adams St.
Go ½ mile to the top of the hill. The church is on the right
From Boston via Mass. Ave. Follow Mass Ave past South Bay Shopping Center.
At Edward Everett Square (first main intersection) Mass Ave becomes Columbia Road. Continue straight ahead where the road bends slightly to the left.
Turn right on Dorchester Ave (the next main intersection) -- there are two gas stations and a church (not ours) on the corners.
Go exactly one mile. Truong Thinh Supermarket is on the right.
Turn right immediately after the supermarket onto Linden St.
Go up the hill to the stop sign.
Turn right on Adams St.
Go to the top of the hill. The church is on the right.
If You're Coming From Anywhere Else Call Doug Shaheen for directions at 617 282 2080.


The church's web site is and its phone number is 617 436-0527.

Click here for a larger map of 10 Parish St
Dorchester, MA 02122-3029


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