The Pennsylvania Universalist Convention
A Brief History
Universalist churches in America organized into State Conventions (associations) and other bodies as early as 1793. Early Universalist state conventions played an active role as the denomination’s primary governing organizations, and their authority included certifying the fellowship of ministers.
The Pennsylvania Universalist Convention (TPUC) created in 1831.
George deBenneville Keim, grandson of Universalist Patriarch George deBenneville, was the moderator of the first gathering of Universalist churches from the Keystone State.
In 1961, the Universalist Church of America (UCA) merged with the American Unitarian Association (AUA), to form the present- day Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). With that merger, many Universalist state conventions dissolved. Six, however, remained in existence, among them the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention.
Today the convention maintains an interest in preserving the history of Universalism and continues to administer funds, grants or bequests designated for the remaining Pennsylvania Unitarian Universalist churches with roots in the Universalist tradition and the furtherance of the mission of Universalism.
The remaining Pennsylvania churches are:
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens and Sheshequin Bradford County
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County Reading
First Universalist Church, Brooklyn Susquehanna County
First Universalist Church of Girard Erie County
The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration Mount Airy, Philadelphia
UU Congregation of Smithton Westmoreland County
The Pennsylvania Universalist Convention Board of Trustees holds twice yearly gatherings.
The largest gathering is in the fall, when each member church is officially represented by one trustee, up to five lay delegates, and a ministerial delegate. Attendance is open to all members of the churches that are a part of the TPUC. Officers are elected and general business is transacted at this gathering, which also includes workshops, social gatherings, and worship services.
A Keynote Speaker is sponsored as part of this membership meeting. A separate Board of Trustees Meeting follows.
The Officers and Board of Trustees meet separately, again, in spring to review grant requests and conduct other business.
Modified from an account by: Nelson Simonson; Shared by Richard Bromley October 2020