Timeline of Significant Events in the Merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Churches During the 1800s

  • 1865: Resolution offered in the American Unitarian Association calling for union with the Universalists. This was defeated.

  • 1865: Resolution offered in the American Unitarian Association to establish a higher council consisting of denomination bodies and other members. Christians, Universalists, Methodists, and Congregationalists were approached. Nothing came of this effort.

  • 1867: The Free Religious Association was formed, with at least six different religious groups represented; about half were Unitarian ministers. Very few Universalists affiliated. This association apparently lasted about 25 years. Its chief product was a liberalizing influence, principally on Unitarianism.

  • 1899: Resolution offered in the American Unitarian Association to appoint five persons from each denomination to form a committee "which shall consider plans of closer cooperation, devise ways and means for more efficient usefulness...." This resolution was approved by business meetings of the Unitarians and the Universalists. The report of this committee was adopted by both denominations. The report recommended closer cooperation and avoidance of duplication of effort, suggesting collaboration in extension, tracts, and occasional joint meetings of local churches. A permanent conference committee was also recommended. The guiding principle of this whole effort was: " We seed coordination--not consolidation; unity, not union." No major result appeared to arise from this effort, although it did bring the two fellowships closer together.


An Information Manual for the use of Unitarian and Universalist Churches, Societies and Fellowships in Considering the Question of Merger or Alternatives to Merger. Prepared under the auspices of the Joint Commission on Merger of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America, September 1958.

Back to Records of Unitarian Universalist Merger.