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Sunday, July 27, 2003

Architecture as metaphor.

My home church — the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City — is in the news again, this time not for suing the LDS Church over real estate, but simply for being itself:

So, one opens the church — First Unitarian — to enter a white-painted light-filled, simple space, impossible to hide in. Every corner is apparent, clearly illuminated by natural light from the tall, multi-paned Palladian windows, recalling the light of reason revered by Unitarianism's great liberal forbears. The lines, the light, the absence of ornamentation serve as an invitation to introspection and meditation. There is no cross, no icon, no altar. Unitarians focus on this world, not the next.

In austere contrast to the colorfully ornate symbolism layered over ancient Christianity, the Unitarian aesthetic, like its gospel, is minimalist: "It's a simple, basic idea," says Goldsmith. "We believe in the unity of deity."

There are several amusing inaccuracies in the article, but it's a charming profile of a church I deeply love. ("Like the faith, Unitarian place of worship is geared to clarity and function," Mary Brown Malouf, Salt Lake Tribune 7.26.03).

More Unitarian Universalists in the news:

"At the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, the Rev. Julie Denny-Hughes decided that one way to demonstrate her support for gay marriage is to refuse to sign marriage licenses for heterosexual couples" — a trend I do not support, incidentally (Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer 7.27.03).

"Spiritual diversity is the essence of vacation church school, a new children's summer program sponsored by Howard County's two Unitarian churches: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia and Channing Memorial Church in Ellicott City" (Baltimore Sun 7.25.03).

"[Corky] Miller, a Portland fine arts photographer and photojournalist, traveled to Cuba this spring to document a cultural exchange between the Portland Unitarian Church Choir and Cuban choirs" (Oregonian 7.25.03).

And, finally, a long profile of a criminal defense attorney who "was raised Unitarian, but does not attend church" (Santa Cruz [Calif.] Sentinel 7.27.03).

Oh, plus this historical curiosity: "Orville [Wright] was named after Orville Dewey, a Unitarian minister whom Milton [Wright, his father] admired greatly" (Richmond, Ind. Palladium-Item 7.24.03).

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 July 2003 at 10:27 PM

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