Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation
We are a small congregation of about 70 adult members and about 20 children and youth. We are diverse in our religious beliefs with members who draw from humanist, Christian, pagan, Jewish, Buddhist and other traditions. We currently have few young adults or openly glbt people, but we would welcome you if come. We are currently mostly white with about a tenth of our adult membership and about a quarter of our children and youth being persons of color. We tend to dress fairly informally for worship, but you will be welcome in your suit and tie, dress and pantyhose or your jeans and T-shirt. Because we are small we will know you are a visitor, if you come, expect to be welcomed by many of us.
Our Namesake: Don Speed Smith Goodloe
Our new name honors Don Speed Smith Goodloe, first African-American graduate of Meadville Theological School (1906), our Unitarian seminary, which has since become Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago–affiliated with both the University of Chicago and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Goodloe was the first principal–from 1911 to1921–of the Maryland Normal and Industrial School–Maryland's first black post-secondary school, which is now Bowie State University.
As Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed says in his book, Black Pioneers In A White Denomination , it appears that Rev. Don Goodloe was also one of the black Unitarian ministers who faced "the impossibility of...ministering to a Unitarian church," a fact of life at that time in our historically white denomination. But Goodloe was also interested in education. According to Meadville president Franklin Southworth in 1903, Goodloe hoped, with his wife, to "start a small school composed of carefully selected and choice students, and to run the school along with his Sunday preaching."
From the time he graduated from Meadville in 1906 until 1910, Goodloe was principal of the Danville Industrial Normal School in Danville, Kentucky, and from 1910 until 1911 was vice principal of Manassas (Virginia) Industrial School. Following that, he came to lead the development of the normal school at Bowie.
The reason for the name change–for those of us who have not taken part in our extensive discussions on the topic over the past year–is that we believed our former name was not inclusive enough of people living outside of Bowie. We also wanted a name that honored a prominent local Unitarian Universalist.
In 1916-1917, Goodloe was named to "Who's Who in America" Vol. IX. His house on Maryland Route 197 near Bowie State University is on the National Register of Historic Places. At the Bowie normal school he established dormitories and educational facilities, hired teachers, increasing the faculty from four to ten, established a model elementary school and summer session, and set an admission requirement of completion of a minimum of seventh grade. He sought appropriations from the legislature in Annapolis in competition with white normal schools (for preparing teachers) at Towson and Frostburg.
~Summary written by Steve Buckingham based on thorough research conducted and compiled by Richard Morris and Joseph Herring
What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?
Unitarian Universalists accept the universe, the natural world, and mortal life as the arena of living. We believe that the main concern of religion is human existence on earth rather than some doubtful world of the future.
Unitarian Universalists are not followers of any particular creed or supposed truth. We are not told what to believe. We are encouraged to question, to explore many ways of belief, and to develop for ourselves a very personal faith.
However, that does not mean that UU's believe in anything and everything. In 1985, the UUA General Assembly adopted "seven principles" which provide a framework for the different beliefs we all hold. These principles define our faith and clarify our philosophy. They don't tell us exactly what to believe, but they do tell us how to believe it.
Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote the following seven principles:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- Justice, equality and compassion in human relations.
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in our congregations and society at large.
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice.
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.
A Brief History of Unitarian Universlism
Unitarian Universalism came into being in 1961 with the merger of the Unitarian and Universalist churches. However, the roots of these two separate denominations date back to the death of Jesus and the split that developed between those who saw him as a great spiritual teacher and humanitarian and those who deitized him as the "only" son of God.
In the beginning, Unitarians stressed the unity of God and nature, the humanity of Jesus, and the innate goodness of humans. Universalists, by comparison, agreed with the humanity of Jesus but had an additional strong focus on the concept of universal salvation, and a benevolent God who would offer hope to all people. Both of these approaches (which ultimately merged in Unitarian Universalism) were in direct opposition to the prevailing trinitarian Christian beliefs in a tripartite nature of God and original sin.
From these very basic beliefs, the two denomiations grew and thrived in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Eventually, both began to see themselves as representing a universal community of all men and women working together in search of truth, justice, and peace. Both began to shift their focus to social concerns as they became associated with issues of equality, women's rights, and social reform.
By the early 20th century, it became clear that the Unitarians and the Universalists were moving in the same direction and pursuing the same goals. On May 11, 1961, the two formally became one, and the Unitarian Universalist Association -- known as the UUA -- was born.
The UUA, which is headquarted in Boston, is divided into districts and associations.Goodloe is part of the Joseph Priestly District (JPD) and the Greater Washington Association (GWA).
Should you have any questions about Unitarian Universalism, or our local fellowship, please send an e-mail to Reverend Cynthia Snavely, minister of the Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Joseph Priestly District
Member of Unitarian UNiversalists for Social Justice
Members of GWIPL: Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light: Save the Earth; Stop Global Warming
2005 JPD Chalice Lighter's Grant Awardee