by Mike Roberts, Church Historian.
Throughout its existence, the Universalist faith has been based upon religious doctrine that was subject to adaptations influenced by the world in which it existed. No better modern-day evidence of that can be found than the occasional classes offered by our church in “How to Create Your Own Religion”. But, where are our roots? What did the forefathers of our church hold as the principles of their religion?
We have in our archives, membership cards from 1925 which identify the expectations of a prospective member of the Universalist Church of that era. The front side of a sample card reads:
Realizing the value of the Universalist Church to Cincinnati and eager to do my share towards increasing its usefulness, I desire to unite with it.
Name: Eleanor Lucille Russell
Address: 612 Crown St., Walnut Hills
Date: Nov. 22, 1925
The reverse side of the card reads:
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP CARD
The Universalist Church in terms of Faith is founded upon Five Principles:
The Universal Fatherhood of God.
The Spiritual Authority and Leadership of his son, Jesus Christ.
The Trustworthiness of the Bible as Containing a Revelation from God.
The Certainty of Just Retribution for Sin.
The Final Harmony of all Souls with God.
In this day of democracy and freedom of thought we ask but the following three questions of those desiring to join our Church.
1. Do you earnestly desire to know and do the will of God and in so far as possible lead a life of service unto others? 2. Do you find that the Christian Principles emphasized by the Universalist Church, so far as you know, are nearest in harmony with your own religious views? 3. Do you acknowledge the authority of the General Convention as the governing body of the Church? Upon your answering these questions in the affirmative we will receive you as a member with full privileges, either by the Right Hand of Fellowship or by any form of baptism which you prefer.
Next month, we will delve further back in our heritage to examine the beliefs of mid-18th century Universalists.