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Dr. James R. Morgan
Sample Worshipper Dress
black slacks, white oxford, green vest
Bells in Bell Tower
Although the Unitarian and Universalist churches merged in 1961, some Universalist National Memorial Church (UNMC) members don’t like to be confused with their brethren. Though Universalists may be liberal, they say, they’re still Christians. “The Unitarians up the street didn’t even have a Christmas service,” says one worshipper. “We picked up a ton of their overflow that Sunday.”
Food for the Soul
In a sermon titled “The Virtues of Being Two-Faced,” Deacon Dave Skidmore discussed the impulse to look both forward and backward at the New Year. After musing on quotes from such figures as Janis Joplin and Maya Angelou, Skidmore left the congregation with two pieces of wisdom: “Start from where you are,” he said. “And, remember, the world is always turning towards the morning.”
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Food for the Body
Unwilling to drown the spirits of its congregation in a watery pot of Folgers, the UNMC brews coffee that is particularly strong and flavorful. On a recent visit, other postservice treats included a cracker tray with cheese and lunchmeats, dried fruit, cookies, fresh berries, and a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. Every third Sunday, congregation members lunch together at a nearby restaurant.
Overall Worship Power Rating
The members of the UNMC have a keen sense of church heritage; for instance, a portrait of devout Universalist and Civil War humanitarian Clara Barton is hung proudly over the mantel and pointed out to visitors. “A few of the founding fathers were also members. So was P.T. Barnum,” says Choir Director Donna Simonton. “I actually have a T-shirt that lists all of their names.”