Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Clara’s Universalism in Her Own Hand.

For some obvious reasons, Clara Barton is one of my more inspiring religious ancestors.  One of my more important deep religious moments happened while I was reading a biography of her.  Her committment and dedication to taking care of soldiers is an inspiration to me. 

Today I visited (for coffee hour) the Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington DC, and their Music Director (Darryl Winston) shared with me a hand-written letter from Clara Barton which the congregation has in its archives.  With his permission, I share it with you all here.  It is a declaration that Universalism is not just the faith in which she was raised, but the faith of her heart. 

Glen Echo, Md.
March 12, 1905

Mrs. Norman S. Thrasher
Lakewood, Ohio

Dear friend and sister:

Your belief that I am a Universalist is as correct as your greater belief in being one yourself. A belief in which all who are privileged to possess it, rejoice. In my case, it was a great gift, for, like St. Paul, I was “born free”, and saved the pain of reaching it through years of struggle and doubt.

My father was a leader in the building of the church in which Hosea Ballou preached his first dedication sermon. Your historic records will show that the old Huguenot town of Oxford, Massachusetts, erected one of, if not the first – Universalist Church in America.

In this town I was born; in this Church I was reared. In all its reconstructions and remodelings I have taken a part, and I look anxiously for a time in the near future when the busy world will let me once more become a living part of its people, praising God for the advance in the liberal faith of the Religious world of today, so largely due to the teachings of this belief.

Give, I pray you, dear sister, my warmest congratulations to the members of your Society. My best wishes for the success of your annual meeting and accept my thanks most sincerely for having written me.

With sisterly love I am
Fraternally yours
Clara Barton

One Thought on “Clara’s Universalism in Her Own Hand.

  1. The Deacons, the Choir, and the Congregation thank you for your visit on the 21st. We hope you can visit again in the near future and see an entire service! Lisa and I enjoyed giving you the tour of the sanctuary, and we appreciate the fact you knew so much about us. Peace, Marti.

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