The Essential Clarence Skinner
A Brief Introduction to His Life and Writings
Universalism is the real religion which the masses consciously or unconsciously are adopting. It is the philosophy and the power which under one name or another the multitudes are laying hold upon to swing this old earth nearer to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the religion of the people, for the people, by the people. Universalism is the faith of the new world life, seeping upward toward spiritual expression.”
Educator, activist, writer and theologian Clarence Skinner (1881–1949) was a Universalist minister and dean of the Crane Theological School at Tufts University. Particularly influential during the period leading up to the Unitarian Universalist consolidation in 1961, today he is widely regarded as the most significant Universalist of his era.
A leading proponent of the “social gospel,” Skinner’s writing provides the theological foundation for Unitarian Universalism’s social justice work today. Howe’s careful selection of Skinner’s writings, in combination with an accessible account of his life, introduces this important Universalist to a new generation of readers. Includes selections from “The Social Implications of Universalism” and “A Religion for Greatness.”
A retired Unitarian Universalist minister, Charles Howe is the author of The Larger Faith: A Short History of American Universalism, For Faith and Freedom: A Short History of Unitarianism in Europe and editor and co-author of Clarence R. Skinner: Prophet of a New Universalism, all published by Skinner House Books.
Praise for The Essential Clarence Skinner:
The Essential Clarence Skinner represents Skinner’s incisive manner of
expression and his ardent search for a religion to meet modern needs. For those
who knew Skinner, Howe has reintroduced this legendary crusader and exponent of
what Universalism might become. For those who didn’t know him, Skinner is
presented as a determined advocate of the social gospel, a dedicated teacher and
minister as well as a tenacious pacifist.
—Janet H. Bowering, Minister Emerita, Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts
"These selections from Skinner’s writings are perceptive examples of his
thought, tracing its development through his multi-faceted career as minister, teacher, scholar and social activist. As one who knew Skinner during his latter
years, I am much moved by the many reminders here of his eloquence and of the
deep personal faith that undergirded and motivated his perseverance and devotion
to a larger view of Universalism. Surely, those who make Skinner’s acquaintance
through this volume will find both insights and renewed hope therein. A wider
acquaintance with his life and thought will serve us all in significant
—Gordon B. McKeeman, author of Out Of the Ordinary: Meditations
Howe has succinctly encapsulated the nourishing essence of Skinner’s
contributions to this progressive and eager faith.
—Dr. Alan Seaburg, Curator of Manuscripts, Emeritus Harvard Divinity School Library
For more information contact skinnerhouse @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.