As a pantheist, I believe that God is everywhere, Creator of everything, all-knowing and all-powerful, but not “personal” in the sense of knowing each of our quirks, or answering personal prayers. Culturally I follow many Judeo-Christian traditions, and some Buddhist practices, continuing to think about what works in understanding the great mysteries of God. I don’t believe God is male or female, or Our Father, or a person all. I see God as the Ultimate Reality… Creator of all things as they are, as in the Psalm: “This is the World that God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
My religious upbringing was independent from the start. My mother, like her ancestors, was a lifelong member of a non-denominational Christian church, the offspring of the Restoration Movement brought to America in the 19th century from Scotland. Its founders were theologians: Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. Its intention was the restoration of the simplicity of the church of the first century, the centrality of Scripture, unadorned worship with a cappella singing, adult baptism, a covenant congregation, and salvation of the soul. Its religious roots were less those of the Church of Scotland and the Protestant Reformation and even less the roots of the historic Roman Catholic Church. Its legacy was the church of the New Testament.
I consider myself a born once Unitarian. I was born into a Unitarian family extending back for several generations. My grandfather, Palfrey Perkins, was the Senior Minister at King’s Chapel when I was born. Palfrey Perkins was also one of the founders of the Unitarian Service Committee and the Unitarian Christian Association; he was also Secretary of the American Unitarian Association. I was baptized by my grandfather at King’s Chapel when I was five weeks old.
I was born into Unitarianism and Jesus is my teacher. I was born to wonder at the beauty of this world and to love my neighbor as family. I have learned to doubt and question and seek the truth in this complicated life, and to find comfort and solace in the love of God. And I seek always to celebrate my faith in my choices and tasks of every day.
I was born to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. They had both abandoned their official traditions before they met, although to me it was always clear that they lived within the metaphors and values they’d learned in their childhoods. And my father was broad-minded enough to agree to raise my brother and me in the Catholic church, as that’s what was required to be able to marry in the church, which my mother wanted to do. They didn’t take us to church much, however, and I as a pre-teen wanted very much to join a church, to “know God”, so I chose one of my own.
I was born and raised a Unitarian, and, while I didn’t participate in church for a good deal of my young adulthood, I always still said I was, and felt like, a Unitarian, in part because I never saw the need for another religious affiliation as a way to help explain and experience the world. In my 30s, however, I did feel a growing need for a spiritual community, and, partly for reasons of past experience and proximity (I lived on Beacon Hill), I found myself becoming an active Unitarian and in time a member of KC.
Theologically, Unitarianism offers what to me is a perfect blend of faith and reason, and it also allows for and actually opens the door to the mystery of religious experience. In blending faith and reason, it brings together and reconciles the material and spiritual worlds in which we all live, the ying and yang of existence, and it does so in a way that encourages a continuous search for meaning. This is particularly true, I think, in the way Unitarianism has been practiced and has evolved at King’s Chapel.
I am a Unitarian, not by birth, but by intellectual discovery. I trace the roots of Unitarianism back to Francis David and the Edict of Torda with of course some proto-Unitarians before him. I am interested in religion in general and I respect the efforts of religions to create community and attempt to understand creation and the nature or existence of god.
Statements of Religious Belief
In the spring of 2015, six parishioners of King’s Chapel wrote statements about their personal religious beliefs that were published in Between Sundays in conjunction with the Sunday Forums on “The Religion of King’s Chapel – A Living Legacy.” The forums were a series of lectures on three major religious roots: Anglican, Unitarian, and Independent. The lectures were given by the Reverend Dr. Carl Scovel, Dr. Daniel McKanan, and the Reverend Joy Fallon (recordings of the lectures are posted on the KC website under Education). The statements of religious belief were produced by Denton Crews, Julie Hyde, Louise Perkins, Charles Perry, and Peter Sexton.