Spirit of joy, make me the bearer of glad tidings.
The Post Office Mission
Like many other Unitarian Universalist congregations, the church of my younger years owes its existence to the Post Office Mission, a forerunner of the present-day Church of the Larger Fellowship. The Post Office Mission was established in 1881 through the efforts of Sallie Ellis, a member of the Unitarian church in Cincinnati, who enlisted the support of her minister, Charles W. Wendte, and the women’s auxiliary of her congregation to promote our liberal faith and serve the needs of isolated Unitarians by distributing sermons, tracts, and other publications through the mail. She placed newspaper ads in various dailies and received such an overwhelming and encouraging response that the model quickly spread to other congregations and women’s auxiliaries. By 1885, the original Cincinnati mission had distributed 22,000 tracts and Sallie Ellis had personally written more than 2,500 letters to inquirers!
…In the 130 years since Sallie Ellis mailed out her first tract, the phenomenon that became CLF has seen both remarkable continuity of purpose and almost unimaginable changes in method and structure. We may not be inclined to think of the postal service as a “technology” but, if we do, it will be readily apparent that the women who established the Post Office Mission were exploiting the best technologies available to them to serve religious liberals and promote our shared faith. As times changed, the mission and methods have changed to meet new challenges and exploit new technologies and techniques. Can we be equally imaginative today? How different might the CLF appear to us 130 years from now? Or, in this rapidly changing digital age in which we live, how different must we be just 130 days from now, if we are to fulfill our evolving mission?
by Rev. Stefan Jonasson, CLF Board Member TO READ MORE
The Daily Compass offers words and images to inspire spiritual reflection and encourage the creation of a more loving, inclusive and just world. Produced by The Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Without Walls.