Old-time religion met newfangled technology last week when
a hospital-bound minister at a Brooklyn Heights church was installed in a 1,000-year-old
ceremony – by cell phone.
The Rev. Dr. Patrick T. O’Neill was installed as
the new minister of the 175-year-old First Unitarian Church last Sunday in
an event that drew nearly 400 people from around the area and across the country,
including Borough President Marty Markowitz.
The only person who didn’t make
the religious installation, in fact, was O’Neill himself. He was being treated
for a fractured toe by doctors at Long Island College Hospital, but he agreed
to take his vows by cell phone.
” It may be a first,” said O’Neill from his
hospital bed. “Unitarians are kind of famous for loving innovations anyway,
so now here we are, working with a technological innovation.
” It definitely
could be a first,” he added.
Well I guess I have heard being a minister is a call. So if you lose your
vocation is that a dropped call.
You also have to have a real good cell phone
provider to make sure you can hear that still small voice. God does keep
telling all of us "Can you hear me now."
Unitarian Innovations: I believe it was Garrison Keillor who informed the world that it was Unitarian missionaries who came west to convert the American Indians through the use of interpretive dance.
The vestibule of the only unitarian church that I have been in looked much like a typical college student union with lists of interesting discussions to which the members were invited.
Uhhhhh 1000 years old installation ceremony?
Maybe 100 years… not 1000…
That would have put Unitarians on the Map just around the 1054 Schism
That scene would add some fun to a cell phone advertising campaign involving dropped calls…
I recall that some Unitarians (the local UU minister) claim the tradition goes back to the times of the Arian heresy. They must know nothing of how brutal many of the Arian populations were. I believe some of the eastern European Unitarian churches could actually make this claim, but the US Unitarian movement is an offshoot of congregationalism.
“Unitarians are kind of famous for loving innovations anyway, so now here we are, working with a technological innovation.”
Good for them – I look forward to the installation of the first Unitarian digital reverend avatar. They will have come full circle.
Great post…very funny!
To reply to Ray from MN email at November 27, 2007 10:46 AM
Unitarianism is much older see the following.
It was not my posting, but the posting of the person who posted after me.
But I would acknowledge that “unitarian” beliefs go back to ancient Egypt and of course, Abraham or before. And many early Christian heresies involved unitarianism. And they would pop up from time to time through history.
But the “Unitarian Church” as an organization doesn’t seem to exist much before the year 1800.
Unitarian congregations were organized at Portland and Saco in 1792 by Thomas Oxnard; in 1800 the First Church in Plymouth�the congregation founded by the Pilgrims in 1620�accepted the more liberal faith. Joseph Priestley immigrated to the United States in 1794, and organized a Unitarian Church at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, the same year and one at Philadelphia in 1796. His writings had a considerable influence.
Thus from 1725 to 1825, Unitarianism was gaining ground in New England, and to some extent elsewhere. The first distinctive manifestation of the change was the inauguration of Henry Ware (1764�1845) as professor of divinity at Harvard College, in 1805.
Sorry about that. 1792 is in the US. As a faith Unitarianism go back to early Christianity
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