Initial Unitarian Services in Atlanta

The Unitarians started organizational efforts in Atlanta in Jan 1881.  The first evidence of this organizational effort was  an ad placed in the Atlanta papers on Jan 12, 1881  by the Rev. Enoch Powell  announcing the intent of the American Unitarian Association to establish a presence in the city.  See Unitarian Church Notice below.

Initial services were preached in the senate chambers on Jan 18, 1881.  In Feb 1882, the Rev. George Leonard Chaney began providing Unitarian services in the senate chambers, Concordia Hall, the US District Court room and Prof. Mean’s School room.

By March 1883, the Rev. Chaney formally established a Unitarian church in Atlanta called the Church of Our Father.  The timeline in the table below traces Unitarian services provided in Atlanta until the dedication of the Church of Our Father in April 1884.

1881.01.12 Notice - Early Notice of Upcoming Unitarian Services in Atlanta

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Wed, Jan 12, 1881 Page 4

Unitarian Church Notice

Prominent citizens of Atlanta having expressed a desire to organize a Unitarian church in the city, therefore all persons interested in Unitarian Christianity are hereby notified and invited to aid in said organization. Time and place of meeting to be published in next or following issue of this paper.

Enoch Powell, for the American Unitarian Association.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)  Tue, Jan 18, 1881  Page 4

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Tue, Jan 18, 1881 Page 4

Unitarian Services

By the courtesy of Governor Colquitt, services were held in the senate chamber at the capitol, Sunday afternoon, by the Rev. Enoch Powell, Unitarian. who preached an interesting and instructive sermon to a large and intelligent audience.

After services an informal meeting was held by those interested in establishing a Unitarian church in the city, and adjourned to meet again at 8 o’clock p m., Wednesday next in the break fast-room of the Kimball house.  All interested are cordially invited to be present.

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The table below contains a chronology of early Unitarian services held in Atlanta.  The data in the table was obtained by reviewing church and other notices in contemporary Atlanta newspapers.

Date Service / Description
Jan 12, 1881 Initial notice in the Atlanta papers indicating that an organization effort is underway to establish a Unitarian church in Atlanta.  The notice was posted by Enoch Powell for the American Unitarian Association.
Jan 18, 1881 Notice that Unitarian services were held in the senate chamber by the Rev. Enoch Powell.  After the service an informal meeting was held regarding establishing a Unitarian church.  A follow up meeting was planned at the breakfast room of the Kimball House on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.
Feb 1, 1881 UnitarianismThe American Unitarian Association has begun work in this city with a view to the dissemination of knowledge of the doctrines, aims and purposes of the Unitarian church. It has been temporarily represented by the Rev. Enoch Powell of Birmingham, England, who has been here some weeks and is now about to return to other fields of labor. The religious services held in the senate clamber of the capitol and elsewhere were well attended and considerable interest has been awakened in the public mind concerning church but little <is> known here.It is the purpose of the association, we believe, to continue the work through cooperation with some of our citizens and to organize a church in our city.Among the distinguishing characteristics claimed by the denomination may be mentioned: its freedom from formulated creeds; its belief in a progressive religious life; its simplicity in church organizations and management, and its steady devotion to all philanthropic undertakings.In a city so cosmopolitan as Atlanta there is ample room for all denominations, and each, it its chosen sphere, has the hearty good wishes and will receive the deserved support of The Constitution.The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)Tue, Feb 1, 1881  Page 4
Mar 26, 1881 Rev. Heywood (Unitarian) preaches the Universalist Hall filling in for absent Universalist pastor. Moring topic “The Upward Path” a sermon on the life and character. Evening topic “The Adaptation of Liberal Christianity to Human Nature and Life.”  Heywood  “a pioneer among liberal Christians in the South…is now visiting Atlanta for the purpose of looking over the field and determining whether the prospects are sufficiently promising to encourage Unitarians to enter upon the permanent denominational work here.”
Feb 18, 1882 In the Local Tin-Types From Our Reports Pocket Camera column: Rev. George Leonard Chaney, a Unitarian minister from Boston, Mass. Will preach in the senate chamber on Sunday at 3 o’ clock p.m. Subject: “Man: how much is he worth?” All are cordially invited.
Feb 26, 1882 George Leonard Chaney, a Unitarian clergyman of Boston, Mass. is visiting Atlanta at this time, in the interest of moral and religious reconstruction throughout the union. In the pursuit of his profession in Boston for fifteen years, he has been actively interested in the establishment of school for poor white children in Richmond, Va. and Wilmington, N. C., and for freedmen in Charleston, S. C., and Hampton, Va. He has labored for the cause of industrial education with Mr. Edward Atkinson, of Boston, and General Eaton, the commissioner of education in Washington, and these gentlemen bespeak for him the furtherance of our people. While here he will preach in the senate chamber on Sunday; giving the remainder of the week to inspecting our schools and industries.The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)Sun, Feb 26, 1882  Page 7
Mar 3, 1882 Unitarian service in Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, on Sunday evening at three o’clock. Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney will preach. Subject: “Inter-dependence not Independence the Law of Christ.”
Mar 19, 1882 Published in the Church Notices column:  Unitarian service – Rev. George Leonard Chaney of Boston, Mass. Will preach in Concordia hall, 40 Mariette street, opposite DeGive’s opera house, at 3 o’clock.  Subject: “Many Sects but One Church.” All cordially invited.
Mar 26, 1882 Published in the Church Notices column: Unitarian service – Rev. George Leonard Chaney of Boston, Mass. Will preach in Concordia hall, 40 Mariette street, opposite DeGive’s opera house, at 3 o’clock.  Subject: “Being and Owning.” All cordially invited.
Apr 2, 1882 Published in the Church Notices column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, at 4pm.  Preaching by Rev. G.L. Chaney
Apr 23, 1882 Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, at 4pm.  Preaching by Rev. G.L. Chaney
Apr 30, 1882 Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, opposite DeGive’s opera house. Rev. G.L. Chaney, of Boston will preach at 4pm and the lecture at 8pm on “James Russell Lowell”.
May 8, 1882 Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, opposite DeGive’s opera house. Rev. G.L. Chaney, of Boston will preach at 4pm and the lecture at 8pm on “Ralph Waldo Emerson”.
May 15, 1882 Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, opposite DeGive’s opera house. Rev. G.L. Chaney, of Boston will preach at 4pm and the lecture at 8pm on “William Ellery Channing”.
May 28, 1882 Published in the City News column: “Mr. Chaney will give the last of his series of services in Concordia hall this evening at o’clock.Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, opposite DeGive’s opera house. Communion service 5 o’clock.
Jun 4, 1882 Published in the Church Services column: Unitarian service – Concordia hall, 40 Marietta street, opposite DeGive’s opera house. Communion service 5 o’clock.
Nov 19, 1882 Published in the Personal column: The Rev. G.L. Chaney, of Boston, who is well known and liked here, has returned for the winter and will resume his services to-day. Mr. Chaney has been and is doing much for education in Atlanta.Published in the Religious Services column: Unitarian service in Concordia Hall, 8 pm.
Nov 26, 1882 Published in the Religious Services column:  Rev. G.L. Chaney, Unitarian, will preach in US District court-room, post-office building, at 4pm.
Dec 10, 1882 Published in the Religious Services column:  (Rev. G.L. Chaney) in US District court-room, post-office building, at 4pm. Subject “Local Salvation.”
Dec 17, 1882 Published in the Church Services column:  (Rev. G.L. Chaney) in US District court-room, post-office building, at 4pm. Subject “The Preparation of the Heart.”
Dec 24, 1882 Published in the Church Services column:  (Rev. G.L. Chaney) in US District court-room, post-office building, at 4pm.
Jan 14, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  (Rev. G.L. Chaney) in US District court-room, post-office building entrance on Forsyth street at 11 a.m.
Feb 2, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian services in United States district court room, post-office building, entrance on Forsyth street, at 11 a.m. Bible study at 12:15
Mar 3, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Rev. G.L. Chaney, in United States district court room, post-office building, entrance on Forsyth street, at 11 a.m. Bible study at 12:15, and at 7:30 p.m. Subject: “Uncommon Honesty.”
Mar 11, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Rev. G.L. Chaney, in United States district court room, post-office building, entrance on Forsyth street, at 11 a.m. on “Peacemakers” and at 7:30 p.m., on “The Nation; its corner Stone.”
Mar 18, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Rev. G.L. Chaney, in United States district court room, post-office building, entrance on Forsyth street, at 11 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m. Evening subject: “Education its physical basis.”
Apr 1, 1883 Published in the Personal column:  Mr. Chaney’s discourse this evening in United States court room will be on “Education in the Second Score of Man’s Years.”
Apr 15, 1883 Published in the Personal column:  Rev. G.L Chaney in United States district court room, post-office building, entrance on Forsyth street, at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
May 6, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney, service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets, at 11 a.m. Subject – The Fatherless.
May 13, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney, service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets, at 11 a.m. Bible study at 12:15.
May 27, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney, service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets, at 11 a.m. Bible study at 12:15.
Jun 24, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney, service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets. Bible study at 12:15. Subject of sermon – “Tearing down and building up.”
Jul 1, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets at 11 a.m. Bible study at 12:15.
Jul 8, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Service in Professor Mean’s school house, corner Forsyth and Church streets at 11 a.m.Also in the Church Services column there is notice that a service will be held at the Spiritual Society to say farewell to the Rev. W.C. Bowman who is leaving for Cincinnati.
Jul 15, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Service in Professor Mean’s school house room, corner Forsyth and Church streets at 11 a.m.
Sep 6, 1883 Published in the Through the City column:  The Unitarian church on Church street is nearing completion.
Oct 21, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney having returned to the city, services will be held at Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church streets at 10:30 a.m.
Oct 28, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Services at 11 a.m., in Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church.
Nov 4, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Services at 11 a.m., in Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church.
Nov 11, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Services at 11 a.m., in Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church streets. Subject: “Martin Luther.”
Dec 2, 1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Services at 11 a.m., in Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church streets.
Dec 9,1883 Published in the Church Services column:  Unitarian. Church of Our Father, Unitarian – Rev. Geo. Leonard Chaney. Services at 11 a.m., in Professor Mean’s school room, corner Forsyth and Church streets.
Dec 15, 1883 Description of soon to be constructed Church of Our Father. (WIP)
Apr 24, 1884 Dedication of Church of Our Father

 

 

 

 

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