The rapid increase of the Unitarian church in Atlanta, under the leadership of Rev. Moore Sanborn, has crowded us out of our church and forced us to secure a larger auditorium. Hence, on last Sunday, the 28th ult., we held our opening service in the Grand Opera House. It was a brilliant success in every way. This is, perhaps, the largest auditorium in Atlanta, yet it was packed from pit to dome with eager listeners. The “Standing Room Only” sign was out before the service began, and over three hundred people who were unable to secure seats were turned away.
Mr. Sanborn’s sermon was on “What is Religion?” and he held the vast audience as though speaking to one man throughout the delivery of his address. This emphasized the fact that Atlanta and the South are the best fields for well-directed Unitarian activities that we have today. As the revolt in Scotland in 1833 against the then existing religious order resulted in the establishment of the “Free Kirk,” so the South is on the eve of a revolution against the traditions and unreasonable restraints of the old-time religious thought.
Enthusiasm out into the presentation of our mode of thinking is just what these people need, and it will reclaim them for higher church life. If Unitarianism is to remain a potent world force, if it is to endure as something more than a cold philosophy, then we must have the religious enthusiasm of the South. Our New England churches have done a good work, but the fires that have burned so steadily in the breasts of the great leaders of earlier days are smoldering, and New England Unitarianism is in danger of losing its grip upon the throbbing masses.
Now the South needs New England and New England needs the South. We hope to make Atlanta the nucleus of Unitarian activities in this whole section; and, while we shall not call for money for Atlanta, still we want your sympathy, and we shall want money for other sections of the South as we may need it from time to time in the future.
As the writer looked down upon the sea of faces at the Grand Opera House Sunday night, he was particularly struck with the character of the audience. Many were business and professional men who long ago left off church going. Many were young men who listened with the closest attention to the eloquent words of the speaker. We want particularly to reach this class who are without church influences, and we believe that this move to the opera house will enable Mr. Sanborn to accomplish great things for the unchurched people of Atlanta.
Jno. L. Moore
Source: The Christian Register found in Google Books, Vol. 85, No. 6, Feb 8, 1906, Page: 23 (163)