Transcendentalism: Then & Now

January 23, 2022 | 7:00 PM

Transcendentalism: Then & Now
A 4 part Adult Religious Education Class
Presented by Rev. Dr. John Buehrens
And sponsored by nine upstate UU congregations (including Albany UU!)
Sunday evenings, January 9, 16, 23, 30, from 7:00 – 8:30pm
Join with Zoom via or or on Rochester Unitarian’s Facebook page.
Contact: Rev. AJ van Tine email:
Background reading (optional) for the course is Rev. Buehrens recent book, CONFLAGRATION: How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice (Boston: Beacon Press, Jan. 2020). The book is available from Beacon Press or the UUA bookstore.
The course, however, will be thematic rather than following the narrative of the book. Rev. Buehrens will identify contemporary issues as well as explore the pioneering efforts of our spiritual forebears in spiritual practice, women’s rights, anti-racism, and ecotheology. The format of the course will include both lecture and discussion.
During his career, Rev. Buehrens served congregations in Tennessee, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and California. Prior to his retirement in 2017, he was the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. He was also the president of the UUA from 1993 to 2001.
The four sessions will cover the following topics:
Jan. 9 will be about who the Transcendentalists were and what we can still learn from them about spiritual practices to sustain our souls in perilous times when injustice is all around us.
Jan. 16 will be about the forgotten women in the Transcendentalist movement: six of them; three occasionally remembered – Margaret Fuller, Julia Ward Howe, and Emily Dickinson; and three now almost totally forgotten, sadly – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Lydia Maria Child, and Caroline Healey Dall.
Jan. 23 will be about white and Black Transcendentalists in the anti-slavery/abolitionist movement. I will have mentioned some of this material in my January 16 sermon, but hardly all some of the best stories.
Jan. 30 is about the Transcendentalists as American pioneers in interfaith understanding and concern for the environment, ending with discussions of how their legacy continues today.