One of our assignments for UU History class was to prepare a class presentation about our home congregation’s history. I chose to look at the Anchorage UU Fellowship’s history through the lens of its origins in the Fellowship Movement.
As I returned to those articles, I noticed a reference to Bright Galaxy, a book about TFM published in 1960. Intrigued, I tried to track it down online. No luck.
Meanwhile, my interest in TFM was growing. A tiny spark was becoming a flame, and conversations during my first two days at Meadville last week fanned the fire.
Then last Tuesday the Meadville students hosted a pizza party at the historic Meadville-Lombard building that was recently sold to the University of Chicago.
Curious, I took a self-directed tour. In the library I found a small bookshelf, piled high and overflowing with stacks of books. Above it a sign said, “Free Books.” (ML is paring down in preparation for its move.)
Sitting on top, right at eye level, was Bright Galaxy.
In the months leading up to this class, I’d planned to write my final paper on pluralism, trying to answer for myself the question of how this tradition, with its Christian origins, had become the theologically diverse faith it is today.
Finding Bright Galaxy, and continuing conversations with my classmates, changed that plan. Now I’m writing about the Fellowship Movement–what was hoped for, what went wrong, what we can learn from the experience.
On the plane home from Chicago, Bright Galaxy was my companion. Somewhere over Alberta I read that Laile Bartlett, the author, considered the Plymouth Brethren to be one of the spiritual forbears of the Fellowship Movement. I spent the first 20 years of my life among the Plymouth Brethren.
There is a deep satisfaction when life folds over on itself, and the past is suddenly useful.