Thomas Potter (Universalist)

Last updated

Thomas Potter (1689–1777) was an illiterate farmer who in 1760 built a chapel in Good Luck, New Jersey (now Lacey Township), for the purpose of spreading the doctrine of Universalism.

He was born in 1689, the son of Rogerene Baptist immigrants from Rhode Island. Influenced by both Quaker and Baptist beliefs, Potter, as a Universalist, let people of all creeds worship on his land, but was convinced that God would send him a preacher of Universalism. In 1770, a Universalist preacher named John Murray did in fact appear, and was prevailed upon by Potter to give his first Universalist sermon on the American continent. Murray then went on to become the minister of the first Universalist congregation in America, located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and to be a central figure in the creation of the Universalist Church in America, in 1793. Potter died not long after Murray departed, probably in 1777 (the year in which his will was probated), but is considered to have been one of the founders of the Universalist movement. Universalists began coming on pilgrimage to the site of his chapel, where in the 1870s they built the Potter Memorial Chapel, and in 1886 created Murray Grove as a center of Universalism. Today Murray Grove is still a Unitarian Universalist retreat and conference center, celebrating the heritage of Potter, Murray and the early Universalists.

Related Research Articles

Unitarian Universalism Non-credal liberal religion

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth, guided by a dynamic, "living tradition". Currently, these traditions are summarized by the Six Sources and Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, documents recognized by all congregations who choose to be a part of the Unitarian Universalist Association. These documents are 'living', meaning always open for revisiting and reworking. Unitarian Universalist (U.U.) congregations include many atheists, agnostics, and theists within their membership—and there are U.U. churches, fellowships, congregations, and societies all over America—as well as others around the world. The roots of Unitarian Universalism lie in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love. Congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.

Hosea Ballou

Hosea Ballou D.D. was an American Universalist clergyman and theological writer.

The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches is the umbrella organisation for Unitarian, Free Christians and other liberal religious congregations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was formed in 1928, with denominational roots going back to the Great Ejection of 1662. Its headquarters building is Essex Hall in central London, on the site of the first avowedly Unitarian chapel in England, set up in 1774.

Primitive Baptists – also known as Hard Shell Baptists, Foot Washing Baptists or Old School Baptists – are conservative Baptists adhering to a degree of Calvinist beliefs, that coalesced out of the controversy among Baptists in the early 19th century over the appropriateness of mission boards, tract societies, and temperance societies. The adjective "primitive" in the name is used in the sense of "original".

John Murray (minister)

John Murray was one of the founders of the Universalist denomination in the United States, a pioneer minister and an inspirational figure.

John Gill (theologian) English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar and theologian (1697-1771)

John Gill was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.

Universalist Church of America Christian denomination

The Universalist Church of America (UCA) was a Christian Universalist religious denomination in the United States. Known from 1866 as the Universalist General Convention, the name was changed to the Universalist Church of America in 1942. In 1961, it consolidated with the American Unitarian Association to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Charles Francis Potter

Rev. Dr. Charles Francis Potter was an American Unitarian minister, theologian, and author.

Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey Place in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States

Lanoka Harbor is an unincorporated community located within Lacey Township, in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States.

Murray Grove is a Unitarian Universalist retreat and conference center in the Lanoka Harbor section of Lacey Township, New Jersey United States, traditionally considered the site where Universalism in America began. In 1770, Thomas Potter, an unlettered but inspired Universalist landowner living in what was then called Good Luck, New Jersey, encountered John Murray after Murray's vessel was grounded in nearby Barnegat Bay. Learning that Murray was both a Universalist and a preacher, Potter prevailed on him to preach the gospel of universal love in the meetinghouse Potter had built for that express purpose ten years earlier. Despite serious misgivings and initial resistance, Murray gave his first Universalist sermon on the North American continent on September 30, 1770. Taking the experience as a sign that God wanted him to dedicate his life to preaching Universalism, he went on to minister to the first Universalist congregation in the United States, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and later to be centrally involved in the founding of the Universalist Church of America.

Trinitarian universalism Variant of belief in universal salvation

Trinitarian Universalism is a variant of belief in universal salvation, the belief that every person will be saved, that also held the Christian belief in Trinitarianism. It was particularly associated with an ex-Methodist New England minister, John Murray, and after his death in 1815 the only clergy known to be preaching Trinitarian Universalism were Paul Dean of Boston and Edward Mitchell in New York.

Abner Kneeland

Abner Kneeland was an American evangelist and theologian who advocated views on women's rights, racial equality, and religious skepticism that were radical for his day. As a young man, Kneeland was a lay preacher in a Baptist church, but he converted to Universalism and was ordained as a minister. Later in life, he rejected revealed religion and Universalism's Christian God. Due to provocative statements he published, Massachusetts convicted Kneeland under its rarely used blasphemy law. Kneeland was the last man in the United States jailed for blasphemy. After his sentence, he founded a utopian society in Iowa, but it failed shortly after his death.

Thomas Potter may refer to:

Christian universalism Christian belief that all will be reconciled to God

Christian universalism is a school of Christian theology focused around the doctrine of universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be saved and restored to a right relationship with God. Christian universalism and the belief or hope in the universal reconciliation through Christ can even be understood as synonyms.

Huntington Street Baptist Church United States historic place

The Huntington Street Baptist Church is a historic Baptist Church meeting house at 29 Huntington Street in New London, Connecticut. Built in 1843, it is one of the last major examples of Greek Revival architecture to be built in the city. It also exemplifies a conflict between conservative and liberal Christian congregations, having been built by a Universalist congregation and then purchased by a competing Baptist one. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. As of 2017, the church is still in use as a Baptist house of worship.

Liberty Universalist Church and Feasterville Academy Historic District United States historic place

Liberty Universalist Church and Feasterville Academy Historic District is a national historic district located near Winnsboro, Fairfield County, South Carolina. The property encompasses four buildings constructed between 1831 and 1845. They are the Liberty Universalist Church and three buildings associated with the Academy: a boarding house, a kitchen, and a school building. The buildings were constructed by the Feaster family.

Elhanan Winchester was one of the founders of the United States General Convention of Universalists, later the Universalist Church of America.

Richard Wright was an English Unitarian minister, and the itinerant missionary of the Unitarian Fund, a missionary society established in 1806.

William Vidler was an English nonconformist minister and editor, ultimately of universalist views.

James Purves (1734–1795) was a Scottish universalist minister.