Universalism is celebrating its 250th anniversary of John Murray’s famous 1770 sermon in Thomas Potter’s chapel in Good Luck, New Jersey. One of our students, Joshua Berg, demonstrated how the idea of universal salvation manifests and ties into social justice by connecting the 18th-century liberal religion in America to this moment.
Joshua Berg is a third-year MDiv student at Meadville Lombard in the 2020/2021 Academic Year. He is the recipient of the St. Lawrence Foundation Scholarship.
St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education was established when the Theological School of St. Lawrence University, a Universalist school, closed in the mid-1960s. The Foundation supports education on the graduate level of students preparing for the Unitarian Universalist ministry and other professional religious vocations recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association. It endeavors to promote the Universalist values that the institution was created to foster.
Halfway into his second year, Joshua lost his day job. He was prepared to start an internship with a congregation as required by Meadville Lombard’s Congregational Studies course but found himself in the position of being without an income to support his family. The timing of the St. Lawrence Foundation Scholarship was fortuitous as it allowed him to continue with his studies while he searched for alternate income. Joshua reports, “My internship congregation found some money to pay me for the final three months of the year. I booked quite a few weddings and memorial services this year as well as preached for numerous congregations in my area. That little bit of income combined with my wife’s income and the St. Lawrence Foundation Scholarship has been enough to get me through this hard time. Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about getting deeper into debt as I continue my studies.” Joshua wishes to express his deep gratitude to the St. Lawrence Foundation, “I truly might not have continued in school this year had it not been for their assistance.”
[Joshua organized a statewide, multi-church worship service in the summer of 2020 that was participated and attended by 23 congregations across Michigan. Read about it here.]
Joshua started his studies at Meadville Lombard in 2018. He is a humanist and has worked as a celebrant since 2015 as well as training for chaplaincy at Beaumont hospital in Detroit. Currently a candidate for Fellowship with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, Joshua is completing an internship at Northwest UU of Southfield, MI.