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The Quest for Religious and Community Identity

 

by Victor Fidel

All Souls Church, of Unitarian Universalist denomination, stands on East 80th and Lexington Avenue in the City of New York. The church’s architecture is aptly described as New England Georgian and its cornerstone was laid in 1932. The congregation has a longer history, having been founded in 1819, and thus, has occupied three other church buildings in the borough of Manhattan. The story of All Souls can fill volumes. This is the story of All Souls’ migrations and its churches’ architectural histories.

How did a small group of Unitarians build their first church in less than two years by 1821? How did they manage to construct a Gothic church for their second building when such a style was forbidden to be used for any sects that were not Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Catholic? What was the basis for the stature of their achievement in having their third structure, the first Ruskin-inspired edifice in the Americas? Does the architecture of the last building evoke core beliefs of the faith of Unitarian Universalism? What do the moves of All Souls say about Manhattan?

Come and explore this exciting investigation in urban architectural history.

124 Pages, Full-Color, including 62 Contemporary and Historical Images!

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About the Author

Victor Fidel is a writer and scholar. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Church of All Souls (2010-2014, President & Chair 2014-2016). Victor holds a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in American Studies from Columbia University in the City of New York. He lives with his wife Heather, son Lucas Julio, and their cat, Jeena, in East Harlem, where they love to entertain and cook wholesome food. Victor has run 5 marathons.