Martha Bogner, a seminarian at the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, is working toward becoming a Unitarian-Universalist minister.
As part of her coursework, she’s writing a paper about the merger of the Unitarian and Universalist churches in the mid-1930s. It began as a grass-roots movement in a few cities, one of which was Detroit.
This has led her to the Bentley, where the papers of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit—of which she is a member— are held.
“One of the things I found surprising,” she says, “was how much the financial pressures of the Great Depression had an effect on the merger.”
While she’s heard much of the oral history of these denominations coming together, she’s combing through pages upon pages of board meeting minutes, calling them “a treasure trove.”