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Westport Unitarian Church Welcomes New Minister In Sunday Ceremony

The Rev. John Morehouse
The Rev. John Morehouse Photo Credit: Contributed photo

WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Rev. Dr. John T. Morehouse will be installed as the fifth settled senior member of the Unitarian Church in Westport on Sunday, Nov. 22. 

“We seek to be a center for learning and liberation,” said Morehouse. “My ministry will be about creating a Unitarian Church in Westport that offers lifelong learning in matters of religious and spiritual understanding as well as practice. My ministry within the community will be to work with others in the region to liberate people from poverty, racism and oppression.”

Morehouse's vision is to create a congregation that is "ministry centered" rather than "minister centered." The Hudson Valley native is a fifth-generation Unitarian and great-grandson of a Unitarian minister. 

As a democratic denomination practicing congregational authority, only a congregation can call and install a minister. The “act of installation” on Sunday will culminate the congregation’s two-year search for a new senior minister. The congregation in unison will install the new minister. 

He graduated from Grinnell College and Meadville Lombard Theological School, where he is also an adjunct professor and teaching pastor. Morehouse earned both a master of divinity and doctorate in ministry from Meadville Lombard. 

The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. and will involve pageantry and participation from hundreds of people from throughout the country. It should last 60 to 90 minutes.

The pageantry includes a procession of local and national ministers as well as local leaders to escort the new minister into the church’s soaring “ship” sanctuary, with its glass walls overlooking the wooded hillside on which the church is built. 

With 500 members, the 66-year-old Westport church is one of Connecticut’s two largest Unitarian Universalist congregations. 

The Unitarian Church in Westport is the worship center for religious liberals in a 25-mile-long swath of Fairfield County stretching along the shore from Stamford to Stratford as well as the inland towns from New Canaan and Wilton to Easton, Trumbull, and Shelton. 

The church has a strong focus on social justice work in the low-income areas of Norwalk and Bridgeport. A large number of Unitarian Church members live in each of those large Fairfield County cities. 

The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road in the Coleytown section of Westport near the Weston line. 

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