Jenkin Lloyd Jones

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Jones, Jenkin Lloyd (1843—1918)

Jenkin Lloyd Jones was a Unitarian. His family came from Llandyssl in a part of Wales that was nicknamed the "Black Spot of Unitarianism" for the concentration of a dozen Welsh Unitarian congregations within a thirty mile area. Nine of his uncles were Unitarian ministers.

Jones led the Unity men, a radically modernist element in Midwest Unitarianism of the later 19th century. Stressing an absolutely creedless “ethical basis” as the common element in the churches he wanted to bring together, he was criticized negatively for ridding them of Christology as well as theology.

As secretary of the Western Unitarian Conference, and founder of Unity, he encountered friction from the Boston Unitarians because of his independent course.

In 1882 he reorganized the 4th Unitarian Society in Chicago as All Souls Church, and a decade later he played a central role in the World’s Parliament of Religions.

From 1905 to 1918 Jones was a director of the Abraham Lincoln Centre in Chicago and in opposition to World War I was a pacifist. Garry Wills of Northwestern University has described Jenkins as follows:

The Welsh relative who had greater influence on [Frank Lloyd Wright] than anyone but his mother was the liberal Unitarian preacher, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Wright’s ‘Uncle Jenk,’ who became a surrogate father to him after his own father’s defection. Jones was one of [Jane] Addams’s principal allies, a regular presence at Hull House.

(See entry for Frank Lloyd Wright.)

{U&U; e-mail from Cathy Tauscher.}