New Beginnings: The Future of Christianity and Our Church

A year ago, I started the Universal Church of the Restoration. With the help of my friend and fellow liberal Christian, Colin Mills, we began weekly video services and online small group meetings last January. We continued this for six months, then cut back to once per month. In total, during the year 2021, we produced 28 video services with sermons and stories of spiritual heroes, and we held a similar number of online meetings for prayer, fellowship, and discussion.

Starting a nondenominational church is not easy, even when the leaders do a good job of creating inspiring and meaningful content. Colin and I believe we have done that to the best of our ability. Despite our best efforts, however, the UCR has not attracted an audience as large as we hoped it would during the first year of its existence, and there are few signs of growth or increasing engagement with our church and its message.

After much thought and prayer, we have decided to stop producing videos, which we have learned is an inefficient way to spread our ideas. We have also discontinued the small group meetings for now. We will be continuing the ministry as a blog about religious teachings and issues from the perspective of Restorationist Christian Universalism.

Overcoming Evil: How to Heal and Break Free

From our service on December 5, 2021, a sermon by Pastor Eric Stetson. Watch video below.


Evil is one of the most important topics addressed by religion. Although it’s not pleasant to talk about, it’s very important that we do, because evil is a pervasive part of our world. So if we aspire to live a good life, we need to learn how to recognize evil and resist it.

In our previous two sermons, we talked about the reality of evil and the mechanism of evil — what evil is, and how it works. To summarize the main points, evil is the rebellion against God’s plan of harmony among all beings, by seeking excessive individual advantage and subjugating or destroying others. Evil gains power over our minds, our lives and society by deceiving us about the meaning of life, distracting us from our true spiritual purpose, getting us addicted to fruitless drama and conflict, and corrupting our good intentions with the idea that the ends justify the means, even if that means doing evil in the hope that it will ultimately lead to a more virtuous or ideal outcome.

In this, the third and final part of our series on evil, we’ll talk about how to overcome it. What does overcoming evil really mean? In a world filled with evil, how can we heal from its damaging influence and break free of the misguided attitudes and addictive behaviors that give evil its seemingly relentless power?

December 5, 2021 Service: “Overcoming Evil: How to Heal and Break Free”

Today, we conclude a three-part series on evil. How can we heal and break free from its harmful and addictive deception? By accepting the value of human freedom, and by looking to the example of Christ on the cross, we can choose what is good and inspire others. In this service, we also tell the inspiring story of Emil Kapaun, an army chaplain who was captured in the Korean War and ministered to fellow POWs as well as his captors.

Faith, Doubt, and Spiritual Growth

From our service on August 1, 2021, a sermon by Pastor Eric Stetson. Watch video below.


Imagine that your faith is so strong that you never have any doubt. You know, with absolute certainty, that your religious beliefs are correct. The possibility that you could be wrong, or that some other religion might be true, never crosses your mind.

That’s some mighty strong faith — isn’t it? Actually, no, that’s not faith at all.

August 1, 2021 Service: “Faith, Doubt, and Spiritual Growth”

What does it mean to have a mature religious faith? Should we stifle our doubts and close our eyes to other religions and belief systems? Or should we explore with an open mind and be willing to embrace whatever ideas and traditions can best inspire us to live a life of higher meaning and conscience? In today’s service we explore the subject of faith, doubt, and spiritual growth. We also tell the story of Thomas Merton, a 20th century Catholic monk whose faith was deepened by interfaith dialogue and exploration of Eastern religions.

A Righteous Nation

From our service on July 4, 2021, a sermon by Pastor Eric Stetson. Watch video below.


Today is the Fourth of July, the day each year when Americans celebrate the birth of our nation. Nearly 250 years ago on this day, the United States of America declared its independence from the British Empire. Patriotism is a natural human instinct, but how does this relate to religion, one might ask? Why should a church, just because it’s based in the USA, celebrate Independence Day and preach a sermon about national pride?

Although Christianity transcends any nation, any political or geographical grouping of human beings, the United States of America has a rich history of striving to embody the national ideal of God’s chosen people — a holy people, set apart for a special purpose in the world, much like the self-conception of the Biblical Hebrews.

Washington Gladden

From our service on July 4, 2021, a story of the inspiring life of Washington Gladden, as recounted by Colin Mills.

July 4, 2021 Service: “A Righteous Nation”

On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate Independence Day. Why should Christians care to observe the birthday of one particular country? Like the Biblical Hebrews, the United States of America has conceived of itself as a chosen people, called by God to be an example to the world. America has sometimes failed to live up to this calling, but we should continue striving to fulfill our lofty ideals. In today’s service we discuss what it means to be a righteous nation. We also remember Washington Gladden, a prolific minister who preached that righteousness and salvation are not only for the individual, but for society as a whole.

The Mystical Body of Christ

From our service on June 6, 2021, a sermon by Pastor Eric Stetson. Watch video below.


Last Thursday, June 3, many Christians celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, an annual remembrance of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Different types of Christians have different opinions about whether Christ is literally present in the elements of communion, or whether it’s a symbolic ritual through which we can focus our minds upon our connection with Christ and what he has given us by sacrificing his life for the salvation of humanity.

I hold to the symbolic view of communion — and I believe there are many ways that we can connect with Christ, through prayer, meditation, ritual acts, as well as acts of service to our fellow human beings.

No matter what we do to seek connection with the Divine Human who was embodied in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is essential that we do so, for it is through such connection that we discover and come to manifest our truest selves. For when we receive him, in the words of John the Apostle, we “become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” [John 1:12-13].

June 6, 2021 Service: “The Mystical Body of Christ”

When Christians take communion, the bread and wine of the Eucharist represent the body and blood of Christ. This sacramental ritual helps us become one with Christ, together with each other in the church. Beyond rituals, how can we feel connected with Christ so that we can grow in his divine image? In this service, we explore the theme of the church itself as the mystical body of Christ, in which we should be united in helping each other become our best selves.