Ken Knowles, Cleaves Street, 36″ x 40″, O/B

Ken Knowles, Cleaves Street, 36" x 40", O/B

Ken Knowles, Cleaves Street, 36″ x 40″, O/B

Ken Knowles, Cleaves Street, 36" x 40", O/B

Cleaves Street, 36″ x 40″, O/B

This painting shows Cleaves Street in Rockport, MA. The most prominent feature is the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4 Cleaves Street. In 1779 John Murray established in Gloucester the first Universalist church in America. On February 11, 1821.The current church was built in 1829. In 1961, the Unitarians and the Universalists merged and the name was changed to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport to reflect this union.

Over the years, Unitarian Universalism has added transcendentalism, humanism, Native American spirituality, and environmental and ecological wholeness to the ever-growing inter-dependent web of people, creatures and places the church holds sacred.

The church involvement in social issues is important to its history. In 1843 preparations were made for resolutions against slavery, intemperance, and war. In 1861, during an anti-slavery lecture, a smoking bomb was thrown into the sanctuary. The crowd was evacuated, but later returned to hear the rest of the talk. In 1884, our Society hired its first woman pastor.

Contemporary social justice concerns have included women’s and children’s rights, Central American solidarity work, the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, immigrant rights, affordable housing, and disaster relief in New Orleans and Haiti.

The loss of a lawsuit in the early days of Sandy Bay was the genesis for the construction of this church, which still stands on Cleaves St. in downtown Rockport.

In 1868, a number of repairs and improvements were made to the original meetinghouse. The tower and spire were added and the interior was improved with new pulpit, pews and windows. The building was enlarged with the addition of a pastor’s study and an organ loft.

The scene shows Cleaves Street to Rockport Harbor.