The Spiritual PULSE: Unitarian podcast

Hibbert Trust podcast: Alan Ruston on Unitarian attitudes to WWI

March 26, 2016

This month we have a special edition! We are hosting The Hibbert Trust's podcast of an interesting article by Unitarian historian Alan Ruston. In it, Alan surveys the diverse attitudes to war at the time, with some surprising results.

In this episode, Alan reads his article ‘Unitarian Attitudes towards World War 1’, which was first published by the Unitarian Historical Society. Alan was editor of the Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society for 25 years and has twice been the President of the Society. He has a particular interest in writing about the story of liberal religion in Britain in the 20th century.

You can read the original article on Faith and Freedom website as part of the Great War project, where the full list of references used can be seen (

A further article, also by Alan Ruston, on Unitarians and WW1 can be seen in the The Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society in the 1993 issue. This article is about the two Unitarian ministers who volunteered for the army, even though they were exempt, and were killed. At the end of the article, the names and details of all Unitarian ministers who served in WW1 in one capacity or another (such as in the ambulance service, YMCA etc) are listed.

For a wider treatment of church attitudes to WW1, Alan Ruston has written the appropriate chapter in Protestant Nonconformity in the 20th century (published by Paternoster Press) on attitude of Congregationalists, Baptists and others as well as Unitarians to the War.

You can find more information about contemporary issues in liberal religion, just visit