William Ellery Channing
This monument to America’s foremost Unitarian minister stands across from the Arlington Street Church. William Ellery Channing ministered to this congregation from 1803 until his death in 1842, although the church was at that time located on Federal Street and named accordingly. As a Unitarian, Channing rejected the Calvinist notion of predestination and instead emphasized free will, personal responsibility, and mankind’s potential to do good. He also believed in the coexistence of religious faith and scientific reasoning. Holding a Bible and donning his ecclesiastical robes, Channing’s likeness here is poised to begin another of his famous sermons. The words inscribed on the statue’s granite base are excerpted from his 1928 oration “Likeness to God,” which stresses the innate divinity of all humans.