Frank Carpenter is a graduate of MIT (biology and history of science, 1964) and Meadville/Lombard Theological School (1972). He inherited a passion for history and genealogy from his mother. When she died-while he was still in high school-she passed to him the mantle of family historian. His genealogical studies now extend beyond his own kin to embrace the family of William Ellery Channing (for which he maintains a web page, www3.edgenet.net/fcarpenter/chanfam.html).
At his first church, in Wilton, New Hampshire, Carpenter used the stories of Unitarian luminaries from the local Abbot clan as material for a history column in the district newsletter. In 1981 he was an extension minister in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. In 1985 he settled in Newport, Rhode Island, birthplace of William Ellery Channing. With a fellowship from the Massachusetts Historical Society, he investigated Channing's family wealth and wrote "Paradise Held: William Ellery Channing and the Legacy of Oakland," Newport History (1994). With what he learned about Channing participation in the slave trade he contributed to Richard C. Youngken's African Americans in Newport (1995). Carpenter was selected Treasurer of the UUHS when then President, Conrad E. Wright, supposed that if he could sort out the Channing family finances, he might be able to figure out the Historical Society's as well.
Upon leaving Newport, Carpenter served two years as interim minister of First Unitarian Church, Cleveland, Ohio and two years as interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, Massachusetts. He went from Lynn, Massachusetts, to the First Parish in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Since August 2002 he has served as the Minister of St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, a congregation founded in 1814 by German immigrants, which affiliated with the Unitarians in 1924.
William Ellery Channing