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Earl Morse Wilbur.

The Pacific Unitarian school for the ministry, Berkeley, California. A record of ten years' work 1904-1914 online

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UC-NRLF








HE /PACIFIC
JNlf ARIAN
SCHOOL for the
MI NISTRY

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA



A RECORD OF TEN :
YEARS' WORK
1904-1914



BY

THE PRESIDENT
EARL MORSE WILBUR



A RECORD of TEN YEARS'
WORK and AN OUTLOOK
TOWARD THE FUTURE



(Eead at the Pacific Unitarian Conference at
Portland, May 12, 1914.)

ORIGIN OF THE SCHOOL.




T the session of the Pacific
Unitarian Conference held
in Portland in September,
1889, twenty-five years ago,
the Rev. Charles W. Wendte
of Oakland offered a proposition for
the establishment of a Training School
for Ministers at Berkeley, the seat of
the University of California; and be-
fore the Conference adjourned resolu-
tions were unanimously adopted and a
committee appointed to give the matter
practical effect. This was the first
outward move for the realization of
hopes and plans which even then had
already for over ten years been earn-
estly cherished by certain individuals.
Before the next session of the Confer-
ence the plan had been put into work-



939058



', SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.



?&ape, and h#d, fyeen cordially en-
dorsed by tlie National Conference. Of
the obstacles encountered within the fol-
lowing two or three years in attempting
to put the plan into operation, it is not
necessary here to speak. Suffice it to say
that, though it was never forgotten or in
the least given up by those who had it
most at heart, the whole matter had to
be abandoned for over ten years. It was
not until 1904 that it was again taken
up and that effective steps were taken
for establishing what has since come to
be known as the Pacific Unitarian School
for the Ministry. And now that ten
years more have elapsed since the found-
ing of the school, and the Conference
is again meeting where the idea of it
was first publicly discussed, it is a suit-
able time to render an account of what
the school has been able to accomplish
during this period of its infancy, and
to ask what the churches may fairly ex-
pect of it, or be expected to do for it,
in the years to come.

REASON FOR THE SCHOOL.

It has more than once been asked by
persons who had only a hazy notion
of the conditions and history of our
cause on this Coast, why, with no more

2



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

churches than we yet have here, we
need have a divinity school here at all.
So far as this Conference is concerned,
the grounds were twenty-five years ago
maturely discussed and considered suf-
ficient. But the general answer is that
our churches here are otherwise too far
from the source of supply for their pul-
pits.' It is as though our New England
churches had been obliged during the
first two generations of our movement
there, to have all their ministers sent
out from old England. And the specific
answer is found in the experience of our
church work here. For example, in the
'nineties, after a period of great mis-
sionary opportunity, and up to the pres r
ent day unparalleled church extension,
twenty-two organized churches* on this
Coast were obliged to suspend activities,
and in a large proportion of cases for
sheer inability to obtain a minister. The
fact that we have since regained eight
of these stations, and shall in time re-
gain the most of the rest, does nothing
to weaken the argument for the import-
ance of a reliable local source of supply.
Hardly a church on the Coast more than
five years old but has first or last had

*List in THE PACIFIC UNITARIAN for April,
1912, page 172.



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

this argument pressed upon it. Again
and again a church losing its minister
has had to wait for months, and see its
work run down, while the East was
scoured by correspondence for a man
who might come out, but even when he
had at length arrived and been settled,
without opportunity for the mutual trial
which a candidacy affords, might not
prove to be at all the man wanted, or
might not find himself at all suited to
his field. Few, if any, have had the
opportunity of knowing so well as I
how many of these misfits there have
been. They were largely unavoidable in
the circumstances; but had there been
an adequate source of local supply, they
might have been largely avoided. The
problem is not by any means solved,
but the establishing of the Pacific Uni-
tarian School was the first step toward
a solution, and every stage in its growth
will make the problem less acute.

EARLY HANDICAPS.

Before going on now to relate what
the school has thus far accomplished, let
me first sketch a proper mental back-
ground against which to regard its work,
by reminding you that ten years ago
it began at zero. It had not a single

4



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

student in sight; it had not a book for
a library; it had not a dollar of endow-
ment in hand or definitely promised; it
had no building: the school consisted, in
fact, of a sole teacher on the one hand
and on the other of a promise of $3,000
a year to meet the expenses of a five
years' experiment. For two years it
had only one teacher to teach all that
was taught and do all that was done ; for
four years more this teacher had no as-
sistance except in the way of relief in
one or two minor courses of instruction
and in clerical details. It was six years
before a second full professor was add-
ed ; and during the whole of its existence
it has been painfully cramped for lack
of sufficient funds to carry on its work,
and has had to practice in every direc-
tion the most stringent economy. The
only point in my mentioning at all any
of the handicaps under which the school
has worked, up to the present day, is
in the fact that these must be taken into
account before any just estimation can
be made of what it has thus far been
able to accomplish; and that they fur-
nish ground for the expectation that,
with these removed in large measure, as
they now soon will be, the school will

5



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOB THE MINISTRY.

achieve much, larger results than
hitherto.

NUMBER OF STUDENTS.

Coming now to speak of what has been
accomplished in the last ten years in
the process of building up a school to
which our Western churches may in
future look for many of their ministers,
I have first to report that its published
registers show that within this time a
total of 110 students have been enrolled
for instruction in its classes. Of these
we may describe thirty-eight as of our
own constituency, and seventy-two as
outsiders. Many of these latter have
been students from the other divinity
schools at Berkeley ; twelve of them have
been students from the university, both
coming to us for certain special courses ;
and some twenty-five have been men
preaching in the pulpits of other denom-
inations. I make no account of a con-
siderable number of persons who have,
with more or less regularity, attended
our classes as visitors, and have gone
away enlightened, encouraged, or in-
spired by the instruction received.

INCIDENTAL FORMS OF SERVICE.

I recall that in the course of an early
conference on the possibilities that the

6






PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

school might be expected to realize, one
of its founders, Dr. Horace Davis, said
to me that beside training ministers for
our own pulpits, it could also do im-
portant work in several other ways : first,
by furnishing a place where ministers of
other denominations wishing to enter our
fellowship might become familiar with
our thought and spirit and be helped
past -what is usually a difficult transi-
tion, until they should be fitted for ac-
ceptable service with our churches; sec-
ond, by contributing to the education
of some who would never go into the
ministry at all, but whom the school
might make more intelligent and ef-
ficient laymen ; third, by bringing about a
more liberal spirit in men who might
come to its classes from other denom-
inations; and, fourth, by promoting the
religious welfare of the great Orient
through students of Oriental races who
might study with us; and he expressed
the judgment that each of these inci-
dental forms of service would be well
worth while. We have already done
something in each of these directions;
for, first, we have had among our stu-
dents four orthodox ministers, who came
to us to be "made over" and prepared
for service in our own denomination, and



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

we might easily have had more had our
scholarship funds been more ample; sec-
ond, about two-thirds of the students
whom we have counted as of our own
will remain laymen, and not a few of
them better informed and more devoted
laymen because for a time they studied
with us; third, although we never use
our class-rooms for proselyting purposes,
and should deem it hardly honorable in
the circumstances to do so, yet there are
already in the pulpits of other denom-
inations on the Pacific Coast perhaps
two score ministers who will at least have
a juster appreciation of our religious
movement, and will hold a less hostile
attitude toward us, because of their
having been for a time members of our
classes; and, fourth, among our most
earnest and appreciative students (not
to mention a much larger number com-
ing to us from the other schools) have
been four from Oriental lands, through
whom we hope to have made some con-
tribution to the solution of the religious
problems of Japan, China and India.

GRADUATES.

We have sent into the field ten men,
eight of them as graduates and one after
post-graduate study. Seven of these are

8



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

now serving churches, one is unsettled,
and two are engaged in social service
though meaning later to resume the min-
istry. Six are on this Coast, three in the
East, and one in Japan. Four of our
men have entered service on the Coast
within the past year, while one here and
one in the East have been promoted to
higher positions.

STANDARDS OF THE SCHOOL.

From the first it was determined that
whether our school might be large or
small its standards should at all events
be high. We have scrutinized candi-
dates for admission most strictly, have
refrained from encouraging far more
candidates than we have admitted, and
have so well succeeded that only one
student thus far has, in his character,
proved a disappointment to us. From
the beginning we also established require-
ments for graduation as nearly as pos-
sible identical with those of the Harvard
Divinity School, and have conferred
degrees only on college graduates. At
the same time one need not look further
than our own pulpits on this Coast to see
that the lack of a college course by no
means necessarily stands in the way of
the highest 'success in the ministry.



PACIFIC UXITARIAX SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

Hence we also provide a course for non-
graduates, requiring them to supple-
ment their theological work in the school
by courses at the University just across
the street from us. We have the past
year adopted a new measure for stimu-
lating a high quality of work by giving
scholarship aid only to students reaching
grade 1 or 2, and have had the most
gratifying results from it.

INSTRUCTION.

Our association with the University
and with the Pacific Theological Sem-
inary, whose courses are all freely open
to us, is of the greatest advantage, since
in effect it largely increases the size of
our faculty, and makes it possible for
us to offer an unusually wide range of
courses in all over ninety courses of
instruction in eight different depart-
ments of study directly related to the
work of the ministry. In all our teach-
ing we strive to keep in view the prac-
tical end; and while we aim always to
cultivate thorough scholarship, yet we
mean to ask at every point, What has
all this to do with the actual work of
the ministry? And our courses have
been repeatedly and highly praised for
their thoroughness and helpfulness, not



10



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL TOR THE MINISTRY.

only by our own students but by those
who have come from outside to take
them.

LIBRARY.

Next to instruction, the most valuable
agency in the process of education is a
good library. It gives me much satisfac-
tion, therefore, to be able to report that
we have in ten years accumulated a col-
lection of some 9,000 volumes and over
9,000 pamphlets. It has been well se-
lected, is well balanced, and well suited
to our needs, and I have reason to be-
lieve that in the line of Unitarian his-
tory and literature, to which we have
paid particular attention, it has in many
ways the most complete collection in the
world.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

The founders of the school early felt
justified in going beyond their original
promises of support, and in the ten years
under review contributed for mainte-
nance over $56,000, and' for grounds,
buildings and endowment a considerably
larger amount. Numerous other friends,
the greater number of them in the
churches on this Coast, have also shown
their interest in the school and their

11



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

faith in its work by gifts amounting to
nearly $28,000. The balance sheet for
the year just closed shows the school
in possession of property valued at over
$87,000, of which over $51,000 are funds
invested for endowment or buildings,
and over $27,000 are represented in the
present educational plant. The estates
of Mr. and Mrs. Cutting will, it is ex-
pected, be entirely settled within the
present year, yielding the school not less
than $325,000 additional for endowment.
Thus the last lingering doubt will be set
at rest as to the permanency of the
school. When this expectation shall
have been realized we shall need first to
provide the school with adequate build-
ings for its library and class-rooms in
place of the present old and inflammable
structure. We must not, however, for
this purpose to any great extent use up
funds required for permanent endow-
ment, but instead must call upon the
people of our churches to supplement
the beneficence of the founders by gen-
erous gifts of their own. Beyond
amounts already given for the purpose
not less than $35,000 will still be needed.
When this need has been met we hope
to be enabled by the new endowment to
call another professor to our faculty.

12



PACIFIC UNITAEIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

These are our most immediate plans and
hopes.

FUTURE NEEDS.

I have spoken of what the school has
been able to accomplish during the ten
years of its infancy, and have brought
the story down to the point where it is
about to lay aside its swaddling clothes.
Some of its friends who have watched
it most carefully have been appreciative
enough to express surprise that it has
been able, with so slender resources and
equipment thus far, to accomplish even
so much as I have said. We wish the
results might have been much larger.
We hope and expect that in the next
ten years, with increased resources and
facilities, they will be much larger.
What can the churches of this Confer-
ence do to assist toward this end? In
the first place, having interests vitally
bound up with its welfare and success,
they can continue to give it their hearty
sympathy and loyal support, as they
have so generously done in the past. It
has now reached the point where it
would not fail even without these; but
with them it will succeed in fulfilling its
mission much sooner and more com-
pletely.

13



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

In the second place, it will still need
material assistance. I have spoken in
comparatively large figures, but no one
that knows the requirements of educa-
tional institutions needs to be told that
it will still be far from affluent, and that
its needs are sure to grow faster than its
resources. In this very year it has suf-
fered sharply for want of sufficient schol-
arship funds, and for this cause has been
obliged to lose one student and has bare-
ly escaped losing a second. This will
remain, as before, a steady object for
the generosity both of the Alliances and
of individuals.

In the third place, and most vitally of
all, the churches can help the school by
turning toward it the choicest and most
promising of their sons. This matter will
depend upon two co-operating agencies:
the ministers and the parents. First of
all upon the ministers. The school's
doors will of course be open wide to
every worthy applicant; and it will do
all in its power to discover and interest
candidates. But in the last analysis, in
almost every case a young man feels at-
tracted to the ministry because his own
minister has, by deed or word, made him
feel that its work is the noblest work to
which he can give his life. And, further-

14



PACIFIC UNITARIAN SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY.

more, if our school is to be sought by as
large a proportion of college men as we
hope, a double responsibility for inspir-
ing and interesting these will rest on our
ministers at seats of learning ; first of all
the universities at Berkeley and Palo
Alto, Eugene and Seattle, and after that
the colleges at Spokane, Tacoma, Port-
land, ,Salem, San Jose, Los Angeles and
Pomona. The share of the parents will
be to sympathize with and encourage
every such ambition on the part of their
sons, although sad and surprising to say,
cases are by no means unknown in which
parents, themselves devoted to the
church and loyal to their ministers, seem
to dissuade their sons from this worthy
choice.

The founders of the school have in the
past ten years written their names high
up on the roll of the patrons of liberal
Christianity in this country. They have
conferred a great and lasting benefit on
the whole cause of our churches on this
Coast. We have as yet begun to see only
the scanty first fruits of the harvest ; but
if we still go on to bear our due share in
the labor, the full harvest cannot fail.



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Online LibraryEarl Morse WilburThe Pacific Unitarian school for the ministry, Berkeley, California. A record of ten years' work 1904-1914 → online text (page 1 of 1)