Pa.) Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in Ameri.

Report of the first meeting of the Federal Council, Philadelphia, 1908 online

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lantic fleet, during their present voyage have only five chaplains, re-
spectfully urge upon the President of the United States, and the United
States Congress, such provision for the increase of chaplains as shall
adequately provide for the spiritual needs of the navy.

5. With reference to the establishment of native churches in non-
Christian lands, it is recommended that the Council express its interest
in the welfare of such churches wherever they exist, and their earnest
hope that the blessing of God may bring to them abounding spiritual

Respectfully submitted,

William H. Roberts, Chairman.


The report was adopted as a whole.

On motion of the Hon. H. 0. M. Ingraham, which was dis-
cussed by Bishop Neely, the Eev. Wm. Henry Roberts, D.D.
the Rev. Frank Mason North, and the Rev. G-. E. Rees, D.D.,
the following resolution was adopted:

Eesolved, That when we adjourn we do so sutiject to the call of the
Executive Committee at such time and place as it shall designate.

The Rev. Frank Mason North, D.D., for the Committee on
Correspondence, reported that the Committee desired author-
ity to prepare and publish a proper statement after the ad-
journment of the Council. On motion the request was grant-
ed. (See page 507.)

Mr. Alfred R. Kimball presented the following report re-
specting subscriptions to the funds of the Council:

I desire to make a final report. We have had responses from about
one-half of the constituent bodies. Many are unable to make exact
statements because they have to secure them from their original bodies.
It will be an encouragement if you could indicate your interests and de-
sires in the matter. Very much would depend on this. I should like to
be able to say that everyone had indicated practical help.

The Committee on Resolutions of Thanks, reported through
the Rev. Levi Gilbert, D.D., as follows:

The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America convened
in its first quadrennial meeting, desires to place on record its hearty
thanks to those who have contributed to an important degree to the suc-
cess and comfort of the Council; therefore,

Eesolved, That our thanks are due and are hereby expressed:

1. To the Executive Committee, which was charged with the duty and
which performed it so effectively, of formulating the program which
has guided the thought and action of the Council in its various ses-

2. To the local Committee of Arrangements in Philadelphia, Eev.
W. H. Eoberts, D.D., Chairman, Eev. L. B. Hafer, Secretary, for their
generous and complete plans for the entertainment of the delegates to
the Council. The following are the Chairmen of the several sub-com-
mittees :

Finance, Mr. John Gribbel.

Reception, Et. Eev. Alexander Mackay-Smith, D.D.

Vice-Chairman, Eev. E. H. Delk.

Hospitality, Eev. C. A. E. Janvier.

Pulpit Supply, Eev. J. Henry Haslam, D.D.


Music, Mr. H. C. Lincoln.

Press,- Eev. B. W. Miller, D.D.

Halls and Meetings, Eev. W. H. Oxtoby, D.D.

3. To Eev. W. H. Roberts, D.D., the retiring Acting President, for his
faithful and eflBcient labors, both as Chairman of the Executive Com-
mittee, and the presiding officer of the opening meeting of this Council.

4. To Bishop E. E. Hendrix, D.D., the successor to Dr. Eoberts, for
the able and satisfactory manner in which he has presided over the

5. To Secretary, Eev. E. B. Sanford, D.D., for his long, efficient and
faithful service in disseminating information concerning the work of
Federation, which has made possible this Council of Churches.

6. To the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School
Work, for the free use of this splendid building for the purposes of the

7. To those who have contributed money for the expenses of the

8. To the citizens of Philadelphia, who have so generously opened their
homes for the entertainment of delegates.

9. To the churches of Philadelphia, who have co-operated so heartily
in making this Council a success.

10. To the Press of the city, for the full and excellent reports which
have been given of the proceedings of the Council.

11. In a word, we express our thanks to all who have contributed
in any to the success of this first meeting of the Federal Council of the
Churches of Christ in America, destined as we believe to become historic
as an advance step toward that unity which our Lord prayed for as a
condition of the world's conversion.

And above all, we desire to give thanks to Almighty God for the spirit
of unity and brotherly love which has prevailed throughout the ses-
sions of the Council, making our fellowship together to be a foretaste
of the perfect fellowship of the redeemed in Heaven.

For the Committee,

J. H. Garrison, Chairman.

Bishop Hendrix requested the Hon. Robert N. Willson,
President of the Board of Publication and Sabbath-Sehool
Work of the Presbyterian Church, to respond to the expression
of thanks contained in the report. Judge Willson spoke cor-
dial words of approval of the work of the Council as follows :

I want to say on behalf of the body which I represent which is an
important one in our Presbyterian Church, that we greatly appreciate
the blessing which we believe will come to us and to the Christian
churches of our country from the gathering which is now about at its
end. I believe there will be an aroma of the brotherly feeling, Chris-


tian confidence, and outlook of hope and expectation wMch have been
developed in this Council. This is an historic body I believe. When
it met, I confess, that I did not personally have the greatest confidence
in the good which it would accomplish, but I feel very different now,
and I believe that all of us who are permitted to live long enough, will
look back to this event as one of signal importance in the history of
the Christian Church.

We Presbyterians are divided, somewhat like Joseph's coat of many
colors, and I do not know but what the Methodist brethren are equally
divided, but if I look forward with any correctness to the future I
believe that in the time to come, as a result of the work of this
Council, we will stand closer together and all our Christian bodies will
gather force, energy and consecration from what has been said and done
here. As you go to yonr homes I trust you will take with you the feel-
ing that not only is Philadelphia a hospitable city, but that it is filled
with those who follow Christ with you.

THE PRESIDENT : I will call on Dr. Roberts to express to you the
feelings of the ministry of this city.

THE EEV. WILLIAM H. EOBEETS, D.D., LL.D. : I desire to ex-
press, not only for the ministry but also for the laity of Philadelphia,
and especially for the Committee of Arrangements for this Council our
great gratification at the unity which has prevailed in the proceedings of
the Council. That is the first point upon which we extend our con-
gratulations. We are also exceedingly appreciative of the way in which
our advances in hospitality have been met by members of the Council.
I know that I can speak for the several committees when I say that
they have been without exception treated by the members of the Coun-
cil with full courtesy and with full appreciation of all that is meant
by the expression — Christian gentlemen. We thank you, brethren, for
our intercourse together during these days of our session when we have
talked together, and invoke upon you the blessing of God in all the
future. You may rest assured that should you conclude at any time
again to come to Philadelphia, you will be received with open arms and
the hospitality of the future will be not in the least degree behind that
of the present gathering.

I heartily thank you for these resolutions in the name of the citizens
of Philadelphia, as well as our ministers and laymen directly related to
the work of the Council. We rejoiced in having you with us and we
bid you God-speed.

THE PRESIDENT: We will now have the minutes read, and I
have appointed Dr. S. J. NiccoUs, of St. Louis, to say a few last words,
and then after that we will sing "Blest be the tie that binds," and will
be led in prayer by Dr. Keiffer.

Dr. Summerbell read the minutes of the meeting of the
morning, and they were adopted as read.


On motion of the Eecording Secretary the following reso-
lution was adopted:

Eesolved, That any items of business left unfinished by this Council
be referred to the Executive Committee.-

Following the completion of the business of the session,
Bishop Hendrix said :

The duty of self-suppression is one of the most sacred and important
to be exercised by the Chairman. In the nature of the ease it has
fallen to me to say a good many words, and I feel as was once said by
Whitefleld, that he had said so many words while living, the Lord would
not require of him any dying words. I feel I can go under the same
head. I have asked Dr. Niccolls to represent me in such words as may
seem best.

The following is the farewell address by Dr. Niccolls, made
in behalf of the Council :

I was not aware until this moment, Mr. President, that I was to be
your mouth-piece on this occasion, and I feel embarrassed, for all know
with what silver-tongued eloquence my good Bishop is accustomed to
speak to those who have the good fortune to listen. I call him my
Bishop, because he is over me, and I am one with him in the com-
munion of the saints.

However, no extended words are required to express the profound
gratitude which we feel for the treatment which we have received in
Philadelphia. It is not necessary to exploit Philadelphia hospitality.
It is an old experience with tne and I have always been glad when
pleasure or duty called me to this city, which is known, in Presbyterian
parlance, as "The Saints' Eest." The atmosphere of the place has un-
doubtedly had much to do with the success of our meeting. We all
know how much we are influenced by the atmosphere physically, and not
less important is the spiritual atmosphere of the place in which a Coun-
cil like this assembles. I do not know that we have brought as much
to the city as we have received from the brotherly feeling manifested
in its spiritual atmosphere. Perhaps the deepest gratitude is that
which transcends words, and it is voiced only in expressive silence. It
is this attitude that I take with reference to the generous hospitality
we have received from the city of Philadelphia.

The Council in which it has been out privilege to participate will soon
be a memory, but I trust not altogether a memory ; it will- be a living
inspiration to us as we go back to our several fields. Those of us who
have a good deal to do now with memory, whose locks have been whiten-
ed by the passing years, look upon such a gathering as this with some-
what different emotions than those who stand in middle life, and have
the prospect of many years of service in the church. We can recall days


that were wintry in comparison with the summery atmosphere of broth-
erly love we here enjoy. We can remember times when bigotry and in-
tense denominationalism held us far apart, and when it seemed like a
vain dream in those days to attain the consummation of the present.

Thank God, progress has been made. I do not mean to say that all
bigotry and all intense sectionalism or denominationalism have passed
away. They linger like those belated snow-drifts which lie upon our
western mountains in June. The song of the birds is in the trees, and
the flowers are blooming; the frozen drift is slowly yielding to the
genial spirit in the air — its crystals are being dissolved until they join
in little rivulets the laughing brook in the valley that goes on to join
the river. Soon where it lay, the grass will be green and the violets
and anemones bloom. So bigotry is being dissolved. God grant that
the summer day of love in all its fullness may cover this land with
its light and heat; that there may be growth in brotherly love, growth
in holy activity, and the days of winter be forever gone by.

We go from this place of sacred memories, I think quickened in our
affection for each other. Somehow the heart of Christ that is in us
each one, is beating in sympathy with the heart that is in our brother;
and all we need for a more perfect union is to understand each other
a little better, and to see the image of Christ each in the other. I
know of no more fitting words with which to close our gathering than
those of an old hymn of sacred associations in the Church. Let us rise
and with one heart and voice sing:

"Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above."

The Council rose and joined in singing the hymn, and
while the members were standing they were led in a closing
prayer by the Rev. J. S. Kieffer, D.D., of Hagerstown, Md. :

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, without Thee we can do nothing;
without Thy blessing all our thoughts, cares and labors are in vain.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. In
this solemn closing hour we ask Thy gracious blessing, Lord, upon
the acts and proceedings of this Council. May Thy blessing rest upon
what has here been said and done, that it may be to the glory of Thy
name and to the great good of the churches of Christ in this land. If
ought has here been said or done amiss, if there has been error in
judgment, if there has been mistake in action, make it O Lord, as if it
had not been. Overrule it, we pray Thee, that it may result not in in-
jury but in good.

As we depart from this place, O Lord, may this Council leave behind


it a blessing to the place in which, and the people by whom it has been
so graciously welcomed and entertained, and may it also carry away a
blessing with it. To Thy care and keeping, O Lord, we commend this
body, as we look forward into the future with aU its liabilities, its
anxieties, its perils. Thou, Who hast been with us here, be with us
hereafter, and be with those who shall come after us in this body. We
thank Thee that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou hast presided over our de-
liberations. As in the days of old, we have here been all with one ac-
cord in one place, we have been of one heart and of one soul. We thank
Thee for the consciousness which Thou hast here given us of the existing
oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that Thou hast
enabled us to declare it and make it manifest. Help us, we pray Thee,
to preserve the unilj- of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Be Thou with this body as it enters now upon its history. Make it
a mighty influence and power for good in this land. Make it a great
blessing to the Churches of Christ in America. May it be a great bless-
ing to all the people of this laud and nation. We ask Thy blessing,
Lord, upon this our country, upon the President of the United States,
upon our National Congress, upon our legislators and judges and upon
all our civil rulers. Grant unto our rulers to fear God and to love
truth and righteousness. May those who are first in place be first also
in the fear of God and in the love of righteousness and justice and
truth; and of Thy great goodness, we pray Thee, make this our land and
nation a great blessing to all the nations of the world. Be with us as
we depart from this place and go to our several places of abode and take
up again, with new courage and new hope because of what we have wit-
nessed here, the work which Thou has given us to do. May we never
forget these days; may we never forget this solemn hour. Be with us
when we are wearied by toil, when we are cast down by discouragement,
when we are distracted by anxieties and jierplexities, when we are filled
with forebodings as to the future, Lord, by Thy Spirit be with us, each
one, then, as Thou hast been with us all together here.

We ask these things in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, who has taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy King-
dom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven. Give us
this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the
glory forever and ever. Amen.

THE PEESIDENT: The venerable Bishop Eoss wiU now pronounce
the benediction.

BISHOP EOSS: Now may the peace of God which passeth all under-
standing, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord; and may the blessing of God


Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be among us and remain
with us always. Amen.

THE PBESIDENT: I pronounce the first Federal Council of the
Churches of Christ in America, adjourned subject to the action which
you took this morning.

The Council thus adjourned subject to the call of the Ex-
ecutive Committee.

RiviNGTON D. Lord, Recording Secretary.
Philadelphia, December 8, 1908.


Papers Prepared for the Council and Submitted as the Gray Book

1. Interdenominational Organizations.

2. Co-operation in Foreign Missions.
3 .State Federations.

4. Organization and Development.

5. The Maintenance of the Council.

6. Co-operation in Home Missions.

7. The Church and Modern Industry.

8. Religious Instruction through the Sunday-School.

9. The Church and the Immigrant Problem.

10. Sunday Observance.

11. Temperance.

12. Local Federations.

13. "Week-Day Instruction in Religion for School Children.

14. Religion in Higher Institutions.

15. International Relations.

16. Family Life.


Interdenominational Organizations

Tpie Rev. Ame. Vennema, D.D.*

There have sprung into being in our country during the
last century a large number and variety of organized Chris-
tian agencies that are known as inter-denominational, or

"pan - denominational"
as one has preferred to
designate them. "While
the life of some of them
has been short and their
influence limited, born
to meet a present and
local need, most of them
come to stay. Their
permanency and the
fact of their rapid de-
velopment into national
and world-wide useful-
ness fully justify the
wisdom of the founders.
They are not a fad
which some religious
adventurer has sought
to foist upon the com-
munity or Church in
the hope of immortaliz-
ing himself. They are the legitimate off-spring of mature
and well-balanced minds, clear and far-visioned enough to
discern the necessities and opportunities of the field com-

*Chairmaii of the Committee on The Eelation of the Federal Coun-
cil to Interdenominational Organizations; other members: J. M. Buck-
ley, J. S. Caldwell, John Bancroft Devins, H. M. DuBose, I. W. Gowen,
E. Greene, John Hurst, W. T. Moore, E. H. Potter, W. F. Eichardson,
W. H. Washinger, J. G. Wilson and J. J. Young.

For the discussion of this paper see page 25.




mitted to the Christian Church for cultivation, and of hearts
sufficiently consecrated and enterprising to make prompt and
suitable provision for it. Nay, must we not acknowledge a
higher source, and say that the conception and plan of this
many-sided Christian work were the direct inspiration given
to the founders by the great Head of the Church ? That they
all builded better than they knew argues plainly that the
hand of God was with them from the first.

The work undertaken and pushed by these non-sectarian
organizations is not foreign to the spirit and aim of the
Christian Church. The organizations themselves are not
grafted into her from the outside, merely to draw from her
life sustenance and strength. They are boughs which the
living tree has put forth in order that it may bear more
abundant fruit of its own kind, and afford more room for
those who would find shelter under its cooling shade or nestle
in its branches.

These organizations are not so many mechanical appliances
aiming to do an independent work, merely connected with the
Church by a shaft or belt that conveniently furnishes power
to run them ; they belong to the plant as much as if they were
housed under the same roof ; they enable it to do the work for
which it was established — to satisfy the world's need by its
varied output.

So long as we look upon these agencies merely as human
devices artificially attached to the Church we shall regard
them with suspicion and give them scant welcome. If we re-
gard them as an integral part of her organism, they will rep-
resent practical Eeligion, applied Christianity, the hands of
the Church laden with blessings, reaching out to the world in
numerous benefactions and manifold ministry.

The most consecrated and capable men and women of the
various denominations constitute the boards of control of these
organizations. The best and strongest life of the Church has
gone over into them and is keeping the Church busy at the
firing line. The border line of ecclesiasticism may be some-
what severely marked, but it is softened down by these va-
rious movements that go out in the spirit of sympathy and
helpfulness to all classes and conditions of men.


Are we not warranted in saying that the sum total of these
interdenominational organizations represent the Church of
Jesus Christ in America at work ; that they are the forerunner
and the already partial realization of the very result for the
furtherance of which this Council is convened Do they not
express that magnificent principle which should lie at the
heart of every federative movement — "in essentials unity, in
non-essentials liberty, in all things charity ? " Is not the work
contemplated by them, and performed with varying degrees
of efficiency, an important part of the work which Christ
started and whic|h He gave to His body, the Church, to carry
forward ? Is it not being prosecuted in its many ramifications
under the inspiration and guidance of His Holy Spirit, and
with the backing of a practically united Church? Do not
these federated activities argue the need, demonstrate the pos-
sibility and augur the certain coming into being in the not
distant future of a broader federated activity?

If it is a reproach to the Church to-day that she does not
more fully and more widely express the life of the Master
who "went about doing good," and "came not to be min-
istered unto but to minister," how much greater would be that
reproach if she could not have placed to her credit the record
of achievement of these united societies! Through them as
channels the Church is seeking to touch men with blessing
wherever sin has touched them with its blight; she rushes in
to fill with God's abounding grace the vacuum of human
need. These interdenominational organizations are not sup-
plementary agencies to the Church, much less are tbpy her
rivals in the field. They are the Church herself, divided
somewhat it may be in name and by tradition, creedal expres-
sion and historical development, but united in spirit and in

In support of the position taken, let us refer briefly to the
character and work of the more important of these organiza-
tions. Time will not permit making the list exhaustive.

The first and foremost place, it seems to us, is easily held
by the American Bible Society, that great arsenal from which
the army of the Lord has for years obtained its principal
weapon — "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of


truth." Through this great agency the Scriptures have been
distributed in the United States army and navy, among sea-
men, in hotels, steamboats, and railroad cars, among inmates
of charitable and penal institutions, to immigrants and freed-
men. Pour times in its history a systematic attempt has been
made to supply every needy home in this country. About
thirty thousand volumes for the blind have been issued. To
aid the Home and Foreign Missionaries in their work the
wliole or portion of the Scriptures have been translated
under the auspices of the American Bible Society, the
British and Foreign Bible Society and kindred Societies.
The aggregate issues of the Society in ninety-two years were
82,316,323 volumes. It is needless to say that this stupendous
enterprise involves enormous cost. God has raised up friends

Online LibraryPa.) Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in AmeriReport of the first meeting of the Federal Council, Philadelphia, 1908 → online text (page 18 of 53)