CHAPTER IIIWhile Chapter II brought the Sunday school story in America
down to 1922 and to the organization of the International Council of
Religious Education, Chapter I covered only nineteenth-century aspects
of American federative beginnings. During the first decade of the new
century the urge for cooperation in the entire life of the churches gained
rapid and cumulative embodiment. This third chapter deals with
twentieth century interdenominationalism before 1908.
Federative Progress, 1900-1908
National leadership EmergesA 1900 conference in New York looked toward a National Federation of Churches and Christian Workers. In 1901, in spite of "strong
opposition on the part of a few" New Yorkers,1 this national federation
was organized at Philadelphia; but largely through representatives of
local churches or a variety of state and local bodies, not delegates with
national denominational credentials. Those attending represented Evangelical Alliance branches in Pennsylvania, Boston, and Philadelphia;
the Connecticut Bible Society; the Maine Interdenominational Commission; and local federations in cities in Connecticut, New Jersey, New
York, and Ohio As yet organizational policies were still experimental,
and membership requirements relatively generous and a bit vague.
However, as Dr. Macfarland was to write in 1948, "during the period
beginning with (the 1902 meeting of the National Federation) we
have seen . . . the movement for federation being developed from the
bottom up as well as from the top down."2 Under the auspices of the National Federation of Churches ( 1900-1905), "local federations
were actively promoted."3
Church Women PioneerThe nineteenth century, according to Mrs. Fred S. Bennett, was
not only the period when lay activity emerged; because of the new
status of women--especially organized women--in church life as
well as other aspects of our American culture, it was "destined to be
known as the Women's Century."4 In the early twentieth century three
national phases of church women's work were organized.
|1. ||In 1901 the Central Committee on the United Study of
Foreign Missions was organized by interested women.|
|2. ||In 1903 the Women's Interdenominational Committee on
Home Mission Study was organized. (These two bodies were later|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Church Cooperation in the United States:The Nation-Wide Backgrounds and Ecumenical Significance of State and Local Councils of Churches in Their Historical Perspective.
Contributors: Ross W. Sanderson - Author.
Publisher: Association of Council Secretaries.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1960.
Page number: 54.
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