Church Cooperation in the United States: The Nation-Wide Backgrounds and Ecumenical Significance of State and Local Councils of Churches in Their Historical Perspective

By Ross W. Sanderson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
Meanings and Expectations

Accelerated Expectations

The pre-ecumenical era ended very recently. In the 1930's workers at the state and local level, however expectant, were often thwarted by a feeling of frustration, because of the complexity of the cooperative enterprise, its many national agencies, and the seemingly elephantine ponderosity of its movements. This confusion has slowly given way to orderliness, though complexity remains, by the very nature of the multiplicity of church interests in relation to such a complicated culture.

Forty years ago some of us had the joy of pioneering in local councils that were "inclusive"; nearly thirty years ago Connecticut effected a merger at the state level. Then followed, in quick succession, national staff and Inter-Council field cooperation. Finally, state and local executives, many of whom had clamored for larger unity "at the top," were themselves willing to pool their strength in the ACS. By 1940, in the midst of a changing world climate, it was only a question of time until the NCC would be a reality.

If Norman Cousins is right when he says that man "has to convert historical experience into a design for a sane world,"1 church cooperation will rejoice in the progress it has made, but will be very sure that it has "not yet attained" much that the future will make necessary, if organized religion is to be a less chaotic aspect of our national life.


How Far Have We Come?

By and large, councils of churches seem to thrive in direct proportion to the density of the population. In 1956 the percentage of places (cities, towns, counties, and states) having councils ranged thus:

-233-

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Church Cooperation in the United States: The Nation-Wide Backgrounds and Ecumenical Significance of State and Local Councils of Churches in Their Historical Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Preface 9
  • Some Interdenomination Abbreviations 11
  • Chapter I The American Scene 12
  • Reference Notes 28
  • Chapter II The Sunday School Movement In the United States 31
  • Reference Notes 52
  • Chapter III Federative Progress, 1900-1908 54
  • Reference Notes 75
  • Chapter IV Shakedown Voyage, 1908-1915 77
  • Reference Notes 98
  • Chapter V First Period of Expansion, 1915-1924 99
  • Reference Notes 123
  • Chapter VI Appraisal and Testing, 1925-1931 125
  • Reference Notes 149
  • Chapter VII The Merging Thirties 152
  • Reference Notes 179
  • Chapter VIII The Expectant Forties 182
  • Reference Notes 204
  • Chapter IX Since 1950, Solid Growth 205
  • Reference Notes 231
  • Chapter X Meanings and Expectations 233
  • Reference Notes 252
  • Appendix I 259
  • Appendix II 262
  • Index 267
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