The conciliar movement has come of age--not just twenty-one years old, but a century of existence. In the last five years, a number of state and local councils of churches have observed their centennials. Thus, this cooperative work of the churches has become an accepted as well as a growing expression of the Church of Jesus Christ.
A fledgling organization usually isn't much concerned about the past. Its time and energy are taken up with the demands of the present and visions of the future. As it reaches maturity, though, increasingly it becomes conscious of its rootage.
The council of churches movement has now reached this stage, but very little has been written about it. Of all the areas of the work of the Church, this has been the least treated. Only in a few councils has a good job been done in collating and preserving historical records. Where it is happening it has taken some specific occasion, such as the celebration of a centennial, to cause a history to be written.
For fifteen years now the Association of Council Secretaries has been concerned about the publication of a history of state and local councils of churches. As the professional organization of all employed staff members of interdenominational organizations (city, county, state, national and international) cooperating with the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, the A.C.S. three years ago took formal action to have a committee appointed with power to raise funds and publish a history.
The writing of a history isn't done by committee. In choosing an author, though, our group had a very happy opportunity. Ross W. Sanderson was the obvious choice. And he was available and willing. There are very few men now living who have had the breadth of experience in the conciliar movement as he. From 1920 to 1929 he served as Executive Secretary of the Wichita, Kansas, Council of Churches. For the next three years he was associated with H. Paul Douglass as Project Director of the Institute of Social and Religious Research. Then from 1932 to 1937 he served the Maryland-Delaware Council of Churches and Religious Education as Executive Secretary. From then to 1942 he occupied a similar position with the Buffalo Council of Churches. In the National Council of Churches he has served as interim