Appraisal and Testing, 1925-1931
Midway in the baffling twenties 1925 was significant for all of Christendom by reason of the Stockholm Conference on "Life and Work," but in America it marked an unquestionable slump in the promotion of state and local cooperation. On the other hand, these years were to show that state and local church cooperation involved a variety of existing national agencies. If Chapter II of this volume seems extraneous to the interest of some readers, and if the assumed centrality of ecclesiastical mechanisms is offensive to others, this is all of a piece with the frustration by which some of us, working enthusiastically at the grass-roots, were confused. But, out of complexity coherence and unification were already beginning to appear, first on the far horizon, soon in the foreseeable future.
The Federal Council now voted to approve "the principle of a division between the task, on the one hand, of organizing, assisting, and maintaining relations with local councils of churches, and on the other hand, of promoting on the field the ideal and aims of the federated movement as a whole"1; and to secure a secretary to carry out the former task.
The 1925 FC Report on Field Organization, in the "Review of the Year", "proposed that the work of helping to organize and sustain local and state councils of churches will in the future be a direct responsibility of the Federal Council itself, under the immediate supervision of the Administrative Committee."
Here was explicit recognition of two facts: (1) Whatever the responsibility of the Federal Council might be for the wider integration of all federative efforts in the community, it had an unavoidable responsibility for state and local councils; and (2) in the light of the accumulated deficit, which presumably had to be absorbed, it might be wise to make this concern less peripheral, and subsume it under the general work of the Council so that fiscal as well as program policies could be more closely supervised. The depression was nearly four years away, but the field work of the Federal Council had already temporarily crashed.