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production of a Year Book is an exacting and baffling task. It is the hope of the Committee and the editors that with patient effort the book may be made growingly acc te and serviceable. It will be noticed that no advertisements appear in the current issue. The income from this source was small and the presence of the advertising detracted from the appearance of the volume. The policy has been adopted of designating each issue by the year whose statistics it contains without indicating the year in which it appears.
A gratifying decrease in the cost of the volume can be reported. The total expenditure for printing, binding and mailing the previous year was $8,700. For the current year it is $5,600. A variety of factors have entered into the reduction. Some fifty pages were omitted of matter which though interesting appeared not likely to be widely used. Copies were furnished church clerks only upon request, a circular being sent to all clerks asking whether a copy was desired. Two thousand responded expressing such desire. A lower contract price for printing was secured. In all these matters your Committee solicits instructions if a change of policy is desired.
BENEVOLENCE COLUMNS IN THE YEAR BOOK
Five years ago, under authority of the Apportionment Commission, the custom was inaugurated of making up the columns showing gifts of the churches for denominational causes from the books of the treasurers of the Missionary Societies, National and State. The reasons for the change from the plan by which each church reported its own benevolences were obvious. Under the old arrangement the local church was accustomed to lump in each column all amounts given for any cause which in the judgment of the compiler was kindred to the one named at the top, and also sums for special work not included in the budget of the Society in question. The result was that the Year Book notoriously failed to furnish an accurate exhibit of the giving of the churches for the regular agencies of the denomination. The infelicity of this had long been felt but with the introduction of the Apportionment Plan it became a grave embarrassment. National and State Committees were hopelessly at sea as to what a church had given or ought to give. The new plan has now been in force long enough to enable the Council to judge of its results and the Committee solicits instructions as to its continuance. In a general way the situation seems to be as follows:
1. The plan of filling the columns from the books of the Boards secures a high degree of accuracy as to the amount given by each local church. On the other hand it is difficult by this method to credit the local churches with the full amounts given since contributions of individuals belonging to them are in many cases not included. This necessarily results from the fact that the Board treasurer does not always know to what church the donor belongs and in any event is not entitled to assume that he wishes his gift credited to his church unless he so states. It is probable that methods can be so changed as to obviate this difficulty in some measure. At the present time the $1,250,000 reported as having been given to denominational agencies is about $200,000 short of the total amount received, which for aught known to the contrary comes under the scope of the Apportionment.
2. It is also true that in the case of some of the Boards the collating of accurate returns is a matter of no small difficulty. The Congregational Home Missionary Society for instance must gather its figures from the books of the various state and city societies (so far as the latter aid in supporting pastors) and in addition must see that contributions of Women's State Unions are properly distributed in the column. It is a baffling task and entire accuracy cannot be attained. The same thing is true in lesser degree of the Board of Ministerial Relief and the Sunday School Society.
3. The present system strongly encourages churches to confine their giving to the recognized denominational mission agencies and thus lessens the tendency to discursiveness which has been abundantly evident in the past. Opinions differ as to the degree to which such narrowing of the field of benevolence is desirable.
It is for the Council to decide what method of reporting will best promote increase of giving, wisdom in the choice of objects of beneficence and an accurate exhibition of what the churches are actually doing.
THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL
Your Committee has considered carefully what form should be given the printed proceedings of this Council and how many copies should be circulated. It believes we should continue the plan previously in force of including all addresses, reports and statements presented, together with the minutes of business transacted. It further judges that copies should be sent to all related to the Council in any way whether as delegates, missionary representatives, members of committees and commissions, or otherwise. Inasmuch as many ministers need the book in the discharge of their duties it should be sent to them free on receipt of a postal card request. Beyond this there should be a supply provided for persons elected to the next Council who are not members of this one in order that they may become familiar with the state of the Council's business. Certain libraries, offices of other denominations, etc., should also be supplied. In addition there should be printed sufficient copies to supply all others who wish to purchase, the price being fixed at a nominal figure, say thirty-five cents, for paper-bound copies. The total required for all these purposes is estimated at five thousand copies. It has been necessary for your committee to enter into contract for this number as a minimum in order to arrange economically for advance printing of reports to be sent to delegates. If the Council desires a wider circulation given the volume an increased edition can be ordered at a price which has been agreed upon.
THE CIRCULATION OF PRINTED MATTER
From the beginning of its work the Committee has cooperated with the Secretary in issuing various forms of printed matter bearing on denominational interests. A series of hand books is in course of preparation, some of them already in print, and a variety of leaflets have been been put out. Only a fraction of the demands of this line of effort has as yet been met. Your representatives will follow up the effort begun until such time as it can be turned over to a denominational agency for religious education in whose field it properly belongs. Samples of this printed matter may be found in the Council Exhibit in connection with this meeting. The list of these pieces of printing, of which some two hundred thousand copies have been circulated, is as follows:
Hand Book No. 1. The Place of Congregationalism in Recent History, 32 pp.
10c. Hand Book No. 2. Forms for Use in Congregational
Churches, 36 pp.
Other Hand Books are being prepared, covering questions of denominational history, polity, etc. They are designed to aid pastors in their educational work.
GENERAL CHURCH LIFE (Furnished without charge)
Denominational, Organizations, Ideals, etc.
6 pp. A condensed view of the four fields of Christian service. Marks of an Efficient Church
A memorandum of the chief features and standards of church work. The Kansas City Creed.
Printed on a card Evangelism Through the Sunday School . Go-To-Church Band
8 pp. 4 pp.
MISSIONARY WORK (Furnished without charge)
A concise description of Congregational missionary organiza
tions, with list of officers, etc. Congregational Missionary Finance
Main facts as to the national budget, the Apportionment Plan, etc. Furnished in limited quantity for pastors and church committees.
12 pp. 8 pp.
How It Worked
Method of conducting Every-Member Canvass with illustrations of results.
How One Church Conducted an Every-Member Can
Detailed account of a striking experience. From A to Z.
A brief sketch of the denominational missionary situation.
In addition to the above a large amount of matter bearing on the work of the Social Service Department has been sent out from the Council Office.
One of the duties your Committee has been called upon to face is that of making grants to provide for the expenses of the meetings of the various Commissions and for their uses in other ways. The matter has been one of considerable perplexity. On the one hand the usefulness of these Commissions depends upon their getting together for conference. On the other hand the sums required for an adequate number of meetings are much greater than the limited treasury of the Council can furnish. Appropriations have been made up to the limit warranted by funds at its disposal, but these grants have been visibly and painfully inadequate. It is suggested that a contribution toward the solution of the problem would be found in a readjustment of the number of Commissions and a reduction in the size of some of them. We venture, therefore, to offer a recommendation upon this point in the series appended to this report.
Your Committee in view of the decision to hold biennial sessions fixed the length of the present meeting at eight days instead of nine as heretofore. Of the twentyone sessions ten are assigned the Missionary Societies, six to Council program and five to Council business.