« PreviousContinue »
through the Anti-Saloon League. They have aided that League in arousing enthusiasm, collecting funds, arranging for meetings, providing speakers, petitioning legislatures, attending hearings, and working in many other ways for local option bills.
The progress of the temperance movement during the past two years has exceeded our most sanguine expectations. The preliminary report of the Internal Revenue commissioner for the year ending June 30, 1915, indicates that the consumption of liquors of all sorts is constantly decreasing. The decrease in the consumption of fermented liquors in the past year was 200,300,436 gallons. The decrease in the consumption of distilled liquors was 14,983,333 gallons. This report shows a decrease in consumption of 2.15 gallons per capita. This is the largest decrease in liquor consumption ever reported for any one year in our nation's history. We regret to report the increased exports of New England rum to Africa. We regret, too, that the custom of social drinking is still strongly established. The temperance battle line extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific is winning a mighty victory. Yet there are many trenches to be taken. An immense amount of educational and constructive work remains to be done. Victory, however, is in sight.
WILLIAM T. McELVEEN, Chairman
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON COMITY
FEDERATION AND UNITY
At the meeting of the National Council at Kansas City the three separate Commissions on Federation, Comity and Unity were combined into one. This unified Commission has, however, maintained its three departments with a chairman of each. The chairman of the whole Commission has attended to the interests of the Department of Church Federation and submits its report. The chairman of the Department of Comity, Dr. William Hayes Ward, makes a report on the outlook in the field of interdenominational relationships, while Dr. Newman Smyth, head of the Department of Church Unity makes a report of the progress and promise of this important part of the life of the church. These combined communications make up the report which follows.
By Rev. Raymond Calkins The activities of the Commission with regard to matters of Church Federation have been directed to the support upon the part of the Congregational churches of the Federal Council of the churches of Christ in America. It is recommended that all who are down-hearted with respect to the subject of church division and denominational rivalry should read the last annual report of this organization, the largest and most inclusive in the history of American Christianity. They will discover that actual working co-operation already exists among the great majority of American Protestant Churches which are being wedded together in a compact body for the expression of the Christian conscience of the millions of Christian people whom they represent and for the accomplishment of an important and definite program of social service. In the hope that pastors and laymen may take an intelligent interest in this great organization and may be impelled to send for and read the full report of the Council, the outline of its work prepared by the Federal Council itself is included here:
The Federal Council officially unites, in their activities, thirty Protestant denominations, 138,000 churches with 17,000,000 members, and voices their common conscience and message, as indicated by the following actions, selected from the Reports for 1914:
1. A Call to Prayer was issued to the 138,000 churches in March.
2. The Commission on Evangelism secured the appointment of several new evangelistic committees by the various denominations and continued its work of bringing them together for effective evangelistic work.
3. Measures were followed to secure a high moral tone at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and a Committee of One Hundred organized to conduct a religious campaign and direct religious and missionary exhibits during the Exposition.
4. A Commission on Relations with Japan, composed of fifteen of the leading men of the nation, conducted an investigation of the Japanese situation on the Pacific coast by Prof. H. A. Millis, which is now in press. Rev. Sidney L. Gulick of Japan and Rev. Doremus Scudder of Honolulu traveled over a large part of the country, holding interviews and conferences, and making addresses in the interest of international good will. Dr. Gulick made upwards of two hundred addresses. The president of the Council, Prof. Shailer Mathews and Dr. Gulick went to Japan as ambassadors to convey the good will of the American Churches.
5. The Commission on Peace and Arbitration took immediate action on the crisis in the Mexican situation, sent out 50,000 letters to pastors urging observance of Peace Sunday, May 17th, and sent forty-seven delegates to the International Church Peace Congress at Constance, Germany. A letter was conveyed to the President, urging
reconciliation, condemning loans which would help continue the war, and urging upon all the churches, Protestant and Catholic, in the countries at war, all possible reduction of its horrors, recommending the fullest neutrality and an attitude of reconciliation on the part of our people, and requesting the President to appoint Sunday, October 4th, as a day of prayer. A call to prayer went out to the churches of the United States, with printed prayers for the occasion, together with 50,000 letters to the pastors. The Commission co-operated with the various relief agencies in securing contributions. Through its delegates at Constance the Federal Council assisted in the creation of the World Alliance of the Churches for Promoting International Friendship, and co-operated with the Archbishop of Upsala, Sweden, in issuing a call to the churches of the world.
6. The Commission on the Church and Social Service prosecuted a continuous campaign to secure One Day in Seven for Industrial Workers, issued reports on industrial situations and published a Year Book of the Church and Social Service.
7. The Commission on the Church and Country Life instituted a state-wide survey of the state of Ohio, with headquarters at Columbus.
8. The Commission on State and Local Federations cultivated the formation of federations in cities and towns, and many new and promising federations were organized during the year.
9. The Commission on Christian Education prepared a series of Sunday School lessons on International Peace, and instituted a movement for the adjustment of religious education to the public school system.
10. The Commission on Temperance secured the appointment of new temperance committees in several denominations, and united them in temperance campaigns.
11. The Home Missions Council, which acts for the Federal Council, sent a team of workers of various denominations on a home missions tour of the Far West, and carried on its usual work of adjusting the home missions interests upon a basis of interdenominational comity.
12. At the office in Washington, D. C., a complete Bulletin of Church Statistics was issued, an increase of chaplains in the Navy was secured from twenty-four to fifty-two, this being the first increase for many years, and many matters of general interest to the churches were cared for at the national capitol. The American Peace Centenary Committee brought about the celebration of One Hundred Years of Peace, sending out 60,000 letters to the pastors, with literature to assist them in the preparation of sermons.
13. The Administrative Committee had constant correspondence with the chụrches of the warring nations of Europe, is keeping in the closest touch with them, looking towards future opportunity for reconciliation, a delegation being in readiness to go to Europe at the earliest opportunity.
Through the publication department 400,000 volumes and reports were sent out for instruction in the spirit and principles of the federative movement, and altogether over 300,000 letters were sent out, as well as over a million books and pamphlets.
These items are selected to indicate the general nature of the work. In addition to such specific activities as these, the Council is persistently creating that spirit of Christian unity which brings together the thirty denominations for united service, and the General Secretary and his associates have been engaged in constant visits to assemblies and conferences all over the country.
The Treasurer reports that the receipts equaled the expenses and the Council is not in debt.
To comprehend the scope of this movement the Annual Reports for 1914 should be studied, together with a large number of serial publications issued at the National Offices, 105 East 22nd Street, New York.
The Commission on Federation of the Congregational Churches has been in correspondence with the Federal Council, has assisted in raising from the Congregational churches the amount needed from them for the support of the Council during 1914 and desires in this report to