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CHAPTER VII

NATIONAL LEVEL OPERATIONS

 

 

We look now to what is done by these organizations, having outlined on the national levels the structures of the A.U.A. and the U.C.A.  Though the structures differ to some extent and the ways in which things get done are patterned to fit different circumstances, the general areas in which operations are carried on are the same. There are things which have to be done in regard to: (1) the training, accrediting and placement of ministers, (2) the development and ex­tension of churches, (3) the religious education of children and con­stituencies, (4) the encouragement of and assistance to young people’s work, (5) services of various kinds to other peoples, (6) publications of various sorts, and (7) the raising of money for carrying out the program and maintaining the organizations. Two of these areas are operated jointly by the denominations and have already been consid­ered — religious education through the C.L.C., and young people’s work in the L.R.Y. This chapter deals with the other five.

 

DEPARTMENTS OF THE MINISTRY

 

Both denominations depend on their Departments of the Ministry to maintain an adequate number of ministers who are trained according to the recognized standards and to facilitate the process of getting churches and ministers together. These responsibilities require many relationships: with prospective students, with theological schools, with the executive operations of the denominational headquarters, with the other departments, especially that of church extension, with the regions or state conventions and their directors, and with the churches themselves. In the A.U.A. the department has a director, one assistant to the director and a secretary. The U.C.A. depart­ment has not been able to have a full time staff. Presently it is directed by the General Superintendent who, until his present appoint­ment, spent part of his time as director of the department.

 

The functions of these departments have already been described and compared in Chapter IV. There is little to add here except to note that there are a number of means used to keep in touch with ministers at the central office, conversations with ministers at national regional or state meetings, collaboration with ministerial associations and with churches through visits whenever possible. It should also be noted that the two departments maintain contacts with each other.

 

The A.U.A. department budget runs around $22,300, which does not include amounts for pensions to retired ministers, and emergency assistance to ministers. The budget of the U.C.A. department which includes all these items is approximately $17,000.

 

 

DEPARTMENTS OF EXTENSION

 

While each denomination has a department of church extension, the comparative operations and results are markedly different due, on the one hand, to entirely different basic policies of operation, and on the other hand, to differences in size of staffs and in available funds.

 

The Unitarian Department has a Director of Fellowships who en­courages groups to organize and gives them whatever help is possible by mail and some visiting and through the Regional Directors. The fellowships must operate on their own initiative, however, and gain their own strength and resources to the point where they can call a minister and become a church if they wish. This movement was estab­lished in the late 1940’s and has become one of the great sources of strength of the denomination and a large factor in the growth of mem­bership in the last decade. In June, 1958, there were 245 Unitarian fellowships and in the period of their operation, 28 have become reg­ular Unitarian churches. The department plans to add 50 new fellow­ships during the coming year.

 

The Universalist policy has been to use fellowships as a means of developing new churches. Ministers have been given financial sup­port to go into a community where there was no Universalist church, but there was a group of interested individuals and families. These the minister would gather together and endeavor to build up until church size and status was reached. This type of policy calls for a very considerable amount of money to get reasonably fast results and since extension funds available are limited, the results of the policy have been slow and limited in scope. In June, 1958, the money available limited the number of Universalist fellowships to 9, and some of these are expected to attain church status shortly. This policy is being changed in favor of a policy like that of the Unitar­ian Department. A new director will take over in the Fall of 1958, and it is planned to organize a presently undetermined number of fellowships in the next year.

 

This is the phase of the extension program of the two denomina­tions where the differences in the operation of the departments have been greatest. In the other functions of the departments the differ­ences are more of quantity than of kind.

 

The second major function of each extension department is respon­sibility for assisting churches to secure aid in the form of loans or subsidies. In the A.U.A., a fund of approximately $800,000 is avail­able for loans to approved churches. A church may borrow up to $20,000 at 2.25 per cent or $10,000 interest free and $10,000 at 4.5 per cent for buildings or other capital expense. In addition, the A.U.A. annual budget for extension carries the income of certain funds for making grants to churches. Some $50,000 is annually used in assisting approximately 45 churches. The ceiling on a grant or sub­sidy is $3,000 which is reduced by regular annual payments over a period of 10 years. The director of the department carries the prin­cipal responsibility for these activities.

 

The U.C.A. department of extension has building, loan and exten­sion funds amounting to approximately $75,000 and a fund of $45,000, the income of which may be used. The fellowships founded in recent years have been assisted with annual amounts on a reduction basis. The annual departmental budget carries $6,500 for assisting local situations.

 

The third major function of the extension department is service to individuals and families who live where there is no Universalist or Unitarian Church accessible. In each of the denominations there has been organized for this purpose a Church of the Larger Fellowship. In the A.U.A. this work is headed by a minister on full-time service. Records and correspondence are handled in the office of the Director of Fellowships.

 

In each denomination, the Church of the Larger Fellowship is con­ducted on a self-supporting basis. The budget for the Unitarian C.L.F. is approximately $31,000, nearly all of which is contributed by its members who also contribute to the appeals of the U.U.A. and the U.S.C.   The size of the C.L.F. in the U.C.A. is yet quite small and has been operating on an annual budget of about $500.

 

Both the A.U.A. Regional Directors and the U.C.A. State Superin­tendents conduct extension activities within their respective areas as a part of their programs. Some of the State Conventions have funds re­stricted to extension work in their own states. Since the work at the regional level is related in so many respects to the extension function in the A.U.A., the Director of Extension has been responsible for liaison with the various A.U.A. Regions, through the Regional Directors as individuals and as a group in their periodic directors’ meetings. In the U.C.A., liaison with the State Conventions is the same except that the headquarters liaison officer has been and continues to be the Gen­eral Superintendent.

 

THE SERVICE COMMITTEES

 

For a number of years each denomination has had a service program. These are the channels through which the churches of the denominations make their corporate contributions to the solutions of the problems of humanity. A variety of projects widely scattered geographically are challenging and significant. The two committees are quite differently organized and operate under very different policies. The Unitarian Committee puts its emphasis on the projects which it conducts, while the Universalist Committee emphasizes participation both of people in the projects and of the committee in a great variety of good enter­prises.

 

The Unitarian service work was begun by a headquarters committee in 1940; in 1948 the Unitarian Service Committee was chartered as a separate Massachusetts corporation. Since then there has been no di­rect operating relationship between the Committee and either the Presi­dent or the Board of Directors of the A.U.A. Although the Unitarian Service Committee bears the denominational name, it is strictly non­sectarian in its work, both at home and abroad, and its operations are not denominational in character or in purpose.

 

The Unitarian Service Committee maintains a separate headquarters in Boston and also has an office in New York. There is a headquarters staff of 21 people. The annual expenditures are approximately $380,000 of which about 60 per cent is raised by its own fund raising operation, chiefly from the people of the Unitarian churches and fellowships, although there are some outside contributors. The other 40 per cent comes from foundations and from contracts for special projects with the U. S. Government. Assets totalled approximately $168,000 at December 31, 1957.

 

The Universalist Committee is an integral department of the de­nominational headquarters organization; its director is responsible to the General Superintendent and through him to the Board of Trustees. Its program is strictly a denominational operation.

 

In personnel and money terms the Universalist service program is relatively small. There is a director and secretary, although their work is supplemented by many volunteers. The budget amounts to about $18,000 appropriated from the regular denominational funds by the U.C.A. Board of Trustees. The Association of Universalist Women also contributes to the projects. The value of volunteer services and the contributions of clothing and other things has not been estimated.

 

Unitarian Service Committee Program

 

The U.S.C. places its principal emphasis upon projects. These projects are widely scattered throughout the world — in Europe, in the Far East, in the Middle East, in South America, in Korea. They are for the most part isolated but dramatic and challenging. The greatest emphasis is put upon various forms of social work, but some projects are educational in nature. There are also medical assist­ance and some forms of relief.

 

The currently highlighted program is in Cambodia where the U.S.C. is establishing a four year training program for rural teachers under the joint auspices of the Cambodian and United States governments.

 

The medical projects include sending teams of American doctors to confer with doctors in other lands to exchange knowledge and experience and to stimulate the use of modern methods, equipment and medication; placing foreign medical students as interns in American hospitals; and various pilot projects on basic health problems in low per capita income countries.

 

The work of the committee began as relief activities in the effort to help meet the great needs in Europe prior to, during, and after World War II. It expanded rapidly until it now includes such activi­ties as sending quantities of food and clothing to Hungarian and Span­ish refugees, operating a Spanish refugee camp in Toulouse, France, and carrying on conferences and sending consultants to various coun­tries for the purpose of helping to improve the social services.

 

The Unitarian Service Committee also has activities within the United States. These projects are usually some phase of community development. The operation of community centers for special groups or in special situations where community problems are particularly acute, or conducting some special part of community programs such as group work, or human relations, molding weekend camps for youth, or even such special projects as dealing with alcoholism among the Navajo Indians are the kinds of activities to be found in this part of the program.

 

Universalist Service Committee Program

 

The Universalist service program centers around the involvement of people and churches in many different kinds of socially constructive enterprises. This is thought of as the application of one aspect of the basic principles of Universalism.

 

Local churches are stimulated to become associated with and to inspire their members to participate in social service in their own communities and of a national and international nature. On the basis of lines of communication which mad been established with churches it was possible for the Universalist Service Committee to be the first agency in America to take positive steps to give aid to the Hungarian citizens in 1957. So the stream of assistance continues particularly in the form of supplying clothing by the activity of many volunteers at all steps in the process to the distribution through the Ulm refugee camp.

 

The Committee recruits young people for volunteer service, both overseas and in the United States, during the summer months. Three groups of American youth go to Germany to work with young people and adults under the direction of a Universalist minister who spends his time in a counseling program for young people and adults. This work is inter—racial and inter—denominational. In the United States young people are recruited from all denominations for work in hospitals.

 

The overseas projects in which the A.U.W. is also interested is encouraging and assisting liberal religious groups. Help is given to operate a neighborhood house in Japan, 17 liberal religious groups in the Philippines are assisted, and support is given to the I.A.R.F.

 

The Committee, largely through its Director, represents the denomination in ecclesiastical, government and secular social service activities of many kinds on local, state, national and international levels. Liaison is maintained with UNESCO. Interest centers in race relations, civil liberties and civil rights, and peace activities. Through these channels it is sought to keep Universalism in relation to the constructive humanitarian work in the world.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Publication operations in both denominations are divided, but in different ways. Each has a publication department, a denominational periodical, and an independent press. Combining all of these into a single operation as was contemplated as part of the C.L.C. but was abandoned due to the many obstacles encountered, may still be possible. In each denomination they are intertwined in many ways. The parts are all presently in operation to a greater or lesser degree.

 

Unitarian Publications Program

 

One of the strong features of Unitarianism is its publishing program which has helped immeasurably to create interest in and goodwill for the denomination. The Unitarian publications department includes the Starr King Press, the Unitarian Register, and certain other pub­lishing ventures such as the Minister’s Packet, Unitarian pamphlets, Wayside Community Pulpit, and the Unitarian Signal. The Beacon Press is the independent publishing house.

 

The Starr King Press was established to publish books and materials of a denominational nature. It does not publish controversial books. Last year the imprint of this Press was carried on some 22,000 books representing sales of approximately $20,000. Its assets total around $110,000 and the annual expenditures, including an A.U.A. subsidy, approximately $40,000. Henceforth the Starr King Press will print the church school materials developed by the C.L.C. which brings it into relationship with both denominations. The Starr King Press, as a part of the A.U.A. department of publications, has been administered by an executive editor who was the head of all publications including the Beacon Press. The same staff serves the A.U.A. department and the Beacon Press and consists of 20 persons.

 

The denominational magazine, The Unitarian Register, is a part of the A.U.A. department and under the direction of the executive editor. It is kept apart from the two presses for operating and accounting purposes. Of the pool of 20 personnel, five are assigned to the Register full time, The magazine appears 10 times annually with an average of 32 pages. It has a circulation of 13,000 and the subscription price is $3.00. The content features opinion pieces, penetrating articles, Unitarian news, open forum and editorials. Assets and operating ex­pense are approximately $16,000 and $36,000 respectively.

 

The Beacon Press is separately incorporated in Massachusetts. It has become a well known publishing house which specializes in contro­versial works and books which commercial publishers, for one reason or another, hesitate to publish. It has recently launched a very success­ful paperback series. Publications run to some 300,000 volumes per year and income and expenditures approximate $125,000. Assets as of April 30, 1958 totalled approximately $300,000.

 

Universalist Publications Program

 

The department of publications of the U.C.A. headquarters is small and has no staff. The limited amount of publishing it does is by means of a committee which is given technical assistance the editor of the Universalist Publishing House. There has recently been published an attractive and interesting pamphlet on Universalism collaboratively by the U.C.A. Board of Directors and the Association of Universalist Wo­men. A series of four pamphlets on Universalist advance has been pub­lished and distributed and other promotional materials are in process of planning.

 

The Universalist Leader is a magazine similar in appearance and comparable in character and contents to the Unitarian Register. It also has ten issues a year, has 3,600 subscribers and the yearly subscrip­tion rate is $3.50. Its contents are somewhat similar to those of the Register with emphasis placed on think pieces and articles.

 

The Universalist Publishing House was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1872. It formerly published books and other materials, but its acti­vities for some years have been confined to the publication of the denominational magazine The Universalist Leader. It now reactivating its book publishing program. The U.P.H. is not a part of the U.C.A. department of publications. Consideration is being given to including the U.P.H. in the U.C.A. department, when, as, and its directors agree to corporate dissolution. Assets and annual expense of the U.P.H. are approximately $80,000 and $22,000 respectively.

 

 

FUND RAISING

 

 

Both denominations have organized fund raising programs, but they differ substantially in organization, in relationship, to the denomina­tional headquarters and in control.

 

In Unitarianism, fund raising is the responsibility of the United Unitarian Appeal, a separate corporation chartered Massachusetts in 1946. It is organized on the community fund basis and raises money annually through Unitarian churches and fellowships for a total of 17 Unitarian bodies including the A.U.A. The original intention of the U.U.A. was to replace the multiple appeals with a single. This it did from its beginning in 1941 until the Unitarian service Committee became independent in 1948. Two major appeals are now made annually, one by the U.U.A. and one by the U.S.C.

 

The fund raising function in the Universalist denomination is a part of the headquarters organization under the supervision of the General Superintendent and the Business Advisory Committee. Its main purpose is to raise funds to help provide the budget of the U.C.A. headquarters. No other national Universalist body or agency conducts an appeal to the churches and fellowships. Auxiliaries secure their budgets through membership dues, income from invested funds, and in other ways.

 

 

The United Unitarian Appeal

 

The U.U.A. is a membership group and has its own Board of Directors and officers who are elected at an annual meeting held in May. Member­ship in the U.U.A. consists of one lay member and on minister from each church and fellowship, and two members each from the participating organizations. The Board of Directors has an Executive Committee and three standing committees: Budget, Participating Agencies Advisory, and Campaign. The operation of the U.U.A. is conducted by an Executive Director who is a professional fund raiser and is appointed by and responsible to the Directors. He is assisted by four staff mem­bers, one of whom is a professional campaign director.

 

The participating agencies in the U.U.A. in 1958—59 are:

 

American Unitarian Association

Council of Liberal Churches

Unitarian Ministers Association

Society for Ministerial Relief

Unitarian Service Pension Society

Northern New England Region of Unitarian Churches

Southern New England Unitarian Council

Middle Atlantic States Council of Unitarian Churches

Meadville Unitarian Conference

Southern Unitarian Conference

Western Unitarian Conference

Pacific Coast Unitarian Council

United Unitarian Appeal

Liberal Religious Youth

Laymen’s League

General Alliance

Unitarian Denominational Planning Council

Starr King School for the Ministry

Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice

 

Each of the participating organizations prepares and presents an annual budget to the Budget Committee. After review, this Committee recommends the amount of money each organization should receive. The major part of the annual income of most agencies comes from funds from the U.U.A. drive, therefore the allotments made by the Budget Committee have con­siderable control over the program and size of staff. The total of the budgetary requests of all the agencies and the amount of money the U.U.A. staff thinks can be raised must have a close relationship.

 

The assets of the U.U.A. as of April 30, 1958, were approximately $202,000, of which roughly $151,000 represented unpaid distributions to eight participating agencies. The total amount of distributions allocated to all the participating agencies was $321,000, of which the largest amount, $ 73,400, went to the A.U.A. A total of approximately $371,000 was raised at a cost of $56,000, or 15.7 per cent. The U.U.A. has been increasingly successful in securing the interest and support of churches and fellowships.

 

The Unified Appeal

 

The Unified Appeal, the Universalist fund raising function, is headed by a professional fund raiser, directly responsible to the General Superintendent. He has the assistance of a full time secre­tary. The Board of Trustees sets the annual amount to be raised in the churches and fellowships, and the Director of the Unified Appeal tailors the annual campaign to this goal, making use of many of the same techniques employed by the Unitarians.

 

The Unified Appeal as such was begun in 1940, but a professional fund raiser is relatively new at Universalist headquarters. For many years the U.C.A. headquarters has been inadequately supported by the churches, fellowships and State Conventions, but present evidence in­dicates that Universalists have stepped up both their interest in and support of their national offices as they increasingly recognize the need for a stronger and more effective denominational organization at the national level.

 

The professionally headed fund appeal started about four years ago with annual campaign contributions of approximately $50,000; this year the amount raised is about $80,000. Annual expense has run about $14,000 with a cost ratio of 17.5 per cent.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

The fact that two of the seven areas of function of the Unitarian and Universalist denominations have already been merged leads to a look at the major points involved if there should be a merger of the other five functions.

 

(1)       The departments of the ministry have the same organization and function. The standards for ministers are the same and portions of the churches and the ministers are now intertwined. The question of centralization vs. decentralization of fellowship would have to be faced, but as size increases decentralization assumes more importance. Differences in educational backgrounds of the ministers would not mat­ter more than temporarily. It has been shown that there would be little difficulty in establishing a pension system which would be equitable.

 

(2)       The policies and programs of the departments of church exten­sion and maintenance will be the same commencing in the Fall of 1958. To join forces would seem to have real possibilities for strengthen­ing the advance. The complementariness of the geographical distribu­tion of the churches of the two denominations seems an important item.

 

(3)       The service functions and operations would clearly have to be re-thought for a merged church. In their operations the present committees are quite complementary. From the operational standpoint they could be put together with practically no conflict and with added strength. Organizationally a number of questions would have to be answered in a merger process. Would a merged and consolidated church (that is denomination) want to carry on a service program through an outside agency? Would the new church want an essentially secular social service program, or would it prefer a religiously centered pro­gram? What about the name? It would of course be possible to carry on the present Universalist program as the internal service program and continue the Unitarian program in more or less its present form if that were deemed desirable.

 

(4)       The merging of publications would take strong backing and probably subsidy, and a comprehensive plan of reorganization and combined operations. It would require the full cooperation of all con­cerned, especially the boards, which will have to initiate the attend­ant legal processes. The problems are many, but none too complicated or difficult to solve.

 

(5)       If there is a new consolidated denomination neither of the present organizations nor operations for raising funds are likely to be permanently fitting or adequate. If consolidation occurs and all of the parts are fitted into a new picture and the respective finan­cial needs and responsibilities are defined, the pattern of the new fund raising operation should be clear, the total job well—defined, and all that will then be needed is to devise the organization machin­ery which can best do this job under future circumstances.

 

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