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gregational Council should try to-day to put forth a pronouncement for the Congregational churches on any of these matters, it would wreck the Council. Our solidarity is not going to be there.
So our solidarity is not going to consist in an ecclesiastical system, not in a common creed, and not in a common liturgy, and not in our posing as a church for the cultured or uncultured. Yet we must have a solidarity; where shall we find it? I believe we can find it in several directions. While we cannot turn the National Council into an hierarchical organization with a bishop, I believe the Council ought to more and more directly represent the churches. I hope to see the time when it will be constituted somewhat as the Free Church Assembly is in Scotland, when each church or local association will send its pastor and delegate to the Council. Above all, the moderator of the Council, while having no governmental power, should be, much more than he has been, one who during his term of office binds the churches into a unity and stands before the nation as the denomination's representative. Above all, he should give himself quite unreservedly to the service of the churches during his term of three years. I can conceive of no greater encouragement to hundreds of weak and struggling churches than a visit from Amory H. Bradford, Washington Gladden, or Nehemiah Boynton, as moderator, making them feel that they really belonged to a denomination and that that denomination through its moderator wished to express its concern for it and render it all encouragement possible. I hope the new moderator will visit a church every day during the next three years. If it kills him, he will have given life to the churches. The weakness of our Congregationalism just now is not the great big city church which wants to be absolutely independent,- so independent that it is generally willing the weak, struggling ones should be so also, but it is the little country church which feels that it has no vital connection with any great denominational center from which warm blood flows, and that there is no brotherhood beyond that of often empty sentimentality on which it can lean. For the same reason, I welcome the motion to make more of the secretaryship of the Council.
In our missionary societies the solidarity has been increasingly manifested in many ways, and I think it is not only working
for denominational oneness, but also for greatly increased efficiency. The Apportionment Plan is the greatest step forward toward real solidarity the denomination has yet taken, and every church should be on this basis for the sake of all other churches as well as for the missionary societies. The publishing of a common magazine by the home societies is another indication of the coming solidarity. Personally I hope it will not be many years before all the home missionary work of the denomination is administered from one office, with departments for the various ministries of our church.
One way in which our solidarity might be splendidly increased and great service rendered, our strong city churches might well practice, and I am going to throw it out as a hint. It is this: The big rich city church should invite some forty or fifty pastors of the smallest rural churches to be its guests for four or five days, distributing them with their wives in the homes of its membership — both hosts and guests thus gaining much and providing for the guests morning and evening conferences with the ablest men in the city. The Hampstead Road Church of London, of which Dr. Robert F. Horton is pastor, has made a marked success of this thing with most gratifying encouragement to the invited pastors and their churches. There are a hundred Congregational churches in the United States that could easily do it.
Yet after all has been said, there is an opportunity for a greater solidarity for our denomination than any other denomination is this land, by being the first to respond to the real cry of this nation and doing the one work unitedly as a unanimous body which God has been waiting so patiently to have his slow church do. And I am going to suggest that we begin to manifest this solidarity at the next National Council. I shall not criticise the program of this Council, because the committee willingly recognized that this was the occasion of our mission boards and yielded to them. And that is splendid, for they are treating vital questions. This Council is an inspiration. But too often we have been puttering round with inconsequential things, discussing questions of no universal import, felicitating ourselves — as I was expected to do—under such subjects as this, and neglecting too much the immediate task of Christianity in this nation, and unheeding the awful cry of need which only a solidified
church can meet; unheeding the fearful sin in this land to expel which will solidify the most diverse Christian elements in exist
ace. I want the next Council, and many others want it also, to set aside seven or eight whole days to discussing, with the most prophetic and ardent leaders in our denomination speaking boldly, the seven great evils of this land, and we saying whether or not we, as a unified denomination, are not ready to say these things must stop.
There are seven things that are the greatest hindrances to the kingdom of God to-day, and against which the Church, forgetting everything else, should now hurl herself with a united passion before it is too late. And I mean it when I say too late. I am no pessimist. I am no more pessimistic than the facts. These things are,
(1) The growing indifference to religion even among the respectable people.
(2) The downright dishonesty being practiced in business and state.
(3) The growth of militarism, especially in England and Germany, but now beginning here. Militarism and Christian brotherhood cannot exist together.
(4) The tyranny of capital over labor, and the selfishness of the trades unions. The chasm grows. Nothing but real religion can heal it.
(5) The danger of lowering the Puritan ideal in America by the tremendous infusion of foreign blood.
(6) The power of the saloon, the drink habit, and its always accompanying sexual vice.
(7) The growth of the great Eastern and Mohammedan nations into material and political power without the attendant controlling force of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I say that if the next National Council would set aside one whole day for the discussion of each of these problems by big men, --- men who know what they are talking about, – leaving plenty of time for free discussion from the floor, it would do more to present the Congregational Church to the nation as a great, powerful, united, Messianic, solidified church than all the ecclesiastical organization in the world. It would bring hordes to the Council. Every daily paper would print its proceedings. The great world which outside of New England and a few western
states never heard of Congregationalism would begin to think it was the American Church. I know another church has begun to call itself the American Church. But then we should be the American Church, and we should have no more of what we are continually hearing of the nervelessness of the church as a religious and ethical force, when it stands face to face with the real sin and the real evil of this nation, which are the things mentioned above.
THE SCOPE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
WILLIAM H. LEWIS, OF SEATTLE, WASH., PRESIDENT OF THE
CONGREGATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF AMERICA.
Mr. Moderator, -I once knew a remarkably successful business man, who said, "Some people work hard to succeed; my policy has been to find out what Providence was going to do, and then get in the way of it."
The National Council, three years ago, put itself in the path of the Brotherhood Movement. This movement is not confined to the Church of God. The increasing respect for the rights of the people, as against the former regard for the rights of the individual, or the privileged few, is an evidence of this.
The great reform measures in England, such as the educational bill, the personal damages and old-age pension bills, were Brotherhood measures. The disestablishment of the church in France and the revolution in Portugal are further evidences of the same movement toward Brotherhood.
In this country, men who are now shouting, enthusiastic insurgents, clamoring for equal rights and justice to all, ten years ago were voting with the gang, clamoring for regularity, and insisting that the party must stand by its friends. They said corruption and favoritism were unavoidable. The carelessness of men towards political evils then is well illustrated by the story of the western card game, where a player was advised by a bystander that the dealer had a high card up his sleeve, and he replied, “Well, it's his deal, isn't it?”
The Brotherhood work in churches is not confined to America, but in England it has been aggressively adopted. In this country all the leading denominations have their Brotherhood organizations, and are pushing this form of activity. Not only this, but they are coöperating in great movements, such as the Laymen's Missionary Movement and the Men and Religion Campaign, and securing a harmony of action heretofore impossible.