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THE CONGREGATIONAL HOME
Seventy-five years ago our church was organized at Oregon City, the first church west of the Rocky Mountains. A fitting celebration was recently held commemorating the event.
Are you studying Christian Americanization? If so, you need the Congregational Supplement which tells of the Congregational work among our foreign born citizens. Send for it. Price twenty cents.
Rev. P. W. Jones, formerly pastor of City Park Church, Denver, more recently with the Pilgrim Memorial Fund, has accepted the position of General Missionary in Colorado and is at work.
Rev. A. J. Moncol, of Holdingford, Minnesota, has been released for six months to go to Siberia as chaplain among the Czechoslovak soldiers. His wife will care for the pulpit during his absence.
Every home missionary can be a booster for a club for THE AMERICAN MISSIONARY. It takes but little effort to secure a fine list of subscribers. Five thousand of our six thousand churches do not take the magazine. Hurry up with your list for 1920, as great things are ahead.
Rev. Malcolm Dana, Director of Rural Work, is in Colorado, assisting Rev. James F. Walker at Collbran in developing comprehensive plans for a community center and larger parish. The activities of the church will reach the entire valley, including about ten school districts.
The committee appointed by the National Council on the forward movement recently met in Chicago and among other things formally adopted the name, “Congregational World Movement.” One of the most important actions taken was the decision that the drive in the spring of 1920 in connection with the Interchurch World Movement shall be on the basis of one year pledges. Rev. Herman F. Swartz, D.D., was elected Executive Secretary of the Movement.
Rev. William S. Beard has been leading the remarkably successful campaign in Connecticut for the Pilgrim Memorial Fund. We had anticipated that he would return about the first of the year, as he is sorely missed at headquarters. Now comes the request that he be loaned to head the drive for the Pilgrim Memorial Fund in Oregon and Washington during six weeks beginning about January 1st. The Home Missionary Society has loaned many ministers throughout the country to this Fund and is glad to assist by releasing Secretary Beard for this important task.
"THE COMPELLING MOTIVE.
By Rev. Frank L. Moore, Secretary of Missions HAT holds the home mission- meant comparatively little to them. ary to his task? A survey The tasks confronting the home
of the constantly changing missionary are so varied and perplexyet fairly constant army of men com- ing that they are enough to task the missioned by our National and State ingenuity, patience, resourcefulness Societies shows that we send forth an- and energy of any man. It is not unnually in the neighborhood of 1,700 common at all to hear a man who has men for this home missionary work. served a home missionary church and Changes are constantly taking place, later found himself pastor of a large yet the work goes forward with going organization in town or city, reasonable degree of stability. No one say that the easiest work he had ever of these men is compelled to remain done was the largest and best organat his post. Our simple organization ized. His hardest problems were makes it easy for men to come and go, those of some little mission field. yet surveyed from year to year this Our home missionary work during army of workers presents a fairly the past century has been honored by solid front.
the leadership, at some time during We classify the task to which these their experience, of many of our men have set themselves. We talk
talk greatest preachers, administrators and about home missions on the frontier leaders. In the small church they acand in the rural field, in the city and quired the tact and diplomacy, the among the foreign-born, but when we courage and patience, which made survey each field minutely we discov- their later work possible. er that the various groups will not As a rule, the men bearing the comstay classified. The churches in a mission of the Home Missionary Sogiven region will not all fit into the ciety are not honored by the church same mold. A rural church in Con- as they should be. Too often a man necticut, Michigan or Wisconsin can- who has served all his life in some not be compared to what is called a hard missionary field goes back to his rural church in Oregon, Idaho or
old home church, finds his place in a Montana. In one rural church there seat near the door or under the galare traditions which run back direct- lery, and slips away without being ly to New England and the Pilgrim seen or heard. The membership of Fathers. In such a church Plymouth such a church considers that his life Rock is an asset. But there are men has been a failure. He has served commissioned by our Society who
who only home missionary fields. Such innever refer to the Pilgrim Fathers, cidents make us believers in “Life and to many of our members the name Commissions for Home MissionarPlymouth Rock suggests a variety of ies," with adequate pay from beginspeckled hens. I once made an ad- ning to end. dress in a home mission church, in To the foreign missionary has been which I spent a quarter of my time accorded high honor and justly so. telling the story of the Mayflower, of Would that we might have a service beginnings in New England, and the for the home missionary equal in influence of the early Congregational solemnity and dignity to that of the churches on our national life. After- American Board when commissions ward I awoke to the fact that prac- are issued to a group of young men tically all of the membership of that and women who are starting across Congregational church had
the seas. from below Mason and Dixon's line, Of necessity it has seemed that the and the beginnings of Congrega- only way possible in the commissiontionalism in this country of course ing of a 'home missionary was to con
duct negotiations by correspondence work, but it was the only way --more rarely by personal visits. Aft- make ends meet. er graduating from the seminary, a More difficult still is the lot of the young minister may turn his face to home missionary whose children have ward some special and particularly reached and are passing the school age difficult work, with no one beside the and are not able to attend. These superintendent to wish him well, and are not isolated cases,
we with little in the circumstances to think of the wide field, home after make him feel the greatness and the home rises in memory where problems honor of the work to which he is now such as these and more difficult still dedicating his life.
have been endured. There is also the But we have not yet answered the isolation, In this far-flung line question, “What holds the home mis- stretching across our country from sionary to his task ?'' There are many Florida to Alaska, there are many things in the home missionary task places where for months at a time the that would drive him from it.
home missionary rarely meets anothFirst, there is insufficient support. er minister. Because of inadequate As a rule, the home missionary is salary he lacks books and magazines, grievously underpaid, and in these and because he must do all days he confronts steadily mounting work of the church, including that of prices with a stationary salary and a the janitor, he lacks leisure to read constantly shrinking dollar. How he and study. makes ends meet is more than we can So we ask again, “What holds the tell. Taking specific cases, we find home missionary to his task ?” The that many are so fortunate as to live answer to this question may be briefly where they can have a garden and a put as follows. It need hardly be COW. But not all are so fortunate. stated that the fundamental reason is There are regions where, far from the same for all. He has heard the having a garden, living conditons are great commission to “go and preach more difficult than in a great city. the Gospel to every creature." But This is especially true in the mining to the true home missionary the call camps and certain mountain districts
comes strongest where the need is in the great West.
greatest. The problem is rendered still more I. We say, therefore, that the comacute when there are children in the pelling motive in home missions is home, and the question of their edu- the call to the heroic. At the close of cation presses. It is no wonder that the Civil War, Rev. J. D. Davis went many slip out to other occupations back to Chicago Seminary to comand try their hand at all sorts of plete his course. He had entered as things in order to attain the desired a private and risen steadily from one end.
position of responsibility to another, During the difficult days just past, until at the close of the war he bore we have one home missionary whose the rank of Colonel. At the end of son, fifteen years of age, during the the year, he graduated. He then sent summer vacation drove an automobile word to the Home Missionary Society truck and hauled coal, work far too that he desired to be sent to the hardhard for one of his years. Another est and the neediest field in the sent his daughter into a department United States. They sent him to store where the wage was all too small. Cheyenne, Wyoming. There he orStill another sent his young children ganized a church, built a house of worto the beet fields, where instead of the ship and began the work of establishplay that should have been their loting religious foundations in what was in the growing years, they were com- then the wildest and most boisterous pelled during the long hours of the frontier city of the entire West. He day to toil at the hardest kind of and his wife built a parsonage almost entirely with their own hands. The kind of a welcome and I noticed how house is standing to-day. After two the two little boys, perhaps eight and years of laber, Dr. Davis heard the
ten years of age, followed their mincall to go to Japan, where for forty ister about as he took care of his team years he rendered heroic service in and walked through the garden and the mission field. It was the call of a into the orchard near by. That fathgreat need.
er and mother, both educated people So all through the history of our who had had the privileges of relighome missionary work, the great need ious services in a city across the has urged men on. The neglected, range, counted the visits of the minthe far-away, has acted as a Macedo- ister as simply invaluable in helping nian cry. Our hearts are stirred as we their children to form the right realize the abandon with which men ideals. The pull in the opposite dihave thrown themselves into the home rection was so strong in that frontier missionary cause. The minister and community that no one can estimate his wife make their home among a the value they set upon the visits of group of people—it matters little this home missionary. Their little where, whether in the needy section of church could not exist were it not for a great city or on the remote fron- the Society which had sent him there. tier. Immediately there grow up the About them were settlers representing warmest of personal relations whic! many types of character, but among constitute some of the most valued ex- them all there were only a few who periences of life. They get interested placed a real value upon matters of in particular children, in a class of religion. Such a home as that is neglected boys and girls. Hardest of typical. It can be found in practicalall, but most compelling and perplex- ly every sparsely settled section of this ing, they discover parents who have land. It is doubtful whether the little care for their children, who church in that valley will be self-supthemselves hold low ideals.
porting within another decade. PosWe hear much of those ministers sibly it will always be a home miswho shift from place to place; we sionary field, but it is that type of hear little of those who remain at work that calls the loudest. Where their task year
That the need is great, the challenge is pastor who has really experienced the great. The home missionary becomes joy of bringing the Gospel to homes the "seer” who, looking into the futhat have been isolated and deprived ture, realizes what the church will of the spiritual touch which comes mean as the seasons come and go. from the visit of a true minister, has Home missionary societies always experienced some of the richest joys wonder how it is that men will stay that earth can yield. The home mis- in states where conditions are especisionary's life becomes rich in mem- ally undesirable, where the winters ory. He can look back upon many a are long and cold, or where exposure home where, were he permitted, he to heat in summer and cold in winter could go to-day and find the warmest is severe. Yet, facing such unfavorkind of welcome. I have in mind, in able conditions, we discover that there particular, home seventy-five is a loyalty on the part of the home miles from railroad, across the missionary to the state in which he ranges in Colorado. With the home has found his work. He does not missionary on that field, I drove to readily break away. It is the same ward that house one hot summer day loyalty that was in the hearts of the just as the sun was dipping toward members of the Iowa Band, and later the western peaks. We saw children that held the men in the Washington playing near the flat-roofed adobe and Montana bands faithful to their cabin. Then the father and mother tasks. Such men have repeatedly reapeared. We received the warmest fused calls to larger fields of labor.
Toiling through the years, they have alize that unless its industrial and sobuilt themselves into the fortunes of cial problems can be solved in the the entire county and state. Two light of the Gospel, the world has no brothers went to a new state, and aft- hope. The members of the Iowa Band er investing their lives there for sev- looked upon a continent to be exeral years onė was called to a larger plored, a wilderness to be subdued. work outside. The inducements were Trails had to be made in the desert, great and the call insistent, but he streams had to be bridged, and the decided to remain on a smaller sal. call to the pioneer spirit was clear ary in the needy field, that he might and strong.
and strong. Why should not home carry out his
one great purpose, missionary bands be organized today! namely, to put his stamp upon a grow- They would look out upon a nation ing state.
with problems even more difficult Recently I met a group of ministers
than those heard of old. The far-flung from beyond the Missouri River in
line of our home missionary work toSouth Dakota, who have been facing day constitutes a most challenging the discouragements and difficulties
frontier. Our large and self-supportcaused by the severe and long-contin
ing churches do not touch the most ued drought. These men, with their perplexing problems. The church in wives, came to the association meeting action against the forces of ignowith faces browned as from many
rance and evil in all its varied forms days spent in the scorching sun. They
is the church working through its had seen the water holes dry up, and missionary boards. even the springs had failed. Cattle
The home missionary today who had been shipped out of the country,
sees this larger task believes from and many families had been forced to
the depths of his soul that the mismove away, yet not one of these men
sionary post is the outpost in a batspoke of leaving his work. They said,
tle that must be won, that we must "If my people ever needed me, they
save America to
the world. need me now.”
He believes that he is engaged
in the most crucial task of this II. The Call to the Heroic appears or any other day in America. The not only when we view the individual
call of the heroic rings in his soul. field, but when we get a broad vision
Responding, he offers himself for of the task as a whole.
home missionary work. It may be (1). Not every home missionary
in an industrial center where many goes up on the mountain
top and races meet and mingle. It may be in views the kingdoms of the earth be- an isolated mining town of the far fore he selects his particular place of West or in a mill town of the rapidly labor; but increasingly in these days changing South. Wherever it may be, there are those who, thinking in he feels himself a part of the great world terms, realize the importance of whole. He finds himself dealing with the whole mighty enterprise. These
a church, perhaps, that has small splendid men are bearing heavy bur- vision and little appreciation of its dens without complaint. They are
true mission. It is his to organize it, seeing visions and dreaming dreams to give it vision and lead it to its like prophets of old. They are on the task. lonely prairies and in the sordid (2). The Community Church. It cities. They come from the schools is hard to face the difficult challenge as the young men look
unless there is real hope of success. on a world in turmoil. They When the minister sees one after anview the complexity of our civiliza- other of the agencies of community tion with its perplexing problems of life in the hands of or being absorbed city life and modern industry. They by those who oppose a religious prolook upon the changing world and re- gram, he despairs. It is at this point