Berkeley Divinity School Accused

Bill Jr:

In 1920, according to an undated news report, Berkeley Divinity School was turned over to the C.L.I.D. for three days. Representatives of the League taught all classes and a public meeting was held one evening with Dean Ladd presiding. The courses were conducted by Vida Scudder of Wellesley College who gave three lectures on the Franciscans, Prof. Norman Nash of Cambridge Seminary who lectured on the Church and Labor; W.B.S. Sr., who conducted a class on “labor agreements,” and the Rev. G.A. Studdert-Kennedy, then on the Berkeley faculty and the National Messenger of the Industrial Christian Fellowship, a C.L.I.D. counterpart. (Studdert-Kennedy, of course, was the most famous chaplain of the British Expeditionary Forces in France during W.W. 1; a famous preacher and poet and, as a result of his witness as ‘Woodbine Willie’ in the trenches, had turned into a leading pacifist.)

Quickly, there was a negative response in Middletown and throughout the Connecticut church. The Berkeley trustees established an investigative committee. It was a famous conflict and both the report and Dean Ladd’s response tells a lot about the Episcopal ‘ethos.’

In June of 1920, following extensive study, the board of trustees issued a report responding to the charges that ‘the school was . . . a spawning place for Bolshevik propaganda, and radical Socialist principles.” As illustration of this a certain lecture given on December 19, 1919, by Mr. Wilfred Humphries was cited. According to the CHURCHMAN (July 3, 1920), Humphries was an overseas staff member of the YMCA from 1917, and rendered faithful service and piloted over one thousand refugees across Siberia and was the means of saving the lives of hundreds.

The report stated, however, that Humphries’ lecture was more or less a defense of the Soviet government and, while allowing that it would have been much better if the lecture had not been given, it had also been delivered at Smith, Vassar, Simmons, Clark and other New England colleges. The lecture was sponsored by the Intercollegiate Socialistic Society.

The lecture stirred up Middletown citizens and the Middletown Press, which said that the ‘school had been the centre of radical Socialism’ for some time, and that the teachings there promote socialistic ideas.

The trustees’ report says:

“So far as your trustees have been able to learn, however, Socialism in a radical or advanced form is not taught in the school. There was a course dealing with social problems introduced before Dr. Ladd became dean, in Dean Hart’s administration. The course, however, has not been pursued as actively in the last few years as before. As to the charge that young men are taught Socialism in the school, we find no evidence thereof, and the faculty deny that such is the case, and the students also deny it. The dean believes, however, in allowing a broad latitude in the curriculum, and in granting the students a wide liberty, with means for the discussion of many different subjects so as to give them an opportunity to look into the different problems of life. In this respect, however, we think that the students should be guided in their studies and be taught to discriminate carefully between the good and evil effects of the various theories presented to them for their consideration and investigation.”

The report exonerates Dean Ladd and any member of the faculty of approving “anything of a violent or revolutionary nature, and we further find, which fact is quite unnecessary, as is well known to every trustee, that the removal of the school to another location has nothing whatever to do with the question involved.”

“As to the claim that God’s Word should be taught and that alone, we are quite in sympathy with it, but opinions may well differ in these days when the agencies for teaching and preaching the Gospel are so varied, as to whether that Word is not being taught by recognizing the manifold difficulties of the day and preparing men to meet them.”

The Trustees’ report concludes with the statement that they are going to be more involved in the management of the school and its curriculum and that the Dean and some faculty should withdraw from some organizations, with the C.L.I.D. being implied as one of them.

Thus, Wm. Palmer Ladd issued an equally long response, expressing appreciation for the exoneration and then saying that he would not quit the C.L.I.D.:

“The committee thinks it unwise for the dean and members of the faculty … to belong to such an organization. Why unwise? Is there anything unchristian or heretical in trying to make justice and love the controlling motive in all social conditions? No, the committee says, ‘there can be no objection to such a platform from the standpoint of Christianity, so far as the application of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is involved.’ Is the society in any other way unchristian or un-Churchly? Has it been discovered in any serious fault? Have the bishops and others who have joined it suffered from their contact with it? None of these things is alleged. …

“…the reason given for withdrawing from the C.L.I.D. is not one which makes any appeal to the members of the Berkeley faculty. They do not desire to regulate their conduct with reference to the present state of the public mind and the standpoint of the citizen of the world whether a Christian or not. One would have thought that even a citizen of the world would prefer that a member of the faculty of a Christian divinity school should regulate his conduct not with reference to the world and the prevailing state of the public mind but according to the principles of the religion which he professes.”

The second item, which Dean Ladd saw as much more important, was the issue of seminary management and the trustees’ involvement in curriculum control. After showing where such control could lead, he concluded:

“And what would ‘the public say?’ I think they would say that the Episcopal Church was a Church where those inauthority did not desire to make justice and love the controlling motive in all social conditions, not a democratic Church but a Church of the privileged classes, a Church where the clergy were not free to teach and act according to their honest convictions, and where even the future clergy of the Church were under the control of the wealthy and influential laymen and were trained up after a fashion which these same laymen imposed upon them. All this would be mistaken. As the committee says ‘the public does not always see clearly.’ But since the report has a good deal to say as to what the public at present thinks of the school it would seem fair to consider what it might think of the school and of the Church in case the committee undertook to arrange this whole matter after a manner acceptable to themselves.

“…The Berkeley Divinity School is, of course, desperately in need of money. And trustees and others have repeatedly said that no money will be forthcoming so long as our present policy continues. I hope this is not so. But if the school has to die in a losing fight for a policy, one feature of which is to try to make justice and love the controlling motive in all social conditions, I am quite ready to say, with Bishop Brewster [of Maine], ‘Then let it die.’ Better so to die than to live on prosperously in an attitude of subservience and compromise.”

It was an interesting and early fight, which WBS, Sr., was to be embroiled in on many fields and in many arenas. Dean ‘Billy’ Ladd, that quiet scholar and liturgist, could get his dander up when pushed. It was he who sent Dad down to the New School to study with Scott Nearing, among others.

Berkeley was moved from Middletown to New Haven in 1928 and associated with Yale University and its Divinity School. And, in 1948, Bishop Budlong, of Connecticut, as head of the trustees, gave WBS, Sr. a D.S.T. (honoris causa), in the same ceremony similarly honoring the Rev. Samel Shoemaker, rector of Calvary Church, N.Y.C.1

Chicago: The Toddling Town

Bill Sr. [from The Witness, May 5, 1955]

Chicago grew out of bull sessions at Berkeley where we used to chew over what we planned to do in the ministry. Several of us decided that if we were to be intellectually honest we had to be economically independent. So we talked about working as a group in a parish while earning our living at some secular job. We believed in this way we could preach as free men, could run forums and discussion groups and do many things thast could not be done in an ordinary parish without running into trouble with a vestry. Continue reading “Chicago: The Toddling Town”

The Fellowship For a Christian Social Order

Bill Jr.:

It was announced in the SOUTHERN CHURCHMAN that there would be a number of important conferences over a two-month span, under the aegis of The Fellowship For a Christian Social Order. The conferences were to be held in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, New York, Richmond and St. Louis.

This organization was ecumenical in design, as distinct from the C.L.I.D. which was fundamentally Episcopal in intent and membership. There was, of course, over-lap in constituency and, from his office in Chicago, Dad seemed to be coordinating the efforts.

‘The purpose of these conferences is the widening of acquaintance and the strengthening of the spiritual bond between those persons who are seeking to effect such fundamental changes in the spirit and structures of the present social order as will make it in accord with the mind of Jesus; and the mutual exchange of ideas concerning industrial and international problems by persons of varied experience—employers, workers, teachers, students, clergymen and other professional men and women.

‘The following topics have been selected for discussion at the various sessions:
Which of the current industrial and commercial attitudes and practices are in conflict with the spirit and teaching of Jesus? Which of these should immediately and completely be repudiated by Christian people? What are the hopeful signs of the times in industrial relations?’

The listing of the membership, for the early 1920’s, is very impressive: Prof. Niles Carpenter, the Rev. Prof. Norman Nash, Mr. Ernest Tippett, the Rev. Ernest D. Burton, the Rev. Charles W. Gilkey, Miss Mary McDowell, Prof. Shailer Matthews, Dr. Charles Clayton Morrison, Prof. Alva W. Taylor, Judge George S. Addams, Judge Florence E. Allen, President Henry Churchill King, Governor William E. Sweet, the Rev. Lynn Harold Hough, Bishop Charles D.(sic) Williams, Mrs. M.K. Simkhovitch, Prof. Charles A. Ellwood, Dean William Scarlett, Prof. Richard C. Cabot, Prof. Jerome Davis, Rev. Prof. Harry F. Ward, Miss Grace Hutchens, the Rev. Frederick Lynch, Bishop F. J. McConnell, Prof. E.A. Ross, Rev. Norman Thomas, Rev. John Nevin Sayre, Prof. David D. Vaughn.

The news release, which is undated, concludes with:

‘No issue is so vital in the world today as the Christianizing of international relations and no single progressive step would do so much toward bringing peace, prosperity and happiness to all our people as the application of Christ’s principles to the industrial world toda

Throw Out the Lifeline

Bill Sr.:  [From The Witness   (January 22, 1921)]

For the past three days I have been in Danville, Virginia, where four thousand textile workers are striking for the right to bargain collectively through an organization of their own choosing.  I run the real risk I know of making you weary with the subject, but since our Church stated in General Conventions that workers have this right it is perhaps not remiss for me to give a brief report of my findings in a Church paper.

First may I impress upon you the fact that these workers in Danville are Americans;  law abiding and church going Americans.  I was given the real privilege of addressing their meeting last Sunday afternoon.  Thirteen hundred of them were jammed into a small hall, and there were as many more on the outside unable to get in.  For half an hour before the meeing these workers raised the roof with old Gospel hymns, led by a Salvation Army Continue reading “Throw Out the Lifeline”

Liberal Note in Church Creed Sounded by Colorado Bishop in Address to Episcopal Council

From the Denver Post, June 1925 (exact date unknown):

Right Rev. Ingley Says Religion Avoids Narrow Position That Ignores Result of Scientific Research; Bishop Johnson Flays Modernists: Declaring that “the Episcopal church does not take a narrow position which ignores the result of scientific research,” the Rt. Rev. Fred Ingley, bishop coadjutor of the Colorado diocese, sounded a note of liberalism in church creeds for the young men of the present day in his annual address before the diocesan council at St. John’s Cathedral  Wednesday afternoon.  Ingley’s address followed that of Bishop Irving P. Johnson, in which the latter flayed the “modernists” of the present church controversy, and declared disbelief in the virgin birth of Christ “is unmoral and unscientific.”

Church Shuns Narrow Position: “The college student of today is the leader of tomorrow,” Bishop Ingley said. “They must be assured that the church’s doctrines do not hamper a spirit of honest search for the truth. The Episcopal church does not take a narrow position which ignores the result of scientific research.” Following Bishop Johnson’s discussion of the virgin birth controversy raging thruout [sic] the country in the church, Bishop Ingley did not allude directly to the disturbance. He stressed the importance of the work among the college students, and said this problem was the most important in the diocese. In reviewing the work of the church in this diocese for the last year, Bishop Ingley said there were a greater number of baptisms in 1923 than in any previous year. The lenten offering of the children of the diocese, which amounted to $6,412.05, was the largest in the entire province of the northwest, he told the council. “Colorado the best informed diocese in the American church,” was placed before the council by Bishop Ingley as a slogan for 1924. In support of the importance of this slogan, he stated that “An ounce of information was worth a ton of exhortation” and that “information is never so potent as when expressed in terms of education.”

Church Officers Are Elected: During the business session Wednesday the following church officers were elected: J. H. Bradbury, diocesan treasurer; the Rev. B. D. Dagwell, J. M. Kennedy Jr., and C. H. Hanington, members of the board of trustees; the Reb. B. D. Dagwell and H. W. Cornell, members of the ecclesiastical court; the Rev. C. H. Marshall and W. G. Grant Jr., members of the court of appeals; the Rev. H. S. Foster, the Rev. H. M. St. G. Walters, the Rev. C. H. Brady, J. W. Hudston, W. W. Grant Jr. and W. M. Spalding, members of the standing committee. Thursday morning the clergy attending the council took breakfast at St. Mark’s church, which was followed by a conference there. At 10 o’clock they adjourned to St. John’s, where the business meeting of the council was continued. Dean Duncan Browne of St. John’s opened the conference on social service as applied to church work at the morning session. Bishop James Wise of Kansas gave an address on “The Diocese and Social Service.” Miss Hutsinpillar, former secretary fo the board of charities, addressed the council on certain phases of social service work. The Rev. W. B. Shofford [sic] of Chicago, secretary of the Church League of Industrial Democracy, spoke on “The Industrial Democracy at Work.” He based his talk on personal experiences while a labor manager in the clothing industry. Problems Discussed at Banquet The members of the council attended a banquet at the Shirley-Savoy hotel Wednesday evening, at which church problems and aims were discussed. The campaign of the church to raise $2,000,000 in three years for church work was explained. The speakers included Bishop F. G. Howden of New Mexico, Bishop E. V. Shaylor of Nebraska, Bishop G. A. Beecher of western Nebraska, Bishop James Wise of Kansas, and George Nye. The following provinvial delegates to the synod to be held at Omaha in October were elected Thursday: Rectors Bell, Tinker, Murphy, O’Malley and Blodgett, and Laymen Pershing, Winne, Lindsey, Wolfe and Dobend. The council ended its meeting with a business session late Thursday.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette, June 9, 1925: SAYS CHURCH MUST HELP CONDITIONS OF OUR INDUSTRY Responsibility of employer Pointed Out by Noted Social Worker Here “Why should there be the shedding of blood in industry as there has been in national relationships?” the Rev. William B. Spofford of Chicago asked the delegates to the conference on social service work of the Episcopal church, at the meeting yesterday afternoon at the Cliff House, Manitou. The speaker went on to show that the church has a real responsibility toward employers and employees alike in helping to establish industrial justice. Altho [sic] it is the duty of the church to make certain demands of industry, Dr. Spofford feels that it has fallen down on two scores. “In the first place,” he said, “churchmen have gone into settling industrial problems half-cocked,” and he cited as an example the great enthusiasm with which church people have followed the work of Arthur “Golden Rule” Nash of Cincinnati. “People praise his work, but they are more enthusiastic than deeply informed,” Mr. Spofford said. “Mr. Nash gains his following thru emotionalism rather than by science.” Must Get to Work. “In the second place, the church has failed in industrial problems,” the speaker said, “because it has been shooting in the air. The church must get into the work itself, not leave it to others. there has been too much mere gesturing.” And he told the story of the Paterson silk strike, citing the establishment of an impartial board for the settlement of industrial disputes by the church of that city as an example of what the church can bring about in industry. Dr. Spofford’s remarks were provocative of much discussion, and one of the suggestions resulting from it was that the owners of securities in a corporation should feel some responsibility as to conditions in the factories. “The church is in a position to tell industries what they should do,” said Dr. Spofford. “The investment of religious bodies is a tremendous power, and can be wielded for the betterment of conditions in industry.” He suggested the establishment of a committee to investigate the ethical soundness of a corporation before investments be made, just as the financial soundness is investigated at present.

The meeting last night was devoted to interrelationship of the social worker and the church. Walter W. Pettit, assistant director of the New York School of Social Work, spoke on “What Has the Social Worker to Give the Church?”  The subject from the point of view of the clergyman was taken up by the Rev. Samuel Tyler, rector of St. Luke’s church of Rochester, N.Y. “Social work,” Mr. Pettit said, “has tried to interpret the meaning of the precept, `being one’s brother’s keeper,’ by the elimination of the `out-and-in group.’” He continued by saying that the church formerly stressed charity which was interpreted with the emphasis on the reaction on the individual giving aid. Social service has taken the opposite stand, according to the speaker, and, he said, “a kind heart is now considered inadequate equipment for the social worker.” For Normal Relations. Social service, Mr. Pettit said, can give to the church its method of treating each individual as a different, complex case, and its belief that the change of environment is necessary to bring about the needed change of the person helped. “The social worker,” he said, “must first establish normal group relationships and then discover social needs that need adjustment.” “The term secular, as opposed to church social service,” Dr. Tyler said, “is bad.” He proceeded to say that church has the duty of making a supplementary spiritual contribution to social work, but that social work, which deals primarily with moral and spiritual principles, cannot be separated from the church. “The church and other social agencies are coming more and more to work together, and I, for one, say let us drop the term which differentiates between them. Let the church take her place beside the other agencies in the social field, humble and eager to do the special thing for which she exists.”

The meeting this morning will be devoted to work of the diocesan departments. In the afternoon, Miss Miriam Van Waters, referee, Juvenile Court of Los Angeles, and author of the much-discussed book “Youth in Conflict,” will speak on “Delinquency,” and James H. Pershing of Denver, will talk on “Dependency.”

Two-Day Program The program for today and tomorrow follows: Tuesday. Morning, 9:30 o’clock–Parallel sessions of groups and of executive body of accredited delegates, open to all. Group meetings of church organizations. Executive body– (1) “How Can We Use the Individual Members of the Diocesan Departments?” Rev. E. S. [ ], rector of [ ] Church [ ] Communi[ ] [ ] Work.” Rev. C. Rankin Barnes, rector of St. James church, South Pasadena, Calif. (3) “Social Service Devotions,” Rev. Julius C. H. Sauber, secretary of the department of social service, diocese of Pittsburgh. Afternoon, 2:30 o’clock–”The Broken Home,” from the point of view of : (1) “Dependency,” Mr. James H. Pershing. (2) “Delinquency,” Miss Miriam Van Waters, PhD, referee, Juvenile Court, Los Angeles, Calif. Wednesday Morning, 9:30 o’clock– Reports from group conferences. Address on “Seamen’s Church Institute,” Rev. William T. Weston, general secretary. Address on “City Missions,” Rev. Alfred S. Priddie, civic chaplain, Buffalo, N.Y.