NATIONAL AUXILIARY BODIES
In most denominational organizations the various functional age and sex groups are integral parts of the total organization. In the Universalist and Unitarian denominations many of them are separate and independent organizations though they operate for the most part in close cooperation with the churches on the one hand and the denominational headquarters on the other. In most cases they are housed at the headquarters and in one way or another contribute to or are partly supported by the denomination.
Already the two independent and completely merged functions — religious education in the C.L.C. and youth work in the L.R .Y. — have been discussed. Descriptions of three other auxiliaries are in this chapter: the men’s organizations, the women’s organizations and the Minister’s organizations.
Each denomination has a separate organization for men’s work. In the Unitarian denomination it is the Unitarian Laymen’s League and in the Universalist denomination it is the National Association of Universalist Men.
Unitarian Laymen’s League
The U.L.L. was organized in 1919 “for the purpose of en1isting active participation of laymen in the thought, the work and the worship of the liberal fellowship.” Originally it operated in the general luncheon club pattern in local churches. In recent years, however, the local groups have given their attention to projects of various kinds, working by means of a variety of committees.
In May, 1958, there were 107 active chapters with 3,301 members and in addition 361 members—at—large, men who wanted to he identified with the League although no organized chapter was accessible to them.
The national organization is made up of delegates from the chapters who come together in an annual meeting and elect a Continental Council composed of officers including regional vice presidents. There is also a Continental Advisory Committee consisting of 45 prominent men.
In 1957—58, the income and expenditures amounted to approximately $22,500. The money came principally from three sources: income from investments, cir. $6,000; dues from chapters and members—at—large, cir. $4,800; from the United Unitarian Appea1, $10,600. The budget for 1958—59 is about 20 per cent larger.
The list of projects which have been sponsored, promoted and executed by the national organization through and in cooperation with the local chapters over the years reflects a close relation to and concern with the development and expansion of the Unitarian Church. They include such items as preaching missions, the training of laymen, the improvement of ministers salaries, the financing of new and remote fellowships, the development of denominational fund raising campaign, the promotion of United Nations Day and the present publicity campaign. This current project consists of advertisements in national magazines and important newspapers with coupons for material on Unitarianism.
Through organized follow-up and complete record keeping, many of the thousands of replies have been referred o churches and a substantial number of inquirers have become church members.
The Lamplighter is published bi-monthly. It is sent to all members as a means of communicating news, ideas and information about projects and the programs of the U.L.L. and also of the U.U.A.
National Association of Universalist Men
Compared to the Laymen’s League, the N.A.U.M. is relatively new, having been organized in 1949. Although not incorporated, it is an independent body with national officers. It has no staff, but a considerable volume of necessary work is done by the officers, principally the President and Secretary. Present membership is approximately 1,000.
Since its organization, the Association has devoted its efforts to encouraging local church men’s clubs to affiliate with the national organization. The News Sheet, published several times a year, is circulated to all members. It contains articles by leading Universalists, news about men’s activities and about the denomination.
The Association holds an annual meeting, which in odd numbered years is held concurrently with the General Assembly. A part of the annual program is devoted to interesting discussions of denominational affairs. The association is greatly interested in encouraging men’s work and in helping to support the denomination.
Both denominations have large and thriving women’s organizations which are independent of their respective denominational headquarters organizations. In both cases, however, they have their national offices in the denominational offices and cooperate with the denominational organization in specific ways or in general. The organization of the Unitarian women is the General Alliance of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Women. The Association of Universalist Women is the women’s organization of the Universalist Church.
The General Alliance
The G.A. states its purpose in the 1957-58 Unitarian Yearbook as:
1. “To quicken religious life and to maintain and organization of liberal religious women of all races devoted to the task of realizing those ideals of personal and social living to which they are committed as Unitarians;
2. To promote the association of such women into local groups to further the purposes and programs of the General Alliance;
3. To cooperate with other organizations within the Unitarian Fellowship for the promotion and extension of Unitarianism;
4. To encourage, stimulate and promote the study and discussion of the social and economic problems of society in order to put more fully into action the principles of free religion in their homes, their churches, their communities and the world,
5. To stimulate an awareness of the place the church universal may hold in present day life, so that as Unitarian women they may add to its creativeness and extension.”
The General Alliance is a federation of local branches which number 420 and gain their status by forwarding dues of 50 cents per member to the national office. There are in all nearly 20,000 members. The annual business meeting of the G.A. is made up of elected delegates from the local branches which elects a Board of Directors composed of officers and eight regional vice presidents. These meet three times a year and invite the Regional Directors to be present at least one meeting.
The annual budget is about $50,000. There are three sources of income: from membership dues a little less than $10,000; from investments a little over $25,000; from the United Unitarian Appeal about $16,000. The expenditures are: about $25,000 for administration and salaries, including the annual meeting; $14,000 for education and promotion including board and committee meetings, materials, leadership training conferences and the Unitarian Alliance News; and $8,500 for field services.
The G.A. neither supports nor operates service projects, but rather encourages the local branches to support worthy enterprises in their own communities. Three hundred fifteen (315) of the branches reported in 1957 that they had done this to a total of$205,000.
The program of the G.A. is focused on education. The annual meeting determines topics for major emphasis for study and action in the year ahead. In 1958, the topics selected were: problems of the aging, integration, adoption, federal aid to education, and American Indians. Helps for study of these topics are prepared by the national office and local branches are urged to carry out the study program in whole or in part.
Special emphasis has been put upon leadership training. An annual conference is held; likewise regional conferences when opportunity is afforded. Much material for use by members and in local groups to strengthen leadership and understand the operation of groups has been prepared and distributed. The basic purpose of developing more knowledgeful and skillful churchmanship among Unitarian women has been persistently and diligently pursued.
Association of Universalist Women
The constitution of the Association of Universalist Women states the purpose “to bring together in a unified group the women-power of the Universalist Church for the promotion of its total program.” In the 1958 Yearbook the goals are given as:
1. Every Universalist women — a thinking, active member of her church
2. Every Universalist woman contributing some service to her church
3. A planned program of women’s activities in every church
4. A planned budget and methods for raising same
5. A unified organization for all Universalist women in each church, expressing faith in service and prayer.
The A.U.W. has no dues, no membership, and no delegates. All Universalist women are included. The official body is the biennial meeting composed of those women who attend. It elects officers and four trustees who constitute the Executive Board of the Association. Local church groups are affiliated with the 28 state organizations, the presidents of which form the State Presidents’ Council. This body holds annual joint meetings with the Executive Board of the Association of Universalist Women.
The mailing list of the A.U.W.’s bi-monthly publication, The Bulletin, is the only available source of information about the number of groups and of members. From this source the 1958 estimate is: 275 churches with groups; 305 women’s groups; 11,400 women receiving The Bulletin.
The annual budget of the A.U.W. runs over $130,000. The income is: from investments, cir. $27,000; from A.U.W. groups, cir. $27,000; gifts for camps foundation, $20,00; camp committee $4,000. The expenditures are: administration, including salaries, $16,260; education and promotion including publications, conferences, and field work $6,565; projects $107,550. The A.U.W. receives nothing from the Universalist Unified Appeal, but contributes $6,00 to it as one of the projects. It also cooperates with the Universalist Service Committee in support of programs in Japan and the Jordan Neighborhood House in Suffolk, Virginia. Other denominational gifts theological scholarships and special gifts to St. Lawrence Theological School.
The major emphasis of the Association of Universalist Women is on the projects which are carried out through the national headquarters and toward the operation of which state and local organizations are urged to contribute. The largest item in these projects are the camps for diabetic girls and boys, a pioneering and greatly appreciated effort of the A.U.W. They also own and maintain the Clara Barton Birthplace. The cooperative projects with the Universalist Service Committee already mentioned and various timely small projects complete the list.
The A.U.W. finance department is responsible for all financial matters including the raising of funds for the projects. The A.U.W. Service Department is responsible for all projects except the camps for which the Clara Barton Birthplace and the Camps Committee is responsible. The Education Department of which the Executive Director is chairman is responsible for publications, summer leadership conferences of which there were 7 in 1958, and sponsoring in cooperation with the State Presidents’ Council a local adult education program.
The Yearbook is of special importance. In addition to the regular information expected in such a publication, there is a series of special days and events and program suggestions. A monthly worship series, each prepared by a Universalist woman is also included.
Both denominations have organized associations of their ministers on a national basis. There are also area associations, several of which combine Unitarian and Universalist ministers.
Unitarian Ministers Association
The functions of the U.M.A. which includes Unitarian ministers of the United States and Canada, according to the Yearbook are: “to help make the ministry effective in its prophetic and pastoral leadership; to interpret the functions of the minister to the churches; to improve the professional capabilities of Unitarian ministers; to cooperate in administrative relationship with the American Unitarian Association and other denominational agencies and institutions in recruiting for the ministry, the training of ministers, the creation and maintenance of professional status, the settlement of ministers, the clarification and promotion of the message of liberal religion, the provision of security for ministers in need, the establishment of adequate salary standards; to guard the professional right and status of its members; to defend the principles of freedom in church and denominational relationships; to formulate a code of professional practice and to provide for the censure of violations of this code.”
The Executive Committee is made up of the officers, three members and the presidents of the seven branches. The funds come from the United Unitarian Appeal and from $25 annual dues. Part of the money is allocated to local associations and part is at the disposal of a ministerial relations committee which assists ministers and churches with have difficulties.
The U.M.A. is responsible for the health and hospital insurance program. It cooperates closely with the Department of Ministry in its various programs.
The general program of the ministers concerns professional matters such as practices, usages and service material.
Universalist Ministers Association
The ministerial organization in the Universalist denomination has become active in the last few years. Its purposes are essentially the same as those of the Unitarian Ministers Association.
The ministers conferences have been seriously engaged in an interpretative look at the Universalist Ministry and serious discussions dealing with ways and means of improving the services and status of the ministers.
In the last year or two, considerable attention has been given to area meetings of ministers. The Midwest area in particular has had some stimulating programs.