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Property of the Association

Report of Treasurer of Church Building Loan Fund

Property of Church Building Loan Fund

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Rev. SAMUEL A. ELIOT, D.D., of Cambridge, Mass.


Hon. JOSEPH W. SYMONDS, LL.D., of Portland, Me.
SAMUEL HOAR, Esq., of Concord, Mass.

Hon. WILLARD BARTLETT, of Brooklyn, N. Y.
Hon. THOMAS J. MORRIS, of Baltimore, Md.
Hon. GEORGE E. ADAMS, of Chicago, Ill.
Hon. HORACE DAVIS, LL.D., of San Francisco, Cal.


Rev. CHARLES E. ST. JOHN, of Brookline, Mass.

Assistant Secretary

GEORGE W. Fox, Esq., of Boston, Mass.


FRANCIS H. LINCOLN, Esq., of Hingham, Mass.

Samuel Bowles, Esq. .
Rev. John P. Forbes.
John Mason Little, Esq. .
Adelbert Moot, Esq. .
Rev. Mary A. Safford
Mrs. Thomas Talbot


Charles W. Ames, Esq. .
Roland W. Boyden, Esq.
George T. Cruft, Esq.
Mrs. Prescott Keyes.
Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells
Rev. Merle St. C. Wright



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Rev. Howard N. Brown.
Charles W. Clifford, Esq.
Rev. William W. Fenn .
Rev. Austin S. Garver
Mrs. Frances A. Hackley
George Hutchinson, Esq.

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Des Moines, Ia.
North Billerica, Mass.

Standing Committees

FINANCE. Messrs. Lincoln, Little, Bowles, Hutchinson, and Cruft.
PUBLICATION. Messrs. Brown, Bowles, Forbes, Wright, and Mrs. Keyes.
NEW ENGLAND. Messrs. Garver, Boyden, Cruft, Clifford, and Mrs. Keyes.
MIDDLE. -Messrs. Forbes, Moot, Hutchinson, Wright, and Mrs. Hackley.
SOUTHERN.Messrs. Little, Garver, Fenn, Mrs. Wells, and Mrs. Talbot.
Messrs. Brown, Moot, Ames, Fenn, and Miss Safford.
Messrs. Bowles, Cruft, Clifford, Mrs. Wells, and Mrs. Talbot.
Messrs. Brown, Ames, Garver, Mrs. Wells, and Mrs. Keyes.

- Messrs. Forbes, Boyden, Wright, Fenn, and Mrs. Hackley.

St. Paul, Minn.

Beverly, Mass.
Bethlehem, N. H.
Concord, Mass.

Boston, Mass.
New York, N. Y.


Boston, Mass.

New Bedford, Mass.
Chicago, Ill.
Worcester, Mass.
New York, N. Y.
West Newton, Mass.

- Messrs. Lincoln, Hutchinson, Boyden, Clifford, and Mrs. Talbot.


It is my privilege to welcome the delegates of this honorable fellowship of free churches to their annual meeting. We meet to compare views and to devise more efficient ways of usefulness, but we bring from our different constituencies no power to commit them to any course of action or opinion. The congregations whose delegates we are, and whose divine business we are commissioned to transact, enjoy not only their individual liberty, but the added liberty of counsel and co-operation. These free churches find the justification of their existence in that order of history which we may well call the method of the kingdom of God. They have not risen out of any passion for dissent and schism or any desire for creating a new sect. They confess themselves rather the product and outgrowth of deep spiritual causes. We do not gather here to set forth a creed, for these free churches have no such commodity. We cannot describe in definite terms Articles of Belief which we do not profess; but I do desire to place. before you once more the intent and purpose of our assembling, to make it evident that there is an intent and purpose, to deepen our sense of mutual responsibility, and to make more sympathetic and hearty the spirit in which we enter upon another year of resolution and of work.

There are many ways in which the impulse to religion may be stirred, and which are widely utilized at the present time. Some souls are moved by symbolism,-by ritual,

organization, — by force of numbers, by external conformity and discipline. All these agencies may be legitimate instruments, and yet to none of them can we who gather here confide our hope. We refuse to be entangled in the machinery of religion, because we confide in that form of faith which sets an individual soul face to face with a living God. "A Unitarian," said Dr. Peabody, speaking for our fellowship to the International Congregational Council, “is indifferent to the accessories of religion, because he is dominated by the desire for reality." Others may create more ornate churches, more impressive ceremonials, more substantial organizations; it is our desire to be acquainted at first hand with truth. It would be a vast misfortune if these free churches of ours were to set themselves to compete with more decorative communions in point of ritual or with more highly organized communions in ecclesiastical discipline. To us belongs the more sober, the more difficult, and, as I believe, the more exalted function of dwelling near the sources of truth; of making religion practical; of preaching and living the more abundant life; "of encouraging the personal and direct approach, unmediated by any priest or form, of the individual soul to a living God."

Religion, as I understand it, is inspirational, not mechanical. Genuine conviction and real feeling must work from within outward, not from without inward. It is our privilege to invite men to be religious, not with the old arguments of self-reproach, but with the arguments of selfrespect. It is our privilege to present Christianity not as a theory to be explained, not as a system to be defended, but as a life to be lived. The wise man does not, indeed, despise the conventions of society or the accredited opinions of the Church. He seeks to understand them; but he does

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