Church of Our Father – Meeting Minutes, Nov 15, 1897 (Annual Meeting)

Atlanta Ga. Nov. 15th, 1897

Pursuant to the adjournment from the Nov. 1st, the regular annual meeting of the Church of Our Father was held on the above date.

There were twenty members present and a strong interest in the affairs of the Church evinced.

Mr. J.E. Harding was chosen to preside over the meeting.

The minutes of the previous annual meeting were read and approved.

The following report of the Pastor was read and ordered to be spread upon the minutes.

Being unable to write or even dictate a detailed report, I will try to indicate in a few words what I believe to be the main point of interest present and future.

The time has come when the spirit and condition of the Church is ready for a forward movement, and I am certain that it will be the aim of pastor and people to build up the  membership of Church, Alliance (Archivist Note: Woman’s Alliance) and Sunday School.  I am certain also that every indication, at the present moment shows that the people are willing to work and by that law of development which moves the tide in the given direction, we ought as a church to make gains every month.

As the Treasurer has told you, the financial losses experienced from the reduced rent and repairs have somewhat discouraged us; but with united effort we believe these discouragements can be overcome.

Hoping the meeting may be pleasant and harmonious. 

I Remain Truly Yours,


W.S. Vail

The report of the Clerk was then presented and ordered spread on the minutes as follows:

To the Annual Meeting of the Church of Our Father, Atlanta, Ga.

I am pleased to report to you that at the close of this year, more interest is being manifested in the Church than at any time during the three years of my membership.  I have been so placed in the audience that I could keep an accurate count of the attendance at the services during the year, but an exact count for the last service Sunday mornings shows an average attendance of 53.

We have 104 name on our roll of members but of that number a great many have removed from the city.  Some of our members have been taken from us by death and a few have voluntarily ceased affliating  with us.  I have not the means of accurately knowing the number of our members in good standing and I recommend that the Advisory Committee and the Clerk in making so they can be communicated with as occasion requires.

During the past year, the Church Trustees have held five meetings.  Several meeting of the Board have been called but no business transacted for want of a quorum.  This is been due partly to the fact that the business of two members of the Board has occassioned there unavoidable absence from the city much of the time. 

An inspection of the Church records shows that we have to elect at this meeting a member of the Board of Trustees to take the place of Mr. Crafts whose term has now expired.  The resignation of Mr. Watts has been place in my hands if accepted this meeting should elect a trustee to finish his term covering four more years.

I am sorry to report that the quarterly meetings decided upon at the last annual meeting have not been held as proposed.

We have one baptism during the year, Wade Pitts Harding, Jr., son of Wade and Kate Harding.

Respectfully Submitted,


E.A. Davidson, Clerk.

The Treasurer’s report as follows:

To the Officers and Members of the Church of Our Father,

I regret that a continued absence from the city and my unavoidable absence tonight have prevented my preparing a detailed report for your consideration in time for this meeting.  While the past year has not been as properous as we have hoped it would be, we have held our own fairly well in a financial way.  The total income of the Church from all sources has been nearly $1,900, of which amount $525 comes from the American Unitarian Association, $650 from rent of dwelling, the balance being the contributions of your members.  The principal expenditure has been for the minister’s salary, which is nearly paid up and for the building repairs, taxes and the operating expenses of the Church.  No payment has been made on account of interest due the American Unitarian Association which now amounts to $1,050, it is hoped that this amount may be allowed to stand until the real estate belonging to you may be sold at a fair price.

In February last, the directors of the A.U.A. voted permission to sell a part of the property on very favorable terms to this society.  I submit herewith a letter from Rev. George Batchelor, Secy of the A.U.A. which more fully explains this proposition.  Leaving out consideration the quest of interest due the A.U.A., the estimated expenditures for the coming year are about as follows:

Category Amount
Minister’s Salary $1,500
Exp. acct sundries Janitor, etc. $150
Light and fuel $50
Printing $50
Music $75
Library $25
Taxes $133
Building Repairs $50
Total $2,033
Estimated Receipts
From rent of dwelling $540
American Unitarian Association $500
Leaving balance to be raised by members $1,000
Total Receipts $2,040

It is of course uncertain what the A.U.A. may do for us in the way of appropriation for the coming year. I would suggest that the Church through its proper officers make an application at once to the Board of Directors of the A.U.A. for an appropriation for 1898.

As my business engagements keep me away from the city so much of the time, I feel that your interest will be better served by electing someone as your treasurer who can give closer attention to the work. I must ask, therefore that you will relief me of these duties at this meeting and take the opportunity of thanking you for the confidence you have placed in me in the past.

Respectfully Yours,


Frank Lederle, Treas.

A rising note of thanks was then tendered Mr. Lederle for his faithful services as treasurer.

The letter from Mr. Batchelor, Secy of the A.U.A. notifying us that we can sell 85ft of our lot also of the appropriation of $500.00 to the Church for 1897.

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Crafts, then read his report which was accepted and ordered spread upon the minutes (report attached). (Archivist Note: No report from the chairman of the Board of Trustees was found in the physical archives.)

The Report of the Librarian was then read as follows:

Atlanta, Ga. Nov. 15, 1897

I first took hold of the Library Aug 29th, 1897 as Miss Annie Roering, then Librarian, could act as such any longer.  The Library was in a very bad condition and my first object was to get it straightened out.  First a new set of rules were made out and printed.  The cost of which was very kindly donated by Mr. Crafts.  Through the influence of Mr. Davidson, a new ledger was also donated.

As the books were all taken down to paste in the new rules, they were never re-catalogued as the cataloguing was then in a very bad shape.   I found that about 210 books were missing, most of which were books written by popular authors, Otis Yenan (Archivist Note: unsure of spelling), etc.  I have the names of some of the persons who have these books, but do not expect to get many back.

I have work on the Library Wednesday and Friday afternoons and all day Saturday for the past five weeks, but have not got matters straightened out yet.

The fee system seems to be working as well as might be expected, 65 cents has been collect for Oct. dues, but all have not yet paid.   There are now about 60 persons taking out books from the Library including the S.S. (Archivist: Sunday School) children.

The following books were donated to the Library by Mr. Davidson:  Arabian Nights, Cleopatra, American Chesterfield, History of Texas, A Member of the House, The Bride of Lammermoor, Essays by R.W. Emerson, Physiology and Hygiene by W.Y. Smith, where were gratefully received.

Other books have also been promised by various persons. There are a few books which will have to be recovered before they can be used.  The Library is also in need of a few more new books by popular authors.  

I think the Library has a bright future and if the right interest is shown towards it by all to make it a success, the Library will soon be one of the most important factors in educating the public.

Respectfully Submitted,

Otto Abel, Librarian

The following report of the Woman’s Alliance was then read and ordered spread upon the minutes.

The Ladies Alliance, through small in numbers, is gradually gaining strength.  We had at the beginning of the Church year, fifteen members.  At the present time, we have twenty-five, one member has left the city and another withdrew during the year.

It has been the custom to hold the meetings at the Church, but is was suggested by one of the new members the meetings are now held at the housed of the different members.  This plan seems to have inspired the members with renewed interest, for since adopting this plan, the meetings have been much better attended.

From Nov. 1896 till Dec., we held a meeting every Tuesday; from then until June 1897, every two weeks, we we adjourned for the summers.  The first meeting after adjournment was held Oct 5th.  Several new members have already been added to our list and this has given the Alliance renewed life.

In the last year, the Alliance has given a number of entertainments: a Christmas sale in Dec, a Eugene Field evening in Feb., several socials, a children’s entertainment and on lecture.  They were all fairly successful.

The financial report is as follows:

Category Amount
Cash on Hand $73.12
Amount raised $152.86
Total $225.98
Amount Disbursed
National Alliance $285.00
General Expense $21.10
Church Year on Church Exp $195.13
Total $219.08

Amount still on hand: $6.90.

One new feature which was introduced sometime in the last six months that bids fair to arouse more cordiality between members and new comers is the Visiting Committee. This committee serves three months, when another is appointed and so on. The duty of this committee is to visit any new comers in the Church.

For the first year we have done very little besides raising money for the Church.

Some of our members met at the Church a number of times to cover books for the Library, but the attendance at these meetings was quite small.  For the coming year, we hope to raise even a larger amount then the preceding year.  It is to be hoped that all the members will cooperate in the effort to this end and to enlarge membership.

Respectfully Submitted,


Mrs. W.G. Abel, Pres.

A motion was carried to change the By-laws so that four members shall constitute the Advisory Committee to act with the Pastor instead of two.

The resignation of Mr. Watts from the Board of Trustees was then read and accepted with regrets.

The Chair then appointed a nominating committee consisting of Mr. Menken, Mr. Chillingworth, and Mrs. Abel who retired and reported the following nominations:

  • For Clerk for the ensuring year: E.A. Davidson
  • Treasurer for the ensuring year: J.G. St. Amand
  • Trustee to success himself for five years: Geo. H. Crafts
  • Trustee to fill vancy caused by the resignation of Julius R. Watts (four years): J.B. Frost

On motion the report of the nomination committee was adopted and the nominees were duly elected.

Mr. Frank Lederle and Mrs. Mrs. ?ahner were elected member of the Advisory Board.

Moved and seconded that we re-elect Rev. W.S. Vail as pastor for the ensuing year.  The motion was carried unanimously.

Moved and seconded we allow the Equal Suffrage Association the use of the Church Reading room, for one year, in which to hold their meetings, the E.S.A. to pay the expense of janitor, light and fuel incurred by their meetings.  Motion carried.

Archivist Note: The Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association was formed in in February 1892 primarily by women from the Church of Our Father.  See Newspaper Clippings May 31, 1892.  “Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association formed three months earlier.  Regular meeting held at Unitarian church.  President – Mrs. F.C. Swift; First VP – Mrs. M.L. McLendon; second VP – Mrs. Dr. Hicks; Secretary – Mrs. Trippe, Treasurer – Mrs. M. Chandler.”  Mrs. F.C. Swift was among the first women voted onto the Church of Our Father board of trustees in 1895.

No further business was transacted and the meeting adjourned.


E.A. Davidson, Clerk,

The Clerk was instructed to call meetings of the Church Quarterly. E.A.D.

First Mondays in Feb, May and Aug.

Physical Archive: UUCA Box: 25    Folder: 03  Book: 01   Pages: 195 – 202
Citation: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records, RG 026, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University, Atlanta GA

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Posted in Church of our Father, Meeting Minutes, Physical Collection, Unitarian Records - Book 1

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