GARDNER, MAss.—First Unitarian Society, Rev. Ralph E. Conner: In the spring this society had become disheartened, and the people were downcast. There was some talk of closing the church; but now a series of occurrences has given an entirely new outlook.
Rev. Ralph E. Conner, a Universalist minister, is a resident of Gardner, and the Unitarian church invited him to become its minister for one year. Mr. Conner applied for fellowship, was admitted, after which he accepted the invitation of the society without withdrawing from the ministry of the Universalist church. “The people responded at once to the hearty enthusiasm and industrious activity of Mr. and Mrs. Conner.
The congregations are double what they have been, and the fall opens with a spirit of loyal co-operation and hope abroad, of which every one partakes. At the annual church meeting a new committee was chosen whereon are the names of several young business men. This committee has received the loyal support of old and young, and the contributions to the church have been materially and generally increased.
A floating indebtedness threatened to swamp the society, but early this fall a generous and modest woman, who does not allow her name to be used, gave $1,000 that the troublesome obligation might be paid. Mr. Conner by his able sermons and his wise leadership of the parish is bringing all the people together in spirit and in purpose.
Mrs. Conner helps materially by her cheerful courage and good-will, and now hope has taken the place of despair in the hearts of the people. The society looks forward with confidence to a useful and happy career, and this adds much to the satisfaction of the many who have worked so long and hard to establish and maintain the First Unitarian Church.
Source: Google Books, English Mechanic and the World of Science, Volume 92, October 16, 1913, Page: 1007