Rev. Conner Unitarian Club of California

Unitarian Club of California

When it was expected that the annual conference of the Pacific Coast churches would be held at Berkeley, May 8th to 11th, the council of the Unitarian Club of California planned to use the annual ladies’ night in entertaining the delegates and their wives, and had arranged an attractive program. When the conference was given up that energy might be given, and resources conserved, for the needs of the Nation, it was determined to hold the dinner with a necessarily modified program. The meeting was held at the Hotel Whitcomb, recently completed, and specially fitted for receptions, since on the eighth floor, superimposed on the roof, is a majestic room commanding all the sun and all the view that San Francisco can claim. Here at 6 o’clock there was held a general reception to Dr. and Mrs. Chas. F. Dole, Dr. and Mrs. Franklin C. South worth, and Rev. Ralph E. Conner.

At 7 o’clock the company of about ninety dropped down to the diningroom and enjoyed a dinner, which, in accordance with its uniform practice, ministers and their wives enjoyed without other consideration than their presence, while members and guests were served at somewhat less than cost, so that no conscience suffered for questionable expenditure. The general topic for discussion was “Libertv and Loyalty”. The Council’s call read: “Not the least important side of preparedness is clear thinking and an uplifted spirit, that loyalty may be enlightened and we may be prepared to act wisely and to bear with courage whatever comes.”

The first speaker was Rev. Ralph E. Conner, late of Gardner, Mass., who arrived on the day of meeting from Southern California, where he has generously supplied pulpits, and also delivered many well-appreciated lectures. He spoke upon “The One Thing Needful”, and very happily opened the discussion.

He emphasized the duty of loyalty and of steadfast support of those entrusted with the responsibilty of governmental control in these days of trial.

Dr. Dole spoke on “Our Contribution to the Public Good in Time of War”. He left no doubt of his regret that war had come and urged that we cherish humane views and avoid hate and wholesale condemnation of all the people who oppose us. We must beware of falling into the old error that sharply divided between the sheep and the goats. The fact is that the best of us have somewhat of the goat in our composition, and there is a little of the sheep in the worst of men. He favored generosity and suggested that it would have a good effect if rich America should step in at the end of the war and settle indemnities imposed on the defeated.
Mrs. Elizabeth Gerberding spoke briefly but well on “Loyalty of Church to State”, setting. forth some of the possibilities, and dwelling on what individuals might do for and through the church.

Dr. Southworth closed the discussion in pointed consideration of “The Loyalty Which Liberty Demands”. His address was constructive and firmly supported absolute loyalty that liberty might be preserved. The spirit of the evening was fine. There was enough difference in conclusions to remind all that the rights of free speech are worth making sacrifices for.

Source: Google Book, The Pacific Unitarian, Volume 26, No. 7, May 1917, Pages: 207 – 208

Posted in Conner, Ministers

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