Unitarian Church of Atlanta – Meeting Minutes, May 23, 1907 (Support or Close Atlanta Church)

Atlanta, Ga., May 23, 1907

A special called meeting of the Board of Trustees held this evening at the residence of J.C. Peck.

Present: Messrs. Peck, Moore, Watts, Jackson, Francis, St. Amand add Harding.

Minutes of last meeting read and approved.

The Treasurer submitted a report of the receipts and disbursements from Jan.1, 1907 to May 23, 1907 inclusive, as follows:

Receipts
Amount in hands of Treasurer Jan 1, 1907 $86.58
Receipts from Jan 1, 1907 to May 23, 1907 $777.28
Disbursements
From Jan 1, 1907 to May 23, 1907 $739.41
Amount in Hands of Treasurer $124.45

A detailed report of which will be found following minutes of meeting.

Mr. John L. Moore stated that the meeting was called to consider whether any arrangement should be made for a temporary supply at the conclusion of Dr. Shippen’s stay with us June 2nd also to discuss future engagement of a permanent pastor.

Mr. St. Amand in order that the Board of Trustees might be informed as to what had been done in the matter explained the action taken by the committee on pulpit supply appointed by the church, after freely discussing the situation, it was decided by the committee on pulpit supply to request Dr. Shippen on his return East, to confer with Dr. Eliot and have Dr. Eliot call the committee on Southern work together, so that Dr. Shippen might present the conditions in Atlanta to them, and urge upon the Southern committee the importance of their rendering immediate substantial support to the Atlanta parish.

Mr. St. Amand also stated that as the impression had gotten out that there was a lack of interest and harmony in the Atlanta parish, and a feeling growing among some of the members that the affairs of the church were in such shape, as not to encourage or inspire the Association to continue further aid, nor to the members to go on further with the work.

He furnished figures covering funds raised for the past five years and a half as follows:

Year 1902- Contributed by 36 members – 1,083.96
Year 1903- Contributed by 35 members – 1,261.08
Year 1904- Contributed by 34 members – 1,226.86
Year 1905- Contributed by 34 members – 1,266.25
Year 1906 – Contributed by 33 members – 1,828.12
Year 1907 contributed by 20 members to June 1, – 669.28

The contributions by members for five years, commencing with 1902 and ending with 1906 were $6,666.27.

The number of contributors during the period covered above were 172, divided by 5, shows the average to be but 34 contributors each year, dividing the contributions by five shows the amount contributed each year to be $1,333.25 for the five years or 39.21 by each contributor.

The income for 1906 from members was $1,828.12 contributed by 33 or $55.40 each.

Figuring the same ratio as a basis of contributions by the leading Baptist church of the city with a membership of some 1200 and assuming that one half of the members contributed to the support of the church in like proportion as our members do, would produce an income to said Baptist church of over $30,000.00 a year, while in fact, they do not raise more than half that amount.

The largest Presbyterian church of the city with a membership of 800 raised for support of the church $12,000.00 a year contributed by about 400 members, which would make the average giving but $30.00 a member.

In the opinion of the Treasurer, the members of our little church contribute more liberally as a whole than do the members of any other denomination in the city.

The increase in the income last year was owing to our church having an eloquent, magnetic, attractive speaker under whose pastorate the church attendance was largely increased by the addition of strangers which helped to increase the income greatly. For instance, the basket collections alone averaging some $13.00 a Sunday.

When Mr. Sanborn left us, the congregation fell off some fifty per cent, going back to its normal number, the basket collections falling off in greater proportion then the attendance, now averaging only about $5.00 a Sunday.

During the past six years our little church has had a series of mishaps which the membership are not responsible for, first in Dr. Langston leaving the church as he did, and the experience of the church with Mr. Sanborn. With every change in the pastorate the church has invariably perceptibly been weakened.

After a free and full discussion of the situation by all the members present it was unanimously decided that the Board ratify the action taken by the committee on pulpit supply in appealing to the Association through Dr. Shippen.

It was further unanimously decided in the event Dr. Shipper received no encouragement of a substantial response on the part of the Association that the Board of Trustees then deem it their duty to take the matter up direct laying conditions before the Association and impressing upon the Association that what the Atlanta church needed was a bright, active, energetic, magnetic speaker. One who would come to Atlanta, full of energy and with an earnest desire to crystallize into membership a part of the large element in our community in sympathy with us and of our thought and belief also to take part in all civic movements of the city as the ministers of other denominations do.

The Board is of the further opinion that the amount which the committee on pulpit supply pledged to raise toward the support of the church to wit: $1,500.00 a year is all that can possibly be raised by the church with its present membership, and if the Association does not, feel interested or cannot be interested to the extent of sending a strong man to Atlanta, a minister who would command a salary of say $2,000.00 a year, one half of which is to be borne by the Atlanta church, and the other half by the Association, said support to be continued by the Association until such time as accessions to membership will warrant decreasing amount to be paid by the Association then it is the opinion of the Board of Trustees, that good business judgment dictates that the church work in Atlanta should be discontinued with Dr. Shippen’s pastorate.

The Trustees would regret very much if the church was closed and the work stopped as it would leave the members nowhere to worship thereby bringing pain and sorrow to the hearts of the faithful ones who have for the past ten years labored for the cause of Unitarianism in Atlanta, under great difficulties.

There being no further business meeting adjourned.

<signed>

J.E. Harding, Clerk

Physical Archive: UUCA Box: 26   Folder: 02  Book: 02  Pages: 240 – 245
Citation: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records, RG 026, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University, Atlanta GA

Posted in Meeting Minutes, Physical Collection, Unitarian Church of Atlanta, Unitarian Records - Book 2

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