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The Board of Home Missions-Pioneer
IONEERING has been the perennial business of the Board of Home Missions. For a century this mission was naturally interpreted almost wholly in the territorial sense. The pioneer of the naked axe, and the prairie-schooner has passed on never to return. There is still much pioneering doing and to do, but the methods are vitally different from those of the two or three generations past. Irrigation is not alone a new method of farming; it marks a social revolution. Irrigation and the process called dry-farming, together with other forces and movements of recent years, have given the enterprise of extending our civilization into new country an impetus and an importance not before known. A new chapter, and the most brilliant of our brilliant pioneering history, is now in the writing.
Even methods of church extension with new territory are different from those of the past, should be as different as the age and the processes of civilization are different from those of the fathers. But the new pioneering method makes an even greater draft than ever upon funds, and devotion, and sanctified sagacity. In 1886 there began that process of "self-support" which has now resulted in the assumption by twelve synods and several scattered presbyteries of the support of the dependent churches in their bounds. Yet the pioneering work has so expanded that instead of decreasing under the development of the self-support process, the force and funds required have steadily increased. Whereas in 1886 the Board commissioned 1367 ministers and expended directly in their behalf $413,751, the Board last year commissioned 1392 ministers and expended on their behalf $568,861.
Some suggestion is afforded by these figures of the change in method which time has wrought. The number of men employed has not increased so rapidly as has the fund expended on their behalf. A similar phenomenon distinguishes modern agriculture. Improved machinery extends the capacity of each person employed. And while increasing his productive capacity it puts him upon a higher living and working basis.
The pioneering extensions into new territory continue and the Board should be equipped to keep up with the opportunities, as it is not now able, and to develop those more highly scientific as well as more gracious processes which the new times demand.
But the pioneering function of the Board can no longer be expressed in territorial terms. The Church must go pioneering today deep and high as well as wide and long. The adventurer must dig into the problems of our older civilization. This demand has already compelled the erection of several agencies known as "special departments." Each is a vital element in the Board's organism. The compulsion to follow other lines still cannot long be evaded.
The special departments are faithful to the Board's historic mission. As pioneering agencies they have two characteristics which are vital. They are adventures and they explore wider fields than denominational boundaries can define.
They are adventures, not in the sense of being freakish or reckless, but their highest virtue is that they experiment in new fields, and point the way for the hosts of spiritual conquest coming after. Their efficiency is dependent upon the liberty afforded them for careful but often expensive experiment. Worthy experiment must never be convicted of recklessness, but new methods and processes must be bravely sought else the pioneering function is wholly sacrificed. On the other hand
their ministry is so vital and universal that it cannot and does not aim to be restricted to denominational functions. All branches of the organized Church are advantaged by their activities, and all other agencies charged with the spiritual mission share in the benefits.
These special departments as now organized are the following:
The Department of Indian Missions. Work among the Indians has been done by the Presbyterian Church time out of mind, and a gratifying leadership has been maintained if zeal and the numbers and funds involved are taken as the sign. The recent more definite organization of Presbyterian work under the department of Indian Missions has, however, given a pronounced impetus to this denominational effort, and has enabled the Board to be of greatly enlarged service in the wider activities of the whole Church in America. Dr. Moffett is not only the head of our Board's department, but his chairmanship of the Indian Committee of the Home Missions Council and his identification with other phases of the interdenominational and national movement in the behalf of the Indian has vastly extended the Board's ministry.
The Department of the Church and Country Life is the result of the expansion of the Church and Labor Department mentioned later. Nowhere is there greater need for the Board to magnify its pioneering office, and nowhere the results of intelligent and aggressive experimentation more fruitful in the increased vitality of the Church as a whole, than in this movement to put the Church where it can mold and direct the needed conservation of American country life. Dr. Warren Wilson, the head of the department, is already widely looked to for leadership among the forces organizing among all the churches and other spiritual agencies in this interest. In the nature of the case, the effort cannot be confined by the limits of one denomination in as much as the chief demand upon the country church of today is the submergence of sectarian narrowness and antipathies.
The Department of Immigration, for several years maintained by the Board, has recently been more fully developed by a slight reorganization whereby Rev. W. P. Shriver, formerly the assistant in the joint department of Church and Labor and Immigration, now becomes the head of the latter, according to the original plan of organization. It needs no second thought to discover the necessity for magnifying both features above mentioned in the approach to this most difficult problem the American Church now faces.
The Department of Church and Labor has for years been speaking to the whole American Church and the American public in terms of such clearness and convincing power that none can by this time mistake the importance of its functions. The Board's pioneering mission finds not truer expression. The unmistakable and sometimes organized alienation from the Church of large classes of the population is a matter of the most serious and general concern. The success of the department in checking this tendency has been so generally recognized by all branches of the American Church that all thoughtful church people are aware of the facts. Of the manifold activities of the department, that of social and religious survey has assumed an importance and has achieved results which deserve special mention even in so brief a statement as this. Mr. Stelzle is here assisted with rare skill and insight by Mr. St. John, who personally conducts the investigations which have already re-ordered the home mission methods of several localities.
With a profound feeling of the responsibility of the Presbyterian Church and of every other spiritual agency of our American life, the Board is pursuing these lines of activity, and looks to the Church to back with increasing devotion her historic pioneer Board in leading on into the new era of the divine providence.
Our Ministry to the Immigrant
A CHALLENGE AND AN ANSWER
BY THE REV. WILLIAM PAYNE SHRIVER, SUPERINTENDENT DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION.
HE immigrant tide has again passed the million mark. 1,041,570 is the record for the year ending June 30, 1910. In the lead of this great flood of hoping, human life came 213,000 Italians; followed by 128,000 Poles, 84,000 Hebrews, 71,000 Germans, and men of forty races. 300,000 farmers, most of whom will be engulfed in our congested city centers far from the land; 154,000 skilled workmen; 95,000 servants; 11,000 from the professions, and 285,000 without a given occupation, including women and children, were reckoned in this million of immigrant aliens which a single year placed beneath the protection of our flag. Figures of such size may well give pause and lead the Christian Church
to pray. And yet how empty are figures, to tell the real story of the hopes and fears, the disappointments and rebuffs, the suffering and endless toil which lie between to-day and the goal of the Immigrant's golden dreams. Again, what meaning have these immigrant races to America? to our industries and agriculture? to politics and government? to religion and the Church? to the race-stock of the future? To weld these foreign forces into the strength of an American Christian society is the task before us and a challenge to the Church. But the Church is awakened, and is no longer amazed simply at the mass of this alien life; it has ceased even to raise these general questions as mere matters of debate; for the Church in America is unlimbering itself for its vast augmented missionary task. It is beginning, if in often crude and misdirected and insufficient ways, to try to help; to enter with sympathy into the human needs and heart hunger of these folk, in the spirit of Him Who had a universal love. A Department of Immigration, with its specialized study, its experimental work, an informing literature, its increasing roll of missionaries to these people of foreign speech, and an annually growing budget, is the answer of the Board of Home Missions of our Presbyterian Church. Our Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work, the Boards of Education and Church Erection, our Theological Seminaries and Training Schools, the great SelfAdministrative Synods of the East and Central West, all are rising to the challenge. At the beginning, confessedly, of a new and great task, the call is for sympathy, for painstaking study, for alert resourcefulness, for volunteers, for money, and for the unrelenting patience and perseverance of the Christ. The writing on the horizon reads encouragement; it is a record of progress and of promise, and of fine things to do, for the future of America and the Kingdom of our God.
THE MINISTRY OF A'RURAL PRESBYTERY
BY THE REV. ROBERT BONNER JACK, HAZLETON, PA.
OR twenty years, the Presbytery of Lehigh has carried on mission work among the peoples of foreign speech. The man of clear vision and large courage, who inaugurated the work was the Rev. W. W. McNair, at that time pastor of the Audenreid church. There were timid men in those days, who, by their caution, greatly retarded the work; however, God has blessed the efforts put forth so that today, under the direction of the Presbytery, work is being carried on among the 100,000 foreigners of Lehigh Presbytery as follows: We have a mission for Italians at Roseta; for a time, a missionary labored among the Magyars (Hungarians) at South Bethlehem; a school is conducted among the Slavs at Siegfried; a mission among the Slavs at St. Clair; another among the Magyars at Audenreid; and another for Italians at Hazleton, while two Presbyterian churches of Easton have a mission in their city for Italians. Colporteurs of the Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work have labored throughout the Presbytery.
Much that is interesting might be written concerning any one of these fields. The writer will confine his attention to Hazleton, with which he is more familiar. Through the patient endeavor of the Rev. W. W. McNair, a lot was secured at Hazleton, admirably placed, and of sufficient size for the purpose. A neat chapel was built and in due time a manse was placed upon the rear of the lot with a room in the basement for a young men's club. The usual Sunday and mid-week services have been held, also classes for the study of English and of the Bible, with a sewing class for children held on Saturday afternoons. A kindergarten conducted under independent auspices has been of much help. For a number of years the mission moved along with fair success. Different men served as missionaries, emphasizing the well-known fact that one of the difficulties is that which arises from the poor grade of workers. About ten years ago, a young man came from New York and was placed in charge of the mission. After four years of study, carried on while he conducted the mission, he was ordained by the Presbytery. This last year he was chosen as moder
← ator of the Presbytery, and has just returned
from Italy, having attended the Waldensian Synod as a representative of our own General Assembly.
These last ten years have been years of real success, and as we look back over the twenty years, we find that we have come to the place where we can see real and satisfactory results. I remember a boot-black of 19 years ago who came to the mission. Employment was found for him in a tin shop; today he owns his own tin shop, is doing a good business and is one of the elders of the mission. A few years ago, it was proposed that the section in which the mission is located should be added to our city. Because it meant better sanitary conditions for his people, the pastor of the mission entered heart and soul into the contest. The interest became so intense that both the annexationists and the anti-annexationists applied to the courts for inspectors to be placed at the polls. When the court sent certificates for these officers, they were given to the pastor of our mission to keep over night. The Rev. Mr. Brun, our missionary, was appointed the inspector for his ward, and it is generally admitted that the count for that day was an