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Title: Six Thousand Country Churches

Author: Charles Otis Gill

Gifford Pinchot

Release date: August 30, 2010 [eBook #33587]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Tom Roch and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at (This file was produced from
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MACMILLAN & CO., Limited





The Country Churches of Ohio
Larger Image














New York
All rights reserved



Copyright, 1919

Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1919



[Pg vii]


I.How the Facts were Gathered3
II.The Rural Church Maps of Ohio5
III.Summary of Results8
 Oversupply of Churches—The churches small and weak—Attendance—An absentee ministry—Divided effort of the ministry—Short term of minister’s service—Defective overhead organization—Ministers’ salaries—Educational equipment of the minister.
IV.Where Church Efficiency is Lowest12
V.The Church in the Eighteen Counties19
VI.A Policy and Program40
 1. A better program—2. A better ministry—3. Better support—4. Better acquaintance—5. Re-arrangement of circuits—6. More resident ministers—7. Interchurch coöperation—8. Community churches—9. Non-sectarian support.
VII.Federated Churches59
 1. Greene Township—2. Aurora—3. Garrettsville—4. Northfield—5. Federated churches in other states.
VIII.Other Progressive Churches75
 1. A church federation—2. Coöperation with other social forces—3. Community service and Christian unity—4. Christian unity by necessity—5. The church as a force for righteousness—(a) Old Fort—(b) Lakeville.
IX.Agricultural Coöperation88
[Pg viii]PART II
I.Geographical Distribution of the Denominations93
II.Tabular Summaries for the State110
 Table I.—Population, average number of Persons and Churches, and average number of Persons to a Church, by Townships111
 Table II.—Churches classified according to the number of their members112
 Table III.—Amount of Ministerial Service by Townships, Villages, and Churches114
 Table IV.—Number of Churches in Villages and in the Open Country115
 Table V.—Resident Ministers in Strictly Rural Townships in the Open Country and in Villages118
 Table VI.—Terms of Service of Methodist Episcopal Country Ministers, 1917119
 Table VII.—Average number of Persons to a Church in 1170 Rural Townships121
 Table VIII.—Average number of Persons to a Church in Rural Townships, Suburban Townships, and Cities122
 Table IX.—Salaries of Methodist Episcopal Country Ministers, 1917123
 Table X.—Salaries of Country Ministers, United Brethren in Christ, 1917123
III.Tabular Summaries by Counties124
Explanatory Note145
Country Church Maps of the Eighty-Eight Counties of Ohio147
Action of the Committee on Interchurch Coöperation of the Ohio Rural Life Association235



[Pg ix]


The Country Churches of OhioFrontispiece
Map A. Where Conditions Demand Missionary Aid26
Map 1. High Death Rates from Tuberculosis27
Map 2. High Rates of Illegitimacy28
Map 3. Where Illiteracy Abounds29
Map 4. Distribution of Foreign Born Whites30
Map 5. Excessive Over-Churching31
Map 6. Churches many but Ministers Few32
Map 7. Number of Persons to a Resident Minister33
Map 8. Value of Farm Property in the Year 191034
Map 9. Increase in Value of Farm Property35
Map 10. Rich Land and Poor Land36
Map 11. Showing that in 317 or 27 per cent of the Strictly Rural
Townships no Church has a Resident Minister
Map 12. Farms Operated by Tenants84
Map 13. Farms Operated by Tenants85
Map 14. Methodist Episcopal96
Map 15. United Brethren in Christ97
Map 16. Presbyterian98
Map 17. Baptist99
Map 18. Disciples of Christ100
Map 19. Lutheran101
Map 20. Catholic102
Map 21. Christian103
Map 22. Methodist Protestant104
Map 23. Reformed105
Map 24. Congregational106
Map 25. Evangelical Association107
Map 26. Villages and Cities117
County Maps:
[Pg x]Ashland149
[Pg xi]Jackson186
[Pg xii]Summit223
Van Wert227



[Pg xiii]


In 1913 Mr. Gill and I published, under the authority of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, the results of an inquiry into the condition of the country church in two typical counties—Windsor County, Vermont, and Tompkins County, New York. The disclosure of the conditions in these two counties and the conclusions to which they pointed led to the creation of the Commission on Church and Country Life of the Federal Council. Under the direction of the Commission, it was resolved to extend the investigation of the country church to an entire State. For the reasons given hereafter, the choice fell upon Ohio.

For the plan whose execution and results are here set forth, Mr. Gill and I are jointly responsible. It was submitted to, and revised and approved by, the Commission on Church and Country Life, in whose name and under whose direct supervision it was carried out. The field work was done entirely by Mr. Gill or under his immediate direction as Secretary of the Commission, and he also worked up in the office the result of his work in the field. As in the case of “The Country Church,” I am responsible for the final revision of the manuscript for the press. It is now published with the approval of the Commission on Church and Country Life, and as a report of its work.

In the introduction to “The Country Church,” I said and I desire to repeat,—“Mr. Gill’s peculiar fitness for the work of this investigation arises in part from his long and intimate personal acquaintance with the problem of country life. For fifteen years he has been a country minister. One of his tasks was to establish a church in a country community in Vermont which had been without one for more than twenty years. When Mr. Gill came to it, the moral and social laxity of the whole community[Pg xiv] was flagrant. Disbelief in the existence of goodness appeared to be common, public disapproval of indecency was timid or lacking, and religion was in general disrepute. Not only was there no day of worship, but also no day of rest. Life was mean, hard, small, selfish, and covetous. Land belonging to the town was openly pillaged by the public officers who held it in trust; real estate values were low; and among the respectable families there was a general desire to sell their property and move away.

Then a church was organized. The change which followed was swift, striking, thorough, and enduring. The public property of the town, once a source of graft and demoralization, became a public asset. The value of real estate increased beyond all proportion to the general rise of land values elsewhere. In the decade and a half which has elapsed since the church began its work, boys and girls of a new type have been brought up. The reputation of the village has been changed from bad to good, public order has greatly improved, and the growth of the place as a summer resort has begun. It is fair to say that the establishment of the church under Mr. Gill began a new era in the history of the town.”

It was with this record of practical success in the country church, supplemented by the very unusual experience as an investigator which he acquired in collecting and analyzing the material for “The Country Church,” that Mr. Gill approached the task whose results are here set down. The task of ascertaining with accuracy the conditions of the country church in other portions of the United States still remains. The remedies are yet to be applied.

Gifford Pinchot.

Milford, Penna.
Aug. 26, 1918.



[Pg 1]




[Pg 2]



[Pg 3]



The Commission on Church and Country Life of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America conducted the work whose results are summarized in this book. Several thousand persons assisted in collecting the data here given. Lists of churches were obtained from correspondents in every township in Ohio, and township maps were sent to them for marking the location of the churches. Ministers, clerks, and other officers of churches, district superintendents, and other denominational leaders gave indispensable information.

The very important material gathered by the Ohio Rural Life Survey, including country church maps of twelve counties and many data for seventeen other counties, was placed at the disposal of the Commission.

Invaluable assistance has been rendered by State, County, and Township Sunday School Associations. In about half of the townships, officers of the township associations supplied needed information. Miss Clara E. Clemmer, Secretary of the County Association, gathered nearly all the data for Preble County. The Rev. C. A. Spriggs, a Missionary of the American Sunday School Union, furnished most of the facts used in making the map of Pike County.

In a few counties, superintendents of public schools either gave desired information themselves, or supplied the names of others who did, and in some cases the agricultural agents lent a hand.

County atlases were consulted, and verifications and corrections were obtained from many sources. The topographical maps issued by the[Pg 4] United States Geological Survey gave the locations of certain churches. The Year Books of the various denominational bodies were in constant use for verification and reference, as were the United States Census, the Ohio Statistical Reports, and other Government documents.

In the different sections of Ohio Mr. Gill made extensive investigations on the ground, while large numbers of country ministers and church members were consulted personally. Specific information has thus been collected in nearly every township, while at country church institutes and conferences in various parts of the State, many facts were secured from the discussions on rural church conditions. Not only has information, therefore, been received from very many people intimately associated with the churches of rural Ohio, but also, and very widely, from personal observation on the field itself.

In spite of all the care that could be taken, after the work on the township maps was thought to be finished, a few other churches were discovered. If, in the future, still other churches should be found which are not on the maps, the number of them will be insignificant. Their discovery will doubtless in no wise affect the conclusions which have been drawn as to the country church situation in Ohio, nor their omission impair the general usefulness of the maps.

In the constructive work of the Commission and of the Ohio Rural Life Association for rural church betterment, as well as in the survey, the Ohio State University, under Dr. Thompson, has always given free and valuable coöperation.

For all this kind assistance the Commission and the Association are deeply grateful, and here express their hearty thanks.



[Pg 5]



In Part III of this volume are 88 country church maps, one for each county in the State of Ohio. The making of these maps was part of a program adopted in 1914 by the Commission on Church and Country Life of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. It seemed to the Commission that an attempt ought to be made to test the possibilities of rural church improvement through interdenominational coöperation in some one State. Ohio was chosen because of its geographical location, because of the variety of its church conditions, and because in a number of its counties a country church survey had already been made. This survey had indicated a widespread need for the readjustment of church life to community welfare in rural Ohio.

It was therefore determined, if possible, to complete a series of maps for the entire State which would summarize the facts. In dealing with so many churches in so large an area, it was of course feasible to collect only a very small number of facts concerning each church. Accordingly the facts to be gathered were limited to the location of every rural church, its denomination, its present membership, whether it is gaining or losing in membership, whether it ordinarily has a resident pastor, and if not, what part of a minister’s service it receives.

The collection of such facts was necessary, first, to impress upon the church officials and others the actual urgency of the situation, and second, to provide a basis for a workable policy of interchurch coöperation and reciprocity in influencing or directing the redistribution of ministers and churches.

While the making of the church maps appeared to be the least amount[Pg 6] of preliminary work that would open the way for effective action, it was evident that nothing adequate could be done for rural church betterment without interdenominational, or undenominational, organization. Therefore, when the branch office of the Commission on Church and Country Life was opened in Columbus, Ohio, in August, 1914, at the same time the Ohio Rural Life Association was formed to coöperate with the Commission in its work in the State. Soon afterward a Committee on Interchurch Coöperation, consisting of executives in charge of the country churches of eleven denominations, was organized. The principles which it adopted to govern its action mark a forward step of real importance. (See page 235.)

The chief burden of making the church maps has rested upon the Commission on Church and Country Life. Its paid executive and office force have done the main part of the work, but valuable assistance has been rendered by the Ohio Rural Life Association. Much of the work was done in its name.

Incidentally, the coöperative work of these bodies has by no means been confined to the making of surveys. Country Life Institutes have been held, and an educational propaganda in the interest of the rural church has been continuously carried on, with the result that in Ohio more than in any other State has the country church gained ground in its command of public interest. As a subject for addresses and discussion the country church has a place in a large number of farmers’ institutes, and in nearly all Sunday school conventions, while during Farmers’ Week at the State Agricultural College, conferences on no other subject have attracted more people or provoked more animated discussion.

Inasmuch as the collecting of the data extended over a period of more than three years, the maps do not all represent the exact situation at the same moment. While they were being made some of the churches were being redistributed in different circuits, and membership rolls were increasing or decreasing. Since the map for their county was completed some churches have federated, or their members have all united in a[Pg 7] denominational union church. But while the maps do not constitute a snap shot of the entire State, the changes which have taken place are too few in any way to invalidate the conclusions drawn. The total situation is indicated with sufficient correctness.

These maps should supply the indispensable basis for the readjustment that is obviously required. We hope that the publishing of them will not only register a stage of progress in the State of Ohio, but that in other States also similar work will be undertaken, and that the forward movement in rural church life will be strengthened and accelerated throughout the nation.



[Pg 8]



Ohio contains in its area of 41,060 square miles, some 1,388 townships. If we exclude the townships in which the population is urban, those in which there are villages of more than 2,500 inhabitants (the number set by the United States Census as separating the country from the town), those which contain parts of, or border on, large town or city parishes, there remain 1,170 townships which may be classed as strictly rural. These rural townships have in all 6,060 churches and nearly 1,700,000 persons. Each of them has on an average a population of 1,448 persons, with five churches, or one church to every 280 persons. If we include with the strictly rural townships the rural sections of townships not exclusively rural, there are in Ohio no less than 6,642 country churches.

As these facts would indicate, the country churches of Ohio for the most part are small and weak. According to data gathered by the earlier survey made under the direction of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, the churches whose membership is less than 100 as a rule do not prosper, and the smaller the membership the greater the proportion of the churches which are on the decline. In Ohio more than 4,500, or 66 per cent, of the rural churches have a membership of 100 or less; more than 3,600, or 55 per cent, have a membership of 75 or less; more than 2,400, or 37 per cent, a membership of 50 or less.

The membership in these country churches is distressingly small, but the attendance is smaller still. The data available indicate that ordinarily it is less than half the membership.

In six churches taken at random, it was found that the figures ran as follows:

[Pg 9]

Membership Average attendance
125 34
300 136
173 30 to 40
150 Less than 30
300 - 40
1,048 270

In one township it is reported that the average attendance in each of its eight churches is less than 25.

One of the most striking facts is the shortage of resident ministers. While a reasonable degree of interchurch coöperation should result in the maintenance of a resident pastor in nearly every township, yet in 317, or 27 per cent, of the strictly rural townships, no church has a resident pastor. (See Map 11, page 49.) More than 4,400, or about two-thirds, of the churches in rural Ohio, and 39 per cent of the villages are without resident ministers, while in the open country only 360, or 13 per cent, of the 2,807 churches have resident pastors.

The efforts of the ministers are so scattered over fields more or less widely separated that much of their effectiveness is lost. (Consult the county maps, pages 147-234.) More than 5,500 of the 6,642 country churches are without the full time service of a minister; 3,755 have only one-third or less of a minister’s services; 2,500 have one-fourth or less; while more than 750 have no regular service of a minister at all. A large number of ministers have other occupations than the ministry.

Moreover it is a rule of nearly universal application that ministers of country churches in Ohio do not remain long enough in their parishes to make effective service possible. According to the official records of the conferences of the largest and doubtless one of the most efficient of the denominations, in the fall of 1917, 48 per cent of its rural ministers were about to begin their first year, and 74 per cent either their first or second year of service in the fields to which they were appointed. Only 26 per cent had had a two years’ acquaintance with their parishes, while only[Pg 10] 8 ministers, or scarcely more than 1 per cent, had served as long as five years. This condition is no better in nearly all the other denominations.

Because of this, and also because the effort of the ministry is divided among various and widely separated churches, the people who live in the rural districts in Ohio receive too little pastoral service. The short term also discourages the ministers from attempting to discover and meet the needs of their communities and from formulating and carrying out any adequate plans of community service. The churches, as a rule, are not trained to expect such service, nor the ministers to render it.

In certain extensive areas in Ohio the country church seems to have broken down. (See Chapters IV and V.) In regions where it has been active for a century it has failed and is now failing to dispel ignorance and superstition, to prevent the spread of vice and disease, and to check the increasing production of undeveloped and abnormal individuals. Because of the lack of an organization to coördinate the work of the denominations, and to study the field as a whole, no one has been conscious of responsibility for such failure. The conditions have not even been known by many of the church officials who were responsible, and a situation has been permitted to develop which threatens the welfare of the whole State and demands the immediate redirection of the Church’s missionary activities.

The pay of the country ministers in Ohio is small, the support of the church meager. According to the records of the Conferences held in the fall of 1917 the majority of the ministers (58 per cent) of the largest denomination received less than $1,100 each, three-fourths (74.6 per cent) less than $1,200, while the average amount was $857 and free use of parsonage. In the denomination with the second largest number of country churches the average salary was only $787, or $680 and free use of parsonage.

Over considerable areas a large proportion of the ministers are uneducated. Often they are illiterate and entirely unfitted to render service acceptable to the more intelligent part of their people. In most of the[Pg 11] State, the standard of education for ministers is low. It is in part due to the failure of an insufficiently educated ministry to stimulate the intellectual life of the people, that from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 people in the State have no public libraries.

Unless a larger and stronger social and religious institution is created in the country districts than is now found in the country church, the more vigorous young people will for the most part leave the country, and an inferior class will take their places on the farm. A process of reverse selection will therefore set in which must result in the general debasement of our rural population and ultimately of our nation as a whole. As is well known, this process of decadence is already taking place over very large areas in rural America.



[Pg 12]



The facts summarized in the previous chapter show that in rural Ohio the church as a whole is not adequately performing its great and difficult task. It is equally evident that no institution could hope for a high degree of success unless more progressive in method and administration. Furthermore, unless the urban officials or directors in charge of rural churches come to appreciate the fundamental importance of the country church problem, address themselves more seriously to the task in hand, and make really effective use of improved organization and available human and material resources, the country church will continue to decline. While there are very many successful churches, and many rural communities socially, morally, and economically prosperous, failures occur in equally large numbers.

A most striking illustration of the churches’ inefficiency may be found in southern and southeastern Ohio. Here, in a region covering at least eighteen counties, the failure of the churches may fairly be called pathetic. These counties are Adams, Athens, Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington. In this area, after more than a hundred years of the work of the churches, the religious, social, and economic welfare of the people are going down. Although the churches have been here for more than a century, no normal type of organized religion is really flourishing, while the only kind which, during the past fifteen years, has been gaining ground, the cult of the Holy Rollers, is scarcely better than that of a Dervish. The churches have failed and are failing to dispel ignorance and superstition, to prevent the increase of[Pg 13] vice, the spread of disease, and the general moral and spiritual decadence of the people.

Most of the information concerning the Eighteen Counties, as for convenience, this region is hereafter called, was derived from personal investigation on the ground by Mr. Gill, from the testimony of two trained investigators, and from interviews and correspondence with local merchants, physicians, clergymen, school teachers, superintendents of schools and churches, farmers, and Sunday school workers. Information confirming what had already been received was found in the statistical reports of the national and state governments. Some of the results of a study of the reports of the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics and the United States Census are given in Table A and in Maps A, and Maps 1 to 10, on pages 26 to 36.

In Map A the heavily shaded area indicates the Eighteen Counties included in this region. Ten other counties bordering upon them are shaded more lightly. Many communities in these ten bordering counties are influenced by the migration of population from the Eighteen Counties.

In no less than twelve out of the Eighteen Counties, the death rate from tuberculosis is excessive. (See Map 1 and Table A, column 1.) Reports of the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics for the years 1909, 1910, and 1911 (the latest we could secure on this subject), give the average annual deaths from this disease for 100,000 persons, as 125 for the whole State. On Map 1, all counties are shaded whose rate exceeds not 125 only, but 145. Of the seventeen counties in the State whose death rate from tuberculosis is 145 or over, all but five are in this region, and of the five one is a bordering county.

Outside this area and the bordering counties, the highest rate is in Franklin, of which the city of Columbus is the county seat; but of the Eighteen Counties, seven have a higher rate than Franklin. In Clermont County it is 164, in Scioto 169, in Lawrence 172, in Ross 175, in Gallia 184, while in Pike it is no less than 216,—far larger than for any other rural county in the State. In Hamilton County, in which is the city of [Pg 14]Cincinnati, and which is adjacent to Clermont County, the rate of 217 is probably due to the large colored population.

It will be observed, therefore, that in no less than two-thirds of the Eighteen Counties the rate of death from this preventable disease is excessively and indefensibly high.

The number of illegitimate births in the Eighteen Counties is likewise excessive. (See Map 2 and Table A, column 2, pages 28 and 37.) The rate per 100,000 population for the State is 43.9. Of the 28 counties whose rate is above the average, 19, or 68 per cent, are either in the Eighteen Counties or the counties bordering upon them. No less than thirteen, or more than two-thirds, of the Eighteen Counties have an excessive number of illegitimate births. Outside this area and the bordering counties the highest rate for any county is 61, but in ten of the Eighteen Counties it is greater than this. Whereas the rate for the State is less than 44, in Athens County it is 65, in Noble 67, in Scioto 73, in Gallia 76, in Hocking and Monroe 78, in Ross 87, in Pike 89, in Lawrence no less than 113, while in Jackson it is 123, or the highest rate in the State.

It will be noted that these figures cover the counties in which are the large cities as well as the rural counties. But in Hamilton, containing the city of Cincinnati, the rate is only 66, in Franklin, containing the city of Columbus, it is 56, and in Cuyahoga, containing the city of Cleveland, it is only 50.

Illiteracy also, in the Eighteen Counties, is excessive. (See Map 3 and column 3 of Table A.) The per cent of illiterate males of voting age for the State in 1910 was 4.2. There are 29 counties in which that number was exceeded. Of these, fourteen are among the Eighteen Counties, and five border upon them. In Brown County, the percentage is 4.3, in Washington and Noble 4.5, in Monroe 5.4, in Adams 6.9, in Athens and Ross 7.4, in Scioto 7.7, in Gallia 8.1, in Vinton 8.4, in Hocking 8.6, while in Pike it is 10.7, and in Lawrence 11.6.

Among the remaining ten counties whose percentage of illiteracy is[Pg 15] above the average it appears (see Map 4, page 30) that in all but three, the percentage of foreign-born persons is large, and that among counties where the foreign born are few, there are, outside the Eighteen Counties, only six for which the percentage of illiteracy is greater than 4.2, and three of these are included in the counties which border upon them.

It will be noted that in this region the number of foreign-born persons is very small. The percentage for the State is 12.5, whereas in the Eighteen Counties it is only 2.3. No less than 53 counties out of the 70 outside of the Eighteen Counties, have a foreign population of more than 2.3 per cent.

In this region, therefore, where there is so high a percentage of illiteracy, of illegitimacy, and of deaths from preventable disease, the people are more nearly pure Americans than in the rest of the State. They compare unfavorably with the people of counties where a large proportion are foreigners. It is true that the cause does not lie in the origin of the population. But the fact that these things are true in the most American parts of Ohio, where we should naturally expect to find the best situation, greatly emphasizes the significance of the conditions disclosed.

It is an additional indictment against those who are responsible that in Mahoning County more than 28 per cent and in Cuyahoga County more than 33 per cent of the population in 1910 were foreign born, yet in these counties, containing the large cities of Youngstown and Cleveland, the moral and social conditions are better than in the Eighteen Counties—a rural section inhabited by our purest American stock.

Such statistical data as are here presented are but as smoke indicating fire. They do not overstate the urgency of the appeal from the unfortunate over-churched and under-ministered communities of this section. Here gross superstition exercises strong control over the thought and action of a large proportion of the people. Syphilitic and other venereal diseases are common and increasing over whole counties, while in some communities nearly every family is afflicted with inherited or infectious disease. Many cases of incest are known, inbreeding is rife. Imbeciles,[Pg 16] feeble-minded, and delinquents are numerous, politics is corrupt, the selling of votes is common, petty crimes abound, the schools have been badly managed and poorly attended. Cases of rape, assault, and robbery are of almost weekly occurrence within five minutes’ walk of the corporation limits of one of the county seats, while in another county political control is held by a self-confessed criminal. Alcoholic intemperence is excessive. Gross immorality and its evil results are by no means confined to the hill districts, but are extreme also in the towns.

Adams County was made notorious because in the 1910 election nearly 2,000 persons were disenfranchised for selling their votes, and there is convincing evidence that it does not stand alone. Of course there are many communities in this region where conditions are better, such as the area immediately affected by the admirable and effective work of Rio Grande College. But there is just as little question that the general deplorable condition of the Eighteen Counties, ascertained through the personal investigations of Mr. Gill, and confirmed by wide correspondence and the statistical data here summarized, is true.

The bad economic, as distinguished from the moral, conditions in the Eighteen Counties are largely due to sterility of soil, and to the fact that many of its hillsides are too steep for profitable cultivation. It is often contended that economic conditions affect religion and morals, and there is much truth in that contention. But it cannot be held that steep hillsides and sterile soil of themselves produce conditions such as are here described. Merely to state such a proposition is to refute it. Moral and religious poverty must bear at least as much of the blame as poverty of the soil. (See Maps 8, 9, and 10, and Table A, columns 8 and 9.)

The total value of farm property falls below 15 million dollars in but 21 of the 88 counties of Ohio. Of the 21, all but 6 are among the Eighteen Counties. (See Map 8, and Table A, column 8.) In Adams, Athens, and Monroe Counties, the value of farm property is only 10 million dollars each; in Morgan 9, in Meigs and Scioto 8, in Gallia 7, in Hocking and Pike 6, in Jackson and Lawrence 5, and in Vinton only 4.

[Pg 17]According to the United States Census the value of farm property in Ohio increased nearly 60 per cent from 1900 to 1910. There were only ten counties in the State in which farm property had not increased more than 25 per cent during that period. Eight of these are among the Eighteen Counties. (See Map 9, and Table A, column 9.)

According to the Census of 1910, there were only 13 counties in Ohio whose land was valued at not more than $25.00 per acre. All of them are in the Eighteen Counties. (See Map 10.) In the remaining five the land is valued at not more than $50.00 per acre. It becomes impossible, therefore, to avoid the question whether the character of the soil determines the character and destiny of the people who are born upon it.

Attention should be directed in passing to the fact that the low value of the land is due in part to the failure of the people who live upon it to develop and use the natural resources which are available. In some of the poorest regions in the Eighteen Counties an occasional farmer is making a good living from the soil, although his land by nature is no better than that of his poor neighbors. As a rule the agricultural opportunities of the region are neglected. For example, little fruit is grown, although both climate and soil in much of the region are very favorable to fruit production.

But it remains true that the natural conditions as a whole are not as favorable for agriculture, as they are to the north and northwest; and it is an unquestionable fact that the character and condition of the earth’s surface has a relation to the physical, intellectual, social, and moral conditions of the people who live upon it. Undoubtedly this is as true in southeastern Ohio as it is elsewhere. Poor soil, as a rule, does not hold upon itself the most enterprising families so tenaciously as good soil, and for that reason we might fairly expect the people of these districts to have less vigor and less initiative. On such soil it is therefore more difficult to sustain thriving churches, and so the moral and religious life may be more prone to decline.

But soil conditions by themselves cannot demoralize a people. They[Pg 18] can do so only where the church is failing to do its work. The natural conditions of soil and climate are by no means worse in the Eighteen Counties than in many other areas where fairly good moral conditions are found. They are no worse than they were in the parish of John Frederick Oberlin, nor in many fairly prosperous New England communities of to-day. Even where moral, economic, and other conditions are bad, communities usually respond quickly to the work of a well-equipped resident pastor, as the experience of home missionaries abundantly proves.

In the first parish served as pastor by Mr. Gill, the soil and the people were very poor. The moral conditions, because of a church situation very similar to that of the neglected communities of southeastern Ohio, were bad. But the response to the work of a church which gave good service was all that could have been anticipated. Even the economic conditions were notably improved as a result of the church’s work, while the moral change in the community was striking, rapid, and enduring. Men familiar with home missionary work regard such results as normal.

Where the conditions are as unfavorable as they are in the Eighteen Counties, it is unquestionably the duty of the church as a whole, and especially of the churches of the prosperous districts, to assist the weaker churches not only with supervision and advice, but also by helping to provide well-trained and well-equipped ministers, thus guarding against the ravages of an ignorant and untrained or unworthy and insincere ministry.

The people of southeastern Ohio will undoubtedly be as responsive to good church work and as ready to follow good religious leadership as the people of similar regions elsewhere. Such work and leadership for many years, at least, they have not had. (See the next chapter.) Their ecclesiastical and religious conditions are such as afford no ground for expecting better social, moral, and physical conditions than those actually found to exist. Surely we cannot accept these conditions as inevitable until the church shall at least have made a serious effort to test the possibilities and learn the results of carrying out a live and modern program.



[Pg 19]



In the Eighteen Counties of Southeastern Ohio some of the older and stronger denominations are well represented, as Table C shows. (See page 39.) No less than 526, or more than one-third, of the total number of churches are Methodist Episcopal. Nearly one-tenth are United Brethren in Christ, another tenth Baptist, one-fifteenth Christian, and one-fifteenth Presbyterian; while other powerful denominations are also present. It is evident that the failure of the churches in this area cannot be laid to the weakness or poverty of the denominations represented, for they are for the most part neither weak nor poor. Ohio, moreover, is a wealthy State, and its churches make large contributions for church work and church extension both in America and abroad.

It has been too commonly held in the past that missionary effort should consist largely in organizing and building churches. We do not believe that proposition is sound. In rural Ohio the worst moral and religious conditions are found where there are the largest number of churches in proportion to the number of inhabitants.

In 39 counties out of a total of 88 in the State, there is one country church for each 275 people or less. (See Map 5 and Table A, column 5.) Of these 39 counties, 17 are among the Eighteen Counties under our special consideration. Outside these Eighteen Counties and the counties contiguous to them, no county has an average of less than 228 persons to a church, but it appears that Washington has one church for 226 persons, Monroe one for 214, Pike one for 211, Gallia one for 197, Morgan one for 194, Jackson one for 193, while Vinton has one for 182, and Meigs one church for 178. In the rural sections of these Eighteen Counties there[Pg 20] are 1,542 churches and 248 townships, or more than 6 churches to a township.

While the fact that this region is more difficult to travel, because more hilly, than many other parts of the State might constitute a reason for having many churches, it certainly cannot be held that the bad moral and religious conditions which exist are due to lack of a sufficient number of them. Nor is support here to be found for the contention sometimes made that religious work thrives best under competition.

The larger the number of churches in proportion to the population, the more difficult it obviously becomes to secure, support, and retain resident pastors. In proportion to the number of churches, the Eighteen Counties have a comparatively small number of ministers. (See Map 6 and Table A, column 6.) In the State as a whole, about one-third, or 34 per cent, of the churches have resident ministers. In only three counties outside the Eighteen is it true that less than one-fourth of the churches have them. These are Delaware, Coshocton, and Pickaway, and the latter is one of the bordering counties. But in 13 of the Eighteen Counties less than one-fourth of the churches have resident ministers. It will be noted that less than one-fifth of the churches in Scioto, Pike, Lawrence, and Meigs Counties have resident ministers, one-sixth in Morgan County, and less than one-sixth in Jackson, Hocking, and Gallia.

In the Eighteen Counties the number of resident ministers in proportion to the population, as well as in proportion to the number of churches, is small. (See Map 7 and Table A, column 7.) There are 24 counties in Ohio in which there are more than 1,000 persons for each resident minister, of which 13 are among the Eighteen Counties under consideration, and three among the bordering counties. Noble County has a resident minister to every 1,240 persons, Gallia to every 1,396, Lawrence to every 1,450, Pickaway to every 1,458, while Hocking has only one to 1,693, or nearly 1,700 persons. Here, as in most rural sections, an absentee ministry is necessarily ineffective. (See pages 50-51.)

The foregoing facts afford convincing evidence that the church in this[Pg 21] region is rendering poor service—how poor the reader may judge from the following description of the religious and ecclesiastical conditions found by Mr. Gill in his personal investigation on the ground.

For the most part the farm people of these Eighteen Counties are very religious. This is attested not merely by the large number of churches, but also by the frequency of well-attended revival services, held in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. (In Pike County, for example, no less than 1,500 revival services were held in thirty years, or an average of 50 each year.) Yet a normal, wholesome religion, bearing as its fruit better living and all-round human development, and cherished and propagated by sane and sober-minded people, is rarely known. The main function of a church, according to the popular conception, is to hold these protracted meetings, to stir up religious emotion, and, under its influence, to bring to pass certain psychological experiences. The idea seems to be dominant in nearly all the denominations and churches that the presence of the Deity is made known mainly, if not solely, through states of intense emotion which may be stimulated in religious assemblies. Such emotion is held to be not only a manifestation of the Deity’s presence, but also a proof of His existence. No man is held to be religious or saved from evil destiny unless he has had such experience. It becomes, therefore, the business of the preacher of the church to create conditions favorable to the experiencing of these emotions.

Officials of denominations to which more than two-thirds of the churches belong encourage or permit the promotion of a religion of the excessively emotional type, which encourages rolling upon the floor by men, women, and children, and going into trances, while some things which have happened in the regular services of a church in one of the largest denominations cannot properly be described in print. The leaders of a religious cult commonly called Holy Rollers seem to be most efficient in this direction. The character of their services and activities produce the results desired, according to the traditions accepted and proclaimed for generations by ignorant preachers to a nonprogressive people.

[Pg 22]A Holy Roller movement was started in Pike County in the year 1902. It has steadily been gaining ground ever since, and has never been more flourishing than now. It is the livest sect in this and neighboring counties. Its meetings are large and full of enthusiasm. Except the churches of this cult, very few are now left in the western half of Pike County which show any activity whatever. In one district of 150 square miles (in which there are 1,200 children enrolled in the schools and in all 1,600 young people from the ages of six to twenty) no churches were holding services in 1917 except those of the Holy Rollers.

The seasons of protracted Holy Roller meetings often last for several weeks. Frequently they begin each day at 10.00 A. M. and continue until 2.00 A. M. the next day, with intermissions for meals. These meetings are characterized by much singing, with music well adapted to rythmic motions of the body, by dancing and clapping the hands, sometimes by shouting and joyous screaming, rolling upon the floor, tumbling together of men and women in heaps, trances, while at least one of their preachers has exercised hypnotic power over some of his followers and has put them through stunts in no way differing from those of the professional hypnotist showman who, in times past, for the price of admission, has amused and astonished his audience with exhibitions of his skill.

In one village where Mr. Gill attended a church belonging to this movement, it was the only religious organization holding services or showing any signs of life. Although at this service the building was full to its capacity, as is usual with meetings of this kind, the church not only had no Sunday school, but its leaders kept the children away from one which a missionary of the American Sunday School Union was trying to start in the neighborhood. Three-fourths of the parents of the fifty pupils in the local school were adherents of this cult, yet its leaders opposed having better day schools. The school principal, under the direction of the County School Superintendent, tried to hold literary meetings for intellectual and social improvement, but under the influence of the Holy Roller leaders, the parents refused to let their children attend, and the[Pg 23] enterprise was defeated. Apparently no meeting for any purpose is to be tolerated except the Holy Roller meetings themselves. These theoretically and in fact take the place of all other gatherings.

The Holy Roller church in this community, as elsewhere, in its total influence promotes immorality. It has a tendency to break up families and destroy the peace and harmony of the neighborhood. In the judgment of the more sober-minded people, the Holy Roller movement spoils the life of the community wherever it goes.

Although the Holy Roller cult apparently was not started in this region until a few years ago, it would seem that the religious activities of the older denominational churches were but a good preparation for it. In fact, good soil is found for sprouting the seed of Holy Rollerism in many sections of the State. The difference in religious beliefs and ideals between the Holy Rollers and the preachers of other denominations in the Eighteen Counties too often is not easily detected. Denominations to which at least two-thirds of the churches belong employ many men and women as preachers who are extremely ignorant.

In one of its districts, nearly half of the twenty or thirty ministers of the largest denomination in the State did not have a common school education. It is usual to find ministers intellectually inferior to a number of families whom they are supposed to lead and teach. In some districts a considerable proportion of the preachers have had no more than three or four grades of common school instruction. Some cannot write their own names correctly. Accordingly religious education is neglected. The people apparently have been untouched by the general advance in religious knowledge during the past century.

Many intelligent people in the Eighteen Counties deplore these conditions and would be glad to have churches of a different type. But it is also very common to find among the more prosperous, especially in the fertile river valleys, a spirit of utter indifference towards religion, and often of gross materialism. Under such circumstances it is not surprising to find that in several sections much hostility to institutional religion[Pg 24] exists. It is given expression by rural hoodlums who cut to pieces harnesses and slash tires belonging to ministers or laymen who attend religious gatherings, while in some communities stones are thrown through the windows of buildings where public worship is being held.

While it is true that out of the poorest and most unfortunate districts bright boys and girls frequently emerge, escape their surroundings, and become good citizens, it is none the less true that a large proportion of those who remain have no reasonable chance for wholesome development.

The bad influence of the Eighteen Counties extends far beyond their borders. Out of them many farm laborers have gone to communities to the north and northwest, often with deplorable results to the social, religious, and moral conditions of the communities where they are employed. (See Table B.) It is calculated that no less than 61,000 persons emigrated in the ten-year period from 1900 to 1910 from the strictly rural districts of sixteen of the Eighteen Counties.

In Madison, a fertile county near the center of the State, in an area sixteen miles long and from seven to eleven miles wide, there are three closed and no active churches. One of the causes of this condition is the fact that the farm laborers imported by the owners of large tracts of lands were never made familiar, before they came, with a normal type of religion. These men come from the Eighteen Counties or from sections across the Ohio River where the conditions are very much the same. In parts of several other counties the situation brought about by similar immigration is extremely bad.

The Eighteen Counties demand missionary activity on the part of the church as a whole, not only for the sake of the unfortunate people who live in them, but also for the sake of the other regions whose welfare is threatened by the transfer of low standards of all kinds, which, like a forest fire, are creeping away from the region where they originated.

Among the large number of intelligent persons who know and deplore the situation in typical communities of southeastern Ohio, very few seem to cherish hope of improvement. Such pessimism appears to be [Pg 25]unjustified. Good work is now being done by missionaries of the American Sunday School Union. What is more important, there is much promise that the trouble can be reached and cured by the modern country church movement, which is already making real progress in Ohio. As a result of this movement, for example, the Board of Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church has, for the first time, appropriated missionary funds to be used in this section, while one of the District Superintendents of the same denomination is carrying out a radically changed program for the churches under his supervision.


 [Pg 26]

Map A
Where Conditions Demand Missionary Aid

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 [Pg 27]

Map 1
High Death Rates from Tuberculosis

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 [Pg 28]

Map 2
High Rates of Illegitimacy

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 [Pg 29]

Map 3
Where Illiteracy Abounds

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 [Pg 30]

Map 4
Distribution of Foreign Born Whites

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 [Pg 31]

Map 5
Excessive Over-Churching

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 [Pg 32]

Map 6
Churches Many but Ministers Few

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 [Pg 33]

Map 7
Number of Persons to a Resident Minister

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 [Pg 34]

Map 8
Value of Farm Property in the Year 1910

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 [Pg 35]

Map 9
Increase in Value of Farm Property

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 [Pg 36]

Map 10
Rich Land and Poor Land

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 [Pg 37]


Showing that in a Group of 18 Counties in Southeastern Ohio there is an Excessive Amount of Preventable Disease and Illiteracy, an Excessive Number of Illegitimate Births, Excessive Overchurching, a very Small Number of Resident Ministers in Proportion to the Number of Churches and Number of People, that as Compared with Other Sections the Total Value of Farm Property is Small and the Increase in Value Slight

1 — Average annual rate of deaths from tuberculosis of the lungs per 100,000 persons, 1909, 1910, 1911
2 — Average annual rate per 100,000 population of illegitimate births for 1909, 1910
3 — Per cent of illiterate males of voting age, 1910
4 — Per cent of total population who were foreign born white, 1910
5 — Number of persons to a church
6 — Per cent of churches which have resident ministers
7 — Number of persons to each resident minister
8 — Number of millions of dollars at which farm property is valued
9 — Per cent increase in value of farm property 1900-1910

   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
For State, 88 counties  125  43.9  4.2  12.5  279  34  825     59
Adams  147     6.9  0.5  266     1031  10  16 
Athens  155  65  7.4  5.3  229  21  1086  10  16 
Brown  193     4.3  1.9        1129  15    
Clermont  164           249        14    
Gallia  184  76  8.1  1.2  197  14  1396  7  13
Highland  145           252             
Hocking     78  8.6  3.5  235  14  1693  6
Jackson  147  123  9.5  2  193  16  1222  5
Lawrence  172  113  11.6  1.8  267  18  1450  5  19
Meigs  158           178  18  1010  8
Monroe     78  5.4  2.4  214  24     10  19
Morgan     50        194  17  1150  9  25
Noble     67  4.5  3.2  248  20  1240  11
Pike  216  89  10.7  1.4  211  18  1209  6
Ross  175  87  7.4  2.2  252
Scioto  169  73  7.7  3  233  19  1211  8
Vinton     49  8.4  .8  182  22     4  12
Washington     58  4.5  2.5  226  21  1087  14  25
Average for 18 counties           2.3               
Belmont     55  7.1  15.1        1107      
Fairfield              222
Fayette     55  6.2  .7  257     1234
Guernsey     55  7.8  9.2  269        13
Hamilton  217  66     14.3
Muskingum     48        224
Perry        4.6  7.3           9
Pickaway  130  61  5.7  1.8     22  1458
Warren              271


[Pg 38]


Showing Calculated Number of Persons who Migrated from the Rural Districts of Sixteen Counties in Southeastern Ohio 1900-1910

   Population of
strictly rural
  Excess of
birth rate
over death
  Population of
strictly rural
total population
in 1910 had
there been no
  Calculated no.
persons who
Total              61,418
Adams  24,775  12.15  26,328  29,432  4,677
Brown  24,832  4.93  28,237  30,241  5,409
Clermont  29,551  3.81  31,610  33,377  3,826
Gallia  19,546  2.73  20,973  21,527  1,981
Highland  17,382  4.22  19,504  20,283  2,901
Hocking  16,934  12.72  19,183  21,380  4,446
Jackson  10,996  12.47  12,009  13,444  2,448
Lawrence  23,202  14.83  24,644  28,192  4,990
Meigs  16,162  1.96  18,961  19,306  3,144
Monroe  19,940  13.73  23,373  26,347  6,407
Morgan  16,097  8.07  17,905  20,777  4,680
Noble  18,601  11.28  19,466  21,613  3,012
Pike  15,723  11.48  18,172  20,118  4,395
Ross  22,460  5.6  25,758  25,893  3,433
Vinton  13,096  9.4  15,330  15,464  2,368
Washington  29,409  7.4  32,481  32,710  3,301


[Pg 39]


Denominations of the Churches in Eighteen Counties of Southeastern Ohio

   Churches in
248 strictly
  All rural
Total  1,542  593  2,135
Methodist Episcopal  526  216  742
United Brethren  138  43  181
Baptist  124  26  150
Christian  97  13  110
Presbyterian  96  40  136
Disciples  87  39  126
Methodist Protestant  63  25  88
Christian Union  46  5  51
Catholic  43  22  65
Non-Progressive Disciples  28  3  31
Radical United Brethren  26  4  30
Lutheran  21  28  49
Congregational  17  1  18
Reformed  14  16  30
German Evangelical  14  1  15
United Presbyterian  10  23  33
Friends  10  21  31
All others  182  67  249



[Pg 40]



The roots of the religious and moral life of the Nation are chiefly in the country church. As in southeastern Ohio, so in any area where the church fails, degeneracy begins. The low and sordid moral atmosphere found in so many rural villages and communities, not only among the Eighteen Counties, but throughout the State (and far beyond the boundaries of Ohio) is altogether unnecessary. It constitutes a challenge to the church which can no longer go unheeded. Obviously, whatever reforms in methods and policies may be required to enable it efficiently to perform its task must be made.


(1) A Better Program

One of the chief underlying causes of the present condition of the churches is an imperfect conception of their function. We recognize the fact that the effective proclaiming of the Gospel is the essential if not the greatest and most important task of the churches, but the impression is still very widespread in the Ohio churches that to preach it from pulpit and platform is almost their only task. That this is not enough to bring the churches to their full effectiveness has been conclusively proved by the experience of foreign missionaries during the past hundred years. In proportion to the number of their missionaries, the missionary societies which have believed that proclaiming the Christian message is the only function of the church, have not made as many converts nor built up as strong churches as those which engage also in the work of healing the sick and teaching. The most successful missionary[Pg 41] organizations teach not only Christian life and theology, but all that makes for what is best in our Christian civilization.

The welfare of a man’s soul may be increased by promoting the welfare of the rest of him, and the aim of the church should be to bring every man to the highest possible development of all his powers. In seeking to do so it will not only be more effective in creating a higher manhood and womanhood, but will also make its message better understood and secure a greater number of church members and adherents.

For our city churches also this is as true as for the foreign missionary field, although perhaps less obviously so. The equipment of so large a number of modern city churches for various forms of social service is a strong indication that those who control their policies recognize the necessity of a more diversified field of work.

The success and growth of the Y. M. C. A. is another indication of the truth for which we are contending. This institution which is a branch or arm of the Christian church has declared its aim to be the development of “soul, mind, and body.” As a result of this policy it is now engaged in many kinds of work which should also be done more widely and generally and so on a greater scale throughout the church. It receives large contributions of money from members of the churches, and it rightly undertakes and successfully carries out large enterprises where other church organizations fail to see their duties and opportunities and lag behind or remain idle.

Still another reason for believing in a larger function and mission of the church is found in the fact that every strikingly successful country church is found to be deeply concerned with the needs of the community, and is carrying out a broad and comprehensive program of service. This is true not only in the State of Ohio, but throughout the Nation.

Finally and conclusively, it may be added that the broader program was instituted and carried out by the Founder of the Christian religion, and was by Him enjoined upon His followers.

What the new program for the local country church should be is no[Pg 42] longer a matter of conjecture. Country ministers in very many widely separated parishes of the United States have worked it out independently in trying to meet the needs of their communities, and have everywhere reached substantially the same conclusion. The program is essentially the same in all places where the most successful country church work is done. It has found an embodiment in the mass of country church literature which has been published during the past eight years, and it has been studied, tried, and proved to meet the need of large numbers of country pastors in Ohio and in many of the other States. How it has been carried out in some Ohio parishes is described in Chapter VIII, pages 75-87.


(2) A Better Ministry

To carry out the better program for the local country church requires an educated ministry. Ohio has suffered greatly from ministerial quackery. Very imperfectly equipped ministers, such as are found in nearly every county of the State, and unsound ignorant men, such as are so common in the Eighteen Counties, cannot meet the requirements of the new program. Doubtless the educational requirements of the discipline of many of the denominations are set too low, but even so, if the rules of the discipline were strictly obeyed, a large proportion of the present ministers would be eliminated. The new program requires trained men.

To get better men, better opportunity and better pay must be supplied. Fields of service must be created large enough, yet sufficiently compact and free from competing rivals, to make good work possible. The farmers must be convinced that better support of the ministry is essential, in their own interest. At the same time the best young men of the churches must be assured that the new program offers a field so promising as to make it worth their while to enter the ministry. The churches are wise enough and strong enough to do all this if they will address themselves to the situation and take it seriously.

 [Pg 43]

(3) Better Support

In a large part of Ohio the farmers are able and ready to multiply the amount of money they now contribute for the support of the churches. When it is made clear to them that better pay will bring a better minister, increased support will cheerfully be given. But the farmers will not give more money either for the support of an inferior minister, or to carry out the old program. They will demand their money’s worth, and this the present methods do not, in general, supply. The increased prosperity and consequent ability of the farmers to support the church more liberally is indicated by the fact that the total value of farm property in Ohio increased nearly 60 per cent during the ten-year period from 1900 to 1910.

But it must be remembered that increased support will not be given by the farmers unless the need for it, and what it will bring, is brought forcefully to their attention. This the individual minister cannot do, for to attempt it lays him open to the charge of feathering his own nest. It should be done by a State Federation of Churches or by such organizations as The Ohio Rural Life Association, acting through its own institutes and the farmers’ institutes, through the circulation of its literature, and through the formation of organizations for this purpose in the churches of the different counties. No matter how good work a minister may do, ordinarily he will not be adequately supported unless some special agency does this work.


(4) Better Acquaintance

The present system of circuits entails upon the country minister an enormous waste of time. If a man tries to do the pastoral work which is strictly necessary, he must spend a very large proportion of his working hours in driving to the widely separated points of his various parishes, crossing and recrossing as he goes the lines of travel of other ministers engaged in the same territory upon the same work. That the country minister should be called upon to waste so large a part of his life in this[Pg 44] way is shameful because it is bad and inefficient organization, and carries with it an utterly needless loss.

To understand the significance of pastoral calling in a rural community it must be remembered that isolation is as characteristic of the country as congestion is of the cities. A large proportion of rural families look upon a minister who calls frequently as a personal asset of great value. He supplies opportunities not otherwise available for the discussion of matters of general interest or of deep personal concern. He calls attention to the things otherwise forgotten, and brings, or should bring with him, the inestimable advantage of intimate contact with a wise and well-trained mind. Moreover, a man full of good will to all going from house to house, sympathetically trying to help and understand, will inevitably modify the uncharitable and unjust public opinion which either exists or is believed to exist in most rural communities.

Equally effective are the incidental contacts of a minister engaged in community service, such as work with boys, or the promotion of welfare enterprises. Thus engaged he will inevitably get in touch with his parishioners, and supply the needs of individuals and of the community, at least as fully as the minister who devotes most of his working hours to pastoral calls. In such work less time is spent in the long drives or walks between houses which are necessary in systematic calling, while the minister gets to know the men better and bothers them less.

Without pastoral calling and community welfare work, the country minister’s service is sure to be ineffective. But as a matter of fact the country ministers of Ohio for the most part do very little of either. The country people as a rule, receive very few pastoral calls, according to the almost universal testimony of the country ministers themselves as well as that of other persons who live in the country. In Delaware County, for example, a prosperous county in the center of the State, there is an area of 82 square miles, with more than 2,100 people, in which only one minister makes any pastoral calls, and he makes very few. Half the townships of this county have no resident ministers.

[Pg 45]Mr. Gill found one township in the north-central section of the State in which the farmers’ families probably had not been called on once in five years. One woman had not received a call from a minister in twelve years. When finally called upon she became a regular and happy church attendant, though she had not been to church since her childhood. Another family was found in the same region whose house no minister had entered for nineteen years. In an Ohio River township, the members of a family testified that a minister had not called on them for twenty-five years, and still others asserted that no minister had ever entered their homes. From the reports of eighteen pastors in one denominational district it appeared that on an average each one made only six calls a year upon non-church members, although these were more than 60 per cent of the people. “Our minister does not know the people of this community” is common testimony everywhere in the country parishes.

The country minister’s influence is still further reduced because his term of service is short—usually but a year or two, rarely three years. Moreover, his efforts are commonly divided among several communities and thus are spread too thin to produce results. Add to that the fact that in each community the people whom he serves are intermingled with the parishioners of ministers of other denominations. Under these circumstances how can he become efficient in community service, and how can he get to know the people of his charge? Ordinarily he does not even attempt it. Under present conditions the country minister who does, generally accomplishes little and wears himself into discouragement.


(5) Rearrangement of Circuits

The old circuit system under which many of the denominations developed their work and which is now the system employed in nearly all the larger denominations in the State, was of undoubted value in the beginning of their work in pioneer days. But like many other efficient methods[Pg 46] of early times it has ceased to be the best method for present needs, in the form in which we now find it at work. This is true except in a few instances where it appears in such a modified form as to be adaptable to present conditions.

Under the circuit system it has often been accepted as a policy by church officials that every church must have a minister and every minister a church. The advantages accruing both to the churches and ministers from a reasonably cautious and not too consistent application of such a rule are obvious. But failure to use such caution and too great insistence on its universal application too often have resulted in the employment of unequipped and uneducated ministers and sometimes even of men whose character was questionable, which in turn, has helped to bring about a low standard of pay for the minister. The pay of the skilled has fallen to that of the unskilled, and the total result has been to cheapen the ministry. The standard among farmers for the support of both church and minister, therefore, has fallen low. We must have a greatly modified system or a better system before the ministry can be better paid.

Under the circuit system as now applied in Ohio the churches too often provide for but little else than preaching. Even the Sunday school, one of the most hopeful and valuable kinds of church work, is hampered by it, for this work needs the leadership of a trained ministry, which the present circuit system tends to prevent. The minister with a circuit can rarely attend the services of his Sunday schools, and the task of promoting the Sunday school work during the week in the several communities of his charge is usually too arduous for him.

In times past it has been held commendable for a denomination to establish one of its churches in every community, regardless of the number of churches already there. By making use of the present circuit system, it has been possible to establish and after a fashion to maintain a church almost anywhere. Hence the present unfortunate multiplication of churches.

When rural communities are overchurched, as under the working of[Pg 47] this plan in Ohio most of them are, competition between them necessarily results not in the survival of the fit, but in the continued existence of an excessive number of bloodless, moribund churches, whose energies are almost entirely exhausted in the mere effort to keep alive.

When the circuit system is adopted by more than one competing denomination in a field as it is in Ohio it helps to perpetuate interchurch competition. When one adopts it all others must, or retire from the field. It cannot be held that the resulting competition helps to make more Christians, or that it tends to develop character or community life. On the contrary, it reduces both the power of the church as a whole and the influence of the individual churches for personal righteousness and community welfare. Then, as the churches under the competitive system grow weaker, they must be yoked in larger circuits. So far has the practice gone that in one circuit in Ohio there are actually ten churches.

A variation of this system is found in certain Holy Roller churches where an undefined number of churches together depend for their leadership on a group of itinerant revivalists. Frequent or occasional seasons of revival services often constitute the sole activity of these churches, yet because of the weakness of the latter they are succeeding or have succeeded in crowding out many churches of the older denominations. There is a clear instance of this in the western half of Pike County, where nearly all the churches are abandoned excepting those of the Holy Rollers—a striking example of reverse selection or the survival of the unfit.

The movement for the conservation and improvement of rural life has no greater enemy than the misused circuit system. Not only does it weaken the churches, but it necessarily discourages the development of the community and of community life. With his efforts divided among three or more different communities, his parishioners mingled with members of competing churches, the country minister cannot hope for the coöperation necessary to effective leadership. His success in any work[Pg 48] for the community, because it would add prestige to his church, as a rule is not desired by the members of other denominations. The entire circuit situation as it works to-day in the region here under investigation whatever may be its value elsewhere tends to make the modern program of successful churches entirely impracticable.

Escape from the deadening environment of the country church circuit is the ardent desire of most country ministers who have had any reasonable degree of equipment for their vocation, and self-improvement as a preacher seems to be the only way out. The circuit minister of such equipment naturally regards his present work as temporary. He looks forward to leaving the country through promotion to a town church. The city, where he hopes to be, and not the country, where he is, becomes for him the only field for success in the ministry.

It is evident, therefore, that country parishes to be successful must be more compact. As a substitute for the circuit, churches in a small community where there are too many should be united in the support of one resident minister. If they cannot support him, then other adjacent churches should join with them in a federated circuit under a single pastor. Such is the right use of the circuit in the country.

The territory thus placed under one minister may be so large as to make it desirable to employ a paid assistant to the pastor. Freed from the necessity of long drives to other communities, the pastor can make many calls nearer home. Community enterprises, under this system made possible, will bring the pastor into personal touch with the people. He will become their friend and they will wish him a long term of service among them. And only when a minister has been two or three years in a community can he begin to render his most effective service. The enlarged and unified parish, such as that of Benzonia, Michigan, or Hanover, New Jersey, should be carefully distinguished from the misused circuit, which now plays so significant a part in the church life of Ohio. Parishes like these afford all the benefits of the circuit with none of its defects.


 [Pg 49]

Map 11

Showing That in 317 or 27 Per Cent of the Strictly Rural Townships No Church Has a Resident Minister
Larger Image

 [Pg 50]

(6) More Resident Ministers

While the preaching of a good pastor is an indispensable factor in the individual development of his parishioners and in the progress of community life, that of the non-resident is by comparison of little value. It is shooting in the air without seeing the target, like the fire of artillery without the aid of air scouts. There is no greater force for righteousness in a country community than a church with a resident minister, well educated, well equipped, wisely selected, whose term of service is not too short. The church is the only institution which can hope to employ a man of this type to give his whole time, as a minister can, to the service of his community.

The right kind of resident minister will have a strong and intelligent desire to secure opportunities for the best development of his children and to create a favorable environment for them. He will therefore take a keen interest in the schools, in the establishing of libraries, in play and social life, in keeping out evil influences and promoting general decency. He may fairly expect to see the fruits of his labor, and will be all the more likely on that account to become interested in the economic betterment of the community. Such a man will stimulate it and help it to make use of all available means to further the general welfare. A church with such a pastor is community insurance against degeneracy and decay.

One of the most striking examples of the service of a resident minister during a long pastorate is found in the life of the well-known John Frederick Oberlin, a free biography of whom has recently been made available to all country ministers. Large numbers of modern examples may also readily be found. One is given on pages 77-80 of this report.

There are few more deplorable wastes than that of the church in the use of its rural ministry. This waste alone is enough to account for much of the decline in country life, because under the present system only a small fraction of the normal influence of the ministry can be exerted. And it is[Pg 51] a needless waste, for it is fully within the power of the churches through their officials to correct it. The minister must be given a field of such a character that it is possible for him to do his work, and he must be given that adequate support which proper church administration can most assuredly secure for him. Only when these readjustments have been made will it be fair and right to appeal to the young men of education and ability to enter the rural ministry, and stay in it.

The thing can be done. We have in mind a rural township with less than 2,000 inhabitants, lying in a hill country, which has six resident ministers in its five villages, while the term of service of the minister of each of the parishes is nearly always long. To establish at least one resident minister in every township is not too high an aim. The people can and should be brought to understand that the value of a successful minister rises in increasing proportion with his knowledge of the community and the length of his service.


(7) Interchurch Coöperation

To substitute coöperation for competition is an essential condition of rural church progress, at least in Ohio. Whenever the new program is adopted by a community it will discover that interchurch competition is hostile to community prosperity. Many rural communities already know that interchurch coöperation is desirable. But the great question is how to secure it. Nearly every community is aware that it has too many churches, but the task of reducing the number or securing interchurch comity is a problem beset with difficulties. These difficulties, however, are by no means insuperable. Many communities have already found ways to overcome them.

In every community which really requires more than one church or pastor, there should be a federation of churches; that is, a joint committee of pastors and delegates officially appointed by the several churches to learn and meet the needs, religious, or social, which require concerted[Pg 52] action. While such federations, which are carefully to be distinguished from federated churches, are common in our cities, comparatively few are found in the country. One of these is in Shiloh, Ohio, a description of which may be found on page 75. There appear to be no very great difficulties in the way of bringing such federations about.

In communities whose compactness permits, and whose population and resources require, that there should be only one congregation and pastor, but where two or more churches already exist, the churches clearly should either be united organically in a single denominational church, or a federated church should be formed. Descriptions of federated churches may be found on pages 59-69.

In a township or community where population and resources are inadequate to support more than one pastor, but where the population is so distributed that more than one place of worship and organized church are required, a federated circuit may well be formed and a common pastor be employed. In such case the several churches should be officially represented by a joint committee which would act for the circuit not only in employing the common pastor, but also in learning and meeting all the religious and social needs which require concerted church action.

In securing pastors and in other matters where assistance is needed, the local federated churches and federated circuits should be aided by the State Federation of Churches if there is one, and if not by such bodies as the Committee of Interchurch Coöperation of the Ohio Rural Life Association. Both Federation and Association are necessary for other purposes, and therefore no ground whatever exists for the objection sometimes made that federated churches will require the formation of new organizations to supervise them.

While it is true that an uneducated minister ordinarily cannot satisfy the people of various denominations, and that usually he is sectarian in his thinking and point of view, it is equally true that where a well-educated man is pastor, the needs of the people of various denominations can easily be met and church unity be made possible.

 [Pg 53]

(8) Community Churches

The most successful rural church is the community church. Its members work chiefly not for the church itself, but for the community. Its ambition is to serve every person in its neighborhood, to create an environment favorable to the highest possible development of every person in the neighborhood, and to stimulate other organizations and persons to serve the community in every possible way. It is conceivable that there might be more than one such church in a neighborhood, but in this discussion it is assumed that a community church is the only church in the community, for by far the larger number of rural communities in Ohio should have but one church. Since, on an average, there are five churches in a township and only 1,448 persons, the formation of community churches is evidently both advisable and important.

The community church may be a denominational church or a federated church. It is the judgment of most of the denominational officials who are members of the Committee of Interchurch Coöperation of the Ohio Rural Life Association that wherever possible churches should be united in one denominational church through the reciprocal exchange and elimination of small churches by the denominational organizations. In such an exchange church members of denomination A would unite with the church of denomination B in community M, while members of denomination B would unite with the church of denomination A in community N, and so on. A number of such exchanges have been made, and so far as can be learned, they have worked well. But the members of the small churches frequently refuse to carry out this plan. They often care more for their local church than for their denomination, and are not willing that their own church organization should be destroyed. While such exchanges will doubtless continue to be made from time to time, it is unlikely that rapid progress will be achieved by this method alone.

On the other hand, the members of a local community are usually ready to form a federated church when they understand it. This has[Pg 54] been done in Northfield, Aurora, Wayland, Olmstead Falls, Milford Centre and Huntington, in Greene Township, Trumbull County, and in many other communities. A description of some of them may be found on pages 60-69. If the officials and superintendents of the church should become as favorable to the formation of federated churches as they are to exchange between denominations, and should actively further the movement, they could without question bring about the unification of the churches in very large numbers of communities which stand greatly in need of it.

Here then we have two possible methods of uniting the Christian people in the rural communities. One of them—denominational exchange—is favored by the officials but often opposed by the people in the churches. The other—the federated church—is favored by the people in the churches and opposed by many of the officials.

It is our contention that in the majority of cases the method preferred by the people is more desirable than that preferred by the officials. For a man to leave his own denomination and unite with another often involves action against the conscience. In some of the denominations, for example, the members have been trained to think it undesirable to subscribe to a creed. But creed subscription is required by the churches of many of the denominations as a condition of membership. In such cases the church officials may properly hesitate to urge a part of the people to do what they believe is not right.

Another reason which often makes it impossible for the church member of one denomination to unite with the church of another is a temperamental distaste for the idea of submission to some special system of discipline. To all Protestants this is clear so far as the Catholic Church is concerned. To many it is just as clear in relation to some of the Protestant bodies.

The official objections to the formation of federated churches involve no questions of moral principle, but merely those of expediency and the smooth running of existing ecclesiastical machinery. It is held by certain[Pg 55] officials that the federated church tends to promote autonomy in the local congregations, and that it will impair the authority of the denomination. But this increase of autonomy has already taken place in the city churches, which, as a matter of practice, whatever the denominational theory may be, manage their own affairs. There is here no loss to the denomination, nor is there likely to be when the country churches are strengthened by federation.

In the long run the officials who now entertain objections to the federated church will doubtless not permit them to stand in the way of rural church progress. Particularly will this be true when a minister of their own denomination is to be made pastor of the federated church. It would seem wise, therefore, for the denominational authorities to agree that when federated churches are formed the choice of pastors should be made, so far as possible, on the basis of interdenominational reciprocity.

In view of the urgent needs of the rural communities, as a rule, those methods should be adopted which are most acceptable to the local people whose interests are involved. When the people of a community come to desire united Christian action in promoting community welfare, their zeal will usually be strong enough to overcome the difficulties in the way. But this desirable consummation is greatly retarded where opposition is made by the denomination or its officials. Until the church officials and denominations are able to propose some other practicable plan for the readjustment of church life to community welfare, a plan which can be carried out, the demands of the situation certainly require them to help rather than hinder the movement for the formation of federated churches. In any event they will not be able to stop it.

In the investigation striking cases were found of denominational officials opposing Christian unity in the mistaken belief that they were acting in accord with the sentiment of their denominations.

It has been reported to us that a certain denominational official has tried in ten different communities to prevent interchurch coöperation, although the local churches and the local people were for it. It might[Pg 56] in charity be contended that in nine of these it was not Christian coöperation itself that was opposed, but rather the form of coöperation embodied in a federated church. But in the tenth community it was clearly Christian coöperation and not the form of it to which this official was hostile, for the people of the two local churches were merely meeting together, in union services on Sunday evenings, and for an occasional communion service. No federation or organic union was contemplated. But the old minister was removed, and a new minister was sent to the field with definite instructions to break up what unity there was. These instructions he carried out so thoroughly that the Christian forces in the community were greatly reduced in effectiveness.

In another community an official persistently tried to prevent the formation of a federated church, although himself acknowledging that he sincerely believed it was the very best thing that could be done for the local people. From two other communities it was reported that this same official was the only obstacle in the way of Christian unity. It is entirely probable that in many other communities these denominational officials have opposed Christian coöperation, for only incidentally did the authors hear of the cases reported.


(9) Nonsectarian Support

To give strength to the movement for interchurch coöperation, a strong interdenominational or undenominational backing is needed. On the part of the higher leaders and officials there is no lack of genuine desire to further interchurch coöperation. The same desire is shared by very large numbers of the younger ministers who are properly trained for their calling, and by many older ministers also. The movement, however, is often halted because of a feeling that somewhere in the denomination there is a strong sentiment against it.

Faintheartedness is the greatest obstacle to coöperation between churches at the present time. Numbers of actual instances could be[Pg 57] given if it were proper to do so. What is needed, therefore, is an active movement between or outside of the denominations, to strengthen those officials who hesitate to promote interchurch coöperation. Such a movement would finally reveal the fact that the prevailing sentiment in the denominations is really in favor of coöperation and not against it, and many who now oppose it or refuse to help would become most valuable agents in promoting it.

It must not be assumed that the day of denominations is past. Although, as between most of the denominations, theological differences no longer exist, and other differences between many of them are small, denominational feeling is still dominant. The slight differences loom large. Denominational officials for the most part feel that their chief duty is to their denomination, from which they hold their official power; and this duty is very absorbing. Hence it is often most difficult to gain support from denominational authorities and churches for interdenominational projects.

Moreover, the direction of interdenominational organization, at the present time, is largely in the hands of men who are responsible for denominational interests, or the interests of other organizations which require their wholehearted and undivided support. While the coöperation and combined judgment of such men is invaluable in the wise direction of interdenominational projects, in Ohio they fail as a driving force. This is now the chief cause of weakness in the interdenominational movement for church and country life in the State.

Both the work for the country church and for the promoting of rural business are rendered ineffective by lack of pecuniary support. In spite of this, however, plans for progressive work both for rural business and rural church are well developed, and have been tested; and moreover, the feasibility of progress in both these lines of endeavor has been thoroughly proved. Two things, then, are now required. These are funds and federated or independent direction of their use.

We may well expect that adequate funds will be given for carrying on[Pg 58] this work in the years immediately following the war. After the sacrifices of war those of peace by comparison will not seem large—while the sacrifices of both peace and war are equally necessary for the realization of the high ideals which as Americans we cherish.

This war as nothing else has done, has caused men in general to realize that there are tasks for all other than the commercial enterprises of the day, and that each of us must accept his share of the responsibility for their performance. What is worth fighting for during the war is worth working for after the war.



[Pg 59]



There are many rural communities in Ohio where the churches exert a vital influence in community life, and where farm life succeeds in holding families of moral, intellectual, and physical vigor. In some instances the communities and their churches have not been seriously affected by the modern conditions and tendencies which elsewhere are acting unfavorably upon the country church and country life. In other instances, intelligent leadership on the part of the ministers has overcome these conditions. Many of these ministers highly appreciate the help they have received from the modern country church movement, while not a few have testified that without it they would have failed.

In a very large part of rural Ohio the need of interchurch coöperation is keenly realized. In the divided communities the people, for the most part, want to get together, but they do not know how. But in many communities practical methods have been found and tested, and by these methods Christian coöperation has been brought to pass and the rural church conditions have been greatly improved. For that reason descriptions of actual successful cases of interchurch coöperation are here supplied. These examples are intended to include federated churches, church federations, and denominational union churches, as well as certain striking cases of the work of the church in community service. The uniting of Christian forces will not by itself alone insure rural church progress. The new country church program must be added. In its absence, a real advance appears to be impossible.

 [Pg 60]

Greene Township

Greene Township, Trumbull County, is situated in northeastern Ohio, in the Western Reserve. In 1900 it had a population of about 800 persons, in 1910 about 100 less. Some of its residents are descended from the early settlers from New England, others have recently moved in from western sections of Ohio, while possibly 10 per cent are of foreign birth. That its people have been somewhat progressive is indicated by the fact that it was among the first three townships in the State to establish a centralized school.

Greene is not a rich township. It has no railroad. About 40 of its houses are now vacant. Fields which formerly were producing good crops of wheat, corn, and oats are now growing up to brush. The young men between 25 and 30 years of age who were going into farming before the war can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is probable, however, that a new era in agriculture has begun. Quite recently drainage, and in some cases the application of lime, have reclaimed much waste land. Still other land will be treated in the same way and with equally good results. Doubtless, as elsewhere, progressive country church work will greatly assist a general movement in the township to secure abundant prosperity.

In the geographical center of the township are two churches, Methodist Episcopal and Disciples of Christ. These two are about equal in strength, while in the northwestern part is a Baptist church with but three or four families in its membership. The latter, however, supports a Sunday school of 30 or 40 attendants.

Formerly, three resident ministers lived in the community, but for twelve years there had been none. The Baptist Church holds only occasional preaching services, the Disciples have depended for their preaching upon student supplies from a neighboring theological school, while the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church have lived outside the township at North Bloomfield, five miles away, where there are Methodist[Pg 61] Episcopal, Disciples, and Congregational churches. The Methodist Episcopal Church at Greene, therefore, was part of a circuit of two churches.

As is usually the case among farming people of Ohio where there are no resident ministers the people of Greene Township received very few pastoral calls. Several families in the southeastern section of the township have had little or no association with any ministers or churches. Mr. Gill recently visited the township on a pleasant Sunday, and learned that less than 30 of its 700 people that day went to church.

As an indication that the churches of Greene Township have been losing their hold on the people, it may be noted that an increasing number of families do not ask clergymen to officiate at funerals. The undertaker sometimes conducts a short service at the grave, or his wife reads a prayer and passage of scripture. In view of immemorial custom, the absence of a clergyman on such occasions is significant.

The total amount of money contributed annually to the support of the ministry in Greene Township has been not more than $600. Of this the Methodist Episcopal Church paid its minister $300. The North Bloomfield Church in an adjacent township paid him $500, so that the total salary of the Methodist minister who gave part of his time to Greene Township was $800. Obviously this is not enough to support a family and enable the minister to keep a motor car or a horse. A large part of his time and energy, therefore, was spent in walking from parish to parish and from house to house through an area of 50 square miles.

In January of 1917 a joint committee was appointed by the churches of Greene Township to consider the questions of securing a resident pastor, increasing the size of the Sunday school and congregation, and rendering all other forms of service needed in the community. It was decided by this committee that a federated church should be formed in which each constituent ecclesiastical body would preserve its own identity. Each church would independently meet its obligations to its own denomination in all matters outside of the community, while all the members of the churches would unite in local activities, including the support[Pg 62] of a resident minister. A country life institute was held to stimulate the desire for community improvement, and the plan of church betterment was set forth and adopted.

To secure support for a minister, a thorough canvass was made by a committee of six representing the three churches. As a result of its work no less than $1,500 was subscribed. “Our results,” wrote the chairman of this committee, “have surpassed our brightest hopes. It is a genuine pleasure to work for something that is going to help the whole community and not just a part. I believe the interests of the Kingdom will be advanced most where effort is united in rural communities. In our canvass for funds we were surprised to find that the non-church people were not willing that the churches should close their doors. In addition we found they had a deeper interest in the church than we could possibly expect. One old man, probably sixty-five, said that this was the first time he had ever been asked to give to the support of a church. He added that he often felt he would like to give. Many a man said he would double the amount of his gift if it was necessary.”

A well-educated minister who has rendered nine successive years of effective service in one community has been secured as pastor, and there is now a most encouraging prospect of improvement in religious, moral, social, and economic life. The increased giving in Greene Township has also influenced the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in North Bloomfield. They have pledged $800, instead of the former $500, for the support of their minister, and expect to raise $1,000. Bloomfield Township also hereafter will have the undivided service of a minister.

As a result of this movement in Greene Township, therefore, four of the churches of these two townships will hereafter pay from $2,300 to $2,500 for the support of the ministry instead of $1,100 as hitherto, while two communities will each have the full time service of a resident pastor. The significance of this increase in the money support of the church will be apparent to those who have studied modern rural church problems. The failure of the rural churches to give a living wage, much less a working[Pg 63] salary, to their ministers has been one of the most discouraging facts in the rural church situation.

If the three churches of North Bloomfield should federate as those of Greene Township have done, doubtless their people could raise $1,500 for the support of the ministry. Again, if all the churches of both North Bloomfield and Greene should federate it would be possible to employ a single pastor of even higher grade with an assistant. An automobile could be used effectively to cover both townships. In some cases, as in Benzonia, Michigan, one minister with one or more assistants has been able to get better results at less expense. The plan is worth trying.



In the year 1913 in the village of Aurora, Portage County, there were two churches, the Congregational and Disciples of Christ. They were small in attendance and membership, and it was hard to get adequate support for the ministers. The usual results of underpaying the ministry were not wanting. As a preliminary step in the improvement of this situation an organization of the men of the churches was formed to promote the general community welfare. As in so many other cases, to bring the churches together in coöperative service to the community was seen to be the only way to secure a vigorous church life for Aurora. That led to the decision to form a federated church under the leadership of one pastor. Under the plan adopted, each church was to keep its denominational relations, contribute to its denominational benevolences, and fulfill all denominational obligations. But in Aurora, as in Greene Township, the people were to work together as in one church.

Owing to circumstances which were purely accidental, for the first year or two the church was not very prosperous and the federation was only partially successful. But after awhile the church began to take on life. While at the beginning it was mutually understood that the arrangement was to be tried for but two years, at the end of that time the [Pg 64]desirability of going back to the old way was not even discussed. So far as Mr. Gill could learn in a visit to the community, the one and only one person who still preferred the old way was a woman who had opposed the movement from the start and had always held aloof from it. The opinion of the people is now practically unanimous that both the community and the churches were greatly benefited by the change. The first pastor of this church was of the Disciples, the second a Presbyterian.



Garrettsville is a prosperous community on the Erie Railroad between Youngstown and Cleveland. Its thousand inhabitants are engaged partly in farming, partly in manufacturing, and partly in supplying the various daily needs of the people. Its good houses, electric lights, paved streets, and trim sidewalks indicate progressiveness and community spirit. Being progressive, the people not merely recognized the undesirability of interchurch competition, but they were able to work out a plan whereby they have largely avoided it.

In April, 1916, there were four churches in the community, or on an average one to 250 persons. The highest salary paid to its minister by any of the churches was $800. Two of the other churches paid much smaller sums and shared the service of their ministers with the churches of other towns, while one of the pastors was the Educational Secretary of a Y. M. C. A. in a town thirty miles away. The spirit of denominational rivalry was in no respect different from that commonly found where there are too many churches. When the pastor of the Congregational Church attempted to organize a branch of the Boy Scouts of America for all the boys in the community, he found that the members of the other churches feared he was attempting to win the boys over to his church. For this reason he thought it best to give up the enterprise.

In 1914, an unsuccessful attempt was made to unite the Congregational Church and the Disciples, and another to unite the Baptist and [Pg 65]Congregational churches. In 1916, however, under the influence of the country church movement in Ohio, a successful effort was made to unite all three of them. In the spring of that year these three churches were all without pastors. They decided to hold union services and a Union Sunday school during the summer.

Upon trial the advantages of this arrangement became manifest. Not only was the church attendance larger than the aggregate attendance in the separate churches had ever been, but the Sunday school, formerly with separate attendances of 65, 20, and 12, now had an attendance of 130. Besides the added enthusiasm of greater numbers, it had better teachers, better music, and a better Christian spirit.

In September, 1916, it was decided by separate vote of each church to form a permanent organization, which was incorporated with the name of “The United Church,” and included all who were members of any of the three churches. No member was asked to alter any of his beliefs, and any candidate for admission might choose his own mode of being received, provided it was one used in some Evangelical church. Contributions for missionary work were sent to denominational bodies indicated by the givers or determined by a joint committee. For all local work the members were to act as one body. A committee of the United Church chose as pastor a young man of rural experience, a graduate of an eastern university and seminary, whose denominational affiliation was regarded as of so little importance that it was not even announced.

The United Church of Garrettsville, after two years of experience, affords religious opportunities and renders service to the people far beyond anything the town could supply before the federation was made.

While the three original churches remain intact, the main part of the business of the church is done by the committee of the United Church. The officials of the denominations of the three churches interested heartily encourage the project. The united force of church workers from three denominations has made a very efficient church.

The United Church is the result of a desire of the people to be as closely[Pg 66] joined in their new church as they were in their different denominational churches. Its motto is “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in diversities, charity, in all things, Christ first.” It accepts the Scriptures as its sufficient rule of faith and practice, interpreted in the light of fundamental agreements in evangelical teaching, and in the spirit of its motto. Forms of ritual for the sacrament, for the public services, and for admission into the church are left to the decision of the minister, and are not provided for in the regulations. It was desired to keep the forms of sectarianism too feeble to be able to keep the people apart. Persons may join the United Church without joining any of the three denominations represented by the original constituent bodies.

The Sunday school is well organized, and is testing its work by the highest standard of Christian education. Its relation to the church is very close. The young people have a Christian Endeavor Society. The women’s work is carried on by a most flourishing society under the name of “The Community Circle,” whose form of organization provides for taking care of both local and missionary needs. At the first meeting of each month, half of the time is given to local opportunities for service. The general social life of the church is largely cared for by this society.

The United Church has leased all the property of the old churches for a term of years and cares for the church buildings. It has decided to build a new community house for promoting the social life of the community and general community interests, but has postponed it until after the war. In the Articles of Incorporation one of the objects is regarded as the support of such enterprises as tend to the more perfect development of the children and young people spiritually, physically, morally, and socially.

Representatives of the old churches usually go to the meetings of their respective denominations, and are accompanied by such members of the United Church as may wish to attend as visitors. Reports of the meetings are made at meetings of the United Church. The pastor of the United Church is also pastor of each of the three denominational churches[Pg 67] and so far as possible attends the district meetings of the denominational bodies in a representative capacity and cares for the local denominational interests. Public services and meetings are held in the Congregational Church building because it is the largest and best equipped. A baptistry is now being installed, and various uses are being found for the other buildings.

It will be noted that the United Church of Garrettsville differs in some respects from the ordinary federated church.



In Northfield, Summit County, the Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal churches united by verbal agreement in a federated church on December 1, 1914. Written articles were adopted several months later. The pastor of the federated church, Rev. J. M. Keck, has kindly given us the following brief account:

“The consent of the higher officials of each denomination was first secured. Then the members of the local churches agreed to the following plan:

“The Presbyterians remain in the Cleveland Presbytery and the Methodists in the Northeast Ohio Conference as before. The legal organization of each local church continues intact. Each set of trustees has charge of its property. The Presbyterian Church being the better located, is used for worship, and the Methodist for dinners, etc. When a building needs repairs, funds are raised from the entire congregation by voluntary contributions.

“The only additional organization is an Executive Committee, half Presbyterians and half Methodists, which has charge of current expenses and all matters relating to the congregation as a whole. An every-member canvass for the local budget is made in which no account is taken of church relations, no one but the treasurer knowing how much is contributed by each denomination. Benevolent contributions are equally[Pg 68] divided between the denominational boards or applied to the Presbyterian or Methodist funds as indicated on envelopes.

“Persons desiring to unite with the church elect whether they are to be Presbyterians or Methodists and are received accordingly. No one seems to care in which they are enrolled, since they work in the same congregation and contribute to the same funds. The order of public worship is a modification of each of those formerly in use but retains the essential features of both.

“So far there has not been the slightest friction between the denominations. No one seems to think of ever going back to the old way.



“1. A church was saved for the denomination which in time would probably have been forced to disband.

“2. Several hundred dollars of home missionary money was saved annually which had been expended in Northfield to keep the church open and alive. Under the federation it is not needed.

“3. Offerings are made to the various boards and interests of Presbyterianism.



“1. A church was saved that doubtless would have been closed in a few years for want of support.

“2. The salary of the pastor has been increased and also the stipends of the district superintendent, the bishops, conferences, and claimants.

“3. The contributions to all boards and benevolences have been increased.



“1. Federation saves paying two pastors and keeping two church buildings when one is sufficient. It makes the public more willing to aid.

[Pg 69]“2. The congregation being more than doubled, there is more enthusiasm and willingness to work.

“3. It has silenced the criticism that the churches are competing instead of coöperating.

“4. The economic and fraternal features of federation appeal to the public and bring into line people who did not patronize either church before.”


Federated Churches in Other States

More churches have been federated in New England than in any other section of the United States. Familiarity with the success or failure of these churches is therefore necessary to a reasonably full discussion of interchurch coöperation. Accordingly information blanks were sent to a number of these federated churches. The inquiries were expressed as follows:

1. Date of Federation?

2. Denominations of constituent bodies?

3. Membership of each church at the time of federation?

4. Denomination of the first minister and of succeeding ministers?

5. Do the people like the present arrangement better than the old?

6. Do many people want to go back to the old way?

7. Have church benevolences declined or increased?

8. How has the pecuniary support of the ministry been affected?

9. How have other expenditures of the church been affected?

10. Has attendance declined or increased?

11. Has church membership declined or increased?

12. What effect, if any, has the formation of the federated church had upon the social life of the community?

13. Kindly express frankly your opinion of the federated church as a means of securing Christian unity and church efficiency.

Fifteen churches replied. In these fifteen federated churches were thirteen Congregational churches, nine Methodist Episcopal, seven[Pg 70] Baptist, and one Universalist. The Universalist was federated with a Congregational church, two federated churches were made up of Baptist and Methodist, five of Baptist and Congregational, seven of Methodist Episcopal and Congregational.

The first ministers of four of the federated churches were Baptists, of five, Methodist Episcopal, and of five, Congregational.

One of the churches had had an experience of sixteen years, one of eleven, two of eight, two of six, two of five, two of four, two of three, three of two, making the average experience of the fifteen federated churches more than five years.

Of the fifteen answers to question 5, thirteen said that the people liked the present arrangement better than the old, while the other two said there were not many people who wanted to go back to the old way.

In reply to question 7, eight declared that the benevolences had increased, three that they had remained the same, one said benevolences varied in different years, while in three the benevolences had declined. In one of these the decline was very slight and there was a prospect of an increase in the future.

In thirteen the support of the ministry has been favorably affected by the federation. From one the answer is ambiguous. In the case of Truro, Massachusetts, where one church had a membership of three and the other of eight, at the time of federation, the answer indicates a decrease in the amount given to the salary.

The answers to question 9 indicate that the running expenditures of the churches are often less and that the money is more easily raised to meet them.

To question 10, nine of the answers denoted an increased attendance, five no noticeable change. No church reported a decrease. In one case the answer was obscure.

The answers to question 11 report that eight have increased in membership, five have remained stationary, one reports normal additions, and one a slight decrease.

[Pg 71]In answer to question 12, twelve churches reported a favorable effect upon the social life of the community, two recently formed reported that there was no marked effect yet, while one gave no answer. All but one of the correspondents cherish a strong opinion that the federated church is the best arrangement when a community is overchurched and the churches are small. One pastor of a federation had nothing to say.

The following are the replies to the request made at the end of the questionnaire, “Kindly express frankly your opinion of the federated church as a means of securing Christian unity and church efficiency”:

1. “Nothing to say.”

2. “I do not see any reasons why two or more churches of Congregational form of government should not federate, but it would be difficult to federate with Episcopal form of church government.”

3. “The efficiency here has been greater since these churches federated than it was before. No church could support a pastor. The Baptist Church had been pastorless for three and a half years. The Congregational Church was supplied by students from Hartford Theological Seminary. Now they pay a fair salary and give free use of parsonage. Federation is the best solution of overchurched communities.”

4. “The federated church should be adopted in rural communities and in many small cities. I see no other way to bring the church into its place as a social and religious power.”

5. “It is my opinion that for a community that is like this one a federated church is a great means to secure Christian unity and efficiency. At our last meeting there were but two who were not enthusiastic for its continuance. Our field here would be much better if there were not another church in the community outside the federation. There is still the Unitarian Church outside the federation which necessarily makes a divided leadership in the small community. Our federated church has grown from two small churches to the position of dominance in the community. Our decrease in benevolences is largely explainable and excusable perhaps in that it occurred during the time when there were so[Pg 72] many other things to take care of, relative to the federation. It will not happen again, but for a part of the time we were without a pastor and during the rest of the time exceedingly busy getting things adjusted.”

6. “We are thoroughly satisfied. Each church in denominational relationship (the Methodist Episcopal and Congregational) is as independent and well organized as before federation. Each church is stronger than before federation. We look forward to the day when federation will be the rule in overchurched communities for the sake of the good of church and community rather than from pecuniary necessity.” This opinion was expressed after an experience of sixteen years of the federated church.

7. “Having been pastor of the federated church in Somerset for three years I am glad to be able to say that I unqualifiedly recommend federation as a solution of the overchurched problem in country and village. Wherever there are genuine Christian members, federation will work perfectly.”

8. “It is a great help in small places.”

9. “Our federation has been a great success. Perfect harmony seems to reign.”

10. “A strong church can do better work alone, but two or more weak churches should unite in the support of one minister. A federated church gives opportunity for denominational loyalty and connections. This is important.”

11. “This is a small town, only about 435 population, but it is a summer resort and during the months of July and August a great many city people attend church. I am pastor of this church and North Thetford, another federated church about five miles south. It is about the only way these churches could be run, for both are small places.”

12. “This federated church is in a flourishing condition. During the present pastorate since May, 1914, 31 have been received into the church. The building has been remodeled at a cost of about $3,500, all paid but $300.00.”

[Pg 73]13. “It is the most efficient means of securing Christian unity and church efficiency ever discovered. It is the ideal way.”

14. “I am convinced of the sincerity of Christian unity and of the possibility of church efficiency, but it has not really approached that reality any more than some denominational churches have in rural centers. But it is a wholesome and generally satisfactory plan of religious service in a community of changing personnel. In the community is quite a large Catholic element and also a very progressive and influential Universalist element. This remains in our midst practically unassimilated as yet, after a dozen years with no services in their church. The children are coming into the Sunday school pretty well and time will overcome some of these obstacles.”

15. “It is the reasonable and only possible means in this and many other communities in Cape Cod, but it needs energy and aggressive effort to succeed.”

In the face of the fact that a very large proportion of denominational rural churches are on the decline, the experience of these fifteen churches constitutes very strong evidence that the federated church is a practical means of securing Christian unity and increased church efficiency in small overchurched communities.

In order to learn whether or not it is true that only the more successful churches replied to the questionnaire, we have by other means secured information in regard to certain churches which did not reply. Some of them were found to be as successful as those which did. For example, the federated church of North Wilbraham, Massachusetts, the constituent bodies of which are Methodist Episcopal and Congregational churches, has greatly increased in membership, attendance, and in the influence it exerts for various kinds of progress in its community. It would be very difficult to find any country church, either denominational or federated, whose record for service is better.

In two cases in New England where the federated church has failed, it was reported that the pastors regarded the federated church as a[Pg 74] temporary expedient and tried hard to change it into a denominational church. Such action would necessarily be regarded as a breach of faith on the part of one of the churches, and disaster might well be expected to follow. The authors know of no experience which indicates any inherent weakness in the federated church, nor so far as they are aware is there any evidence that a federated church has injured the denomination of any component church. On the contrary, a very large majority of the small churches which have united with others in such federation have gained rather than lost, with a resulting benefit to each denomination concerned.



[Pg 75]




1. A Church Federation

In the village of Shiloh in Richland County are two churches, Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal, each supporting a resident pastor. Each seems to be strong enough to sustain alone its ordinary activities. For this and other reasons there has been no desire to unite the churches into one congregation. But they had both neglected to provide means of meeting many of the community’s needs, such as opportunities for social life, recreation, and athletics, or to stimulate others to make provision for them. As usual under such conditions, gambling and other amusements of a questionable sort became more or less common. In order the better to look after the needs of the young people and to strengthen the moral life of the community, a committee representing both of the churches was appointed to provide and carry out a program for the community welfare.

One of the features of this program is a successful movement for the promotion of the social, athletic, and play life of this and neighboring communities. The life of the neighborhood has been made more attractive, especially for the young people, while some of the forms of petty vice have disappeared. Union services are frequently held by the two churches. In every way their work is becoming more effective.

This form of coöperative organization may be called a church federation, but it should be distinguished from the federated church, which is the union of two or more churches into a single congregation. In every rural community where it is neither feasible nor desirable to unite all the churches under the leadership of one pastor, a church federation should be[Pg 76] formed to create conditions favorable to the development of Christian character, to hold community religious services and social gatherings, and to render all forms of social service which are needed in the community, but are not rendered by other institutions.


2. Coöperation with Other Social Forces

Where there are social organizations other than school and church it often happens that the churches can get better results by working with them. An example of this kind of coöperation may be found in White Cottage, Newton Township, Muskingum County. Here the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church made a thorough survey of the community in an area which included four churches. He then prepared a sermon on the much needed country life movement, and sent a personal letter to every family in the area covered by the survey, inviting its members to come and hear his sermon. Large numbers responded. Then a mass meeting was called to discuss the situation, and the results of the survey were set forth. A committee was appointed to draw up a constitution for a community betterment organization. At a second mass meeting it was adopted. Under it every member of the community became a member of the association. Every social organization in the community was given equal representation on the Executive Committee, which has standing committees on programs and publicity, on religion and social service, on education, on recreation and physical culture, and on finance.

A general cleaning up of the community followed. An unsightly square was transferred into an attractive playground, where every Saturday afternoon there was basket ball, volley ball, croquet, tennis, track athletics, or baseball. A library and public reading room was opened, a temperance program was adopted, farmers’ institutes were established, and lectures on agriculture and home economics were given, together with a Chautauqua course of lectures for winter and summer, and a series of home talent plays. There were three holiday picnics each summer, and[Pg 77] field day exercises with a parade, platform meetings, and a community dinner.

Other results of this movement are a fine new school building with a large auditorium, and greatly improved roads. Moreover, a favorable reaction has been felt in the churches. Whereas, formerly but 37½ per cent of the population were church attendants, now there are 58 per cent; where formerly 40 per cent of the people went to Sunday school, now there are 52 per cent. The whole community shows a higher moral tone.

While the churches at White Cottage were not united in any organic way, yet a spirit of Christian unity was brought about. The very best of feeling exists among the different churches, and their members work together gladly in community improvement. As the result of such an atmosphere the evils of overchurching are reduced to a minimum, and it becomes easier to bring about such reorganization as may be for the best religious and social welfare of the community.

Organizations of coöperating rural social forces, like that at White Cottage, for many years have been doing good work in other states, both East and West. In large numbers of communities, particularly where the churches cannot be federated, or where bitter feeling has resulted from interchurch competition, the best method of progress is often to bring about such a coördination of forces in the service of the community itself.


3. Community Service and Christian Unity

Ashley, in Delaware County, is a town of about 600 inhabitants. Here a resident pastor’s desire to serve his community resulted in Christian unity. Twelve years ago there were four competing churches, poorly attended and struggling for existence. Camp meetings of a fanatical sect were often held in the neighborhood. In the churches of the town seasons of protracted meetings were characterized by excessive emotion at the time, but by few permanent good results. While respect for religion is necessary to a high degree of moral and social life in any country [Pg 78]community, a large proportion of the people in Ashley no longer respected the church because of the character of its religious activities. Many of the most influential citizens even doubted whether the church was good for the community or not. High ideals were conspicuously lacking among the young people, and disorderly conduct was beginning to appear.

In the year 1907 the Methodist Episcopal Church acquired a pastor who by nature and training was well equipped for his work. Fortunately he was the only resident minister in the town, where he remained for nearly ten years. As the result of his leadership the whole community now has a high regard for religion and the church, while a practical Christian unity has been brought about and interchurch competition has disappeared. The moral and religious atmosphere of the place has become wholesome.

Community life has been made attractive through special instruction and entertainment, social gatherings, athletics, and all kinds of healthy amusement.

There still are two churches, but one of them meets not oftener than once a month, is attended by only two or three families, and has ceased to be a factor in the life of the community. The other church is well attended and is generally recognized as the community church. The members of the two churches which have dropped out have, for the most part, united with it, while the building of one of them has become the gymnasium of the community church.

Though the work of this successful pastor was begun before the modern country life and country church movement had been developed, his program and methods of work in no way differ from those which are common to the nation-wide movement. In fact large numbers of country pastors, widely scattered over the United States, entirely independent of one another or of the literature of any special movement, have made and carried out programs for church and community betterment which in their essentials are substantially alike. The pastors have all studied the needs of their communities and have tried to meet them. Similarity of[Pg 79] needs in the different communities has naturally resulted in the adoption of similar programs.

The pastor who did at Ashley the work just described began by making a thorough study of his parish. He then led the young people into active work for their community, and later on stimulated the older men to do their part also, until finally it became recognized in Ashley that the duty of the Christian and the church is not to work mainly for the church, but mainly for the common welfare and the development of all the people.

This minister never emphasized any form of sectarianism. He thought of himself as pastor of the whole town and countryside rather than of his church alone, so that whatever he did was entirely free from the spirit of competition. The people did not fail to recognize his aims, and, in consequence, were satisfied with his leadership. Thus it became possible for him and his church to work to satisfy the needs of all the people. The Presbyterians and Friends, therefore, willingly joined his church and gave up their own. But if in speech or deed he had attempted to build up his own church at the expense of the others, there would undoubtedly be four churches in Ashley to-day.

The Ashley community church secured the creation of a community library, itself provided a community reading room, gave special attention to the day school and its teachers, held each year free university extension lectures on agriculture and home economics, lectures on sanitation and prevention of diseases, gave socials and festivals, promoted athletics, maintained a church gymnasium, and formed farmers’ clubs and helped them in their work. Though there were lodges in Ashley which held occasional gatherings, still the church was generally recognized as the institution which supplied the opportunities for social life for the whole community. The church became preëminently the most democratic and most popular institution in the town.

Simplicity of organization was the aim of the pastor. Sunday school classes, including a men’s Bible class, were organized, and were stimulated to do their best to meet the social and other needs of the community.[Pg 80] So well did they do their work that other organizations were found to be unnecessary. One unusual feature of the pastor’s work was the combining of the Bible school session on Sunday morning with the service of the church, making one service of worship, at which communion is administered and members are received.

No collections are taken up in the church, but a budget is made at the beginning of the year and the money is raised through a church committee. Contributions for benevolences have been greatly increased during this pastorate, and large sums have been spent for building and improvements. Yet nevertheless the community did not furnish adequate support for its pastor, undoubtedly because as in the case of nearly all pastors, he refused to work for an increase in his own salary, while, as in nearly all small communities, no one else took the matter up. In this respect, therefore, the people acted unjustly towards their minister.

It should be noted that the minister was well trained and of high character; that he lived in the community he served; that he was given a long term of service; and that he cherished a right conception of the work of minister and church.

Such work as this is badly needed in multitudes of communities in Ohio. It is the only thing that can preserve or restore their wholesomeness and make them suitable places for the rearing of children. The church, as a whole, should spare no effort in providing large numbers of such men to do this kind of work, for the total result of so doing would be an increase of untold value in the strength of the very foundations of Christian civilization in America.


4. Christian Unity by Necessity

In Ontario, Springfield Township, Richland County, there were three churches,—Presbyterian, United Presbyterian, and Methodist Episcopal. Because many of the best families had left, the Presbyterian churches have held no regular services since the year 1900. For a time the Methodist Episcopal Church shared a resident minister with three or four other[Pg 81] churches, but from 1912 Springfield Township was left without a resident minister for three years. Under these circumstances it was inevitable that social and moral decline should begin, for the modern community’s needs cannot be met by the old-fashioned circuit system. More and more the better families moved away or relapsed into the background, and the less moral elements became conspicuous. A dance hall became the haunt of disorderly people from neighboring towns. Drunkenness grew apace, while bad language on the streets was altogether too common. Pilfering the property of the railroad was more or less open. It was high time to act.

Accordingly, the people of all the denominations and the non-church people who lived in the township, realizing that it was going from bad to worse, joined in deciding that a resident minister was necessary. Money was raised, and the future support of a minister was promised if the Methodist Episcopal Conference would send them a good man.

The new minister began his work in the autumn of 1915. The total budget of the church had been about $500, of which less than $250 went to the minister’s salary. During his first year, $1,540 was raised, $900 of which went for the support of the minister. In the second year no less than $7,500 was raised, $1,000 for the minister’s salary, $540 for ordinary expenses, while the rest went to the permanent repairs on the church buildings.

As in Ashley, so in Springfield Township; the pastor regarded his church as a community church and thought of himself as a Christian rather than as a sectarian. The attendance more than doubled both at the church services and at the Sunday school, while the real membership increased from less than 100 to 315. When the Presbyterians saw the manifest good that could be brought by united Christian action, they became members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while later on they made a Christmas present of their building to the Methodist community church. It is now used as the house of worship, while the Methodist Church has become a gymnasium and parish house.

[Pg 82]Under the leadership of the new resident minister a genuine cleaning up of the gross indecency was made, some of the most harmful characters left, and the place became comparatively orderly. The village has been transformed from a rural slum to a very decent community,—a safe place to bring up children. This better state of things will undoubtedly continue as long as the present system of church work prevails.

The plan of this church’s work did not differ from that of many other modern country churches. It included Sunday school classes organized for social service, athletics, including basket ball, a full program of social activities, lectures to promote an intelligent interest in agriculture, and active interest on the part of the minister in coöperating with the day schools and providing opportunities for intellectual advancement.

The pastor declares that the work in Springfield Township was made possible only because he could live in the community, because he could give his whole time to this field, and because of the program of country church service with which, through the Conference of the Commission on Church and Country Life which was held in Columbus in 1915 and through modern country church literature, he had become familiar. He asserts that without the modern program and conception of the function of the country church, success would have been impossible.


5. The Church as a Force for Righteousness

In the work at Ashley and Ontario we have seen the adoption of a good program accompanied by improvement in the moral tone and religious atmosphere of the communities. There are many other communities where a similar program has been carried out, with the same results. These cases constitute a fairly conclusive demonstration that the varied community life which is stimulated and made possible by the modern country church program is the normal one, and that without these various activities general moral and religious health is impossible.

The leadership of a modern country church minister brought about[Pg 83] just such an improvement in the community life of Old Fort. This pastor came to realize the needs of his community by taking part in the Ohio Rural Life Survey. One direct result of his work is a centralized agricultural high school, which will become the means of keeping the best families on the land instead of letting them move to the larger towns in search of better schools for the children. Once gone they rarely return.

The young men of Old Fort, who formerly had little to do with the church, are now active in its work. Special attention has been given, in a neighboring parish served by the same minister, to the farm laborers and tenants. Whereas formerly these people rarely went to church, now as large a proportion of them take part in the activities of the church as of any other class. This is an achievement of real importance. It appears from Map 12, which is based on data from the United States Census, that, in no less than 54 of the 88 counties of Ohio, more than 25 per cent of the farms in the year 1910 were operated by tenants. On Map 13 it appears that in no less than 50 counties the number of farms operated by tenants is increasing. Here is one of the great obstacles in the way of church progress in the State, for it is well known that farm tenants usually take little interest in the community where they live, while only a small proportion of them are members of the church. Until reform in the system of land tenure can be brought to pass through legislation, it is most important that the church shall give special attention to the tenant families.


 [Pg 84]

Map 12

Showing by Counties Percentage of All Farms Operated by Tenants
Larger Image


 [Pg 85]

Map 13

Showing Increase (+) or Decrease (-) Per Cent in Number of Farms Operated by Tenants Years 1900-1910
Larger Image


[Pg 86]Success in this parish, according to the testimony of the minister, is due to the program brought to light by the modern country church movement. Indeed, we have observed no notably progressive country churches in small communities where the new country church program has not been an essential factor of success. Lakeville is a case in point.

In the village of Lakeville, as in a large proportion of Ohio rural communities, opportunities for wholesome recreation were few. The church not only felt no responsibility for providing a better environment for the young people, but looked upon matters which have to do with recreation, entertainment, and physical development as foreign to it. To give them attention was regarded as beneath its dignity. This attitude, both here and in a large proportion of the rural churches, has been responsible in no small degree for a general moral laxness in communities, and often for the separation of the young people from the church.

The moral and social conditions in Lakeville have been revolutionized by a resident minister in three years. His conception of his work and the methods he used did not differ materially from those of the pastors of Ashley, Ontario, and Old Fort. Every wholesome feature of community life was regarded by him as a matter of interest to the church. Thus, to promote a deeper interest in agriculture, lecturers and demonstrators upon various phases of it were invited into the community.

Under the leadership of this minister a wholesome, normal, interesting life, leading to the high development of the young people, and a marked increase in the general happiness of the community, has been brought to pass. The excellent auditorium of the consolidated school was made the social center of the community. The pastor and the members of his church were the initiators and chief supporters of the program of recreation, instruction, and entertainment which was carried out largely in this building. Although in Lakeville the church wisely kept itself in the background in much of its work, its activities were none the less effective, while this policy also reacted favorably upon the church itself.

Although there were two churches yoked together in this field, they[Pg 87] were but a mile and a half apart, and the parish was therefore compact. Consequently the pastor could and did make much of his pastoral work. The close touch of the minister with the members of his church and community greatly added to the effectiveness of the evangelistic services which he held, for he befriended those who had need of friends. Hence there was not only a large increase in membership, but the results of it promised to be of a durable character.

It will be noted that the minister was pastor of all the churches in the community and so encountered none of the difficulties which come from interchurch competition.

The kind of community service which is illustrated at Ashley, Ontario, Old Fort, White Cottage, and Lakeville offers abundant opportunity to a young man of good equipment for using his knowledge and native ability, and should therefore attract a better type of man to the rural ministry. The church as a whole should be active in presenting it to young men, for the purpose of getting the best of them to enlist in it. The conservation of the high character of our rural population depends on just such work.



[Pg 88]



No program for the conservation and improvement of rural life will succeed unless it provides for the successful promotion of coöperative agricultural business organization. Even if all the reforms we have suggested are made, the need to stimulate, assist, and guide the business organization of farmers will still remain. Strong modern country churches will not flourish in unprogressive communities whose business is not successful.

Rural business must be effectively organized to enable the farmers to get a just money return for the service they give. A sound economic basis for a more attractive rural life can be provided in no other way. Through training and experience in successful coöperative enterprises, farmers may achieve a greater degree of solidarity, and acquire a larger share in the direction and control of industrial, political, and economic life of the Nation. With it will come larger respect for rural occupations, an added prestige and attractiveness to agricultural life, and the chance of real success for the modern country church.

The field of agricultural coöperation cannot be filled by any government agency. However excellent the provisions of the Smith-Lever bill, under which an agricultural adviser will be placed in every county in the United States, however valuable the instruction and advice of the State Agricultural Colleges, when the Government and the churches have done all that can reasonably be expected of them, the task of organizing rural business will remain undone until it is accomplished by the farmers themselves, acting through associations of their own which are formally allied with neither church nor government.

[Pg 89]Conclusive evidence on this point is supplied by more than fifty years of experience in Europe, and by somewhat less in the United States. Within the past five years an attempt to promote coöperative agricultural business organization has been made by the National Government. It failed, in general, because the Government cannot successfully undertake such work, and in particular because special interests which were making large profits by the exploitation of farmers had laws passed which effectually defeated the attempt. Within the past three years agricultural agents of the Government in Ohio who attempted to promote a coöperative movement among farmers were forced by similar interests to abandon the work or leave the county where they were employed. It is well known that the faculties of certain State Agricultural colleges, though fully aware of the need for sound coöperative agricultural business, do not attempt to give instructions in its principles because of the effective opposition they anticipate from persons and corporations whose business makes their interests hostile to those of the farmer.

If the Government cannot meet the whole need, no more can the churches. Business coöperation, which they should encourage but cannot supply, is indispensable. For more than fifty years churches and clergymen in Europe have been rendering most effective service in the promotion of coöperative agricultural organization in business. In America likewise they can and should be of essential help in the same good work, for the principles of successful agricultural business are in close harmony with Christian ethics. Moreover, the social and moral effects of coöperative business on communities and individuals are of a most favorable character. In the year 1913 Mr. Gill was present at a meeting of representatives of government agricultural departments of fifteen nations, where it was asserted that agricultural coöperation was the application of Christianity to the business of the farm.

Rural business, however, should not be organically allied with the church any more than it should be with the State. While the ministers and churches may do much to educate the farmers in regard to coöperation,[Pg 90] to interpret it, to increase the good results of it, and in many ways give valuable assistance to it, the movement for coöperation can only be made successful when promoted by voluntary secular organizations entirely independent both of church and state.

Coöperation is most needed where the people are poorest. In such districts it is easiest to inaugurate it, and then by demonstration to show the high and important character of its benefits. From the poorer regions it tends to spread into the richer ones and in this way to diffuse itself widely.

Not long ago it was found that farmers in Pike County were selling their eggs to merchants for 16 cents a dozen when in the towns nearby the market price was 25 cents. Almost the entire potato crop of this county in 1916 was handled by middlemen at a profit of more than 100 per cent. Fruit raising could be made most profitable in large parts of Ohio which at present are not prosperous, but without coöperative organization the difficulty of marketing fruit is very great. In the purchase of farm implements, fertilizers, and other supplies, great savings to the farmers are undoubtedly possible.

There are few regions where coöperative organization is more needed, and would be more likely to succeed, if properly directed, than in southeastern Ohio. It would not only increase the economic prosperity of this region, but it would exert also a most wholesome moral and social effect, whereby the work of the church would be accelerated. The constant application of the principles of brotherhood in everyday business is an influence of the highest value, and it cannot safely be neglected as a means for the Christianizing of rural society.



[Pg 91]


[Pg 92]



[Pg 93]



It appears that of the 6,060 churches in the 1,170 strictly rural townships of Ohio no less than 1,793, or nearly 30 per cent, are of the Methodist Episcopal denomination (see Table D and Maps 14-25); 521 are of the United Brethren in Christ; 396 are Presbyterian; 379 are Baptist, including Free Will, Free, and Missionary; 367 Disciples; 362 Lutheran; 248 Roman Catholic; 228 Christian; 211 Methodist Protestant; 175 Reformed; 135 Congregational; 129 Evangelical Association; 113 Brethren or German Baptists; 95 Radical United Brethren; 92 Christian Union; 84 Societies of Friends; and 77 United Presbyterian. None of the other denominations has more than 1 per cent of the total number.

The denominations are represented in about the same proportion in the suburban rural districts.



Number of Churches in Each Denomination

Denomination Strictly rural
Per cent Other rural
Per cent All rural
Per cent
Total 6060 100 582 100 6642 100
Methodist Episcopal 1793 29.6 171 29.4 1964 29.6
United Brethren in Christ 521 8.6 81 13.9 602 9.1
Presbyterian 396 6.5 29 5. 425 6.4
Baptist (Including Free, Free Will and Missionary) 379 6.2 26 4.4 405 6.1
Disciples of Christ 367 6. 20 3.4 387 5.9
Lutheran 362 6. 49 8.4 411 6.2
Catholic (Roman) 248 4.1 17 2.9 265 4.
Christian 228 3.8 20 3.4 248 3.7
Methodist Protestant 211 3.5 19 3.3 230 3.5
[Pg 94]Reformed (Including German Reformed) 175 2.9 26 4.4 201 3.
Congregational 135 2.2 12 2.1 147 2.2
Evangelical Association 129 2.6 14 2.4 143 2.2
Brethren (German Baptist) 113 1.9 14 2.4 127 1.9
Radical United Brethren 95 1.6 9 1.5 104 1.6
Christian Union 92 1.5 4 Less than 1 96 1.4
Friends 84 1.4 8 1.4 92 1.4
United Presbyterian 77 1.3 9 1.5 86 1.3
Mennonite 56 Less than 1 9 1.5 65 Less than 1
Church of God 54 " 8 1.4 62 "
German Evangelical 48 " 1 Less than 1 49 "
African and all Colored Methodist Episcopal 40 " 2 " 42 "
Union 40 " 10 1.7 50 "
Protestant Episcopal 39 " 2 Less than 1 41 "
Universalist 39 " 0 " 39 "
Colored Baptist 38 " 3 " 41 "
Disciples Non-Progressive 32 " 1 " 33 "
Free Methodist 27 " 5 " 32 "
German Methodist Episcopal 27 " 0 " 27 "
United Evangelical 27 " 2 " 29 "
Holiness 25 " 6 1 31 "
Old Order
Brethren { Progressive 21 " 3 " 24 "
Primitive Baptist 21 " 0 " 21 "
Wesleyan Methodist 18 " 0 " 18 "
Seventh Day Advent 13 " 0 " 13 "
Advent-Christian 12 " 0 " 12 "
Calvinist Methodist 12 " 1 " 13 "
Reformed Presbyterian 8 " 0 " 8 "
Latter Day Saints 6 " 0 " 6 "
Nazarene 5 " 0 " 5 "
Saints 5 " 0 " 5 "
United Baptist 5 " 0 " 5 "
Christian Missionary Alliance 4 " 0 " 4 "
Greek Catholic 4 " 0 " 4 "
[Pg 95]Moravian 4 " 0 " 4 "
Christian Science 3 " 0 " 3 "
International Bible Students, Association 3 " 0 " 3 "
Federated 3 " 0 " 3 "
Missionary Church Association 2 " 0 " 2 "
Pietist 1 " 0 " 1 "
Primitive Methodist 1 " 0 " 1 "
Russian Catholic 1 " 0 " 1 "
Seven Sleepers 1 " 0 " 1 "
Seventh Day Baptist 1 " 0 " 1 "
Slavic Lutheran 1 " 0 " 1 "
Wengerite 1 " 0 " 1 "
Brothers Society of America 0 " 1 " 1 "
Denomination not reported 7 " 0 " 7 "


 [Pg 96]

Map 14

Methodist Episcopal Country Churches
Larger Image


 [Pg 97]

Map 15

United Brethren in Christ
Larger Image


 [Pg 98]

Map 16

Larger Image


 [Pg 99]

Map 17

Larger Image


 [Pg 100]

Map 18

Disciples of Christ
Larger Image


 [Pg 101]

Map 19

Larger Image


 [Pg 102]

Map 20

Larger Image


 [Pg 103]

Map 21

Larger Image


 [Pg 104]

Map 22

Methodist Protestant
Larger Image


 [Pg 105]

Map 23

Larger Image


 [Pg 106]

Map 24

Larger Image


 [Pg 107]

Map 25

Evangelical Association
Larger Image


[Pg 108]In Table E the Protestant churches are grouped according to their polity. It will be seen that about 1,600 have a Congregational form of government, in which authority rests in the local church; that in nearly 1,200 churches the polity is Presbyterian, in which authority is largely in the local church, but partly in a representative body of several churches grouped in districts. Under the title of “Episcopal Bodies” are grouped denominations comprising 2,721 churches, or more than the total number of the Presbyterian and Congregational combined.

The Methodist Protestant Churches are not placed in either of these groups because their polity resembles, in some respects, that of the Congregational and in others that of the Episcopal churches. Authority with them rests largely in the local church, which owns its property and has authority to receive and dismiss its own members, but in other respects resembles closely the churches of the Episcopal order. In the fourth group are 82 other churches or religious organizations which we have failed to classify. The Catholic bodies, including Greek and Russian, number 253.

Differences as to church polity are not sufficiently great to constitute a dangerous obstacle to the progress of church unity among the Protestant rural churches of Ohio. Our system of universities and public schools, together with the custom of reading religious articles, books, and other literature without regard to the denomination of the author, is tending to remove theological differences as between denominations. It may be said it has already removed them in the eleven denominations represented in the Committee of Interchurch Coöperation. This is true whatever differences may still exist between individuals.

[Pg 109]


Churches Grouped According to Their Polity

Congregational Bodies
Total 1,601
Baptist, including Free, Free Will and Missionary 379
Disciples 367
Christian 228
Congregational 135
Christian Union 92
Friends 84
Mennonite 56
Church of God 54
Union 40
Universalist 39
Colored Baptist 38
Disciples, Non-Progressive 32
Primitive Baptist 21
Seventh Day Advent 13
Advent Christian 12
United Baptist 5
Nazarene 5
Seventh Day Baptist 1
Presbyterian Bodies
Total 1,192
Presbyterian 396
Lutheran 362
Reformed, including German Reformed 175
Brethren (German Baptist) 113
United Presbyterian 77
German Evangelical 48
Calvinist Methodist 12
Reformed Presbyterian 8
Slavic Lutheran 1
Episcopal Bodies
Total 2,721
Methodist Episcopal 1,793
United Brethren 521
Evangelical Association 129
Radical United Brethren 95
African Methodist Episcopal 40
Protestant Episcopal 39
United Evangelical 27
German Methodist Episcopal 27
Free Methodist 27
Wesleyan Methodist 27
Moravian 4
Primitive Methodist 1
Catholic Bodies
Total 253
Catholic (Roman) 248
Greek Catholic 4
Russian Catholic 1
Other Bodies
Total 293
Methodist Protestant 211
Holiness 25
Brethren (O. O., Prog. and River) 21
Latter Day Saints 6
Saints 5
Christian Missionary Alliance 4
Christian Science 3
International Bible Students Association 3
Federated 3
Missionary Church Association 2
Pietist 1
Wengerite 1
Seven Sleepers 1
Denomination not reported 7



[Pg 110]



There are in Ohio 1,343 townships (see Table I) which are wholly or partly made up of open country or villages of less than 2,500 inhabitants. (This number of inhabitants having been selected by the United States Census as marking the line between urban and rural, we have necessarily followed.) In the strictly rural townships and the rural sections of townships which are partly urban or suburban, there is altogether a population of more than two million persons, and 6,642 churches. These figures give us, on an average, 1,516 persons and five rural churches to a township, and 307 persons to a church.

Of townships which border on cities and towns of more than 2,500 persons, there are 173. In townships of this class there are 342,077 persons and 582 churches, while for each township there are 1,977 persons and three churches, or 587 persons to a church. It is presumable that many persons in these suburban townships attend the churches in the neighboring cities or large towns.

If we subtract the suburban townships from the 1,343 mentioned above, there remain 1,170 townships which are strictly rural. Unless otherwise stated all deductions have been drawn exclusively from these rural townships. The 1,170 strictly rural townships contain nearly 1,700,000 persons and 6,060 churches. They have, on an average, 1,448 persons and five churches to a township and 280 persons to a church.

Although there are 6,060 churches in the 1,170 strictly rural townships, their membership records are so often incomplete that satisfactory figures were found for only 4,941 churches. The membership of 3,351 of these churches, or 68 per cent, is not more than 100; in 2,704, or 55 per[Pg 111] cent, the membership is not more than 75; while in 1,817, or 37 per cent, the membership is not more than 50. (See Table II.)



Population, Average Number of Persons and Churches, and Average Number of Persons to a Church, by Townships

   Strictly rural
  Other rural
  All rural
Number of townships  1,170  173  1,343
Population of rural townships  1,693,951  342,077  2,036,028
Number persons per township  1,448  1,977  1,516
Number churches per township  5  3  5
Number of churches  6,060  582  6,642
Number persons per church  280  587  307

In the suburban rural townships and rural sections of townships containing cities and large towns, 72 per cent of the churches have a membership of not more than 100, 56 per cent of not more than 75, and 34 per cent of not more than 50. Altogether, in rural townships and rural sections of other townships, there are 5,392 churches out of 6,642 for which membership data are available. Of these 3,776, or 68 per cent, have a membership of not more than 100; 2,956, or 55 per cent, a membership of not more than 75; and 1,860, or 36 per cent, have a membership of not more than 50.

The number of churches in rural townships whose membership records are not available is 6,060 less 4,941, or 1,119. If we apply to these also the percentages just given for the churches with available membership records, we find that of the total of 6,060 churches in the strictly rural townships, 4,110 have a membership of not more than 100; 3,316 have a membership of not more than 75; while 2,227 have a membership of not more than 50. Since the larger churches as a rule are more careful in keeping their records than the smaller ones, the conclusions drawn from these calculations are well within the limits of truth.

By the same method we find that in the suburban rural townships and rural sections of townships containing cities and towns of more than[Pg 112] 2,500 inhabitants, 419 of the 582 churches have a membership of 100 or less; 325 of 75 or less; while 198 churches have a membership of 50 or less. We therefore calculate that of 6,642, or all the rural churches, 4,529 or 68 per cent have a membership of not more than 100; 3,641, or 55 per cent, a membership of not more than 75; and 2,425 or 37 per cent a membership of not more than 50.



Churches Classified According to Number of their Members

No. churches whose membership is reported 4,941  100  451  100  5,392  100
No. of these whose membership is less than 101 3,351  67.8  325  72  3,676  68
No. of these whose membership is less than 76 2,704  54.7  252  56  2,956  55
No. of these whose membership is less than 51 1,817  36.7  153  34  1,860  36
No. churches whose membership data are not available 1,119  18  131  23  1,250  19
Calculated minimum number of churches whose
membership is less than 101
4,110*  68  419*  72  4,529  68
Calculated minimum number of churches whose
membership is less than 76
3,316*  55  325*  56  3,641  55
Calculated minimum number of churches whose
membership is less than 51
2,227*  37  198*  34  2,425  37
No. churches reporting whose membership is from 1 to 25 651  13  45  10  696  13
No. churches reporting whose membership is from 26-50 1,116  23  108  24  1,274  24
No. churches reporting whose membership is from 51-75 887  18  99  22  986  18
*Note: Reckoned as follows: 3351 + .678 × 1119 = 4110
2704 + .547 × 1119 = 3316
1817 + .367 × 1119 = 2227
  325 + .72 × 131 = 419
252 + .56 × 131 = 325
153 + .34 × 131 = 198
[Pg 113]No. churches reporting whose membership is from 76-100 647  13  73  16  720  13
No. churches reporting whose membership is 101-150 757  15  62  14  819  15
No. churches reporting whose membership is from 151-200 375  8  32  7  407  8
No. churches reporting whose membership is more than 200 458  9  32  7  490  9
Calculated number of churches whose membership is more than 200 561  9  40  7  601  9

In 313, or 27 per cent, of the strictly rural townships, no church has a resident minister (see Table III); in 575, or 39 per cent of the villages, no church has a resident minister; and in 4,007, or 66 per cent, of the churches, there is no resident minister. Only 982 churches, or 16 per cent, have the full time service of a minister; 1,581 churches, or 26 per cent, have one-half the service of a minister; 5,026, or 83 per cent, have one-half time service or less; 3,445, or 57 per cent, have one-third time service or less; 2,320, or 39 per cent, have one-fourth time service or less; while 721, or 12 per cent of the 6,060 churches in the strictly rural townships have no regular service of a minister at all.

The percentages do not materially differ in the suburban townships. In the combined total of 1,343 rural townships and suburban townships which contain sections of open country and villages of less than 2,500 inhabitants, we find that 335, or 25 per cent, of the townships have no churches served by a resident minister; that in 634, or 40 per cent, of the villages there is no resident minister; that 4,431, or 67 per cent, of the churches have no resident minister; that only 1,065 churches, or 16 per cent, have the full time service of a minister; that 1,766, or 27 per cent, have one-half the service of a minister; that 5,521, or 84 per cent, have one-half time service or less; that 3,755, or 57 per cent, have one-third[Pg 114] time service or less; that 2,518, or 38 per cent, have one-fourth time service or less; while 755, or 11 per cent, of the 6,642 country churches of Ohio, have no regular service of a minister at all.



Amount of Ministerial Service by Townships, Villages and Churches

Per cent Other rural
Per cent All rural
Per cent
No. townships whose churches are without resident ministers 313 27 22 12 335 25
No. villages which have a resident minister 901 61 54 48 955 60
No. villages without a resident minister 575 39 58.5 52 634 40
No. churches with resident minister 2,053 34 158 28 2,211 33
No. churches without resident minister 4,007 66 424 74 4,431 67
No. churches with full time service of a minister 982 16 83 14 1,065 16
No. churches with ½ time service of a minister 1,581 26 185 32 1,766 27
No. churches with ½ time service of a minister or less 5,026 83 495 85 5,521 84
No. churches with ⅓ time service of a minister or less 3,445 57 310 53 3,755 56.5
No. churches with ¼ time service of a minister or less 2,320 39 198 34 2,518 38
No. churches with no regular service of a minister 721 12 62 11 755 11
No. churches with ⅓ time service of a minister 1,125 19 112 19 1,237 19
No. churches with ¼ time service of a minister 970 16 96 16 1,066 16
No. churches for which data are not available 52 1 4 1 56 1

Of the 6,060 churches in the wholly rural townships, 3,253, or 54 per cent, are in villages whose inhabitants number from 51 to 2,500 persons, while 2,807, or 46 per cent, are in the open country. (See Table IV.) In[Pg 115] the suburban rural townships 198, or 34 per cent, of the churches are in villages containing from 51 to 2,500 persons, while 384, or 66 per cent, are in the open country.

Of the 6,642 country churches in Ohio, therefore, 3,451, or 52 per cent, are in villages containing from 51 to 2,500 inhabitants, and 3,191, or 48 per cent, in the open country.

In the strictly rural districts, 1,207, or 20 per cent, of the churches are in villages or towns of moderate size, having from 501 to 2,500 inhabitants, while 2,046, or 34 per cent, are in small villages of from 51 to 500. No less than 4,853, or 80 per cent, of the churches in the strictly rural districts are either in the open country or in the small villages of 500 inhabitants or less. In addressing ourselves to the rural church problem, therefore, we are almost exclusively concerned with the smaller villages and the open country.



Number of Churches in Villages and in the Open Country

Per cent Other rural
Per cent All rural
Per cent
No. churches in villages containing from 51 to 2,500 persons 3,253 54 198 34 3,451 52
No. churches in open country 2,807 46 384 66 3,191 48
No. churches in villages or towns having from 501 to 2,500 inhabitants 1,207 20 76 13 1,283 19
No. churches in villages having from 51 to 500 inhabitants 2,046 34 122 21 2,168 33
No. churches in open country and in villages having less than 501 inhabitants 4,853 80 506 87 5,359 81

We have assumed 50 persons as the line which separates a small village from the open country, just as the United States Census has assumed 2,500 persons as the lower limit of the town. In rural Ohio there are 1,477 villages whose inhabitants number 51 to 2,500 persons. (See Table V.) Of these, 673, or 46 per cent, have from 51 to 200 inhabitants;[Pg 116] 487, or 33 per cent, have from 201 to 500 inhabitants; while 317, or 21 per cent, have more than 500 persons.

Of the smallest villages, or those of 51 to 200 persons, 234, or 35 per cent, have one or more ministers living near the church he serves and 270 ministers in all; while 440, or 65 per cent, have no resident ministers whatever.

In the 487 country villages whose inhabitants number from 201 to 500 persons, 360, or 74 per cent, have one or more ministers and 527 ministers in all, while there are 127, or 26 per cent, without resident ministers. Of the 317 villages whose inhabitants number more than 500 persons, 308, or 97 per cent, have one or more resident pastors and altogether 896 ministers—(which is 53 per cent of the whole number of ministers living in villages), while only 9, or 3 per cent, are without any ministers at all.

Of the 1,477 country villages of all sizes, 901, or 61 per cent, have one or more resident ministers and in all 1,693 ministers, while 576, or 39 per cent, of the villages have no minister living in them.

These 1,477 villages have only 3,253, or 54 per cent, of the churches, but they have 1,693, or 82 per cent, of the ministers; while the open country, with 2,807, or 46 per cent, of the churches, has only 360, or 18 per cent, of the resident ministers. More than 87 per cent of the open country churches, or 2,447 of them, are without a resident minister.

In addition to the ministers here included, there are about 350 who do not live near any one of their churches, but for the most part in the cities and towns. This number includes many student preachers.

On Map 26, page 117, the distribution of the villages is represented graphically.

 [Pg 117]

Map 26

Villages and Cities
Larger Image


[Pg 118]


Resident Ministers in Strictly Rural Townships, in the Open Country, and in Villages

  Villages of
Per cent Villages of
Per cent Villages of
Per cent Villages of
Per cent Villages of
Per cent Open
Per cent
No. of villages 1,476.5 100 673 46 487 33 316.5 21 803.5 54
No. of villages with ministers 901 61 233.5 35 360 74 307.5 97 667.5 83
No. of ministers 1,693 (31) 270 16 527 31 896 53 1,423 (69) 360 8
No. of villages without ministers 575.5 39 439.5 65 127 26 9 3 136 9
No. of churches 3,253 54 984 16 1,062 18 1,207 20 2,269 37 2,807 46

[Pg 119]It has not been possible to collect full data as to the length of the rural minister’s service. But the Conference Records give these data for the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal churches. The terms of service of these ministers are not more brief than those in most of the other denominations.

In the Methodist Episcopal Church in Ohio there were, at the time of the Annual Conference in the autumn of 1917, 664 pastors of country churches (see Table VI); 490, or 74 per cent of them, were about to begin their first or second year’s service in their charges; only 174, or 26 per cent, had had two years’ acquaintance with their parishes; 318, or 48 per cent, were beginning their first year of service in their charges; 172, or 26 per cent, were beginning their second year; 110, or 16 per cent, were beginning their third year; while there were only 64, or less than 10 per cent, who had been as long as three years in the parishes they were serving. Only 8, or a little more than 1 per cent, had served as long as five years in their parishes, while only one man had served more than seven years.



Terms of Service of Methodist Episcopal Country Ministers, 1917

of Ohio
Per cent Ohio
West Ohio
Total number of ministers 664 100 144 226 294
No. beginning 1st or 2nd year of service in their charges 490 74 115 161 214
No. beginning their 1st year of service in their charges 318 48 78 97 143
No. beginning their 2nd year of service in their charges 172 26 37 64 71
No. beginning their 3rd year of service in their charges 110 16 20 37 53
No. who have been two years or more in their charges 174 26 29 65 80
No. who had served three years or more in their present charges 64 10 9 28 27
No. who had served four years or more in their present charges 18 3 3 2 13
[Pg 120]No. who had served five years or more in their present charges 8 1 2 1 5
No. who had served six years or more in their present charges 3 Less than one 0 0 3
No. who had served seven years or more in their present charges 1 " 0 0 1
No. who had served eight years or more in their present charges 1 " 0 0 1

In Table VII it appears that in 2 of the 1,170 strictly rural townships there is a church for each 99 persons or less; that in 227 townships there are from 100 to 199 persons to a church; that in 446 there are from 200 to 299 persons; that in 270 townships there are from 300 to 399; that in 122 townships there are from 400 to 499; that in 53 townships there are from 500 to 599; and that in 45 townships there are 600 persons or more to a church.

In other words, in 675, or 58 per cent, of the townships, there are less than 300 persons, men, women, and children, to a church; in 945, or 81 per cent, of the townships, there are less than 400; in 1,067, or 91 per cent, there are less than 500; while in 103, or only 9 per cent, there are more than 500 persons to a church.

 [Pg 121]


Average Number of Persons to a Church in 1,170 Rural Townships

Average No. of persons
to a church
  No. of
  Per cent
1-99 2 Less than 1
100-199 227 19
200-299 446 38
300-399 270 23
400-499 122 10
500-599 53 5
More than 599 45 4
Townships without any church 5 Less than 1
Less than 300 to a church 675 58
Less than 400 to a church 945 81
Less than 500 to a church 1,067 91
More than 500 to a church 103 9

In Table VIII a comparison is made between city and country. According to the United States Census of 1910 the population of Ohio numbered 4,767,121, the churches 9,890, or 482 persons to a church. According to the data gathered in this survey in the 1,170 strictly rural townships the churches number 6,060. In 1910 the population in these townships numbered 1,693,894. Assuming that there has been no change in the population since 1910, there is now one church for each 280 persons. But from 1900 to 1910 there was a decline of more than 3 per cent in the population of these townships. If we assume that this decline has continued since 1910 there are to-day on the average less than 280 men, women, and children, church people and non-church people, to give and do all that must be given and done for each country church in Ohio. In such a state of facts, poverty and weakness are inevitable.

Upon the same assumption of no change in population or number of churches since 1910, there are in the 173 suburban townships 342,077 persons and 582 churches, or 587 persons to a church, while in the large towns and cities there are 2,731,150 persons and only 3,248 churches, or 841 persons to a church.

[Pg 122]As compared with the city church the country church obviously has a very much smaller opportunity to enlarge its attendance and increase its support and membership until some method of combining country churches shall have been put into successful operation.



Average Number of Persons to a Church

towns and
Population  4,767,121  1,693,894  342,077  2,731,150
No. of churches  9,890  6,060  582  3,248
No. of persons to a church  482  280  587  841

Complete data for ministers’ salaries are not available, but the amount of the minister’s pay is indicated by the figures in the official records of the two denominations which have the largest number of rural churches. There were in 1917, 688 pastors of rural churches of the Methodist Episcopal Church. (See Table IX.) These received, on an average, $993 per year, or $857 and free use of parsonage. Six hundred and sixty-two ministers, or 96 per cent, received less than $1,500 per year; 513, or 75 per cent, received less than $1,200 per year; while 303, or 44 per cent, received less than $1,000.

In the United Brethren Church, according to the records of its Conferences, in 1917 there were 188 pastors of rural churches. (See Table X.) Their average salary was $787, or $680 and free use of parsonage; not one received as much as $1,500 salary; 171, or all but 17, received less than $1,200; while 135, or 72 per cent, received less than $1,000.

Not only are ministers given inadequate pay, but the rate of its increase in relation to the increase in the cost of living gives no promise of its becoming adequate.

In the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church the average salary of the country minister in 1905 was $733, including the estimated rental value of parsonage, while in 1915 it was $915, making an increase of[Pg 123] $182, or 25 per cent, in ten years. During the same period, however, according to data supplied by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail prices of food consumed by the ordinary workingman’s family in the nation increased no less than 37 per cent.

It is probable, on the other hand, that the farmers have a constantly increasing ability to pay, for in the ten-year period from 1900 to 1910 there was, according to the United States Census reports, an increase in the total value of farm property in the State of nearly 60 per cent.



Salaries of Methodist Episcopal Country Ministers, 1917

  No. of
Average salary
rental value
of parsonage)
No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,500
Per cent No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,200
Per cent No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,000
Per cent
State 688 $993 662 96 513 75 303 44
Ohio Conference 151 $972 145 96 110 73 79 52
West Ohio Conference 237 $1,004 230 97 184 78 87 37
Northeast Ohio Conference 300 $995 287 96 219 73 137 46



Salaries of Country Ministers, United Brethren in Christ, 1917

  No. of
Average salary
rental value
of parsonage)
No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,500
Per cent No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,200
Per cent No. of
charges giving
salaries less
than $1,000
Per cent
State 188 $787 188 100 171 91 135 72
Sandusky Conference 63 $866 63 100 58 92 39 62
Southeast Ohio Conference 47 $687 47 100 43 91 37 79
Miami Conference 42 $779 42 100 37 88 30 71
East Ohio Conference 36 $787 36 100 33 92 29 80



[Pg 124]



Table F is a summary of the principal facts disclosed by this investigation. These facts are given for the strictly rural townships in each of the different counties. They do not include the urban or suburban townships. Being intended to present the facts only as to the rural part of each county, they should not be used as representing entire counties or the State as a whole.

In the ten-year period from 1900 to 1910 there was a decline in the population of the strictly rural townships of 3.6 per cent. In only 21 counties out of the total of 88 did the rural townships increase in population, and most of these are in mining and manufacturing regions. In the strictly agricultural parts of Franklin, Fairfield, Miami and Licking Counties there was an increase of from 2 to 5 per cent, in Medina and Wayne of less than 1 per cent. In the other 67 counties there was a decline, ranging all the way from 1 per cent in Erie, Geauga, and Hamilton to 17 per cent in Paulding. The average population of the strictly rural townships varies from 904 in Knox County to 2,743 in Miami, and averages 1,448 for the State.

The number of rural churches for a county varies from 32 in Sandusky and Lake Counties to 130 in Washington. The number of churches to a township is five for the State, but varies from 3 in Portage, Huron, Delaware, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Ashtabula Counties to 9 in Allen and Stark. The average number of persons to each country church is 280 for the State, but varies from 182 in Vinton County to 433 in Cuyahoga. The number of open country churches varies from 5 in Butler County to 82 in Washington.

[Pg 125]The number of churches with a resident minister varies from 9 in Jackson County to 45 in Wood. The number of churches without a resident minister varies from 17 in Lake County to 103 in Washington. Those with full time service of a minister vary in number from 1 in Pickaway, Noble, and Jackson Counties to 25 in Columbiana and Wayne. In one county, Wyandot, there are no churches without some part of a minister’s time. In Clermont County there are no less than 30 of them.



Summary by Counties of Data for the 1,170 Strictly Rural Townships

(Excluding townships in which the population is urban, in which are villages of more than 2,500 inhabitants or in which are parts of large town or city parishes, and those which border on cities and large towns.)

1. Population for 1910.
2. Population for 1900.
3. Per cent increase (+) or decrease (-).

4. No. of strictly rural townships.
5. Average No. of persons to a township.
6. No. of churches.
7. Average No. of churches to a township.
8. Average No. of persons to a church.

9. No. of churches with a resident minister.
10. No. of churches without a resident minister.
11. No. of churches with full time service of a minister.
12. No. of churches with ½ of a minister’s service.
13. No. of churches with ⅓ of a minister’s service.
14. No. of churches with ¼ of a minister’s service.
15. No. of churches with less than ¼ of a minister’s service.
16. No. of churches with no regular service of a minister.
17. No. of churches for which ministerial service data are not available.

18. No. of churches with from 1 to 25 members.
19. No. of churches with from 26 to 50 members.
20. No. of churches with from 51 to 75 members.
21. No. of churches with from 76 to 100 members.
22. No. of churches with from 101 to 150 members.
[Pg 126]23. No. of churches with from 151 to 200 members.
24. No. of churches with more than 200 members.
25. No. of churches whose membership is not reported.

26. No. of churches in villages containing from 51 to 2,500 inhabitants.
27. No. of churches in the open country (including villages of less than 51 inhabitants).

28. No. of townships from 1 to 100 persons to a church.
29. No. of townships with from 101 to 200 persons to a church.
30. No. of townships with from 201 to 300 persons to a church.
31. No. of townships with from 301 to 400 persons to a church.
32. No. of townships with from 401 to 500 persons to a church.
33. No. of townships with from 501 to 600 persons to a church.
34. No. of townships with more than 600 persons to a church.

35. No. of villages containing from 51 to 200 inhabitants.
36. No. of villages containing from 51 to 200 inhabitants having a resident minister.
37. No. of ministers resident in villages containing from 51 to 200 inhabitants.
38. No. of villages containing from 201 to 500 inhabitants.
39. No. of villages containing from 201 to 500 inhabitants having a resident minister.
40. No. of ministers resident in villages containing from 201 to 500 inhabitants.

41. No. of villages of more than 500 inhabitants.
42. No. of villages of more than 500 inhabitants having a resident minister.
43. No. of ministers resident in villages of more than 500 inhabitants.

44. No. of villages of 201 to 2,500 inhabitants without a church.
45. No. of villages of 51 to 200 inhabitants without a church.


  State  Adams  Allen  Ashland  Ashtabula  Athens  Auglaize  Belmont
(1) 1,693,951  24,755  14,820  15,046  24,420  17,372  15,803  33,216
(2) 1,752,934  26,328  15,252  15,860  23,617  16,353  16,971  26,003
(3) -3.3  -8  -5  -5  +3.3  +6  -7  +27.5
(4) 1,170  14  7  14  24  11  11  13
(5) 1,448  1,768  2,117  1,075  1,018  1,579  1,437  2,555
(6) 6,060  93  62  65  78  76  44  96
(7) 5  7  9  5  3  7  4  7
(8) 280  266  237  231  313  229  359  352
(9) 2,053  24  25  35  36  16  14  30
(10) 4,007  69  37  30  42  60  30  66
[Pg 127](11) 982  11  11  18  24  2  10  14
(12) 1,581  15  21  24  19  2  10  27
(13) 1,125  28  17  14  16  10  7  15
(14) 970  10  9  4  8  18  12  10
(15) 629  12  1  0  0  30  2  14
(16) 721  17  3  5  11  14  1  16
(17) 52  0  0  0  0  0  2  0
(18) 651  12  6  5  15  19  0  7
(19) 1,166  24  17  4  18  23  16  17
(20) 887  16  9  14  16  17  5  14
(21) 647  5  7  9  6  9  4  16
(22) 757  11  9  12  11  4  3  8
(23) 375  4  8  6  3  0  2  8
(24) 458  7  6  5  5  0  5  13
(25) 1,119  14  0  10  4  4  9  13
(26) 3,253  37  32  38  50  36  25  61
(27) 2,807  56  30  27  28  41  19  35
(28) 2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 227  1  2  3  4  7  0  2
(30) 446  8  4  6  6  3  6  4
(31) 270  4  1  3  8  0  2  1
(32) 122  0  0  2  3  0  1  5
(33) 53  1  0  0  1  1  1  0
(34) 45  0  0  0  2  0  1  1
(35) 677  9  2  5  15.5  9  5  13
(36) 233.5  1  1  3  6.5  2  1  4
(37) 271  1  1  5  8  2  1  4
(38) 488  5  5  6  11  9  5  8
(39) 360  2  5  5  8  6  3  7
(40) 536  4  10  13  13  11  4  8
(41) 317.5  4  2  2  4  2  3  8
(42) 307.5  4  2  2  4  2  3  7
(43) 896  14  9  10  11  4  6  18
(44) 4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 115  2  0  1  0  0  1  1
 [Pg 128]
  Brown  Butler  Carroll  Champaign  Clark  Clermont  Clinton  Columbiana
(1) 24,832  11,045  15,761  17,428  16,435  29,551  17,465  19,890
(2) 28,237  12,436  11,854  18,626  17,078  31,610  18,779  20,260
(3) -12  -11  +33  -6.4  -3.5  -6.7  -6.9  -2
(4) 16  7  14  11  9  14  12  12
(5) 1,552  1,578  1,126  1,584  1,826  2,111  1,455  1,657
(6) 79  36  58  60  56  119  52  69
(7) 5  5  4  5  6  8  4  6
(8) 314  307  272  290  293  249  336  288
(9) 22  16  21  23  22  32  26  32
(10) 57  20  37  37  34  87  26  37
(11) 10  9  5  12  14  13  22  25
(12) 23  13  19  20  11  31  9  19
(13) 14  8  13  11  15  16  5  9
(14) 14  0  12  6  10  14  6  6
(15) 10  2  5  4  1  15  6  0
(16) 8  3  4  7  5  30  4  10
(17) 0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0
(18) 10  4  2  3  3  25  1  5
(19) 15  3  11  7  8  36  6  7
(20) 9  4  7  8  6  23  8  13
(21) 12  5  4  4  9  5  2  9
(22) 13  6  10  11  8  6  8  16
(23) 4  2  8  2  2  8  4  5
(24) 7  3  3  5  6  9  6  10
(25) 9  9  13  20  14  7  17  4
(26) 41  31  37  35  36  83  40  43
(27) 38  5  21  25  20  36  12  26
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 1  0  3  0  1  6  0  0
(30) 8  4  5  7  4  4  3  7
(31) 5  2  3  3  2  3  6  4
(32) 1  1  1  1  1  0  0  0
(33) 1  0  1  0  1  1  2  1
(34) 0  0  1  0  0  0  1  0
[Pg 129](35) 8  6  6  10  7  24  10  8
(36) 4  2  2  4  3  4  3  5
(37) 4  2  2  5  3  5  3  6
(38) 5  7  4  4  8.5  8  6.5  8
(39) 4  5  3  4  6  6  5.5  5
(40) 6  7  7  6  10  7  8  7
(41) 5  1  3.5  3  2  7  3  2
(42) 5  1  3  3  2  7  3  2
(43) 10  5  11  9  7  17  11  9
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 1  3  1  0  2  3  0  5
  Coshocton  Crawford  Cuyahoga  Darke  Defiance  Delaware  Erie  Fairfield
(1) 19,324  12,749  19,928  30,702  15,618  17,110  14,804  17,193
(2) 20,998  14,225  17,466  31,293  17,081  17,461  14,923  16,756
(3) -8  -10.5  +14  -1.8  -8.5  -2  -1  +2
(4) 21  13  14  18  10  17  9  9
(5) 920  981  1,423  1,706  1,562  1,006  1,645  1,821
(6) 81  51  46  96  62  59  41  74
(7) 4  4  3  5  6  3  5  8
(8) 239  250  433  320  252  290  361  222
(9) 17  18  23  36  16  14  25  22
(10) 64  33  23  60  46  45  16  52
(11) 5  13  15  22  11  6  15  4
(12) 22  12  23  26  9  24  20  18
(13) 9  13  2  14  14  14  2  16
(14) 27  6  0  17  9  7  0  29
(15) 10  5  0  5  13  0  0  6
(16) 7  1  5  11  5  8  4  1
(17) 1  1  1  1  1  0  0  0
(18) 6  1  4  3  13  9  5  7
(19) 10  12  12  18  17  10  7  14
(20) 11  7  3  18  6  9  1  12
(21) 10  7  7  13  5  12  3  9
(22) 11  8  5  16  5  9  9  16
[Pg 130](23) 3  2  2  7  0  2  1  6
(24) 4  5  4  10  5  3  3  4
(25) 26  9  9  11  11  5  12  6
(26) 47  21  30  51  23  30  33  37
(27) 34  30  16  45  39  29  8  37
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 6  5  0  1  2  4  0  2
(30) 6  4  4  5  5  3  3  7
(31) 8  3  3  8  3  5  3  0
(32) 1  1  3  4  0  2  2  0
(33) 0  0  1  0  0  2  0  0
(34) 0  0  3  0  0  1  1  0
(35) 20.5  8  5  14  2  9  6  5
(36) 7  4  3  6  1  1  2  2
(37) 9  4  4  8  1  1  2  2
(38) 5.5  3  6  8.5  4  7  0  7
(39) 2  2  5  4  0  6  0  6
(40) 3  3  7  5  0  9  0  11
(41) 2  1  3  4.5  2  2  6  3
(42) 2  1  3  4.5  2  2  6  3
(43) 5  4  6  10  8  3  21  8
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 0  2  0  4  0  0  4  1
  Fayette  Franklin  Fulton  Gallia  Geauga  Greene  Guernsey  Hamilton
(1) 12,342  25,246  19,531  19,546  14,670  17,724  21,701  13,487
(2) 13,357  24,023  18,777  20,973  14,744  19,284  21,369  13,644
(3) -8  +5  +4  -7  -1  -8  +2  -1
(4) 9  14  11  14  16  11  17  6
(5) 1,371  1,803  1,776  1,396  917  1,611  1,277  2,248
(6) 48  73  56  99  40  64  81  40
(7) 5  5  5  7  3  6  5  7
(8) 257  346  349  197  367  277  268  337
(9) 10  26  24  14  19  28  26  18
[Pg 131](10) 38  47  32  85  21  36  55  22
(11) 3  13  13  3  11  17  8  12
(12) 8  12  15  7  9  19  22  7
(13) 7  24  9  14  10  16  16  6
(14) 10  18  10  13  0  5  21  6
(15) 19  0  2  48  0  3  5  3
(16) 1  5  4  14  10  4  8  6
(17) 0  1  3  0  0  0  1  0
(18) 7  1  11  8  4  4  7  1
(19) 13  8  7  29  12  9  14  5
(20) 9  8  8  17  6  12  16  7
(21) 6  10  6  12  2  8  15  1
(22) 5  18  6  5  7  16  12  3
(23) 2  2  4  2  3  3  9  4
(24) 2  9  4  3  1  7  6  6
(25) 4  17  10  23  5  5  2  13
(26) 23  44  26  29  26  39  41  24
(27) 25  29  30  70  14  25  40  16
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 2  0  1  7  1  2  5  1
(30) 3  4  3  6  4  4  6  1
(31) 3  6  3  1  4  4  2  2
(32) 1  1  2  0  3  0  3  2
(33) 0  2  0  0  1  1  0  0
(34) 0  0  2  0  3  0  1  0
(35) 7  6  1  13  5  5  7  4
(36) 2  2  0  4  2  3  1  2
(37) 2  2  0  4  3  3  1  2
(38) 4  8  4  5  4  4.5  6  2
(39) 2  5  3  4  4  3  6  1
(40) 2  7  4  5  5  6  11  1
(41) 2  5  4  0  3  4  6  4.5
(42) 2  5  4  0  3  4  6  4.5
(43) 4  14  17  0  8  16  13  11
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 4  1  3  1  0  0  0  0
[Pg 132]
  Hancock  Hardin  Harrison  Henry  Highland  Hocking  Holmes  Huron
(1) 17,782  20,863  19,076  19,988  17,382  16,934  17,909  15,532
(2) 18,988  21,847  20,486  22,368  19,504  19,183  19,511  14,144
(3) -7  -4  -6  -11  -11  -12  -8  +10
(4) 14  13  15  12  15  10  14  15
(5) 1,270  1,605  1,272  1,666  1,159  1,693  1,279  1,035
(6) 78  66  73  63  69  72  62  49
(7) 6  5  5  5  5  7  4  3
(8) 228  316  261  317  252  235  289  317
(9) 23  20  30  26  19  10  29  21
(10) 55  46  43  37  50  62  33  28
(11) 9  9  8  10  7  2  10  12
(12) 22  14  26  18  11  6  35  23
(13) 16  17  17  23  12  12  8  7
(14) 26  8  20  6  15  7  1  3
(15) 0  8  0  1  9  33  0  0
(16) 5  8  2  4  12  10  8  4
(17) 0  2  0  1  3  2  0  0
(18) 8  1  5  8  4  5  10  7
(19) 15  7  8  11  15  11  8  8
(20) 15  10  14  10  10  7  5  7
(21) 12  10  12  8  5  3  7  9
(22) 17  5  16  7  7  2  11  7
(23) 5  5  7  2  7  3  11  4
(24) 4  6  9  8  4  1  9  2
(25) 2  22  2  9  17  40  1  5
(26) 30  30  49  39  36  22  29  35
(27) 48  36  24  24  33  50  33  14
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 5  1  3  1  2  7  2  2
(30) 7  4  6  5  8  1  7  4
(31) 1  7  4  3  5  1  2  4
(32) 0  1  1  1  0  0  2  2
(33) 0  0  1  1  0  1  0  2
[Pg 133](34) 1  0  0  1  0  0  1  1
(35) 5  3  7  6  11  1  5.5  6
(36) 0  1  3  0  3  0  3.5  1
(37) 0  1  4  0  3  0  4  1
(38) 7  4  6  4  6  6  7.5  2
(39) 7  3  4  2  6  2  7  1
(40) 13  4  8  3  8  3  10  1
(41) 2  5  6  5  2  3  1  5
(42) 2  5  6  5  2  1  1  5
(43) 7  13  17  17  5  3  5  17
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0
(45) 0  2  1  4  3  0  0  1
  Jackson  Jefferson  Knox  Lake  Lawrence  Licking  Logan  Lorain  Lucas
(1) 10,996  29,262  18,989  13,326  23,202  28,573  20,331  22,167  14,230
(2) 12,009  18,959  19,957  12,398  24,644  27,715  22,418  21,328  13,496
(3) -8  +55  -5  +7  -6  +3  -10  +4  +5
(4) 9  11  21  7  13  25  15  16  10
(5) 1,222  2,660  904  1,904  1,785  1,143  1,355  1,385  1,423
(6) 57  77  80  32  87  113  71  56  41
(7) 6  7  4  5  7  5  5  4  4
(8) 193  380  237  416  267  253  286  396  347
(9) 9  33  25  15  16  34  32  31  16
(10) 48  44  55  17  71  79  39  25  25
(11) 1  11  10  9  5  17  19  22  6
(12) 7  26  26  10  12  22  24  21  12
(13) 6  11  18  9  12  24  11  6  16
(14) 10  19  17  3  19  10  10  0  2
(15) 12  3  0  0  30  14  0  0  0
(16) 21  7  9  1  9  26  5  7  2
(17) 0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  3
(18) 5  4  6  5  15  14  3  4  11
(19) 10  15  6  10  28  26  17  9  8
(20) 3  12  26  2  15  14  3  10  6
(21) 0  4  12  2  13  18  7  4  1
(22) 2  6  11  6  7  9  8  8  3
[Pg 134](23) 1  8  8  1  3  5  6  2  2
(24) 0  8  4  4  2  13  9  4  2
(25) 36  20  7  2  4  14  18  15  8
(26) 14  53  48  19  25  63  46  37  23
(27) 43  24  32  13  62  50  25  19  18
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 6  3  9  0  2  8  2  1  0
(30) 1  2  6  0  7  9  6  4  4
(31) 1  2  2  5  1  6  5  3  1
(32) 1  0  2  1  1  2  1  4  4
(33) 0  2  1  0  1  0  1  3  1
(34) 0  2  1  1  1  0  0  1  0
(35) 6  7  11  2.5  8  11  6.5  6  5
(36) 4  2  5  0  2  4  0  3  4
(37) 4  2  5  0  2  4  0  4  4
(38) 0  6  7  2  4  8.5  5  3  1
(39) 0  5  5  2  0  6  4  3  1
(40) 0  6  9  2  0  10  7  5  1
(41) 1  8  3  3  3  6  7  4  4
(42) 1  8  3  3  3  6  7  4  4
(43) 4  23  9  6  3  13  21  13  9
(44) 0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 0  3  0  0  2  3  0  2  0
  Madison  Mahoning  Marion  Medina  Meigs  Mercer  Miami  Monroe  Montgomery
(1) 15,363  19,007  13,758  15,158  16,162  22,852  20,654  19,940  18,642
(2) 15,911  16,860  15,456  15,107  18,961  23,739  20,143  23,373  18,116
(3) -3  +13  -11  +.3  -15  -4  +3  -15  +3
(4) 13  12  14  14  11  13  8  17  8
(5) 1,182  1,584  983  1,083  1,469  1,758  2,743  1,173  2,330
(6) 46  66  56  52  91  82  69  93  62
(7) 4  6  4  4  8  6  8  5  8
(8) 334  288  246  292  178  279  318  214  301
(9) 14  33  15  28  16  39  33  22  23
[Pg 135](10) 32  33  41  24  75  43  36  71  39
(11) 5  21  4  20  2  26  27  6  12
(12) 12  25  13  19  10  21  23  15  26
(13) 10  11  21  9  10  13  7  12  9
(14) 13  4  11  0  19  14  5  25  7
(15) 0  0  0  0  31  3  0  11  0
(16) 5  5  6  4  19  2  7  24  8
(17) 1  0  1  0  0  3  0  0  0
(18) 10  3  5  6  21  6  5  18  2
(19) 5  10  10  13  35  12  5  23  9
(20) 2  11  9  7  11  8  6  24  5
(21) 10  13  7  6  6  10  10  8  9
(22) 5  11  7  7  5  12  12  9  10
(23) 0  5  2  5  1  5  3  4  6
(24) 7  5  3  4  0  17  10  2  6
(25) 7  8  13  4  12  12  18  5  15
(26) 30  42  23  27  50  35  47  40  37
(27) 16  24  33  25  40  47  23  53  25
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 1  3  2  2  8  1  1  7  1
(30) 2  2  8  7  2  9  4  6  3
(31) 6  3  3  2  1  1  2  4  0
(32) 1  2  0  2  0  1  1  0  3
(33) 0  1  1  1  0  1  0  0  1
(34) 2  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(35) 6  8  2  6  20  9  7  13  4
(36) 1  4  0  5  4  3  2  6  1
(37) 1  5  0  6  4  7  2  8  1
(38) 3  6  4  5  6  2.5  6  3  8
(39) 3  5  3  4  4  2.5  5  1  7
(40) 4  9  4  8  6  4  8  2  11
(41) 3  4.5  3  3  3  6  3.5  4  2
(42) 3  4.5  3  3  2  6  3.5  3  2
(43) 8  14  9  7  5  16  11  7  6
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 0  1  1  1  0  3  1  4  1
[Pg 136] 
  Morgan  Morrow  Muskingum  Noble  Ottawa  Paulding  Perry  Pickaway  Pike
(1) 16,097  16,815  22,643  18,601  18,319  22,730  25,177  18,951  15,723
(2) 17,905  17,879  23,853  19,466  18,880  27,528  25,877  19,573  18,172
(3) -10  -6  -5  -4  -3  -17  -3  -3  -13
(4) 14  16  21  15  11  12  12  14  14
(5) 1,150  1,051  1,078  1,240  1,665  1,894  2,098  1,354  1,123
(6) 83  70  101  75  50  75  88  58  74
(7) 6  4  5  5  5  6  7  4  5
(8) 194  240  224  248  366  303  286  327  211
(9) 14  27  33  15  26  24  28  13  13
(10) 69  43  68  60  24  51  60  45  61
(11) 5  11  9  1  17  12  13  1  4
(12) 10  25  26  14  17  19  21  6  3
(13) 11  17  12  7  4  14  12  21  3
(14) 17  8  29  21  6  18  6  24  6
(15) 21  2  10  17  0  5  23  4  29
(16) 19  7  13  15  6  5  12  2  27
(17) 0  0  2  0  0  2  1  0  2
(18) 12  12  4  8  4  7  5  6  14
(19) 30  9  6  10  4  20  20  14  13
(20) 19  13  15  7  8  4  9  17  4
(21) 6  7  7  5  5  5  8  4  1
(22) 6  12  13  11  6  3  10  8  2
(23) 0  2  6  2  6  4  5  4  2
(24) 2  4  5  2  2  7  9  4  1
(25) 8  11  45  30  15  25  22  1  37
(26) 31  32  50  33  42  44  46  23  20
(27) 52  38  51  42  8  31  42  35  54
(28) 1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 5  3  10  4  1  0  3  2  5
(30) 7  10  6  6  4  6  4  3  6
(31) 1  2  4  4  1  4  3  2  3
(32) 0  1  1  1  3  2  1  3  0
(33) 0  0  0  0  1  0  1  2  0
[Pg 137](34) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0
(35) 12  5  12.5  6  6  5  7  4  7
(36) 1  3  6  2  4  0  2  0  2
(37) 1  5  9  2  5  0  2  0  2
(38) 4  5  5  8  7  5.5  5  6  3
(39) 4  4  3  5  4  3.5  4  5  3
(40) 5  7  3  6  6  5  7  5  3
(41) 2  2  4.5  2  4  4  6  3  2
(42) 2  2  4.5  2  4  4  6  3  2
(43) 7  9  18  5  15  17  16  7  5
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0
(45) 0  0  2  0  2  2  0  3  1
  Portage  Preble  Putnam  Richland  Ross  Sandusky  Scioto  Seneca  Shelby
(1) 18,379  18,921  29,972  17,760  22,460  13,398  19,380  16,796  16,648
(2) 18,827  18,838  32,525  18,517  25,758  15,039  20,078  18,087  17,788
(3) -2  +.5  -8  -4  -13  -11  -3  -7  -6
(4) 19  11  15  16  14  8  14  11  13
(5) 1,967  1,680  1,998  1,110  1,604  1,675  1,384  1,527  1,281
(6) 48  56  82  66  89  32  83  63  50
(7) 3  5  5  4  6  4  6  6  4
(8) 383  341  366  269  252  419  233  267  333
(9) 18  27  34  20  25  11  16  27  24
(10) 30  29  48  46  64  21  67  36  26
(11) 12  17  24  9  8  7  3  12  12
(12) 19  23  19  23  12  7  17  21  14
(13) 5  8  4  13  13  8  8  13  7
(14) 4  3  20  13  16  2  14  13  9
(15) 0  1  5  0  27  3  25  0  5
(16) 8  4  9  8  11  5  14  4  3
(17) 0  0  1  0  2  0  2  0  0
(18) 2  1  12  7  12  4  7  3  4
(19) 8  3  10  13  11  6  21  13  11
(20) 8  8  8  11  4  3  4  11  5
(21) 4  9  3  14  12  5  4  4  4
[Pg 138](22) 12  17  10  8  2  3  2  8  6
(23) 4  5  6  7  1  1  2  5  7
(24) 4  6  17  0  3  1  4  7  3
(25) 6  7  16  6  44  9  39  12  10
(26) 35  36  53  29  37  21  36  36  28
(27) 13  20  29  37  52  11  47  27  22
(28) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(29) 0  0  0  3  3  1  4  1  1
(30) 3  5  7  8  6  1  6  6  5
(31) 8  2  2  2  4  2  3  3  2
(32) 4  2  0  0  1  1  1  1  4
(33) 2  0  2  0  0  1  0  0  0
(34) 2  2  3  2  0  2  0  0  1
(35) 11  6  5  7  11  4  12  8  7
(36) 7  1  1  3  4  2  2  3  3
(37) 9  1  1  3  5  2  2  3  4
(38) 7  5  9  1  6  3  7  6  7
(39) 6  4  8  1  5  3  5  4  6
(40) 7  6  11  2  7  3  7  6  7
(41) 2  4  6  4.5  4  3  1  2.5  2
(42) 2  4  6  4.5  4  2  1  2.5  2
(43) 3  14  20  12  8  6  2  11  5
(44) 0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
(45) 2  1  2  0  2  4  0  2  2
  Stark  Summit  Trumbull  Tuscarawas  Union  Van Wert  Vinton  Warren
(1) 30,984  11,686  23,449  22,387  17,183  14,982  13,096  15,188
(2) 31,641  11,431  22,030  22,997  18,076  16,682  15,330  15,861
(3) -2  +2  +6  -3  -5  -10  -15  -4
(4) 13  10  21  18  13  9  12  9
(5) 2,383  1,169  1,117  1,244  1,322  1,665  1,091  1,688
(6) 112  42  74  83  63  63  72  56
(7) 9  4  4  5  5  7  6  6
(8) 277  378  317  270  273  239  182  271
[Pg 139](9) 43  17  26  25  17  16  16  18
(10) 69  25  48  58  46  47  56  38
(11) 18  7  18  8  7  3  9  8
(12) 51  17  35  20  17  17  9  19
(13) 22  10  12  24  12  18  7  12
(14) 12  5  0  20  15  18  16  5
(15) 0  0  0  4  1  2  25  7
(16) 9  3  9  7  9  4  6  5
(17) 0  0  0  0  2  1  0  0
(18) 10  11  13  5  7  5  21  6
(19) 16  8  5  15  16  4  27  15
(20) 11  9  21  16  10  10  9  9
(21) 17  6  6  6  4  8  4  11
(22) 25  2  8  6  8  7  8  3
(23) 13  1  6  8  5  3  1  5
(24) 8  1  9  8  3  5  1  1
(25) 11  4  6  19  10  21  1  6
(26) 74  30  47  48  37  22  29  35
(27) 38  12  27  35  26  41  43  21
(28) 0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0
(29) 0  1  2  4  2  2  9  1
(30) 7  5  8  4  8  5  1  4
(31) 5  1  6  4  1  2  2  3
(32) 1  3  4  4  1  0  0  0
(33) 0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1
(34) 0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0
(35) 7  5  13  7  10  6  10  8
(36) 2  4  4  1  7  2  4  0
(37) 3  6  4  1  7  2  4  0
(38) 15  5  6  11  4  3.5  3  5
(39) 12  2  2  6  2  3.5  2  5
(40) 13  3  3  10  2  5  4  7
(41) 7  2  5  4  2.5  3  2  4
(42) 7  2  5  4  1  3  2  4
[Pg 140](43) 21  5  12  8  5  6  6  9
(44) 0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0
(45) 1  2  2  1  1  2  0  0
  Washington  Wayne  Williams  Wood  Wyandot
(1) 29,409  24,079  16,384  32,951  15,811
(2) 32,481  23,895  17,440  37,378  16,508
(3) -9  +.7  -6  -12  -4
(4) 21  13  10  16  12
(5) 1,400  1,852  1,638  2,059  1,318
(6) 130  84  66  105  50
(7) 6  6  7  7  4
(8) 226  299  248  314  316
(9) 27  42  22  45  22
(10) 103  42  44  60  28
(11) 6  25  7  23  5
(12) 19  33  18  22  13
(13) 34  12  19  29  23
(14) 21  8  15  6  9
(15) 22  0  4  11  0
(16) 28  6  3  8  0
(17) 0  0  0  6  0
(18) 26  2  8  10  4
(19) 36  15  16  20  8
(20) 17  19  9  11  7
(21) 18  7  4  8  3
(22) 6  19  4  14  11
(23) 3  10  5  12  5
(24) 3  11  4  6  8
(25) 21  1  16  24  4
(26) 48  50  33  78  25
(27) 82  34  33  27  25
(28) 0  0  0  0  0
(29) 6  1  2  1  1
(30) 12  5  6  5  6
[Pg 141](31) 1  5  2  6  0
(32) 2  2  0  2  3
(33) 0  0  0  2  2
(34) 0  0  0  0  0
(35) 14  9  4  7  5
(36) 4  4  2  2  2
(37) 4  6  3  2  2
(38) 10  5.5  2  14  4
(39) 8  5.5  0  11  4
(40) 10  9  0  14  7
(41) 3  6  5  9  3
(42) 3  6  5  9  3
(43) 7  18  17  25  10
(44) 0  0  0  0  0
(45) 2  1  0  4  0

[Pg 142]



[Pg 143]


[Pg 144]



[Pg 145]


On the maps the location of each rural church is indicated by a square and the residence of each minister by a cross. Lines connect each church with the residence of its pastor. Therefore the maps show for each church whether it receives the whole or a part of a minister’s service, and for each minister how many churches he serves and the distances he must go to reach them and the various parts of his parish.

The capital letters adjacent to each square indicate the denomination of the church. The figures in parentheses and next to the square indicate the enrolled membership. The figures not so enclosed indicate the resident membership. The abbreviations, Inc., Sta., and Dec. indicate whether the membership is increasing, stationary, or declining. Increase or decline in membership, however, is only indicated where it was possible to find the membership of ten or five years ago. When the figures for ten years ago are available, these are taken as a basis for comparison with the membership at the present time. Often the records of the churches are so kept as to make it impossible or very difficult to find the membership of either five or ten years ago.

Shaded squares indicate closed churches. These have no minister and hold no regular services.

Abandoned churches are indicated by black squares. It is believed that large numbers of them were not reported.

Churches marked “Not Organized” do not appear in the tabulations.

In the northwest corner of each township is given its name, while underneath are figures indicating its population. The large circles in the township indicate cities or towns of more than 2,500 inhabitants. Figures in parentheses indicate the number of their population, which number is included in the figures for the township. But in each case where they are[Pg 146] not in parentheses the town or city is itself a township. Figures in an oval indicate the number of persons living in the adjacent village or small town.

A key to the maps is here given.


Minister’s Residence  Church with resident minister
Church without resident minister  Church closed
Church abandoned  Sunday School or Mission
Resident membership is indicated by numerals, enrolled membership by
numerals in parentheses. Inc. denotes increasing membership; Dec.,
decreasing, and Sta., stationary membership.
Numerals in an oval indicate the population of a village.
ACAdvent Christian GEvGerman Evangelical
AMEAfrican Methodist Episcopal GMEGerman Methodist Episcopal
BrBrethren (German Baptist) HHoliness
Br (OO)Old Order Brethren IBAInternational Bible Students Association
Br (Prog.)Progressive Brethren LLutheran
BBaptist LDSLatter-Day Saints
B (Miss.)Missionary Baptist MMennonite
B (Col.)Colored Baptist MorMoravian
B (United)United Baptist MEMethodist Episcopal
BSABrothers’ Society of America MPMethodist Protestant
CChristian NazNazarene
CaCatholic PPresbyterian
CMCalvin Methodist PBPrimitive Baptist
CMAChristian Missionary Alliance RReformed
CNJChurch of New Jerusalem RUBRadical United Brethren
CSChristian Science SSaints
CUChristian Union SDASeventh Day Advent
DDisciples SDBSeventh Day Baptist
DNPDisciples, Non-Progressive UUnion
EProtestant Episcopal UBUnited Brethren
EvAEvangelical Association UPUnited Presbyterian
FFriends UEvUnited Evangelical
FMFree Methodist UvUniversalist
FWBFree Will Baptist USSUnion Sunday School
GChurch of God WMWesleyan Methodist



[Pg 147]

Adams County, Ohio



[Pg 148]

Allen County, Ohio



[Pg 149]

Ashland County, Ohio



[Pg 150]

Ashtabula County, Ohio



[Pg 151]

Athens County, Ohio



[Pg 152]

Auglaize County, Ohio



[Pg 153]

Belmont County, Ohio



[Pg 154]

Brown County, Ohio



[Pg 155]

Butler County, Ohio



[Pg 156]

Carroll County, Ohio



[Pg 157]

Champaign County, Ohio



[Pg 158]

Clark County, Ohio



[Pg 159]

Clermont County, Ohio



[Pg 160]

Clinton County, Ohio



[Pg 161]

Columbiana County, Ohio



[Pg 162]



[Pg 163]

Crawford County, Ohio



[Pg 164]

Cuyahoga County, Ohio



[Pg 165]

Darke County, Ohio



[Pg 166]

Defiance County, Ohio



[Pg 167]

Delaware County, Ohio



[Pg 168]

Erie County, Ohio



[Pg 169]

Fairfield County, Ohio



[Pg 170]

Fayette County, Ohio



[Pg 171]

Franklin County, Ohio



[Pg 172]

Fulton County, Ohio



[Pg 173]

Gallia County, Ohio



[Pg 174]

Geauga County, Ohio



[Pg 175]

Greene County, Ohio



[Pg 176]

Guernsey County, Ohio



[Pg 177]

Hamilton County, Ohio



[Pg 178]

Hancock County, Ohio



[Pg 179]

Hardin County, Ohio



[Pg 180]

Harrison County, Ohio



[Pg 181]

Henry County, Ohio



[Pg 182]

Highland County, Ohio



[Pg 183]

Hocking County, Ohio



[Pg 184]

Holmes County, Ohio



[Pg 185]

Huron County, Ohio



[Pg 186]

Jackson County, Ohio



[Pg 187]

Jefferson County, Ohio



[Pg 188]

Knox County, Ohio



[Pg 189]

Lake County, Ohio



[Pg 190]

Lawrence County, Ohio



[Pg 191]

Licking County, Ohio



[Pg 192]

Logan County, Ohio



[Pg 193]

Lorain County, Ohio



[Pg 194]

Lucas County, Ohio



[Pg 195]

Madison County, Ohio



[Pg 196]

Mahoning County, Ohio



[Pg 197]

Marion County, Ohio



[Pg 198]

Medina County, Ohio



[Pg 199]

Meigs County, Ohio



[Pg 200]

Mercer County, Ohio



[Pg 201]

Miami County, Ohio



[Pg 202]

Monroe County, Ohio



[Pg 203]

Montgomery County, Ohio



[Pg 204]

Morgan County, Ohio



[Pg 205]

Morrow County, Ohio



[Pg 206]

Muskingum County, Ohio



[Pg 207]

Noble County, Ohio



[Pg 208]

Ottawa County, Ohio



[Pg 209]

Paulding County, Ohio



[Pg 210]

Perry County, Ohio



[Pg 211]

Pickaway County, Ohio



[Pg 212]

Pike County, Ohio



[Pg 213]

Portage County, Ohio



[Pg 214]

Preble County, Ohio



[Pg 215]

Putnam County, Ohio



[Pg 216]

Richland County, Ohio



[Pg 217]

Ross County, Ohio



[Pg 218]

Sandusky County, Ohio



[Pg 219]

Scioto County, Ohio



[Pg 220]

Seneca County, Ohio



[Pg 221]

Shelby County, Ohio



[Pg 222]

Stark County, Ohio



[Pg 223]

Summit County, Ohio



[Pg 224]

Trumbull County, Ohio



[Pg 225]

Tuscarawas County, Ohio



[Pg 226]

Union County, Ohio



[Pg 227]

Van Wert County, Ohio



[Pg 228]

Vinton County, Ohio



[Pg 229]

Warren County, Ohio



[Pg 230]

Washington County, Ohio



[Pg 231]

Wayne County, Ohio



[Pg 232]

Williams County, Ohio



[Pg 233]

Wood County, Ohio



[Pg 234]

Wyandot County, Ohio



[Pg 235]



On June 14 and 15, 1916, a meeting was held of the Committee on Interchurch Coöperation of the Ohio Rural Life Association at Columbus. This Committee is composed largely of superintendents and representatives of several of the leading denominations of the State. They met for the purpose of making a thorough study of country church conditions and were determined, if possible, to devise a remedy. The following were among those present: Bishop Wm. F. Anderson of the Methodist Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. Theodore Irving Reese of the Protestant Episcopal Church; Superintendents, I. J. Cahill, W. J. Grimes, A. W. Jamieson, Robert E. Pugh, E. S. Rothrock and Omer S. Thomas of the Disciples of Christ, the United Presbyterian, the Presbyterian, the Congregational and Christian churches; Dr. Washington Gladden, officially representing the Congregational churches; Rev. C. W. Brugh, representing the Reformed Church, and Rev. E. L. Averitt, representing Rev. Tileston F. Chambers, Superintendent of the Baptist churches. Superintendent Rev. C. W. Kurtz of the United Brethren, and Superintendent C. S. Beck of the Methodist Protestant Church have also endorsed the action of the meeting.

After a thorough discussion of rural church conditions, the following measures were agreed upon as remedies:

Interchurch coöperation in every locality to create conditions favorable to the development of Christian character, to build a strong, wholesome, attractive community, to hold community religious services and social gatherings and to render all forms of social service needed in the community but not rendered by other institutions.

Where there is now no resident pastor in a township the combining of[Pg 236] all churches so far as possible either in one church or in one circuit or federated church under one pastor who should be held responsible for rendering social and religious service in the township.

To bring this to pass all ministers now visiting and preaching in a community should by their preaching exalt christian unity and the Kingdom of God, and in preaching and personal work try to prepare the people for acceptance of a policy of community service.

To secure coöperation of ministers:

Preparation and sending of bulletins to every pastor, containing program and making clear reasons for adopting it.

Preparation and sending of letters from this Committee to every rural pastor, urging acceptance of higher ideals of service as here set forth.

Preparation and sending to country pastors of frequent bulletins containing information and description of notable examples of good country church work.

Appointment of sub-committees to secure action by denominational bodies approving program of Committee.

The following statements of policy and methods were also adopted:

In a township or community requiring more than one church or pastor there should be a “federation of churches,” that is, a joint committee of pastors and delegates officially appointed by the several churches to learn and meet all needs, religious or social, which require coöperation or concerted action.

In communities whose compactness permits and whose population and resources require there should be only one congregation and pastor, but where two or more churches exist, churches should be united organically in a single denominational church, the denomination to be determined on the give and take plan. If organic union in a denominational church is not feasible, a federated church should be formed.

In a township or community where population and resources are inadequate to support more than one pastor, but where the population is so distributed that more than one place of worship and organized church[Pg 237] are necessary, a federated circuit should be formed and a common pastor employed. The several churches should be officially represented on a joint committee who shall act for the circuit not only in employing the common pastor, but also in learning and meeting all needs, religious and social, which require coöperation and concerted action.

In the forming or re-forming of circuits it should be brought to pass that the various fields served by one pastor should be as close together as possible. To make the minister’s field as compact as possible, interdenominational circuits should be formed.

The rural ministry should, it possible, be so distributed that in each township there shall be a resident pastor.

Measures to prevent the recurrence of over-churched conditions should be taken by every branch of the church. Each should determine not to organize churches where they are not needed or certain to be needed. In a new community needing but one church, an expression of the people should be obtained as to the choice of the church to be established. The desires of the largest number should be followed.

Where several little churches exist in a sparsely settled community and a union or federation is not possible or advisable, consideration should be given to the plan of having all these withdraw, and inviting a branch of the church not represented locally to come in and organize a single church.

In the exchange or withdrawal of churches reciprocity should be at least State-wide in its extent.

Where a denomination is given control or dominance in a community by withdrawal of other denominations, the continuance of that control or dominance should be conditional on the church and minister maintaining in their service a high degree of efficiency—the standard of efficiency to be determined by the denominational leaders who should formulate a few simple principles by which the usefulness of a church can be measured. The denomination holding a field should, for a reasonable length of time, report to those withdrawing as to progress.


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Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

Other than the corrections noted by hover information, inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been retained from the original.