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Inventory of the Radical Religion: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Opinion
GTU 95-7-02  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Radical Religion: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Opinion
    Collection number: GTU 95-7-02
    Dates: 1965-1982
    Creator: Radical Religion Collective
    Creator: Berkeley Free Church
    Collection Size: 12 boxes, 1 folio 9.50 feet
    Repository: The Graduate Theological Union. Library.
    Berkeley, CA 94709
    Abstract: The Radical Religion Collective, later named the Community for Religious Research and Education, formed in Berkeley, California in 1973 to continue the publishing arm of the closed Berkeley Free Church (1967-1972). Richard L. York, pastor of the church, became a member of the Collective, as did students from the Graduate Theological Union and people from the broader community. They published the journal Radical Religion: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Opinion, 1973-1981, and collected a resource library for researching issues in radical religion, socialism, peace and justice, and Latin America. The collection contains working and organization files, correspondence, published material (monographs, periodicals, pamphlets), newsclippings, and photographs.
    Physical location: 2/K/3 - 2/K/6
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    Radical Religion: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Opinion, Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

    Biography / Administrative History

    In 1973, the Berkeley Free Church (GTU 89-5-016. See that Collection Inventory for a full description of the Church.), which had operated in the South Campus area of Berkeley, California since 1967 under the leadership of the Rev. Richard York, "closed its doors and took a long hard look at its work and future." In the months that followed, the former BFC staff and board made decisions to conclude "the ministry of survival services to street people," but continue the publications arm of the BFC in a new direction and develop new programs. The new direction for publication was the creation of Radical Religion: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Opinion. The Introduction in the first issue of Radical Religion, Winter 1973, provides an explanation of its growth from the Berkeley Free Church and its intention as a journal, the "religious left needs a forum for reflection while developing strategies for constructive action. Radical Religion is designed to provide this forum. We in the religious left can use Radical Religion as a means to understand ourselves better, to develop a sense of solidarity, and to grow into a movement with a purposeful direction."
    The journal ran from Vol. 1 no. 1, 1973 to Vol. 5 no. 4 1981. Several people (though not all) who participated in the work of the journal formed themselves as the Radical Religion Collective. Throughout the life of the journal, the membership of the Collective changed. Each issue prints the names of the people who formed the Collective as well as those who contributed to or in other ways helped with that issue.
    By the summer of 1974, the Collective was also know as the Community for Religious Research and Education. It was this entity that developed the intention at the demise of the Berkeley Free Church to expand on their publications. "In conjunction with the journal, and as a further aid in enabling communication within the radical church movement", the CRRE intended to develop a "data bank and resource center." To this end, they maintained the historical records of the Berkeley Free Church, and collected publications and newsclippings focusing on "a radical critique of the social and ecclesiastical structures in which we live", and including the resource holdings of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). CRRE hoped for the "development of a significant depository concerning the radical church movement of the 1960s and the ongoing movement in the 1970s." Having maintained an office in the Graduate Theological Union neighborhood in Berkeley since its inception, Radical Religion/CRRE set up office on 19th Street in Oakland in 1981.
    Participation in the Radical Religion Collective/CRRE did not mean members were expected to work only on the journal or data bank. Collective members were encouraged to be involved in causes and issues that interested them. This included being members of groups or organizations, and helping with those groups' work and actions. Collective member involvement in other groups and causes are reflected in the included records of Harlan Stelmach's work with the Bay Area Americans Toward Christian Socialism (ACTS) (See also ACTS Collection, GTU 94-9-05), Stephen Hart's work with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, later known as the Ecumenical Peace Institute, and Alan Tobey's work with the Save Maggie's Farm Committee. For further information on these records, see Container listing below.
    (Quotes are taken from: What Ever Happened to the Free Church? A Report by the Rev. Richard York and Proposal for the South Campus Ministry Inc., 1974. Both are found in Box 7, ff 25.)

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection came to the GTU Archives as a part of the Berkeley Free Church Collection, GTU 89-5-016. See that Collection Inventory for a full description of the Church. Harlan Stelmach had used the Berkeley Free Church records for researching his GTU dissertation, The Cult of Liberation: The Berkeley Free Church and the Radical Church Movement (Berkeley, CA: Graduate Theological Union Dissertation, 1977). While Stelmach worked on the dissertation, he was a member of the Radical Religion Collective, later called the Community for Religious Research and Education. After completing the dissertation, he deposited the Berkeley Free Church Collection in the "CRRE historical archives." In the early 1980s, the collections of both the Berkeley Free Church and Radical Religion/Community for Religious Research and Education were deposited in the Data Center, Oakland, California as a single collection. The combined collection was deeded to the GTU Archives by the Data Center in 1989. The Radical Religion Collection was made a separate accession by the GTU Archivist in 1995.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Graduate Theological Union.--History--Sources.
    Graduate Theological Union. Library.
    Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, Calif.)
    Radical religion (Berkeley, Calif.)
    Socialism and Christianity--History--20th Century--Sources.
    Socialism and religion--Periodicals.
    Students--Political Activity.
    Student movements--California--Berkeley.
    Peace movements--United States--History--Sources.
    Christianity and justice--United States.
    Christianity and justice--Latin America.
    Berkeley (Calif.)--History--Sources.

    Genres and Forms of Material


    Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Stelmach, Harlan Douglas Anthony, 1945-
    Hart, Stephen, 1945-
    York, Richard L.
    Tobey, Alan.
    Bay Area American Christians Toward Socialism.
    American Christians Toward Socialism.
    Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
    Ecumenical Peace Institute.
    Committee to Save Maggie's Farm.
    Community for Religious Research and Education.

    Other Finding Aids

    Berkeley Free Church Collection, GTU 89-5-016
    ACTS Collection, GTU 94-9-05
    Harlan Stelmach collection, GTU 2001-1-03