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Inventory of the Northern California Ecumenical Council Collection
GTU 98-7-02  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Northern California Ecumenical Council collection
    Dates: 1943-1996
    Bulk Dates: (Bulk 1977-1992)
    Collection number: GTU 98-7-02
    Creator: Northern California Ecumenical Council
    Collection Size: 19 boxes

    18 ft.
    Repository: The Graduate Theological Union. Library.
    Berkeley, CA 94709
    Abstract: The Northern California Ecumenical Council is an organization of lay and ordained persons from different denominations and communions who work together to improve the lives of their members. The collection includes adfministrative papers and materials on events and projects.
    Physical location: Shelf Location 5/E/6 - 5/F/5
    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

    Northern California Ecumenical Council collection, GTU 98-7-02. Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of the Northern California Ecumenical Council, 1998

    Organizational History

    In January 1913, delegates met in San Francisco and organized the California Church Federation, re-named the California Church Council in 1937. The difficulty of California's geography brought the organization to split in 1942 forming the separate Southern California Council of Churches and the Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches. The name changed over the years to the Northern California-Western Nevada Council of Churches, then the Northern California Council of Churches. In 1972, it reorganized and was renamed the Northern California Ecumenical Council. In 2000 came another reorganization and name change to the Northern California Interreligious Conference.
    Early inter-denominational cooperation centered around the need to fight against vice, promote moral legislation against saloons and liquor, and win souls to Christ and establish the Kingdom of God. The first California Federation followed the constitution of the national Church Federation. As the national council of churches movement evolved, so too did the California councils.
    The early Federation cooperation centered around efforts to work for legislation seen to assist in the betterment of the human situation and condition. That tradition of cooperation has persisted throughout the history of the NCEC. From liquor and red-light district laws to legislation and issues involving immigrants' rights, labor rights, and human rights. Peace issues have been important throughout the history of the organization, from World War I and rebuilding a peaceful world in its aftermath, to the variety of issues raised by the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. Education has always been important from the early emphasis on strong Sunday Schools to general workshops, conferences, lectures, and events on current issues important to the churches.
    The tradition of being associated with other committees or groups working on various issues has also been a part of the history. This at various times included sharing office space, sharing staff, or the Council being a fiscal agent or sponsor. Beginning with the California Armenian and Syrian Relief Committee before WWI and expanding to the myriad affiliated organizations of the late 1990s (see a list in Box 1, File Folder 3), the NCEC understood its role in facilitating work done for the good of all people. Likewise the Councils divided out the work to various committees or commissions to fulfill its mission. Commity, preacher's salaries, and peace were early committee endeavors. Later followed such committees as Christian Education, Young People's work, Women's Work, Church Architecture, Evangelism, and Communications. Toward the 1980s-1990s, the Commission for Peace and Justice became a major focus.
    The predecessor Councils and the NCEC have always seen that there is a wealth of Christian talent in the lay people and the ordained who can work together to accomplish many high purposes. The needs, evangelical, educational, missionary, have been interpreted and emphasized differently through the decades, but essentially the purpose has been the same - that Christian people of good will, vision, and responsibility continue to work for God's goodness in every human relationship.
    For a more complete history of the Councils up to 1962, see Protestant Cooperation in Northern California: The Historical Background of the Federation and Counciliar Movement, by Paul K. Shelford (Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches: San Francisco, 1962). GTU Library call number: BV626 S5 1962.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Collection contains four Series: 1) Administration, 2) Financial Records, 3) Programs, Projects, Conferences, and Events, and 4) Resources. Series 4 is divided into three sub-series: Groups, Issues, and Countries.
    Though the NCEC was established as the Northern California Council of Churches in 1943, it is believed no records exist from the period prior to its renaming as the Northern California Ecumenical Council in 1972. It is believed that the records were stored in the San Francisco YMCA building and were discarded by the YMCA sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.
    The Executive Directors included in the Collection, serving from approximately 1972-1996 are: John Pairman Brown, John C. Moyer, Michael L. Cooper-White, and Ben Fraticelli.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Interdenominational cooperation--California
    Interdenominational cooperation--San Francisco Bay Area
    California--San Francisco Bay Area--Religion--Sources
    Religious institutions--California--Sources
    Religious institutions--San Francisco Bay Area--Sources
    Christianity and justice--California
    Human rights--Religious aspects
    Church work with refugees--California
    Immigrants--Civil rights
    Racism--Religious aspects--Christianity
    Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches
    Northern California--Western Nevada Council of Churches
    Northern California Council of Churches
    Brown, John Pairman
    Moyer, John C.
    Cooper-White, Michael L.
    Fraticelli, Ben

    Separated Material

    Added to the GTU Library circulating collection: Heritage and Hope: A History of the Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Church Movement in San Francisco on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary Year, 1978-1979, of the San Francisco Council of Churches . Call Number: BR560.S3 H47.