DRAMATIZING THE ISSUE—A drive to transfer students of Roman Catholic parochial schools to public schools gained momentum in Missouri following the state legislature’s rejection of a bill to provide bus transportation for pupils of church-related institutions. Proponents of the campaign said they were acting to “dramatize” the school bus issue. The drive began at Centertown, just outside the state capital at Jefferson City, where Catholic parents registered seventy-five children in the public schools. After a few days, the committee of laymen heading the movement called off their campaign, stating that the “point” of Catholic contribution to Missouri education had been made.

PROTESTANT PANORAMA—Representatives of four Lutheran bodies reached agreement last month on a plan to launch a consultative relationship for the study of worship. Some who participated in the talks envisioned a common hymnal and liturgy for all U.S. Lutherans. Represented were the Lutheran Church in America, American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

United Presbyterian Board of National Missions is buying ten United Mine Workers’ hospitals. Trustees of the UMW Welfare and Retirement Fund want to close the hospitals, located in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, because of a shortage of funds. United Presbyterian officials plan to transfer ownership and operation to a regional hospital board to enable them to remain open.

National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church encouraged Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger to continue such official duties “as his strength will permit.” Lichtenherger has had to curtail activities because he is suffering from Parkinson’s Syndrome.

An Anglican—Methodist—Presbyterian committee in Nigeria set December, 1965, as target date for the inauguration of a united church in that country. The Anglican diocese of Northern Rhodesia, which had taken part in earlier discussions, announced it had withdrawn “for the present.”

Church of the Brethren dedicated a new $75,000 three-story brick building at New Windsor, Maryland, as a processing center for Protestant relief materials going abroad.

MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE—Three evangelical Japanese missionaries to Laos were released last month after several weeks of captivity by Pathet Lao forces. Meanwhile, in neighboring Viet Nam, three American missionaries seized nearly a year ago by Communist Viet Cong guerrillas were still being held.

The two North American churches which lead all others in raising foreign missions funds—Park Street Church of Boston and Peoples Church of Toronto—again attracted well over half a million dollars for the coming year. Both churches climax their missions fund drives at annual spring missionary conventions. The Boston congregation netted $277,468, while the Toronto church counted $245,000 with several days of its convention still remaining.

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Decision magazine, monthly publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, began issuing French and German editions this month.

MISCELLANY—U.S. Catholics numbered 43,851,538 at the close of 1962, an increase of 969,372 over the previous year’s tabulation, according to The Official Catholic Directory for 1963. The directory listed 125,670 new converts, the lowest figure given in ten years.

A crown of thorns plaited with barbed wire will dominate the design of a 20-pfennig stamp which the West German postal department will issue to commemorate the eleventh Evangelical Kirchentag this summer.

Church losses from “major fires” in North America totaled more than $6, 900,000 during 1962, double the amount lost in the previous year, according to the National Fire Protection Headquarters Association. Nine church fire: last year were in the “large loss” category (those in which damage amounted to $250,000 or more), seven in the United States and two in Canada.

Roman Catholic Bible Society of Canada announced plans for a campaign “to make the Bible known, loved, and understood.” One of the aims will be to establish the habit among church members of “reading and meditating on the Holy Scriptures at least once a week.”

Noted Roman Catholic theologian Hans Küng climaxed a visit to Washington by meeting President Kennedy at the White House.

President Kennedy endorsed a proposal for broad government-financed study into the problems of human fertility and the biology of reproduction. In his press conference statement, however, he backed away from commenting on the proposal of Harvard gynecologist John Rock that there be a worldwide attack on the problem of population control. Rock, a Roman Catholic, is in the midst of a controversy over a book in which he advocates oral contraceptives. He was one of the developers.

U.S. Supreme Court will review the decision of a California court declaring Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer “obscene and utterly without redeeming social importance.” Some observers saw in the court’s decision to consider the case the prospect of a full-dress review of the constitutional meaning of “obscenity” as applied to both books and motion pictures.

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United Presbyterians are asked to exercise restraint when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision on prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. A statement from Stated Clerk Eugene Carson Blake and education secretary William A. Morrison warned against “violent and irresponsible” action.

PERSONALIA—Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, retiring as president of Union Theological Seminary, named by the school to a specially created traveling professorship.

Dr. Clement William Welsh appointed director of studies for the College of Preachers and as canon theologian of Washington Cathedral.

Dr. Daniel A. Poling chosen 1963 “Clergyman of the Year” by the Religious Heritage of America, Inc.

Tobe Acker named director of public information for the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

The Rev. A. Gordon Baker, editor of the Anglican Canadian Churchman, elected president of Canadian Church Press.

Dr. Paul S. Rees named editor-in-chief of World Vision Magazine. Dr. Ted Engstrom appointed executive vice-president of World Vision.

Dr. Clarence H. Didden elected president of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, succeeding Dr. Lowell C. Wendt, who was named first vice-president.

Peter J. Marshall, whose late father was the famed U.S. Senate chaplain and minister of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, named president of the Student Council at Princeton Theological Seminary.

WORTH QUOTING—“Christians of the United States will in my view have to overcome the inner divergence of attitudes and practice where certain groups and individuals invade the sphere of church relations with their passions.”—Archimandrite Pitrium of the Russian Orthodox Church, one of sixteen Soviet churchmen who visited the United States this spring, in a radio report from Moscow.

“If we had less pessimism in the pulpits and more faith in the pews, the church would advance faster.”—Bishop W. Angie Smith, president of the Methodist General Board of Evangelism.


DR. THOMAS S. KEPLER, 65, professor of New Testament language and literature at Oberlin College; in Oberlin, Ohio.

DR. W. B. RICKS, 97, former leader in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; in Nashville, Tennessee.

WILLIAM FLEMING, 70, noted Southern Baptist philanthropist and millionaire oilman; in Fort Worth, Texas.

MARY AUDENTIA SMITH ANDERSON, 91, great-granddaughter of Mormon pioneer Joseph Smith; in Independence, Missouri.

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