Churches are expected to play leading roles in a pilot project aimed at improving the lot of the poor through credit-union operations, according to Religious News Service.

The project will be initiated soon in the low-income areas of New York, Chicago, and Washington, under auspices of the National Credit Union Association.

Seminars are planned in these three cities, RNS said, in an effort to encourage poor people to begin savings plans. The NCUA, meanwhile, is expected to help local church units organize credit unions.

A priest in Washington, D. C., Father Geno Baroni, is credited with prompting the project. He urged the action in an address to an NCUA convention, and the plan was adopted by that group as “a little war on poverty.”

Of 23,000 credit unions in the nation, approximately 3,000 of them are maintained by church groups. Father Baroni said that between 60 and 70 per cent of these are sponsored by Roman Catholic organizations.

Membership in credit unions across the nation totals 15 million persons. In most cases the unions are organized as a result of employment relationships.

The priest is also working with church leaders, legislators, and credit-union experts in an effort to have some of the program incorporated into the Johnson administration’s anti-poverty legislation. Specifically, as now envisioned, projects such as planned in the three cities would be expanded under the anti-poverty bill as applicable to all poverty pockets in urban areas.

Father Baroni says the credit-union plan among the poorest groups in cities is unique. He asserts that it will be a “mutual self-help” program for the poor and will equip participants with “an economic literacy” inculcated through church and social programs.

“Establishment of a workable credit union among the poor,” he declares, “is an important instrument for translating the social implications of the teachings of the church into everyday reality.”

He describes the projects as getting down to a “bread and butter” issue that will make visible some of the “practicality of the brotherhood of man.”

Protestant Panorama

American Methodism’s only Japanese conference took final action last month to disband and integrate its thirty-one churches into existing regional jurisdictions. The Japanese Methodist churches are scattered across California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

A Lutheran-sponsored experiment in adult education known as the “Minnesota Project” is aimed at exploring how the church can be a more effective instrument in specific areas of daily life. It will extend over two years.

The Swedish Free Church Assembly rejected by an overwhelming majority a proposal that it seek financial support from the Swedish government.


Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, and eleven other leaders of the organization were arrested for demonstrating outside Jordan’s Pavilion at the World’s Fair in protest against a mural which they say is anti-Semitic.

The U. S. government was urged to work for another Geneva conference “to consider de-militarization and neutralization, under international guarantees,” of the entire Indo-Chinese peninsula in a resolution adopted by delegates to the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association in San Francisco last month.

North Park College, operated by the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, announced plans for a $1.65 million construction program on its Chicago campus. A residence hall for 210 women and a campus activities center will be built.

The Supreme Council of the Church of God will recommend that denominational headquarters be moved from Cleveland, Tennessee. Atlanta, Memphis, and Chattanooga were cited as alternatives.

The Rev. Canon Albert J. DuBois, executive director of the American Church Union, charges that President Johnson is violating church law by participating in Episcopal communion services. The high church group official says he has no doubt about the President’s “good faith and sincerity” but that church law restricts communion to fully qualified members and Johnson is not a member.

Conwell School of Theology, located on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, produced its first crop of graduates this month. Nine students received bachelor of divinity degrees.

Leaders of nineteen churches and religious communities—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—joined in a statement condemning South Africa’s ninety-day detention law and urging that it be repealed. The legislation was denounced as “a tragic breach of the principle that there should be no imprisonment without trial.”


Dr. Mark L. Koehler named president of Presbyterian-related Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.

Dr. John W. Bachman named president of Wartburg College (American Lutheran).

Dr. Ronald S. Wallace appointed professor of biblical theology at Columbia Theological Seminary.

The Rev. William R. Crawford, a Methodist pastor, became the first Negro to receive the Democratic nomination for a seat in the North Carolina Legislature since Reconstruction days.

Dr. Martin H. Andrews elected president of the Christian Medical Society.

They Say

“It is more important that people worship than to be concerned about what they are wearing.”—The Rev. Frank Potter, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Rockport, Massachusetts, in announcing that shorts and other casual attire will be permitted at summer services.

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