Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 36: RELIGION
PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings I
Letters of Transfer, Leadership, and Events
RELIGION PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings I, 1941-1946
TAGS: Chapel, church, church records, church memberships, Chapel weddings, church baptisms, church transfers, Burton Rogers, Edith Cold, Dorothy Nace, Arthur Dodd, H.R.S. Benjamin, church and community, Statement of Belief, Women’s World Day of Prayer, student Chapel committee, church committee, WWII
The PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings, etc., are largely documented by Edith Cold, Grace Rood, and Dorothy Nace. They are focused on the later Boarding School years from approximately 1941 until the closure of the Boarding School in 1949. This is part I (1941-1946) of a two-part series. The second part covers 1947-1949.
BEGINNINGS: The PMSS Committee on Religion
Edith Cold describes the Church as the idea of Glyn Morris who came to Pine Mountain [as Director] in 1931. Her narrative, titled “A Résumé of the Activities of Church Committees, 1941-1944.” details the process:
Early in the year, 1941, Mr. Morris, then director of the Pine Mountain Settlement School, proposed at a staff meeting that a committee on religion be appointed. He stated that the time had come for a consideration of some developments that might broaden out the service of the school chapel to its community. Mr. Morris was influenced to make such a beginning through the many letters from former students in which they particularly stated their appreciation of what the chapel services had done for them as aid toward a better interpretation of life.
When letters from graduates came to Mr. Morris asking for advice about the question as to whether to join a church of their community, he wondered if the Pine Mountain chapel might not have an obligation to prepare such of its young people, who desired it for church membership in order that they might the more readily join up with such fellowship in the community to which they would belong when they left here.
Thee committee appointed at that time consisted of Mr. Morris, Chairman and the following members: Mrs. [Alice Joy] Keith, Mrs. [Birdena] Bishop, Mr. [Boone] Callahan, Mr. [Malcolm] Arny, and Miss [Edith] Cold.
During Mr. Morris’s term as director the Pine Mountain Chapel was frequently used both for baptismal services and for wedding ceremonies. The baptisms were for young children and were included as a part of the regular morning service. Not only local parents, but on occasion even some from Putney, Harlan, and other outlying districts brought their children for baptism here. For weddings, also, those concerned would sometimes come from considerable distances away. Pine Mountain students thus became familiar with those two beautiful functions of the church.
At the Committee meetings two matters were under consideration: one, whether to familiarize the students, also, with the institution of the Lord’s Supper; and two, whether some kind of church organization might be affected through which church membership might be attained.
The Committee deliberated long and earnestly, sought help of other staff members, and took into consideration replies to letters written by Mr. Morris to various churches, to schools, and to people who are authorities on church matters. The conclusion was that a kind of church organization might be set up for the Pine Mountain Chapel and that membership here might be accepted through letter by the majority of churches abroad.
There came the matter of creed. Since the staff members attending the Pine Mountain chapel services represented quite a variety of church fellowships, and since the great majority of the worshipers at the chapel were students of high school age coming from various localities, the attempt was made to formulate a creed adequately expressing fundamental conviction about the Christian way of life and yet simple enough to suit adolescents. Naturally, as worded, it is not the creed of any one of the Protestant denominational churches with which we are familiar. Such a growth is a result of much thought and experience on the part of adult congregations which have voluntarily grouped themselves.
The Creed as formulated by the Committee was read at the following staff meeting. Various critical comments were made. Thereupon Mr. Morris appointed two to work for a more iterate wording of it. When it was again submitted to the staff, it was unanimously accepted.
CONTENTS: RELIGION PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings I – IMAGES 001 – 029 (1941-1946)
[NOTE: Documents 001 through 029 are handwritten on lined notepaper.]
001 Cover page. “Record kept by the clerk of the church organization at the Pine Mountain Settlement School.” [Notation in a different hand: “1941-1950”],
002-009 Nine-page report by Edith Cold, Church Clerk, titled “A Résumé of the Activities of Church Committees, 1941-1944.” SEE FULL TRANSCRIPTION ABOVE.
010 [No Date] Memo. “Letters of transfer of membership to P. Mt. Church for the following are in the safe: Mr. Henderson, Dr. [Elizabeth] Henderson, [Arthur] W. Dodd, [Dorothy] Nace.” [Notation in a different hand: “Letter of dismissal for Betty Huff Nichols.”]
012 [No Date] Published tract. “STATEMENT OF BELIEF, PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL, CHURCH CONGREGATION”
013 May 23, 1944. Special church service held in Chapel for new members, following Mr. Glenn LaRue’s “Inquirers’ Class” of four weeks.” LaRue was in charge of the service. Patsy Hall, Marie Richmond, Glenn Camp, Eva Adams, and Ethel Sturgill were received into membership.” Jerry LaRue and James Bishop were stewards of the sacrament.
014 [Blank Page]
015-016 1944. One-hour staff church committee held on November 14 to discuss suggestions submitted by two members. The committee decided to discontinue the Hearthside meetings; Inquirers’ Class postponed until after Christmas vacation. LaRue asked for suggestions for the student committee plans for a Sunday vesper service. Also discussed: special singing, student participation in the rite of the Lord’s Supper; how to help young church members.
017-019 1945. The Staff church committee met for one hour at Laurel House; a silent prayer was observed for the Baker family. A survey of students’ attitudes toward the Chapel worship periods was reviewed. Suggested improvements: a wider use of the organ, Sarah Vitatoe’s voice, staff members in talks, and student participation. Mention of students’ increased participation in the Lord’s Supper; small racks on the Chapel seat backs; Mr. LaRue’s Enquirers’ Class to restart in January.
January 10-13. Observance of universal week of prayer (January 7-13) and Women’s World Day of Prayer (February 16).
020 [Penciled notation in top margin: “March 9, 1945.”] Marriage ceremony in Chapel for Grace Feng and Dr. Liu; LaRue officiated.
021-022 1945. La Rue’s Inquirers’ Class.
March 26 -30. During the week before Easter, the school session was shortened by ten minutes to provide for worship at the Chapel. The School was released from all activities on Good Friday afternoon; organ playing by Mr. Dodd and Mr. [Burton] Rogers; evening program involved the choir.
023 Record of student church membership for 1944-1945, listing number of members begun at PMSS and at home churches; list of churches in home communities (Church of God, Presbyterian, Christian, Holiness, Baptist, Methodist, Regular Baptist, Nazarene, Missionary Baptist.)
024 May 7, 1945. Observance of “cessation of hostilities in Europe” by students on the school house lawn with a brief talk by Mr. [H.R.S.] Benjamin, followed by a Chapel service by La Rue and a second one later.
025 1945. Church committee members for 1945-46: La Rue, Benjamin, Dodd, Mr. Willis, Miss Cold. Discussion of interaction between the church committee and the student Chapel committee.
026 “…two senior students, Lester Centers and Gerald LaRue, were appointed junior deacons to serve at communion services.” Four students received baptisms and received into church membership: Faye Trail, Pearl Taylor, Bess Taylor, Geraldine Boggs.
027 March 8, 1946. Observance of World’s Day of Prayer.
April 19. Good Friday worship service, involving Mr. Dodd and his choir.
April 21. Inquirers’ Class; Easter morning service included baptism of Jolene Lucas by LaRue and of Margaret Dodd by Mr. [Glen] Morris.
028 Church committee for 1946-37: La Rue (chairman), Benjamin, Dodd, Mr. Henderson, Miss Cold.
October 1. “…[L]etters from the Pine Mountain student church were written to the church communion of their choice and sent to Marie Williams Bingham and Patsy Hall.”
November 4. A letter requested by Mrs. Alice Joy Keith was sent to the First Congregational Church of San Diego, California, recommending her membership of that church.
029 La Rue’s Inquirers’ class schedule; baptisms for Margaret Blair, Betty Jean Huff, Grace Tyree, Naomi King, and Frances Selvey.
NEXT: Part 2 of PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings
GALLERY: PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings, Transfers, etc.
Part 2 of PMSS Records of Church Memberships, Baptisms, Weddings
RELIGION Student Reflections on Religion at PMSS
RELIGION Statements of Belief at Pine Mountain Settlement School
RELIGION A Mountain Funeralizing
GLYN MORRIS 1941 Religion in the Mountains
RELIGION Vespers Service William Hayes c. 1942
CELIA CATHCART “A Funeralizing on Robber’s Creek”