1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Rhode Island Congregational Christian Conference Records


 Records, 1803-1973. Bulk, 1839-1973.

 Size: 4 ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 140

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, January 2004

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Scope and content:

            This collection contains the complete minutes of the Rhode Island Association of Orthodox Congregational Ministers, 1839-1908. The group apparently dropped the "Orthodox" designation at some point after 1863, and by 1934 was known as the Rhode Island Congregational Christian Conference. In 1957, the Congregationalists merged nationally with other denominations to form the United Church of Christ, and the local group became the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ in 1970. It remains active under that name to this day, under the recent leadership of conference ministers Rev. Robert Bergfalk from 1972 to 1982, and Rev. H. Daehler Hayes from 1983 to 2002.

            The bulk of the collection consists of the working files of Rev. R. Vernon Lawson (1906-1973), conference minister from approximately 1958 through 1972, including records from missionary, education and social action committees of the conference, and information from the national General Conference. Mixed in with Lawson's files are some earlier records dating back as early as 1913.

One particular file concerns the Sheldon Street Congregational Church in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence, which served a predominantly Cape Verdean population. The files relate to efforts to save the financially struggling church from 1954 to 1958.

            This collection consists of the minutes of two related Congregationalist groups in Rhode Island: the Domestic Missionary Society of Rhode Island, 1803-1805 and 1821-1874 (which became the Rhode Island Home Missionary Society in 1837); and the Congregational Ministers Meeting of Rhode Island, 1885-1918.

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            The earliest records (Boxes 6 and 7) apparently arrived in 1923 from Gideon Burgess and in 1926 from the Conference. The material in boxes 1 through 5 consists mostly of office files extending through 1973. It presumably arrived in one gift at some point between 1973 and 1993, when it was inventoried.

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Processing note:

            The collection is largely unprocessed, although a box list was compiled by Cindy Bendroth in 1993.

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Box 1

            Consultation on Religious Education, 1971-1972

            1969 List mailed 7/24 Congregationalists

            Annual Reports, 1969-1971

            Current Camp Materials 1970 and Correspondence

            Mr. Lawson, 1964-1969

            Mr. Lawson 1967-1968

            Minutes of Education, social relations, Christian World Mission committees etc. 1952-1955

            Mr. Campbell, misc. correspondence 1971

            Camp and Conference, 1964-1965

            Jamaica, 1969

            Camp Conference, 1963-1970

            Mrs. Semple's Folder, misc. 1951-1969

            Committee on Voting on the UCC, 1960-1961

            South Providence Tutorial, 1969

            Legal Committee, UCC Constitution, 1961-1963

            Research and Strategy RI State Council of Churches, 1958-1967

            Higher Education Fund reports, 1960-1961

            Chaplaincy Division, 1970-1971

            Social Action Committee Welfare and legislative, 1964-1969

            Urban work, 1969-1972

            Camp and Conference Budget report, 1968-1969

            Memos and press releases from National to RI Cong. 1961-1969

            Social Action, 1969-1972

            Trustees of ministerial fund correspondence

            Trustees of ministerial fund reports of meetings

            Printed minutes, 1966-1970

            Christian World Mission Committee state 1971-1973

            Mrs. Maclean's Christian World Mission Committee notes, 1972-1973

            Our Christian World Mission, 1969-1971

            Ecclesiastical Councils, 1966-1971

            One Handbook, Jan. 1962

Box 2

            RICC Pilgrim Fellowship - Secretary record, 1941-1947 (Exec board)

            RICC Pilgrim sec. record, 1948-54

            RICC Young People's Division secretary's record, 1930-1933


Box 3

            Digest of Executive Committee actions, 1913-1947

            Survey of Board of Home Missions committee of finances

            Handbook on the Biennial Meeting

            Esther Johnson's newsletter aug. 1947-June 1951

            R. Vernon Lawson conf. minister(envelope)

            Semi-monthly newsletter RICC

            RICC Yearbook reports, 1971-72

            RICC Young People's Division minutes, 1930-1937

Box 4

            Annual reports from local churches, 1967-1969

            Applications for Winter conference, 1967

            Monthly reports to UCC 1967-1968

            Changes in ministers for General Council, 1965-1966

            Mis. minutes for work file, 1967

            Workshops, 1966-1967

            Work file of Mr. Campbell, Christian Education, 1966-1968

            Youth Echo, 1965-1967

            Mr. Caskey, 1964-1967

            Wilcox work file, 1965-1966

            National office, 1958-1962

            Christian Higher Education brochures PHOTOS

            Christian Higher Education documents, 1958-1960

            Copies of annual reports to RICC (envelope)

            1971 printed minutes

            Printed minutes, 1969

            Project Equality, 1964-1968

            Rhode Island United Ministries higher education 1971

            Workshops and conferences, 1967-1969

            Youth ministry materials 1968-1969

            RI state council of churches 1971

            1969 church reports

            1970 church reports


Box 5


            R. Lawson churches visited morning worship 1961-1964

            Calendars of churches visited for morning worship, 1959-1961

            Sheldon Street Congregational Church (Providence), 1954-1959

            Conference Executives historical documents

            Personnel Policies-salaries

            Congregational Baptist Disc.

            Metropolitan Mission-minutes-general

            Minister of Urban strategy finances

            Metropolitan Mission correspondence

            Parochial School Aid

            New England Consultation of Church Leaders

            Vacation Schedules

            Sabbatical leave policy

            World council

            Health insurance program, UCL

            Family Protection Plan

            Layworkers Protection plan

            Medicare plan


            Conference study comm.

Executive Committee of the national General Council, 1945-1960 (5 folders, incomplete)

Box 6

            Domestic Missionary Society of Rhode Island constitution and minutes, 1821-1874

With loose sheets 1803-1805 tipped in. Became the Rhode Island Home Missionary Society in 1837.

            Rhode Island Association of Congregational Ministers:

                        Minutes and program, 1912-1914

                        Correspondence, 1913-1918 (6 folders or volumes)

                        Correspondence, miscellaneous

Box 7

            Rhode Island Association of Orthodox Congregational Ministers minutes:

                        Jan. 1839-1849

                        Jan. 1849 - Oct. 1862

                        Jan. 1863 - Oct 1891. Includes signatures and birth dates of members, 1863-onward

                        Jan. 1892 - April 1908

            Congregational Ministers Meeting of Rhode Island minutes:

                        1885-1897 ("Vol. III")

                        1902-1911 ("Vol. V")

                        1911 - Mar. 1918 ("Vol. VI")

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Cape Verdean Americans - Rhode Island - Providence.

Congregational Ministers Meeting of Rhode Island.

Congregational Church - Rhode Island.

Lawson, R. Vernon, d.1973.

Missions - Rhode Island.

Religion - Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Association of Congregational Ministers.

Rhode Island Association of Orthodox Congregational Ministers.

Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Domestic Missionary Society of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Home Missionary Society.

Sheldon Street Congregational Church (Providence, R.I.)

United Church of Christ - Rhode Island.

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