MAY NO ONE BE A STRANGER
150 YEARS OF UNITARIAN PRESENCE IN
Jean M. Hoefer
Drawings by Robert Coye
Logo Design by Dorothy Ashley
[Reprinted here by permission]
MAY MEMORIAL UNITARIAN SOCIETY
1838 – 1988
[Web Page Additions by Roger Hiemstra, MMUUS Archivist]
[Note: See the Invitation At the End of This Document to
Help Write the 1988-2006 History]
Copyright @ 1988
May Memorial Unitarian Society
Typeset and Printed by
The Printers Devil North, Inc.
Foreward – Rev. Dr. Nicholas C. Cardell, Jr. 1
A New Field in the West 1838-1844 3
Rev. John P. B. Storer
The Church of the Messiah
To Exercise a Larger Liberty 1845-1874 7
Rev. Samuel J. May
Onward and Upward 1868-1917 18
Rev. Samuel R. Calthrop
Rev. John H. Applebee
100 Years and Beyond 1917-1952 26
Rev. W. W. W. Argow
Rev. Robert E. Romig
Rev. Glenn O. Canfield
Growth, Form, Movement 1952-1964 35
Rev. Robert L. Zoerheide
Rev. John C. Fuller
May Memorial Unitarian Society 1964-1973 44
New building on
Social Change and Hard Times
Open Channels 1973-1988 51
Rev. Nicholas C Cardell, Jr.
Biographical Briefs 60
The official minutes of our Unitarian society's board of trustees and congregational meetings are the primary source of this history, along with the documents in our archive files. We used material from Elizabeth Walsh's and Helen Saddington's centennial book A Backward Glance O'er Traveled Roads. The scrapbooks kept by the society's historians over the years and the memories of our members furnished many interesting details. We also found information in the files at the Onondaga Historical Association, the archives of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Boston, and the library of the Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago. We are indebted to the staffs of the OHA and of Meadville Library and to UUA archivist Rev. Mark Harris for their help, and to Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner who furnished the quotation from Matilda Joslyn Gage. We also owe a large debt of gratitude to the many people in the congregation who helped us gather information and who read and critiqued the manuscript.
Histories of congregations are usually organized around the ministers who served them, and focused on the styles and emphases of their ministries. This history is no exception. It is probably the most practical approach, but it does not do justice to the multitude of individuals who were and are the congregation.
One of my colleagues, the Reverend Jack Mendelsohn, observed many years ago that "Great churches make great ministers." Looking back over the roster of ministers who served this society, it is clear that May Memorial has always been a "great" congregation. The ministry of any religious community depends for its fruitfulness not only on support for ministry, but also on participation in it.
For thoughtful, conscious life, all creation is precariously contained in a mended cup of meaning. It is the cup from which we drink our lives, the cup with which we drink to life. It is a cup that is broken and mended, broken and mended, over and over again. Each time an era passes, a way of life is destroyed, or someone of significance to us dies, we may cry out that our cup is broken. It is at such times that we need each other and are needed.
Celebration and healing are our tasks. Celebrating the wonders and mysteries of life, and healing – the mending of broken cups and broken lives – these are the ministry to which all of us are called. Nurturing and comforting each other in May Memorial, and reaching out in compassion to those in our larger community whose cups and lives have been broken by the mystery of fate or the cruelty of injustice, these are the tasks that mark many of the high points in the history of this congregation's ministry. It is a ministry that will always need a "great" congregation.
NICK CARDELL, JR.
Rev. John P. B. Storer, first minister 1838-1844
A NEW FIELD IN THE WEST
A Unitarian society started in Syracuse during the 1830s, only a few years after the Erie Canal had opened across New York State. In one generation Syracuse had grown from a muddy four corners to a village of more than 3,000 people, comfortable homes, busy offices, and warehouses. There were also taverns and other nightspots where "canawlers" could roister away the tedium of long days and nights on the silent waterway. In several churches the pious listened nightly to tirades about the fires of hell delivered by resident ministers and traveling evangelists who battled Satan along the frontier.
Shocked and dismayed by the excesses of the fire and brimstone preachers, Christians as well as free thinkers came out to listen when Unitarian heretics came through from New England to speak about a free religion of reason and brotherhood. Syracuse historian W. Freeman Galpin wrote that Unitarian Rev. Henry Ware spoke in Syracuse. "For one runner employed by the Unitarians to give notice of the gathering," Ware reported, "ten were put in pay by the orthodox to tell people not to go." These efforts resulted in an audience of more than 100 people when he spoke the next day.
In the intervals between missionary visits, Unitarians and Universalists gathered for informal religious discussions in their homes. With the help of visiting ministers they wrote a covenant that was signed by 14 people in the parlor of Lydia and Elisha F. Wallace on 13 September 1838 forming the Unitarian Congregational Society of Syracuse. On 4 October 1838 Dr. Hiram Hoyt and Stephen Abbott presided at a meeting in Dr. Mayo's schoolhouse on Church (now Willow) Street where Elihu Walter, Joel Owen, and Stephen Abbott were elected the first trustees. The new congregation began a subscription to collect funds for a church building and invited the Unitarians in Boston to help them find a minister. A wooden chapel that cost $607 was completed at 317 East Genesee Street in January 1839.
visiting ministers came for a few weeks at a time to hold services and minister
to the people. One of the new church officers wrote the General Secretary in
but so rapidly increased, that he soon had the satisfaction of addressing a numerous and respectable audience. The Unitarian society at Syracuse by a unanimous vote invited Mr. Storer to become their Pastor." On 30 March 1839 John Storer wrote to his congregation in Walpole that he was very happy there and felt strongly attached to them, but he had made the painful decision that "...it is my duty to go to the West...to tend a new field in the Vineyard of the Lord."
John Storer moved to Syracuse in the spring of 1839 to minister to the congregation of the "little tabernacle," as he called the new chapel. His installation service on 20 June was held in the Methodist Church, because the little tabernacle was too small to hold all the congregation and out-of-town visitors who attended. A bachelor, Storer lived at the Syracuse House, a thriving hotel not far from the canal docks, where distinguished travelers stayed and many important meetings were held. Storer was described by those who knew him as a noble Christian, both charming and scholarly. He had an intuitive sympathy for the joys -and sorrows of all people from childhood through old age. Under his leadership the church prospered and grew in spite of orthodox intolerance. A group of young men dared to brave the storm and sneers of Orthodoxy by joining the society, although social ostracism was so strong that few young women could face it. In 1877 C. F. Williston, once mayor of Syracuse, reminisced in a letter to Rev. Samuel Calthrop, "The notorious Elder Knapp used the Baptist Pulpit almost nightly for weeks denouncing the Unitarian Devils as he called us, at the same time asked pardon of 'Old Satan' for slandering him in that manner."
The Unitarian congregation soon outgrew the little chapel described in Christian Register as "a small and lowly tenement, which looked more like a wood- house than a place of worship." After the Unitarians moved out, the small wooden chapel continued to shelter new congregations, including the Second Presbyterian, the Second Baptists, the Reformed Dutch, and the Wesleyan Methodists.
archives contain two letters written by members of the society in March 1840 to
John Townsend, one of the largest landowners and developers in the village.
They wrote to apply to the land company for a lot on which to build a Unitarian
church, because the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal "houses"
were all built on lots donated by Townsend's company. There is no further record
of the application, but it must have been turned down, because in August 1840
the society appointed Hiram Putnam, John Wilkinson, William Malcolm, Parley
Bassett, and Thomas Spencer to a committee to select and buy a lot for a larger
building. The women of the society financed the purchase with "avails from
fairs" and two lots on
of Burnet, were bought for $1,000. In the
the summer of 1842 Mr. Storer traveled through
the signing of contracts on
The cornerstone was laid 27 June, the building completed that fall, and
dedication of the Church of the Messiah was celebrated on
after moving to
ministers and friends from Storer's former congregations traveled to
TO EXERCISE A LARGER
Samuel Joseph May preached his first sermon in
Joseph May was born in
Sam May came back to Syracuse as a candidate for the pulpit opened by the death
of John Storer, he made sure that the congregation understood his commitments
to peace, temperance, and especially abolition. He had left two previous
ministries after conflicts with parishioners who objected to holding abolition
meetings and who wanted Negroes to sit in separate pews. During the past two
years in his position as head of a teacher's training school he had been
criticized for being a model of radical activism among his students. He wrote
about his candidating in
Rev. Samuel J. May, second minister 1845-1868
After accepting the congregation's
unanimous invitation to be minister of the Church of the Messiah in late
1844, Sam May lingered in Massachusetts to help resolve a property dispute
between two factions of a divided church in Lexington, and to give Lucretia
time to recover from a premature delivery. The May family moved to
raw canal town troubled the
worked together for state legislation to provide education and housing for canal boys. The boys were rowdy, ignorant canal workers, usually homeless or runaway youths who were shamefully exploited and often in trouble with the law. May also helped start a school for children at the Onondaga Indian Reservation. A planning group met at the Congregational Church in February 1846 and by November of the same year a school building with seats and desks for 70 pupils was dedicated at the Reservation. May and others acted within the cultural bias of their time by setting a curriculum that taught farming and housekeeping skills and emphasized steady work habits. More than a century passed before educators considered including the language and traditions of the Onondaga Nation in the school curriculum.
some of his church members and other philanthropic friends, May started the
first hospital in
May's lifelong concern was to prevent unnecessary misery. Like his father, a
May held community discussion meetings at City Hall. One of his parishioners, Harriet Smith Mills (mother of suffragist Harriet May Mills), described the openness of these Sunday afternoon meetings that were attended by ministers and people from all different churches. She wrote, "...it seemed to me the ideal way of seeking truth...as no one has the whole truth, and from none is it fully hidden." She sensed a real communion at the meetings, a fellowship and fraternity beyond the sectarian bonds that divide people.
had a less formal style than many ministers. He wore a suit, not a robe in the
pulpit. He invited to the communion table all who wished to commemorate the
life and teachings of Jesus as a divinely inspired model. The Christianity that
May preached and professed stressed freedom of thought. When he addressed the
free will, but also for developing citizens capable of self-government. For Sam May, the core of Unitarian theology lay in the human mind and heart, "...it can do a man no good to assert to that as a truth, which he does not perceive to be true; it can do his heart no good to obey a precept, which he does not from his heart believe to be right." May advised the graduates to be open to learning even from the poor and illiterate, who, he assured them, would put to shame their privileged education.
and nonviolence were natural outgrowths of May's religion. He preached against
capital punishment, and the whole
May's activism undoubtedly alienated some of his flock, but his loving attitude toward all people regardless of their opinions made his church popular. His congregation soon outgrew its building. In the autumn of 1850 they rebuilt one end of the church to make it 20 feet longer, allowing the addition of 28 more pews. They also added a spire on top of the bell tower, which was the cause of a remarkable catastrophe little more than one year later. Early Sunday morning 29 February 1852 the church was destroyed "by a hurricane which struck the spire; threw it directly upon the ridge pole, crushed down the whole roof, burst out the side and end walls, and in one movement demolished the entire building excepting the front and the foundation." When the Unitarians arrived for Sunday services they found their church was a pile of rubble. Near the
east end of the building the roof of the Northrup family home was crushed by the falling bricks, trapping two women in the ruins. The church had collapsed about in the morning while the women were sleeping, fortunately for them, in a sturdy four-poster bed. When the brick and timbers were cleared away, there were the two ladies, unhurt, with the fallen ceiling suspended over them by the bedposts.
The stunned Unitarians gathering around the fallen building were mocked by some more orthodox observers who "exulted over the penalty" that the Almighty had exacted from the "unbelievers." The congregation arranged to hold emergency services in City Hall, and after pledging to reimburse the owner of the damaged house, Sam May reassured his congregation with "a very feeling sermon" based on the gospel according to Luke, xiii, 4, 5: "Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
For weeks the town was "rife with opinions on the matter of the punishment..." But Mr. Northrup, a Methodist, took a moderate view saying, "If the storm was God's punishment for unbelief, why was the steeple allowed to fall on our house? We are orthodox. Don't make out God to be meaner than man. If your house falls down, don't change your religion but change your carpenter."
The Unitarian church trustees requested permission to hold services in the First Presbyterian Church each Sabbath at until their own building was rebuilt. The Presbyterian minister and trustees, who often worked with the Unitarians on charitable, civic, and business affairs, agreed, but a majority of the Presbyterian church members voted against allowing Unitarian services on their property. The Methodist Episcopal congregation also denied the request. The Mayor and the Common Council of Syracuse were not so fearful of heaven's wrath and allowed the Unitarian society to hold services in City Hall until the Church of the Messiah was rebuilt.
again, H. N. White was designated by the trustees to oversee construction of
the church building. Most of the $10,000 cost of rebuilding came from a public
auction of pews, although $2,000 was contributed by friends in
The building was rededicated on 14 April 1853. One local newspaper reported that the service emphasized God's work: "Remember those in
bonds...those in adversity...(and) to prevent men from putting the bottle in their neighbor's mouth making him drunken also." Another paper printed Mr. May's entire dedication sermon that "summoned ourselves and others to exercise a larger liberty...to make religious doctrine and religious duty the subjects of their own personal investigation."
anti- Unitarian sentiment in
on abolition and temperance work. May accepted, and treated the citizens of
was a founding member of the American Antislavery Society. He frequently
arranged for the group to meet in
In October 1851 May played a leading role in the famous Jerry Rescue in which a large number of men, including some leading citizens, stormed the jail and freed a former slave named Jerry who had been arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act. An escape attempt earlier in the day had failed and Jerry had been injured. May visited him in jail and promised him that he would be freed. The successful rescue was planned in the office of Dr. Hiram Hoyt, one of the founders of the Unitarian society. The rescuers organized their operation carefully so that no one was killed or seriously injured in the struggle, although the jail building suffered a lot of damage. Other Syracusans considered the rescue an outrage against law and order. They held a protest meeting and 677 citizens signed a petition denouncing the "Jerry Riot" But there were strong antislavery sympathizers like former Mayor Alfred H. Hovey who had chaired a meeting of protest against the Fugitive Slave Act when it was passed in 1850. Several of the principal rescuers (rioters) were arrested and Unitarians George Barnes, Oliver T. Burt, Dr. Lyman Clary, and Captain Hiram Putnam put up most of their bail, while Charles B. Sedgwick provided legal counsel. None of the antislavery people who
participated in Jerry's rescue were sent to jail. For years afterward, whenever Sam May faced a controversy, he would remark with a twinkle that he was getting ready for another Jerry Rescue.
kept May out of the fray during part of 1858 and most of 1859. He rested in
an antislavery convention in
May viewed the destruction and bloodshed of the Civil War as a judgment on both
the North and the South for participating in the sin of slavery. Young men from
his church enlisted in the army and many other members of the society
volunteered to aid the war effort. The women sewed, knitted, and prepared
bandages, the men worked with the Sanitary Commission to organize shipments of
supplies for the wounded. May traveled to
he spoke of the rights of citizens, May also included the rights of women.
Before he met antislavery activists Lucretia Mott and the Grimke sisters in the
early 1830s May had never questioned the common assumption that women were not
to engage in public affairs. Troubled at first by women speaking in public
places, he had listened with an open mind and soon adopted their cause as his
own. He invited women such as the Quaker leader Lucretia Mott and
Congregationalist Rev. Antoinette Brown to speak from his pulpit in
Some Syracusans were shocked and outraged when May stood on the platform with women who were wearing the controversial bloomer
costume. He was reluctant to discuss women's clothing but was eventually persuaded to come out against tight corsets and other disabling fashions when the conservative clergy and press ridiculed the reformers. Soon afterward a group of village ladies called on him to complain about this public discussion of women's dress, announcing that they had a message for him from the Lord. May received them cordially and remarked he did not doubt they had a message, but he did doubt its authorship.
the Civil War, Sam May helped organize the Onondaga County Suffrage Association
and held a series of meetings at City Hall. He invited Elizabeth Cady Stanton
and Lucy Stone to speak, promising "two or three able, gentlemanly
opponents who are sincere in thinking our doctrines erroneous – and who will
give them an opportunity fully to vindicate those doctrines in every
particular." When the first National Conference of Unitarian Churches was
held in 1865, May stirred controversy by suggesting that Universalists should
also be invited, and that churches should send both men and women as delegates.
At the second national conference in 1866 two women from
in his ministry May had seen the devastating effects of alcohol abuse on
individuals and their families, which led him to enlist in the temperance
movement. He taught temperance songs in his Sunday schools, urged the school
children to "sign the pledge" promising never to use alcohol, and
supported community temperance rallies wherever he lived. During his
All of May's deepest
convictions seemed to coalesce in his educational work, and this may have
been his most important and lasting contribution to Syracuse. In 1848 he worded
the resolutions at a public meeting that established the school system of the
newly incorporated City of
was not interested, so May led a campaign to raise part of the money and
persuade the city to build the school. He recruited Andrew D. White, a
prominent educator who later became first president of Cornell, to collect
funds. He enlisted public enthusiasm at a meeting in the fall of 1866 and in
December the citizens voted $75,000 for the new high school, which was built at
May's term on the Board was over, a new elementary school on
1868 May resigned his pulpit because of ill health and the society called Rev.
Samuel Calthrop to be their minister. Lucretia May had died in 1865 and Sam
went to live at the home of his daughter, Charlotte May Wilkinson. He continued
to work as a missionary, preaching in nearby towns and villages and traveling
as far as
the summer of 1871 his friend Andrew White, president of
During the night following White's. visit Sam May died, ending 26 years of loving service to a community that had known him as pastor,
and friend. They all came
to his funeral, people from rich homes and humble ones, from his own
religious society and many others, colleagues in his struggle for human and civil
rights, individuals he had helped and befriended. Black people in
In memory of Samuel Joseph May, born in Boston
September 12, 1797, died
The tablet was installed below a large stained glass window when the James Street church was dedicated in 1885 and was not removed until the building was sold in 1963. At this writing its location is unknown (Editor’s note: It was later located as this prior link shows). Matilda Joslyn Gage, a radical feminist of the day, wrote after May's death, "A curious ignoring of his position on (women's rights) took place at the time of his funeral services, not one eulogist at church or grave even remotely alluding to his full and well-known sympathy with the woman suffrage movement; nor was a woman asked to speak upon that occasion."
Unitarian Society purchased a marble bust of May made by a young artist from
ONWARD AND UPWARD
man of great presence and enthusiasm, with a superb education and eight years
pastoral experience, a vigorous 39-year-old Samuel Calthrop accepted the call
of the Church of the Messiah to fill the pulpit so long occupied by Samuel
May. No one could ever take May's place, but the people had great hopes for
this big, handsome Englishman who had left the Church of England because it
worshipped “a bad god." He
had been an honor student preparing for the ministry at Cambridge University,
but was refused his diploma when he declined to subscribe to the articles
of faith of the English Church. He came to the
prepare himself for the American ministry, Calthrop lectured at Harvard and
then started a school for boys at
embarrassed by his move to
the spring of 1871 Calthrop moved his family from a house on
Changes in the church followed Samuel Calthrop's arrival. The board of trustees was enlarged from six to nine men, and the names of women
began to appear in the official minutes, which always before had been exclusively masculine. A committee was appointed to welcome and seat newcomers at Sunday services. Pews were free and revenues to support the church came from an "envelope system” of voluntary pledges. The church was mortgaged to pay for renovations, including finishing the basement rooms for meetings and Sunday school classes. Members argued hotly over allowing the “children" to dance at church socials in the new basement. Among the many volunteer Sunday school superintendents who served over the years, Mary Redfield Bagg stands out for the graded course of study that she introduced at May Memorial. It was adopted by other churches in the denomination for their Sunday schools.
the 1870s the congregation could not meet expenses and Mr. Calthrop took
several cuts in salary. In the face of continuing deficits, the church decided
to reinstate the sale of pews in 1878, and gave up the "envelope system"
of subscriptions completely several years later. The ladies of the congregation
received a special resolution of thanks in 1878 "for the very efficient
manner in which they had extinguished the church debt." As a group, the
church women were now pledging several hundred dollars a year in fund-raising
events. At this time they were not formally organized, but several years later
the women of May Memorial formed the Women's Auxiliary to the Unitarian
Association. This organization eventually became the Women's
The new church meeting rooms were used by groups outside the congregation. For several years Calthrop held classes there, inviting the public to study subjects like astronomy, botany, geology, chemistry, Roman history, and the Hebrew prophets. The Syracuse Botany Club was formed by his students and is still active today. It was organized by members of a fern class taught by Lily Barnes. Mrs. L. L. Goodrich was president for 30 years.
read omnivorously and kept his congregation informed about intellectual trends
and controversies. From his pulpit he dared to advocate that latest scientific
heresy, evolution. In 1871 he mentioned the subject in the graduation address
he gave at
University awarded him an honorary LH.D. with the tribute, "There is no honorable designation too good for him."
Calthrop's absent-mindedness was legendary. There are
several stories of his riding or driving his horses on some errand and then
walking home without them. It was said that, left to care for his baby
daughter, he deposited her with a neighbor, and when Mrs. Calthrop came home he
did not know where the child was. Once when Mrs. Calthrop was out for the
evening, he put the children to bed, and reported to her later that one of them
had put up quite a struggle. When she looked in on the sleeping children, she
found that the recalcitrant one was not hers but the child of a neighbor. One
summer he came to town from his summer camp at the head of
some attempts at advertising for building plans, the trustees again hired
Horatio White to design and oversee the building of the church, to be
constructed of Onondaga limestone on a lot at
The new church was
completed in the fall of 1885, a gray stone building of mixed Gothic and Romanesque
design with a black slate roof. The front of the building faced
*A box of memorabilia sealed into the wall during the ceremony came to light again four generations later and its contents are now in the church archives. As of this writing, the cornerstone itself rests in the memorial garden of our present church building.
by a spacious octagonal vestibule and side porches, all of which, including auditorium and ceilings, are finished with western cherry lumber, high wainscotings and paneled ceilings. The pews are constructed with cherry, in a crescent form, the floor descending towards the pulpit thirty inches. The rental capacity is 450 sittings, with ample accommodation for 500. The organ and choir are located in a high arched niche over the pulpit."
inside roof and walls were braced with carved wooden trusses and steel rods
that stretched across the upper space of the auditorium. Five tall, arched
windows in each side wall were eventually filled with stained glass windows,
memorials to John Storer and lay men and women who had been devoted church
hundred twelve pews filled the auditorium where center and two side aisles
led down to the dais and pulpit. Flanking the dais were panels lettered with
Bible verses under the headings "God Is Our Father" and "Christ
Is Our Teacher," and below each of these panels was a large fireplace and
mantel. Doors on either side led to Sunday school rooms, stairs, a parlor,
kitchen, and “other conveniences." In the basement were three furnaces
guaranteed to keep the rooms heated to 70 degrees in zero weather. They didn't,
and had to be replaced with four others a few years later. When
Music was very important to this congregation. Each year one of the first duties of the trustees was to appoint a music committee, which had more members than any other standing committee. The church women regularly raised money for the music fund, and in 1884 they also gave Mrs. Calthrop a Steinway grand piano with a silver plaque. In the late 1880s the finances faltered again and yearly deficits began to build up, but the congregation would not consent to trim the $1,200 appropriated
*When the building was sold eighty years later, photographs were taken of the windows. They are kept in the church archives and displayed on the church web site.
for the organist and “choir," usually a paid quartet. When the trustees suggested the church might have to close, the organist resigned and volunteers had to supply the music. The next year the congregation voted to raise funds by a special subscription to hire an organist and quartet and to enlarge the organ loft to accommodate a chorus choir.
Economic problems beset the whole country in the early 1890s. During the panic of 1893 members of the Unitarian society joined with others in the community to feed the hungry, using city schools as distribution centers. Sam Calthrop stayed in town to coordinate the effort and did not return to Primrose Hill until the crisis was over. The previous year he and his daughters, with the Helping Hand Guild Committee of the church, had started the Newsboys' Evening Home in the Sunday school rooms. Youngsters could come several nights a week for cookies, cocoa, classes, and games. The Boys' Home ran in the church for 10 years until it could move to more appropriate quarters. The organization kept on growing and is now known as the Syracuse Boys' Club.
this time two young women of the congregation were preparing for the Unitarian
ministry and both were ordained at May Memorial church. The first was Marie H.
Jenney, who was ordained in June 1898 and served as co-pastor with Rev. Mary
Safford in the
women at the church were not the only ones overcoming traditions. At the annual
meeting in 1901 the congregation started a policy of electing members of the
Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Calthrop, third minister 1868-1911
presented a new registry book to the congregation. This project had been proposed and discussed for a decade. All past members of the congregation were listed in the registry, with their individual signatures if copies were available. Current members were invited to add their signatures, and all new members since then. Long-time members recall that signing the book has not always been expected of new members, but it is today and the same registry book is still being used.
30 years Dr. Calthrop had preached without notes and his sermons were becoming
either too short or too long, because the trustees in 1897 requested that he
"prepare sermons of 30 minutes duration." He responded favorably and
also suggested the society hire an assistant. They did not have the funds to
pay another professional until 1901, when they decided to find an associate
minister. Albert W. Clark
unkindly reported that although the congregation liked Mr. Clark, they had voted to have sermons delivered only by Dr. Calthrop.
Sunday school grew under young
December 1909 three trustees called on Dr. Calthrop, then 80 years old, to
discuss church conditions. They reported at the next board meeting that it was
mutually agreed the time had come when a younger man should be secured to take
up the work of the church, with Dr. Calthrop as pastor emeritus. In January
1911 the Reverend John Henry Applebee, also English by birth but educated in
The church was renovated and a new organ installed in a new choir loft at the back of the auditorium. For several years afterward the public was invited to regular organ recitals that were an important part of the church program. A group of church ladies commissioned sculptor Gail Sherman Corbett to make a marble bust of Dr. Calthrop, and two pedestals were ordered. The marble busts of May and Calthrop were placed in the front of the sanctuary where they stood, white against the dark paneling for the next 40 years.
At the annual meeting of the congregation in January 1914 Dr. Calthrop, no longer able to sit through a whole evening gave a parting blessing to the assembly and said of Mr. Applebee, "...my good friend is
just making things hum." In his annual report John Applebee explained a social service plan worked out by the city and the churches, in which each congregation assumed partial responsibility for social services in a specific district. He asked the congregation to cooperate "to show our practical religion of the brotherhood of all men." At about this time Applebee wrote in his diary, "I have been here for three years and have just presided over my first communion service. Since 1911 Dr. Calthrop as pastor emeritus has preached once a month and taught a Sunday school class. This January, 1914, he gracefully acquiesced in the opinion of his friends that he should be released from all responsibility and work, owing to the necessary infirmities of age."
At the beginning of his fifth year at May Memorial, John Applebee reported to the annual meeting that Sunday school attendance ranged from 70 to 130, the Women's Alliance was strong, the Men's Club in a flourishing condition, and the Samuel R. Calthrop League meeting regularly for play readings, lectures, and other "instruction and profit." John Applebee, who was a slender five feet eight inches, related that on his first visit to Syracuse his host, Samuel Calthrop, had set him to sawing wood, and someone in an aside whispered "he has been sawing wood ever since." With grateful enthusiasm members at the meeting passed several resolutions thanking John and Alice Applebee for their faithful work, warmth, and inspiration" under conditions making any adequate financial recompense impossible." One year later the trustees raised Applebee's salary to $3,000.
Calthrop died in 1917 at the age of 86. Church member Salem Hyde wrote a
memorial in which the congregation expressed "... tenderest
affection... overwhelming gratitude toward the memory of our pastor and friend,
who has given us so much and given it so graciously and with such telling
effect on us and on the people of this community." Beside Mr. Applebee at
the funeral service were Rev. Frederick Betts of the Universalist church, Rabbi
Adolph Guttman of
And now may the peace of God that passeth all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the blessed knowledge that our Father's love is eternal: may that love be ours; our guide through life; our joy in death; and our glory throughout eternity. -- Amen.
100 YEARS AND BEYOND
War I brought
many years the Unitarian society had a tradition of holding a congregational
meeting in October to secure financial support for. the church. In the early years
of the society, a pew auction was held in October and a deed of
"ownership" was presented to each successful bidder. Later on, church
members voted at the October meeting to pay the cost of organist and choir
singers recommended by the music committee and, when auctions were abandoned,
they used the occasion to arrange their pew rentals for the coming year. By the
1900s the October meetings had become birthday celebrations for Sam Calthrop,
and Calthrop birthday dinners continued to be held for years after his death.
The Calthrop birthday anniversary dinner of
the years before and after World War I, joint services were held with the
The women of the church were traditionally represented by two females on the Board of Trustees, but in 1918 Mrs. F. R. Hazard was elected a third woman trustee. In nominating her at the congregation's
meeting, George Cheney noted that it was a departure from precedent, but
"the world turns and we have come upon a new time. Woman suffrage has
triumphantly carried the State of
The turmoil and social changes of the 1920s are only vaguely reflected in the church records. At a time when evangelist Billy Sunday was attracting hundreds to the traditional Protestant churches, the Unitarians, who had bought a movie projector for the Army Club, invited the public to weekly movie shows. In 1923 the congregation sponsored a week-long mission service that featured a visiting Unitarian minister. At least one family we know joined May Memorial in reaction to Billy Sunday and that was Joyce Ball's family, the DeLines. In 1922 attendance at May Memorial averaged about 130 and there were 43 children and seven teachers in the Sunday school. The church school director was Elizabeth Lewis who became one of the first members to receive the Annual Award when it was started in the mid-1950s. Our records describe a church meeting in 1925 when the congregation discussed reviving the communion ceremony, which had not been held “for some time," as part of the Easter service. Implementation was turned over to the trustees who decided on a simple memorial communion service to be held on Palm Sunday. Our older members can remember communion held in the church on some occasions after that, but the practice had disappeared by the 1950s.
again in the late 1920s the church was faced with dwindling membership and a
beloved elderly minister who no longer filled the pews on Sunday. Dr. Applebee
(DD Meadville, 1924) twice offered to resign, but the congregation was very
fond of their saintly pastor. They voted to keep him as minister and hired a
part-time secretary to assist him with writing and mailing the church
newsletter from his home on
Rev. Evans A. Worthley was interim minister until the congregation,
Rev. Dr. John H. Applebee, 1911-1929 Rev. Dr. W. W. W. Argow, 1930-1941
dynamic new minister, W. W. W.
Argow, a former Baptist who became a pacifist and joined the Unitarian
denomination. He came to
spite of all this activity, the church finances were precarious, with deficits
depleting reserves and Dr. Argow turning back part of his salary every year.
The church tried to help with the problems of the Great Depression by opening
its Sunday school space as a reading room for unemployed people who were
walking the streets. An average of 75 men used the reading room every day it
was open during 1931 and 1932.
raise money for the church budget the Laymen's League sponsored lectures by the
famous minister John Haynes Holmes. The Women's
the art museum. They also sponsored plays for children put on by the Clare Tree
Major road company, and held garden parties at the home of Judge and Mrs.
big event of the decade was the one hundredth anniversary of the society
celebrated by a week of activities in October 1938. Centennial events started
with the Sunday service on 16 October led by Dr. Argow who spoke about the "Challenge of an
Inheritance." He was assisted by church member Rev. Elizabeth Padgham, now
retired and living in
December 1939 May Memorial invited the congregation of
Elizabeth Manwell, a teacher of child development at
and author of several books, some in collaboration with Sophia Lyon Fahs, a well-known Unitarian writer and educator. Manwell's book "Consider the Children, How They Grow" was an important addition to parent education and won an honorable mention from Parents Magazine in 1940.
October 1940 the congregation bought the home of the Van Duyn
family who had lived next door. The building was of special interest to
Unitarians because it had housed the first family relations clinic, a precursor
of Planned Parenthood and a controversial facility that many church members
supported. A woman most instrumental in the success of the clinic was Sarah
Hazard Knapp, daughter of Dora Hazard and mother of our long-time member, Sarah
Auchincloss. The asking price of $5,000 was paid in
cash thanks to a legacy left by Anna Agan Chase.
Volunteers raised money, remodeled, redecorated, and the church school moved
into the parish house soon after the New Year. Dr. Argow called the
congregation together on
The 1940s challenged the social consciences of religious liberals more than any time since the Civil War. During the next dozen years, two ministers came and went at May Memorial. Both were youthful and conscientious men who ultimately felt a call to duty more challenging than the needs of a comfortable, middle-class congregation. The majority of Unitarians at May Memorial seemed very conservative to liberal clergymen, although the members themselves considered their church a bastion of liberalism in a conservative community.
Robert Eldon Romig came to the pulpit at May Memorial in the summer of 1941.
Because of the wartime housing shortage Bob and Ellen Romig could not find a
suitable home, and the church bought a parsonage for them, a large colonial
Dr. Elizabeth Manwell
the year before. In 1944 Romig worked for the United War Fund, organizing five
spite of the pacifist sympathies of its ministers and some members, most of the
young men who grew up at May Memorial went into the service when the United States
entered World War II, and many of them were killed. The honor roll for both
world wars is preserved in the church archives. The women of the congregation
concentrated their war efforts in two directions, sewing for refugees, and
serving lunches to school children whose mothers were working full-time. In
1943 Alice Southwick and Dorothy Wertheimer organized volunteer women from the
church, the neighborhood, and the university. Each volunteer came in one day a
week to help cook and serve lunch to the children. The project grew to involve
about 70 volunteers a week serving from 50 to 60 lunches daily. By the end of
June 1945 the women had served 8,500 lunches! When the war ended, the women
turned to collecting and packing food and clothing for European relief. In
December 1945 they shipped 118 boxes of food and in 1947 a similar number of
boxes of clothing was packed and sent to
Rev. Glenn Owen Canfield came to May Memorial in the fall of 1946,
(next door to church connected by a corridor)
to open the congregation to more liberal ideas. He had become a Unitarian in
1943 after ten years as a Presbyterian minister in the midwest.
When Elizabeth Manwell retired in 1949 the congregation celebrated her work at May Memorial and throughout the denomination with a dinner. At the same time they welcomed Josephine Gould as the new director of the church school to which she had contributed much knowledge and experience over the years. She was already well known for her work and publications in the religious education field.
Church membership was increasing. Canfield attracted a strong young
adult group though his campus ministry and, with the help of newspaper ads inviting the public to "come and think," membership at May Memorial increased to 400, the largest in its history.
September 1951 the congregation held a dinner to celebrate the fiftieth
anniversary of Elizabeth Padgham's ordination. Glenn Canfield spoke of the
service she gave to her home church during her retirement. In the fall of 1952
Glenn Canfield and his wife Ellen left
its large, active congregation and its excellent church school program, May
Memorial was one of the strongest churches in the denomination. At least one
denominational official warned of a conservative bloc in the congregation.
"The minister who goes there will have to trim his sails considerably and
with some strategy may be able to keep the liberal gains that Glenn Canfield
has made," wrote Dale DeWitt of AUA. He praised the "splendid
people" in the church even as he expressed doubt that a social emphasis
program could be achieved at May Memorial. The pulpit committee soon presented
two excellent candidates who visited the society to give candidating
sermons. In a congregational meeting the members voted to call the one
recommended by the pulpit committee. It was a close vote, which left the winner
with some disappointed parishioners to win over, although he received a
unanimous vote of confidence once the election was official. The congregation
had chosen the Reverend Robert
L. Zoerheide from
GROWTH, FORM, MOVEMENT
When Bob Zoerheide came to May Memorial, no one foresaw the tremendous changes that would accompany his ministry. He was a tall, youthful man with a quietly deliberate manner. Theology and personal religion were important themes of his sermons. He spoke about individualism, variations in Unitarian thought, Biblical scholarship, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the new philosophy of existentialism. He did not neglect social problems. He served on the board of NAACP, he supported civil rights and housing, but the closest he came to activism was to speak out on church-state issues such as religious instruction in schools and loyalty oaths for teachers and other public employees.
Almost as soon as he arrived, Bob Zoerheide found himself drawn into a controversy regarding the Council of Churches. The Syracuse Council of Churches had been formed by the Protestant Christian churches, including the Unitarians and Universalists, in 1931. Both the Unitarian and Universalist ministers had been active in the council ever since, serving as officers and board members of the organization. May Memorial trustees annually appointed lay members to serve on boards and committees of the council. When the National Council of Churches reorganized in 1945, it required member congregations to declare acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but the local council did not adopt the statement as a membership test.
before and during the war years, the majority of Unitarians let go their
traditional ties to Christianity in favor of a commitment to broader religious
values. By the time Bob Zoerheide arrived here at the height of the McCarthy
era, when "liberal" was a popular euphemism for
"communist," many traditional Christians were becoming very uneasy
with their liberal religious brethren. Because of the Christian emphasis, some
members of May Memorial pushed for the congregation to dissociate itself from
the Syracuse Council of Churches. This attitude grew stronger when the majority
of the Protestant churches sponsored a campaign in
It was not a good time to break with the Protestant community. During those midcentury years a struggle was going on about state aid to parochial schools and released time in the public schools for the purpose
religious instruction. These programs were considered violations of the
constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, and the AUA had
protested against them through resolutions passed by delegates at the
denominational May Meetings. Unitarians and Universalists in
for a liberal religious coalition in
Rev. Robert L. Zoerheide
Minister from 1952 to 1961
work on arrangements and hospitality. The Hotel Syracuse staff was cooperative but confused. They are said to have directed arriving Unitarian delegates to a meeting of "Ukrainians" on the tenth floor. Telephone communication kept each conference informed about the other's deliberations as the two groups considered separately the Commission recommendations.
Of course there were difficulties. Rev. Max Kapp, Dean of St. Lawrence Theological School, quipped that the Universalists were afraid of being swallowed by the larger Unitarian denomination, while the Unitarians feared they would get indigestion. When the two groups were near agreement they met in joint sessions at the Syracuse War Memorial auditorium to discuss and vote on identical recommendations. They argued about whether to include the name "Jesus" and other "great prophets," and finally resolved the issue by leaving out names and referring to the "Judeo-Christian heritage." Delegates voted to combine the national organizations of the two denominations into one that would be called the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). They proposed a constitution that would be approved by both denominations at their last national conventions in 1960.
Credit for the success of the merger meetings was largely due to the friendly manner and parliamentary skills of moderator Ralph Kharas, a member of May Memorial and Dean of Syracuse University Law School. After the conference, he is said to have confided to friends, "I wasn't always exactly sure of the proper ruling, but I made quick decisions and when I banged the gavel no one objected."
The merger in no way affected the independence of individual congregations, who were left to decide for themselves whether they wanted to change their names or join with others. Congregations all over the country were asked to approve the merger plan before it could be implemented. In January the congregation at May Memorial voted for it 85 to 1. Relations between May Memorial and the Syracuse Universalist church remained cordial and each congregation continued on its traditional way after the denominations united.
May Memorial tradition of offering use of the church building to community
groups helped start several local institutions. One of them was the
hard times of the thirties and the grim years of war and refugees were gone,
but the society had a new problem, overcrowding. Young suburban families filled
the two buildings every Sunday and their automobiles lined both sides of the
surrounding streets. The church school exceeded its capacity with 180 pupils
and more came every year. The church rented rooms in the
The trustees launched an expansion fund drive in October 1956 and appointed a site committee that scoured the city for suitable property without success. At the trustees meeting in December they were tired and ready to abandon the idea of moving, but Bob Zoerheide persuaded them to reorganize their committees and keep on looking. In March 1957 the congregation reaffirmed the decision to relocate by a vote of 107 to 10 and authorized the board of trustees to take any action necessary to implement it. Several months later the site committee found the property
were looking for and the congregation passed a motion to buy it. With the
acquisition of land at the corner of
dogged the relocation process.
At the annual meeting in June 1960 Bob Zoerheide described an informal survey of U-U churches that placed May Memorial near the top nationally in overall membership, size and excellence of church school, budget, and support of the denomination. During his ministry membership had grown to more than 500, and the annual budget had grown from $14,000 to $34,000. There were three active youth groups in the church, a part-time paid youth director and a large campus club of Unitarian youth who met several times a month at Hendricks Chapel. A program council of representatives from all congregational groups met regularly to coordinate church activities and report to the trustees. An active membership committee greeted visitors and planned meetings and social events for interested newcomers. The trustees accepted the names of new people into membership by formal action at board meetings, and new members kept coming.
a vital congregation could not allow itself to be discouraged. In the fall of
1960 the board of trustees under president John Chamberlin started a new
capital fund drive and appointed three new committees to develop alternative
plans for the future: long range, staying at
Besides the increased membership, the church had changed in other ways during Bob Zoerheide's ministry. An all-volunteer choir had replaced the paid quartet; young parents could bring their infants and
toddlers for child care while they participated in adult activities or taught in the church school; and the life-size marble patriarchs that had flanked the pulpit for so long were moved first to the vestibule, and then out of sight entirely to a history room in the small front tower. Most importantly, the society had a new site and a good start on a building fund, although they still had no architect.
congregational vote in April 1961 reaffirmed the members' determination to
relocate. They voted 145 to 95 to build at 3800
At the same time, the pulpit committee had been looking for a minister. At a congregational meeting in June 1961 members voted unanimously to call the Reverend John Channing Fuller from Orlando, Florida to be the next minister of May Memorial.
and Betsy Fuller settled in
growth, and movement, is fundamental to Unitarian belief." They asked for architecture marked by beauty, dignity, serenity, strength, stimulation, and challenge. And they engaged the best acoustical consultant and most expert organ builder available.
the annual meeting in 1963 the treasurer announced a new high in annual income,
$51,000. Henry Mertens reported that the final building plans would be let out
for bids that summer. In September the congregation voted 100 to 10 to hire Kosoff Construction Company and construction started a few
weeks later. Although sale of the
Building plans were not the only congregational concerns. More families were joining and the church school registered 300 children in 1962 and 1963. Bob Burdick organized a group of parents to keep a fire watch patrol in the parish house during church school sessions because the building was considered unsafe. A special donation funding Sunday morning care for infants and toddlers ran out and a decision had to be made whether to continue it. Elizabeth Manwell and Jo Gould opposed having the young parents' cooperative babyfold because they believed nursery care was detrimental for children under the age of three. The trustees studied the question and decided to support the babyfold separately from the church school.
John Fuller was not neglecting the social problems of
in the carved mahogany pulpit above one side of the dais, John Fuller could
look down through a decorative ironwork grill in the floor into the furnace in
the basement below. In the winter time he joked that he only had to lean over
to see the fires of hell. He did not need this view to remind him to address
the "burning issues" of the day. In addition to his own interests in
liberal causes, activist members of the congregation were enthusiastic
supporters of black protests against urban renewal programs in the center of
counter discrimination that made it difficult for displaced black families to find affordable housing in other parts of the city, John Fuller and Elizabeth Manwell formed a May Memorial committee that worked with other organizations helping displaced families find housing. These developments disturbed church members who felt the proper concern of the Unitarian Society was basic moral and philosophical discussion, with social action to be left to the discretion of each individual, not to involve the congregation as a whole. This was not a new conflict, only new to the generation that encountered it for the first time.
When a new Public Affairs Committee formed, the trustees monitored it carefully, requiring it to report to the board before taking any public action. The board allowed the committee to organize a community-wide forum on discrimination in housing and to lobby City Hall for practical measures to increase low-income housing. After several informational meetings, six resolutions urging the Syracuse Housing Authority and the city administration to take action were presented to a formal meeting of the society for a vote in March 1965. They were passed by standing vote and for the first time the congregation itself spoke out publicly on a social issue.
1965 the committee issued an informative study, "Scattered Site Public
these years the Sunday morning forum was a regular and popular part of the
church program that was ready-made for presenting public issues to the
congregation. Church school started at . After dropping off the children, parents and other adults
socialized over coffee in the dining room and/or gathered in the church parlor to
listen to a speaker and discuss his ideas before the Sunday service started at . The forum had been
started in 1930 by Professor William Yerington of
Syracuse Memorial Society, a nonprofit organization that assists its members to make reasonably priced arrangements before they die. Henry Schmitz presided over the group for a decade.
In the winter of 1964 the new building was going well, but there was unrest in the congregation. Because of the capital fund drive there had been no regular canvass for three years, and canvassers in the fall of 1963 had found a lack of enthusiasm for new pledges. President Warren Walsh complained of fragmentation within the society, church school attendance was dropping and in January John Fuller was hospitalized for exhaustion. This was the first outward sign of the heart ailment that was to plague him for the next ten years until his untimely death in 1974. Besides his work as minister of a large congregation he worked on three committees for the UUA and several local community boards and committees. After several weeks' leave he started back to work gradually and in May he returned to a regular 5˝ day work week, without so much committee responsibility.
new building was to be ready in the fall of 1964 at a total cost of $446,391.
To meet this cost the society borrowed $180,000 to be repaid over 30 years with
mortgage payments totaling nearly $12,000 a year. At the annual meeting in the
spring of 1964, despite the net loss of 20 members during the past year, the
finance committee reported another record amount in pledges, $52,000. In
September a $75,000 offer for the
MAY MEMORIAL UNITARIAN SOCIETY
and Sunday, 28 and 29 September 1964 were moving days for May Memorial, with no
services scheduled. Committees inventoried the furnishings at
The architects and builders did their work well. There is an openness and serenity about the wide auditorium that invites members of the audience to look toward each other as well as toward the speaker in front. There is no pulpit, only a simple, movable lectern of wrought iron and wood designed by artist Dorothy Riester. Instead of a dais, there is a wide stage three steps above the auditorium floor. At the back of the stage a fourth step leads up to the backdrop, a wooden partition with a long shelf for decorating. The warm glow of the natural stained cedar walls is set off by dark crossbeams at regular intervals. On either side of the platform massive demiarches carry the eye upward, past the clear glass windows above the walls, up to the cedar paneled ceiling and the square cupola centered atop the gently sloping roof. On sunny mornings the dark wood behind the minister is lighted by an image like a butterfly (or an angel?) shining down from the cupola and moving gradually down the wall and across the floor as the earth turns toward the sun.
With his first sermon in the new building, John Fuller set the relocation in the context of liberal religion. It was not the inadequacy of the old building alone that moved us, he said, but "an urge, a restlessness to bear witness to our own time and to the vision of what we seek to be and to become... this is the essence of liberal religion -- to fashion our own world, our own insights, our own manifestations of truth and beauty and goodness."
this spirit of fashioning their own society, members gathered after the service
the next Sunday to discuss whether the name May Memorial should be kept or
discarded. Many of them knew little or nothing about Samuel Joseph May and they
associated the name with the stone towers at
with the spirit and purpose of the congregation that occupied it. When they
heard about May's concern for the rights of blacks and women and the right of
all children to a good education, many felt that his agenda was completely
appropriate for the 1960 s. But they did not have time to reach a formal
consensus. One of the speakers at the forum was Elizabeth Manwell who had come
to take part even though she knew that her heart disease was becoming critical.
A few minutes after making a passionate plea for keeping May's name and
carrying on his work, she sighed and collapsed in the lap of long-time member Mary Cooper, whose great uncle
James Bagg had first suggested the name May Memorial
Church. Immediate attention from doctors present could not save
The name "May" has another significance for long-time members because of the years that May Slagle served as church secretary. In the minds of many church school children who heard their parents mention May Slagle, she, not the minister from 100 years ago, was the source of the church name. Mrs. Slagle had been one of the most active volunteers in the school lunch program during World War II, and her joy in cooking for children was renewed every year at the Easter breakfast she prepared for the children who came to rehearse the Easter pageant. As the school became larger and the Easter pageant was dropped, she invited only the first and second graders to breakfast. They put on stiff paper rabbit ears with pink linings, ate scrambled eggs and played games in the church dining room on the Saturday before Easter. In the eyes of most adult members, May Slagle was the indispensable office manager. She had
been a part of the church for many years, as editor of the newsletter with Mr. Canfield and office secretary with Bob Zoerheide. After the move to the new building she worked as minister's secretary, parish assistant and hostess in charge of building security until she retired in 1974. Another strong member/employee who kept the society functioning was treasurer Alice Jordan. She started working as assistant treasurer in the mid-1930s. A small, quiet, friendly person, she kept the books in order until her death in 1970.
All the staff and most of the congregation settled joyfully into the new building, but the move brought many other changes. For the first time in the history of this congregation a woman, Verah Johnson, was elected president at the annual meeting in the spring of 1965. When church reopened in September the long- standing time for the Sunday service was changed. Both church school and adult service started at , with coffee hour after the service. Church school was shortened to one and one-half hours, from to . Overcrowding was still a problem even in the new building, with more than 300 children enrolled and 200 or more attending every Sunday. The adult membership was changing remarkably. Old members were dropping out or resigning, while many newcomers were joining and total membership remained well over 500.
formal dedication of the new building was held on
In spite of a large membership and active congregation, the trustees in charge of the church finances were troubled. Mortgage payments amounting to nearly one fourth of the church budget were a tremendous burden and the church was facing larger deficits every year. At the annual meeting in June 1966 the members heard about a great many activities, but a widespread failure to support the economic needs of the
Rev. John C. Fuller, minister
From 1961 to 1973.
society. Church expenses stayed within budgeted figures, but pledges were falling behind, and new expenses were anticipated. Jo Gould asked to limit her responsibilities to supervision of the lower grades in the church school, and the new Youth Education Committee called for an assistant minister to help with the young people. John Fuller had already expressed a need for an assistant to help him minister to the large congregation. In November, Fuller again went to the hospital for a complete rest. Jo Gould requested a paid assistant, but the society could not afford it and the trustees refused to charge a fee for pupils in the church school. In 1967 the UUA began formal accreditation for Directors of Religious Education and Jo Gould was one of the few who qualified for the DRE without additional study and training. She was honored for her new professional status at May Memorial's annual meeting in June. A few months later Jo resigned as DRE at May Memorial effective June 1968, after which she took a position at the First Universalist Society where the Sunday school had fewer children. Her resignation, plus another hospitalization for John Fuller at Easter 1968, brought to a head the need for an assistant minister. After a series of neighborhood group meetings to discuss the situation, the trustees appointed a search committee that recommended a minister. from a new fellowship in the midwest. He decided not to accept the call and the church then called Ronald Clark from Berkeley, California, who was appointed DRE in June 1968.
In the fall John Fuller, back in the pulpit after a restful summer, reported to the trustees that everything was going smoothly with the two ministers. The treasurer reported the church was still running a deficit, but it was less than expected. At Fuller's suggestion the trustees decided to make the call for financial support less strident by eliminating the offering from the morning service and attaching the collection plates to the sanctuary doors where the congregation members could drop their offerings as they walked out after the service. This experiment was continued for two years, although it cut nearly in half the amount collected every Sunday. Early in 1970, in view of continuing deficits, the congregation voted to reinstate passing the plate for an offering during
Mrs. Josephine T. Gould, Directory of Religious Education,
the Sunday service, for an estimated $900 increase in yearly income.
the annual meeting in June 1969 John Fuller described the congregation as
swinging. The Samuel J. May citation had been instituted in 1967 to honor
political and social action, and the first one had been presented to Eleanor Rosebrugh, a long-time member who was a social worker and
journalist as well as a strong supporter of social action within the
congregation. In 1969 the citation was given to Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Rumsey, a
This was the era of the War on Poverty, the sexual revolution, burning ghettos, student protests, and antiwar demonstrations. Under John
leadership many members of the congregation took an active part in the Civil Rights
struggle and the anti-Vietnam War effort. Like many other U-U ministers, John
Fuller counseled conscientious objectors and women seeking legal abortions
The UUA was involved in many of the controversial issues and the national board voted to fund the Black Caucus, an organization of Unitarian blacks who wanted to use denominational funds to help start businesses in black ghettos. As a result the denomination lost a lot of members and support nationwide. In desperation the UUA Board suggested mandatory assessments on congregations to support the denomination's budget. In 1969 the May Memorial congregation voted against mandatory assessments by the UUA, and the trustees broke the long and continuing tradition of sending uninstructed delegates to General Assemblies by instructing delegates to vote against the mandatory assessments. Money was so tight in the denomination that the St. Lawrence District had to give up its offices and for a while operated out of the Goulds' house, where Jo acted as secretary.
Even with its serious financial problems May Memorial was still considered one of the healthiest congregations in the denomination because of its large and enthusiastic membership. During the 1969-1970 church year the trustees met weekly to try to solve the deficit problem, which was expected to reach $10,000 by June. The society raised money with a series of roast beef dinners, cooked by John Fuller, that were open the public, and put on a large and successful May Faire.
fund raising staved off disaster, and the trustees encouraged a wealth of
activities to try to alleviate divisive resentments and factionalism among
members. May Memorial was a bustling place where some members were deeply
involved in encounter and discussion groups. The trustees established the
Gallery Committee to mount museum quality shows by local artists in the social
hall. When Ron Clark resigned to accept a call to a pulpit in
pulpit on Sundays. In May the trustees established the campus intern program in cooperation with the First Universalist Society, to provide living expenses for a U-U ministerial student who would work at Hendricks Chapel of Syracuse University. At the annual meeting that June total pledges of $59,000 were reported, and receipts exceeded expenses for the first half of the year. John Fuller said the society was in the "... healthiest condition since he came in 1961."
less than a decade, May Memorial had weathered the move to a new building with
the ensuing financial difficulties, and a tremendous turnover in membership. At
the annual meeting in 1972 John Fuller reported that there had been 800 new
members in ten years, with a net increase in membership of zero. Although he
described the current status of the society in the words of a popular
psychology book of the day, "I'm OK, You're OK," his health continued
to be a problem. Without his strong leadership attendance dwindled and deficits
built up. After a series of discussion meetings among the members about the
goals and needs of the society, Fuller resigned in the spring of 1973 and
accepted the call of a smaller congregation in
John Fuller's death Unitarian-Universalists lost "one of the very rare
men" known for strong leadership in the denomination, an assessment made
in 1964 by Dr. Duncan Howlett of the All Souls'
pulpit in Washington, D.C. Fuller had steered May Memorial during its own
relocation and the changes of the black revolution, women's movement, including
the demise of the local Women's Alliance, and the Vietnam war protests with
their peace marches and teach-ins. He had personally played a vital part in the
great movements of that time, leading local ministers into dialogue with City
Hall over discrimination, taking part in protest marches and teach-ins,
supporting activism within his congregation for housing, jobs, and peace. True
to his own words; he had fashioned at May Memorial a "sanctuary of every
seeking, questing soul…an open door to all truth and all men." Members of
the congregation traveled to
fortunes of May Memorial Unitarian Society were at a low point that summer of
1973, but a nucleus of dedicated members hoped the congregation would grow
again and worked to make it happen. They called interim minister Rev. Robert Holmes
to the pulpit for the 1973-1974 church year and, with
the help of the UUA, organized a search committee to find a successor to John
Fuller. Late in April 1974 the committee recommended a man "very nearly
fitting the ideal candidate for our new minister." The Reverend Nicholas C. Cardell,
Jr. from the Albany Unitarian- Universalist Society visited
The theme of Mr. Cardell's ministry appears in the first line of a hymn often sung at his Sunday morning services. Written by Richard C. Trench in 1838 and set to a seventeenth century hymn tune, the verse begins "Make channels for the streams of love..." First priority for both Nick Cardell and his wife Cathy was, and still is, to nurture a feeling of caring and community at May Memorial. Taking on the job of church secretary, Cathy Cardell soon became a welcoming, empathic presence in the office. On Sunday the opening words welcome us to our temple, our church, our kiva, whatever place evokes feelings of religious community and home. We welcome people from every heritage of faith with the words, "Come as you are, with your doubts as well as your convictions, with your hopes and your fears, with your failures and your aspirations. Here may no one be a stranger..."
Nick Cardell has provided many symbolic celebrations of community for the society. The first Sunday service in September traditionally opens with a gathering in the social hall where everyone joins hands to form a long, circling spiral that leads into the sanctuary. On family Sundays we light a large community candle that is molded from many candles burned at individual family celebrations. On All Souls' Day following Halloween we hang brightly colored leaves on a memorial tree, each one inscribed with the name of someone loved who has died. Dedication of infants and young children is accompanied by recognition of our oldest members.
he first came, Nick Cardell organized mini-fellowships, a series of
neighborhood meetings in homes with the minister. He started a monthly lunch
meeting among all the U-U ministers of the central
toward meeting the needs of present members rather than concentrating on new ones. There were fewer interest groups with greater depth in each activity. The canvass was still bringing in less than $50,000 a year, but the congregation managed to plan a balanced budget for 1975.
was the year the denomination celebrated the one hundred fiftieth anniversary
of the founding of the American Unitarian Association. A continental committee
for the anniversary celebration was chaired by Bob Zoerheide, then living in
The growing sense of community began to work toward new solutions of old problems. In September 1975 the board of trustees started the tradition of an annual overnight retreat where the board members could get acquainted with each other and with the most urgent items to come before them in the next few months. The board adopted an organized committee structure with assigned liaison responsibilities for each trustee. In the spring of 1976 the society made a greater commitment to religious education by electing a religious education council and hiring Pat Hoertdoerfer as part-time RE coordinator. "The Growing Up Year" curriculum began to raise the interest of young teen-agers leading to their presentation of a Sunday service every June. A series of New-U discussion workshops was started and is offered several times a year for new members and friends who want to learn about Unitarian-Universalism and May Memorial.
Energy and enthusiasm grew in the congregation. Members put on holiday parties, served gourmet dinners, and organized money-raising activities that produced fun as well as funds. The Christmas tree sale organized by forestry professor Gerry Lanier became a popular annual event that involves a majority of members and still brings in several thousand dollars every December. Rummage and plant sales, service auctions, and many smaller events helped meet expenses. Gradually membership and pledging began to increase again. The canvass total was close to $60,000 in 1978 and $64,000 in 1979. Average attendance on Sundays was 145 in the fall of 1978, 171 in the fall of 1979.
Besides the membership and money shortages, the board needed to deal with problems concerning the building. In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s they closed the building several nights a week during the winter and started a plan to put clear insulating plastic inside the glass windows. Adjustments to the drainage and plumbing, replacement of
the deteriorated concrete wall along the front walk, addition of a ramp for handicapped access, and extensive roof repairs were all accomplished by 1985, with the help of a special fund drive. Enlargement of the parking lot, a new driveway, and refinishing the outside walls were completed by the end of 1987.
The long tradition of closing the church during July and August was modified about 1970 to allow a popular social event, the Friday night Pub, to continue throughout the summer. During the mid-1970s members began to take responsibility for access to the building so it could be open all year round on a flexible, informal basis. Since 1977 a committee has been appointed every spring to plan special summer Sunday services led by members or invited speakers. Attendance ranges from 40 to 70. Through an active worship committee, lay-led services have also become part of the regular church year, celebrating events like the winter solstice and the Christmas Eve candlelight tradition. A large and active choir presents two or more Sunday morning concerts every year.
A new experience for the society began in 1979 when Nick Cardell formally requested the grant of six months sabbatical leave. Study and discussion in board and congregation led to a consensus, with some dissent, that a sabbatical leave would be a challenging and renewing experience for both the minister and the congregation and that it was within our financial means. The society voted 92 to 8 in favor of granting the minister a six-month sabbatical leave starting in January 1980. The worship committee planned and scheduled Sunday services with the help of Paula Murray who worked part-time to coordinate the arrangements. The society functioned well during the sabbatical, and the trustees noted that income for the period was greater than expected. Besides giving the minister a needed rest, the sabbatical was an exercise in self-confidence for the congregation. It was also a demonstration of Nick Cardell's purpose as minister, which he defines as empowering people to minister to each other in a climate of community.
the autumn of 1980 May Memorial cooperated with the UUA in a membership
experiment. Advertisements about the U-U religion were placed in the local
At about this time a new arrangement was made for the university
program the two U-U Societies in
After thirty years as a Unitarian parsonage, the old house at 913 Comstock had become a drain on the manpower and resources of the society. A committee studied the question of ministers' housing in 1974 and recommended the parsonage be sold and the proceeds used to set up a housing fund for the minister. This was not done until 1981 when another study committee developed a detailed plan for setting up a housing fund. In the fall of 1981 Nick and Cathy Cardell bought a smaller house for themselves and the parsonage was sold. The plan to use the proceeds for a housing fund is working out well for both the society and the minister.
the society's financial difficulties during the 1970s and early 1980s resulted
in inadequate support of the UUA's Annual Fund, the congregation supported the
UUA in other ways. Nick Cardell spent two months in
Congregational differences on social and political issues that had developed during the 1960s were resolved during the 1970s, but the members did not stop taking sides on controversial community activities. A group of volunteers kept on with the traditional U-U support of Planned Parenthood in the face of increasingly strident opposition from organized groups in the area. Several members of the society, including Mr. Cardell, served as Chairpersons of the Planned Parenthood board during the 1970s. In 1976 the state Division for Youth bought a large old
social action in the congregation started again in 1980 with a Sunday morning
exercise in goals building. The whole congregation broke into small discussion
groups to articulate their hopes for the future. One of the strongly expressed
goals was to become more active in the social problems of the
year 1981 also marked the beginning of the society's interest in refugees from
A Sunday morning forum in March 1981 on the causes of the refugee problem started the long involvement of a group of members that eventually resulted in May Memorial's commitment to the Sanctuary
Civil wars in
status as victims of political persecution. However, a strong minority opposed having the congregation, as a whole, take a stand on a political issue -- an act that, so far as anyone knows, would be only the second such instance in its history. The minority's concerns were not theoretical ones. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was threatening prosecution of people in the Sanctuary movement. (In early 1986 the INS did successfully prosecute several members of Sanctuary in the Southwest, although the convictions were appealed.) Some members at May Memorial felt very strongly that they could not belong to a society taking part in a "conspiracy" to shelter illegal aliens.
The vote in December 1983 was a real test of the congregation's sense of community. Could a small group of activists, supported by a large majority of sympathizers, get the society to commit itself to controversial action without alienating the minority who disagreed? The answer was both "yes" and "no." The Sanctuary resolution passed by an 80.5% majority with 145 for, 29 against, 7 abstaining. The Sanctuary Committee was overjoyed that they had strong support for practical measures to help suffering people. The majority of members felt good supporting what they perceived to be an act of both justice and humanity. The minority hoped it would not divide the congregation and a few felt disappointed and betrayed by the society. Six members resigned. One of them had grown up in the society, three had belonged for decades, and all were active and valued members. They are still missed.
October 1984 a young couple who were refugees from El Salvador lived for two
weeks at May Memorial, sharing their experiences of war and political
persecution as well as their "overground
railroad" travels representing the Sanctuary movement. While in
the meantime other groups in
Rev. Elizabeth M. Strong, Minister
of Religious Education, 1988
Jewish Agenda, and individuals from other local congregations organized the
Covenant Sanctuary Committee of Syracuse. Together they prepared for the
shelter and support of a refugee family. A budget was planned and pledges were
solicited to cover a family's living expenses, and in May 1987 a family of
three adults and three children from EI Salvador moved into an apartment
prepared by the committee. Growing out of the nucleus at May Memorial, the
Syracuse Covenant Sanctuary is truly a community effort. Hoping that peace and
stability will come in
The congregation seemed to grow stronger after the Sanctuary vote. In 1987 membership was more than 400, with 170 children registered in the RE program under part-time director Don MacKay. For two years in a row the canvass had surpassed its goal, and the final 1987 budget was more than $150,000. After a year-long study of religious education and adult programming, the congregation voted to search for a second minister to work in those areas. In April 1988 the search committee presented their chosen candidate, Elizabeth May Strong from Rochester, New York. She was called by an enthusiastic congregational vote on 24 April and accepted immediately. The society looks forward to the ministry of Liz Strong beginning in September.
this is being written in 1988, a committee is planning our one hundred fiftieth
anniversary celebration. On the schedule are recognition of lay leadership, a
sermon by Bill Schultz, president of the UUA, an exhibit at the
Unitarian heresy swept out of
religion teaches neither hope of heaven nor fear of hell; it motivates people
to give their personal strength and financial support for a society that meets
their needs here and now. Each generation of Unitarians in
Throughout our history the symbiotic relationship between the professionals, ministers and RE directors, and the congregation has been demonstrated again and again. Effective professionals attract an active, generous membership. Committed, responsible members improve the property and provide constructive programs and leadership. A feeling of warmth and personal acceptance among both professional and lay members empowers them to reach out to the larger community. The pure Christianity of our founders has evolved into liberal religion, but the essence is still the same: loving concern for all people combined with freedom of belief based on reason. In the historical records we see how members of our society practiced those ideals. Choosing from 150 years of history is extremely difficult. We did our best to include interesting and significant information. We hope it will give readers a sense of what our society has stood for in the past and where it stands today.
Rev. Dr. John Henry, fourth minister.
Rev. Dr. Wendelin
Waldemar Weiland, fifth
Rev. Dr. Samuel Robert third
minister. Born Swineshead Abbey,
Rev. Glenn Owen, seventh minister.
Rev. Dr. Nicholas C, Jr., tenth
minister. Born Smith's Falls,
Rev. John Channing, ninth minister.
Rev. Samuel Joseph, second minister.
Rev. Robert Eldon, sixth minister.
Rev. John Parker Boyd, first
Rev. Elizabeth May, first minister of
religious education Born
Rev. Robert Lee, eighth minister.
[actual page numbers from the original hard copy are shown at the top of each page, left justified]
Abbott. George, 46; Stephen, 3
Abortion, 48, 49
Advertising, 34, 53
American Unitarian Association, AUA, 29, 30, 34, 36, 52
Annual award, 27
Anthony; Susan B., 14
Anti-Slavery Society, 7, 13; convention riot, 14
Architect, 5, 11, 39, 40, 46
Argow, Rev. W. Waldemar W., 28-30
Army Club, 26-27
Attendance, Sunday services, 30, 52
Auchincloss, Sarah, 30, 38
Bagg, James L, 15, 45; Mary Redfield, 19
Ball Joyce Deline, 27
Barnes, George, 13; Mrs. James, 22
Bassett. Parley, 4
Belluschi, Dean Pietro, 40, 46
Betts, Rev. Frederick, 25
Bigelow, Cornelia 1, 22
Black, 7, 17, 27, 33, 41; caucus, 49; integration, 15, 42
Board Retreat, 52
Brown, Rev. Antoinette, 14
Burdick, Bob, 41
Burt, Oliver T., 13
Bust, May, 17; and Calthrop, 24, 40.
Calthrop, Elizabeth Primrose, 18; Rev. Samuel R, 4, 16-25
Campus Club, 28, 30, 33, 39
Canal boys, 9
Canfield, Rev. Glenn O., 31-34
Canvass, see pledges
Cardell Cathy, 51; Rev. Nick, 50-58
Carter, Mrs. W.H, 27
Catholic, 9; Interracial Council, 42
Chamberlin. John. 36, 39
Channing, William Ellery, 7, 13, 40
Chase, Anna Agan, 30
Cheney, George, 27
Child care, 40, 41; babyfold, 41
Choir, 21, 22, 26, 29, 39, 50, 53, 58; loft, 24, 44
Christian. 4, 29, 35
Christianity, 7, 9, 35, 59
Christian Register, 3, 4, 5, 6, 38
Church of the Messiah, 5, 8, 12, 14, 15; destroyed, 10; rededicated, 11; sold, 20
Church school, 6, 19, 21, 24, 25, 27, 41, 49; renovate, 29, 30; overcrowded, 38, 39, 41, 46
City Hall, 9, 11, 14, 15, 42, 50
Civil War, 14
Civil rights, 48
Clark, Rev. Albert W., 23-24; Rev. Ronald, 47, 49
Clary, Dr. Lyman, 13
Cogswell, David, 5
Communion, 9, 25, 27
Congregational church, 9, 10, 18; Plymouth, 57
Conscientious objector, 49
Conservative, 30, 34
Cooper, Mary, 45
Council of Churches, 29, 33, 35-36, 42
Crandall, Prudence, portrait, 16
Dedication, Church of the Messiah, 6, 11; May Memorial Church, 21; 3800 East Genesee, 46
DeWitt, Rev. Dale, 34
Divinity School Address, 9, 19
Dunbar Center, 27
Dupee, James, 21
East Genesee site, 39, 40
Education, 15-16; for retarded, 38
Eliot, Frederick May, 29; Rev. Samuel A, 25
Evangelist, Finney, 12; Sunday, 27; Graham, 35
Fair, 4, 41, 49; Department Store, 24
Frank C McCarthy School, 38
Friedman, Rabbi Benjamin, 29
Fuller, Betsy, 40, 50; Rev. John C, 40, 50
Gage, Matilda Joslyn, 17
Gallery committee, 49
Galpin, W. Freeman, 3, 6
General Assembly, 49
Gifford, Isabella Graham, 17
God, 12, 17, 18, 21, 25, 46
Goodrich, Mrs. L. L, 19
Gould, Josephine T., 33, 38, 46, 47, 49
Grace Episcopal Church, 42
Guttman, Rabbi Adolph, 25
Hazard, Mrs. F. R (Dora Sedgwick), 27
Hendricks Chapel, 28, 39, 50, 54
Hiscock, Judge Frank and Mrs., 29
Hoertdoerfer, Pat, 52
Holtkamp, Walter, 46
Hospital, St. Joseph's, 9
Housing, 35, 50; committee, 33, 42; minister's fund, 54
Hovey, Alfred H, 13
Howe, Rev. Marie Jenny, 22
Howlett, Rev. Dr. Duncan, 50
Hoyt, Dr. Hiram, 3, 13
Hyde, Salem, 25
Interim minister, 14, 26, 27, 51
James St. Church, see May Memorial
Jenney, Maria Saul, 19; see Howe
Jerry Rescue, 13-14
Jesus Christ, 9, 13, 18, 21, 35, 36, 37
Johnson, Verah, 46
Jordan, Alice, 46
Judson, Edward B., 19
Kapp, Rev. Max, 37
Kelley, Abbey, 7
Kharas, Ralph, 37
Knapp, Elder, 4; Sarah Hazard, 30
Kosoff Construction Company, 41
Kuhlen, Mary Margaret (Moc), 42
Lanier, Gerry, 52
Laymen's League, 28, 38
League of Women Voters, 42
Liberal, 29, 30, 34, 35, 36, 41, 44, 49
Lee, Rev. Luther, 12
Lewis, Elizabeth, 27
Lexington, Mass., 7, 8, 52
Loguen, Rev. Jermain, 13
Malcolm William 4
Manwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 29-30, 31, 33, 35, 42, 43, 45; Dr. Reginald, 30
May, Joseph, 7; Rev. Joseph, 21; Lucretia, 7, 8, 9, 13; Rev. Samuel J., 7-18, 44; bust, 17; Citation, 48; medallion, 22; 100th anniversary, 22; school, 16; Samuel, Jr., 21
May Meetings, 36
May Memorial Church, 17, 20-23, 32, 39; name, 20, 45; Unitarian Society, 45 McLennan, Bill, 46
Membership, 33, 34, 39, 46, 49, 50, 52, 58; newcomers, 19, 28, 51, 52; experiment, 53
Men's Club, 25, 26, 28; see Laymen's League
Merger, Unitarian-Universalist, 36-37
Mertens, Henry, 40, 46
Methodist, church, 4; Episcopal, 11; Wesleyan, 4, 12
Mills, C. DeB., 15; Harriet May, 9, 24; Harriet Smith, 9
Mott, Lucretia, 14
Murray, Paula, 53
Music, 21, 22, 24, 26, 29, 39
NAACP, 33, 35
National Conference of Unitarians, 15, 36; see May Meetings, General Assembly
Negro, see Black
Newsboys' Evening Home, 22
O'Hara, Father James, 9
One Hundredth Anniversary, 29
Onondaga Indians, 9
Organ, 21, 24, 41, 44, 46
Orphans, 8, 26
Pacificism, 10, 28, 31
Padgham, Amos, 24; Rev. Elizabeth, 22, 29, 34, 38, 44
Parish House, 30, 33
Parsonage, 30, 34, 54
Pew auction, 5, 11, 19, 26
Planned Parenthood, 30, 54
Pledges, 19, 26, 41, 43, 50, 52; Sanctuary, 58
Poister, Arthur, 46
Presbyterian, 4, 11
Public affairs committee, 42
Putnam, Hiram, 4, 13
Reading room, 28
Reamon, Rev. Ellsworth, 29, 36
Register Book, 23, 51
Released time, 36
Religious education, 20, 52, 58; coordinator, 52; Council, 28, 38, 52; Director, 29, 38, 47, 54; Minister, 54, 58
Riester, Dorothy, 44
Romig, Rev. Robert E., 30-31
Rosebrugh, Eleanor, 48
Rumsey, W. D., 48
Saddington, Helen, 29
St. Lawrence District, 49
Sanctuary movement, 55-58
Schmitz, Henry, 43
Sedgwick, Charles B., 13
Slagle, May, 45
Social concerns, 6, 8-9, 22, 24-25, 27, 28, 34, 35, 41, 55
Southwick, Alice, 31
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 15
Stone, Lucy, 15
Storer, Rev. John P. B., 3-7, 21
Strong, Rev. Elizabeth M., 58
Summer services, 53
Sunday school, see church school
Syracuse Botany Club, 19
Syracuse Boys' Club, see Newsboys' Evening Home
Syracuse Committee on Racial Equality, CORE, 42
Syracuse House, 4, 5
Syracuse Memorial Society, 43
Temperance, 13, 15
Temple, Adath Yeshurun, 31; Concord, 17, 25, 26, 29, 42
Townsend, John, 4
Tracy, James G., 29
Trustees, first, 3; first women, 22
Unitarian Universalist Association, UUA, 37, 43, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54; Service Committee, UUSC, 31, 52, 55
United Nations Association, 31
Universalist, 3, 25, 26, 29, 36, 37, 49, 54; First Universalist Society, 47, 50
VanderSluis, George, 52
Vietnam War, 49
Wallace, Elisha, 3; Lydia, 3, 8
Walsh, Elizabeth, 29; Warren, 36, 43
Ware, Rev. Henry, 3
Wertheimer, Dorothy, 31, 36
White, Dr. Andrew O., 16, 25; Horatio N, 5, 11, 20
Whitfield, Charles, 27
Wilkinson, Charlotte May, 16; John, 4
Willie, Dr. Charles V., 42
Williston, C. F., 4
Windows, memorial, 21
Woman suffrage, 15, 27
Women's Alliance, 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 38, 41, 50; children's lunch project, 31
Women's rights, 14
World War, I, 26; II, 30-31
Worship committee, 49
Yerington, Prof William, 42
Youth, 19, 28, 31, 33, 39, 47; home, 55
Each reader of this document who is familiar with the current history of May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society is encouraged to help write the church history during the past two decades. What would you like to see included as additional information is added to May No One Be A Stranger. Submit your ideas, stories, anecdotes, photos, etc. to Roger Hiemstra. Use email for any initial contacts. Let’s make this a living history document.