Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor) Records: 1920-2006
Summary Information
Title: Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor) Records
Creator: Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor)
Inclusive dates: 1920-2006
Extent: 8 linear feet
Abstract:
The Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor) has been organizing the Detroit community around issues of faith since 1919. The record group documents the activities of the Council from the early 1920s until 2003. Records include annual reports produced by the Council, minutes from administrative meetings, pamphlets and promotional materials, photographs of council leadership and churches, topical files, and videotapes of television programs produced by the council.
Call number: 0637 Ba 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Zac Monahan, April 2006

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The records were received from the Metropolitan Christian Council (Donor No. 8565), March 28, 2006.

Access Restrictions:

The record group is open to research.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor) Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


History

Prior to the formal establishment of the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches in 1919, cooperation among the area churches was limited to a Cooperative Council which acted (in the words of Council historian G. Merrill Lenox) as a "Comity Committee." Only a few of Detroit's churches were represented in this Council. At a meeting of the Cooperative Council in November 1918, the Rev. H. C. Gleiss reported for a Committee on Federation of the need to form "a comprehensive and aggressive federation of churches." The Council voted a Committee on Federation be formed, and that once the Federation was formed, the Cooperative Council would turn over its work to that new organization. On May 1, 1919, representatives of nine communions met and voted to establish the Detroit Council of Churches of Christ. At a subsequent meeting, Dr. Joseph A. Vance was elected to serve as president.

Throughout its history, the Council has adhered to the philosophy of "serving as a channel through which the churches can carry out unitedly all those functions which can best be performed through cooperative action." On matters of evangelism and social service and publicity, the Council was an invaluable tool for Detroit's local churches in providing broadly-based services. With its assistance, local churches were able to publicize their programs and special activities, and through its directory of churches and ministers, the Council established the framework for a network of local churches working together on common causes. The Council also took seriously its role in outlining the position the churches on issues of local, as well as state and national concern. The Council gave common voice to its church members on matters such as gambling, prohibition, McCarthyism, civil rights and the needs of the inner city, and other issues of morality.

The first office space occupied by the Council was in the Downtown Y.M.C.A. Thereafter it was headquartered in the rented offices in the Charlevoix Building, and then two locations in the Park Avenue Buildings. Sometime later it moved into its own quarters at 65 Columbia East, and thereafter into smaller rented offices.

In 1962, the word Metropolitan was added to the name to indicate the Council's service to the tri-county region of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. In 1976, to better define its nature and to indicate its local autonomy, the name of the Council was again changed to Christian Communication Council of Metropolitan Detroit Churches. At that time services were expanded to reach 2000 congregations in eight counties: Essex (Ontario), Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Saint Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. Several communions were added to the mailing list, including Church of God in Christ, Missouri Lutheran, 10 Orthodox Christian denominations, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, 10 Canadian denominations, and others. The name was changed to Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit - Windsor) in 2000 to more clearly indicate its international dimension.

Additional information about the Metropolitan Christian Council will be found in the commemorative history (to 1969) written by G. Merrill Lenox (located in the Topical File series under "History") and on the website: http://users.aol.com/councilweb/


Collection Scope and Content Note

The records of the Metropolitan Christian Council have been divided between two archival repositories. The first accession was given to the Walter Reuther Library, Wayne State University, in Detroit. A summary listing of these materials will be found in the Related Materials portion of this finding aid. In 2006, the Council, upon concurrence with archivists at the Reuther Library, donated additional records to the Bentley Historical Library. This second accession of records dates close to the founding of the organization and extends up to 2004. The series within the two accessions, however, do not seem to overlap and consist of different kinds of records.

The record group donated to the Bentley Library now comprises seven record series: Board of Directors, Council Packets, Programs, brochures, and other publications, Annual Reports, Topical Files, Television Programs, and General Assembly. In addition, the Council donated issues of its annual church directory and its newspaper -- The Newscaster-- which have been pulled from the records and cataloged separately.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Church history.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Religion.
  • Detroit Metropolitan Area (Mich.) -- Religion.
  • Detroit Metropolitan Area (Mich.) -- Religion.
  • Videotapes.
  • Photographs.
  • Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor)
  • Metropolitan Christian Council (Detroit-Windsor)
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Board of Directors Meeting Files [series]

The Board of Directors series includes minutes from the Board's meetings between 1943 and 2002. These meetings determined the council's activities and dealt with budget issues as well.

Box   1  
1943-1945
Box   1  
1946-1948
Box   1  
1949-1954
Box   1  
1955-1957
Box   1  
1958-1960
Box   1  
1961-1963
Box   1  
1964-1965
Box   1  
1966-1967
Box   1  
1968-1970
Box   1  
1970-1971
Box   1  
1972-1973
Box   1  
1974-1975
Box   1  
1976-1977
Box   1  
1978-1979
Box   2  
1980-1981
Box   2  
1982-1983
Box   2  
1984-1985
Box   2  
1986-1987
Box   2  
1988-1989
Box   2  
1990-1991
Box   2  
1992-1993
Box   2  
1994-1995
Box   2  
1996-1997
Box   2  
1998-1999
Box   2  
2000-2002
 
Council Packets [series]

The Council Packets series consists of information sent out by the Council to constituent ministries from 1976 to 2000. Four packets were sent out each year and were intended to update ministries on the council's activities and initiatives.

Box   2  
1976
Box   2  
1977
Box   2  
1978
Box   2  
1979
Box   2  
1980
Box   2  
1981
Box   2  
1982
Box   3  
1984
Box   3  
1985
Box   3  
1986
Box   3  
1987
Box   3  
1989
Box   3  
1990
Box   3  
1991
Box   3  
1992
Box   3  
1993
Box   3  
1994
Box   3  
1995
Box   3  
1996
Box   4  
1997
Box   4  
1998
Box   4  
1999
Box   4  
2000
 
Programs, brochures, and other publications [series]

The Programs, brochures, and other publications series contains promotional and informational materials created by the Council and programs and related materials from special services.

Box   4  
Ash Wednesday service 1973-1999

(some gaps)

Box   4  
Christmas Carol Festival 1947-1967
Box   4  
Detroit Pastor's Union / Michigan Pastors' Conference 1951-1958
Box   4  
Lent and Good Friday Services 1940s-1960s
Box   4  
Promotional brochures and tracts (2 folders)
Box   4  
Protestant Reformation Festival Materials 1947-1966
Box   4  
Michigan State Fair Sunrise Services 1947-1973

(include photographs)

Box   4  
Miscellaneous
 
Annual Reports [series]

The Annual Reports series contains the annual reports produced by the council and reports produced by the social workers working for the council.

Box   4  
Annual Meeting Program and Reports 1920-1967

(some gaps)

Box   5  
Annual Reports of Council Departments
Box   5  
1947-1957
Box   5  
1958-1968
Box   5  
Annual Reports of Social Service Workers 1922-1942
 
Topical Files [series]

Topical Files document the varied activities and initiatives of the council, ranging from awards given to photos to information on gambling and child abuse.

Box   5  
75th Anniversary 1993-1994
Box   5  
Audit 1989-2003
Box   5  
Birmingham School for Special Children 1962-1971
Box   5  
"Black Manifesto" 1969
Box   5  
Board Attendance 1990-1996
Box   5  
Business Unit Minutes 1987-1998
Box   5  
Casino Gambling 1987
Box   5  
Child Abuse circa 1976
Box   5  
Communication Activities 1971
Box   5  
Consultation on Church Union (COCU)
Box   5  
Critical Letters 1970-1972
Box   5  
Cults 1979
Box   5  
Church Merit Awards 1977-1991
Box   5  
Daedal Doors
Box   5  
Directory Contract 2006
Box   5  
Funding 1997-1998
Box   5  
Greater Detroit Study Commission. Report entitled "Toward a Center for Theological Studies" July 1964
Box   6  
History by G, Merrill Lenox entitled "Christian Unity & Mission" 1969
Box   6  
Institute on Judaism, Rabbi B. Benedict & Ada S. Glazer 1979-2005
Box   6  
Inter-Faith Action Council 1969
Box   6  
Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization 1969
Box   6  
Kerr Ecumenical Award 1992-1998
Box   6  
Layman of the Year 1954-1968
Box   6  
Lenten Materials
Box   6  
Media
Box   6  
Meals for Shut-ins Christmas Songs
Box   6  
Muslim-Christian-Jewish leadership forum
Box   6  
Newscaster
Box   6  
Pastor's Association
 
Photographs and related information
Box   6  
Baumgartner, Robert R.
Box   6  
Bright, J. Russell
Box   6  
Brumbaugh, Thoburn T.
Box   6  
Emrich, Bishop Richard S.
Box   6  
Johnstone, R. T.
Box   6  
Lenox, G. Merrill
Box   6  
Lindsay, Kenneth
Box   6  
Littler, Mark D.
Box   6  
Roberts, Joseph L.
Box   6  
Zaun, Allan A.
Box   6  
Council Building photos
Box   6  
Kirk-in-the-Hills
Box   6  
Planning Unit for Theological Concerns
Box   6  
Proposal for a Council of Black Churchmen 1969-1971
Box   6  
Restructuring, proposed circa 1972-1976 (1 volume)

(include New Ecumenical Communication / Service Organization, study document and other materials)

Box   6  
Willingham, Edward B.
 
Television Programs 1992-2004 [series]

Television Programs were filmed by Bloomfield Community Television and include artistic performances and discussions of faith-based issues. These twelve U-matic videotape cassettes are a small sample of the Council's two weekly television series "Interfaith Odyssey" round table discussions and "Daedal Doors" for children.

(U-matic videotapes)
 
Interfaith Odyssey 2001-2004
Box   7  
The Uninsured and the Underinsured April 2004
Box   7  
Daily Prayer March 2004
Box   7  
Healing July 2002
Box   7  
Has There Been a Change in the American People Since 9/11? August 2003
Box   7  
The Use of Violence to Obtain Justice-What Does Your Religion Say About This? October 2001
Box   7  
How Far Does Your Religion Go in Support of the President? October 2001
Box   7  
Equality of Men & Women May 2003
Box   7  
An In-depth Look at the Muslim Community September 2003
 
Daedal Doors
Box   7  
Astronauts October 1995
Box   7  
Youth Drama is Exciting. Part II: The Agape Dancers & Bethel A.M.E. Church Drama Club February 2002
Box   7  
What's Your Dream? March 1992
Box   7  
And the Beat Goes On/Highland Park Steppers February 1999
 
General Assembly [series]

The General Assembly files date from 1976 to 1996 and include such materials as programs, agendas, brochures, and various mailings and reports.

Box   8  
1976-October 1996 (42 folders)
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Material at the Walter Reuther Library

The Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University holds a significant portion of the Council’s records. The records have been cataloged as the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches Collection. The following is a brief summarization of this collection. It has been arranged into two parts or accessions.

  1. Part I Series:
    • National Council of Churches, 1955-1963, box 1.
    • Michigan Council of Churches general business and education departments, 1957-1963, box 2.
    • Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches general office and agency files, 1956-1965, boxes 3-4.
    • Religious Education, 1922-1964, boxes 4-7.
    • Public Affairs Department general office files, 1950-1967, boxes 8-10.
    • Peace and International Relations, 1964-1966.
    • General subject file, 1950-1967, boxes 12-14.
    • Division of family life, 1947-1969, boxes 12-14.
    • Detroit Council of Religious Education Division of Christian Education, 1950-1960, boxes 14-17.
    • Miscellaneous, 1929-1969, box 17.
    • The Church Newscaster, 1956-1971, boxes 17-18
  2. Part II Series:
    • MDCC Reports of annual meetings and financial reports, 1932-1964, boxes 1-2.
    • Executive Secretary subject files, 1939-1967, boxes 2-5.
    • Social Services Department, 1920-1964, boxes 5-7.
    • Council affiliated organizations and annual events, 1947-1968, boxes 7-9.
    • Public Affairs Department, 1959-1967, boxes 9-10.
    • Department of Church Extension, 1953-1966, boxes 10-12.
    • Department of Evangelism, 1931-1933, 1950-59, box 12.