Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Northern California Ecumenical Council collection
Bulk Dates: (Bulk 1977-1992)
Collection number: GTU 98-7-02
Northern California Ecumenical Council
The Graduate Theological Union. Library.
Abstract: The Northern California Ecumenical Council is an organization of lay and ordained persons from different denominations and
communions who work together to improve the lives of their members. The collection includes adfministrative papers and materials
on events and projects.
Physical location: Shelf Location 5/E/6 - 5/F/5
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union
as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.
Northern California Ecumenical Council collection, GTU 98-7-02. Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.
Gift of the Northern California Ecumenical Council, 1998
In January 1913, delegates met in San Francisco and organized the California Church Federation, re-named the California Church Council in 1937. The difficulty of California's geography brought the organization to split in 1942 forming the separate Southern California Council of Churches and the Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches. The name changed over the years to the Northern California-Western Nevada Council of Churches, then the Northern California Council of Churches. In 1972, it reorganized and was renamed the Northern California Ecumenical Council. In 2000 came another reorganization and name change to the Northern California Interreligious Conference.
Early inter-denominational cooperation centered around the need to fight against vice, promote moral legislation against saloons
and liquor, and win souls to Christ and establish the Kingdom of God. The first California Federation followed the constitution
of the national Church Federation. As the national council of churches movement evolved, so too did the California councils.
The early Federation cooperation centered around efforts to work for legislation seen to assist in the betterment of the human
situation and condition. That tradition of cooperation has persisted throughout the history of the NCEC. From liquor and
red-light district laws to legislation and issues involving immigrants' rights, labor rights, and human rights. Peace issues
have been important throughout the history of the organization, from World War I and rebuilding a peaceful world in its aftermath,
to the variety of issues raised by the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. Education has always been important from the early emphasis
on strong Sunday Schools to general workshops, conferences, lectures, and events on current issues important to the churches.
The tradition of being associated with other committees or groups working on various issues has also been a part of the history.
This at various times included sharing office space, sharing staff, or the Council being a fiscal agent or sponsor. Beginning
with the California Armenian and Syrian Relief Committee before WWI and expanding to the myriad affiliated organizations of the late 1990s (see a list in Box 1, File Folder 3), the
NCEC understood its role in facilitating work done for the good of all people. Likewise the Councils divided out the work
to various committees or commissions to fulfill its mission. Commity, preacher's salaries, and peace were early committee
endeavors. Later followed such committees as Christian Education, Young People's work, Women's Work, Church Architecture,
Evangelism, and Communications. Toward the 1980s-1990s, the Commission for Peace and Justice became a major focus.
The predecessor Councils and the NCEC have always seen that there is a wealth of Christian talent in the lay people and the
ordained who can work together to accomplish many high purposes. The needs, evangelical, educational, missionary, have been
interpreted and emphasized differently through the decades, but essentially the purpose has been the same - that Christian
people of good will, vision, and responsibility continue to work for God's goodness in every human relationship.
For a more complete history of the Councils up to 1962, see
Protestant Cooperation in Northern California: The Historical Background of the Federation and Counciliar Movement, by Paul K. Shelford (Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches: San Francisco, 1962). GTU Library call number: BV626
Scope and Content of Collection
The Collection contains four Series: 1) Administration, 2) Financial Records, 3) Programs, Projects, Conferences, and Events,
and 4) Resources. Series 4 is divided into three sub-series: Groups, Issues, and Countries.
Though the NCEC was established as the Northern California Council of Churches in 1943, it is believed no records exist from the period prior to its renaming as the Northern California Ecumenical Council in 1972. It is believed that the records were stored in the San Francisco YMCA building and were discarded by the YMCA sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.
The Executive Directors included in the Collection, serving from approximately 1972-1996 are: John Pairman Brown, John C. Moyer, Michael L. Cooper-White, and Ben Fraticelli.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Interdenominational cooperation--San Francisco Bay Area
California--San Francisco Bay Area--Religion--Sources
Religious institutions--San Francisco Bay Area--Sources
Christianity and justice--California
Human rights--Religious aspects
Church work with refugees--California
Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches
Northern California--Western Nevada Council of Churches
Northern California Council of Churches
Brown, John Pairman
Moyer, John C.
Cooper-White, Michael L.
Added to the GTU Library circulating collection:
Heritage and Hope: A History of
the Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Church Movement in San Francisco on
the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary Year, 1978-1979, of the San Francisco
Council of Churches
. Call Number: BR560.S3 H47.