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800 Delegates to Attend Four-day Interfaith Conference in Chicago

More than 70 religious groups and agencies in the United States–Protestant, Catholic and Jewish–will be represented by 800 delegates at the four day National Conference on Religion and Race, which will open on January 14 at the Edge-water Beach Hotel here, it was announced today. The conference was convened by the National Council of Churches, the Synagogue Council of America and the National Catholic Welfare Conference.

This is the first meeting convened by agencies of the major U. S. faith groups. The delegates will deal concretely with the impact of religion and religious teaching on racial segregation. The 800 lay and religious leaders will also develop proposals for working together to share a commitment for interracial justice. The Conference will be a religious commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln and made effective 100 years ago.

“The Conference will provide an occasion for a serious and concrete examination of the role of churches and synagogues in meeting religious and civic racial problems,” today’s announcement said. “Every effort will be made to freshly dramatize the moral and spiritual values which are denied by racial prejudice, discrimination and segregation. The commitment of religion to racial integration will be expressed. The Conference will be climaxed by the adoption of a statement of conscience representing the consensus of those attending, and the acceptance, by the registrants, of a series of action recommendations.”

FOLLOW-UP COMMITTEE FORMED FOR COOPERATIVE ACTION

A special Follow-Up Committee which will see to it that the decisions of the Conference are acted upon in local communities has been set up by the planners of the Conference, under the chairmanship of Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley, executive secretary of the Christian Citizenship Division of the Protestant Episcopal Church’s National Council. In a statement issued today, Rev. Walmsley said:

“Our committee on follow-up is planning ways by which cooperative inter religious activity in the area of race relations can be carried out in local communities. Findings of the Conference will be shared with local religious leaders, and an effort will be made to develop regional action programs to implement the Statement of Conscience of the National Conference on Religion and Race.”

Principal Jewish speakers at the Conference will include Dr. Abraham J. Heschel, of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Rabbi Julius Mark, president of the Synagogue Council of America; Rabbi Morris Adler of Detroit; Albert Vorspan, director of the Commission on Social Action of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and others.

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