Ex-convict George (Watusi) Rose told a U. S. Senate subcommittee last month that the First Presbyterian Church of Chicago was a place where Blackstone Rangers, the South Side’s biggest gang, “laid around, goofed around, smoked pot, gambled, drank, and cleaned guns” and planned “armed revolution.” He also testified that the Rev. John R. Fry had once relayed to him an order to “take out” (kill) a dope peddler from Rangers chief Eugene Hairston, who is now awaiting sentencing for murder.

Fry called the charges “outrageous, false, and malicious,” and claimed the Chicago police are using Rose as a “mouthpiece” for their “evil” ideas about the Rangers in return for release after an arrest earlier this year. Fry said the Rangers kicked out Rose for “flirting” with the crime syndicate.

Both sides agree that fifty-eight weapons were stored in the church safe last year. William Griffin, a Negro who commands South Side police, said Fry reneged on a deal to turn in the arsenal within thirty days so police raided the church. Fry replies that police broke their agreement to protect the Rangers against another gang if they turned in their guns to the church.

Presbyterian ties to the Rangers were part of Senate Permanent Investigations Committee hearings on civil disturbances, and on a $927,000 anti-poverty grant to The Woodlawn Organization, under which Rangers were employed for job training.

Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago government has been trying to break up the gangs, and to get federal antipoverty grants channeled through his office. He is uneasy about strong organizations in the ghetto that rival his Democratic machine. During the past year police have made many arrests in Woodlawn, the slum adjoining the University of Chicago where the church is located. But most charges have been dropped or dismissed.

Fry is an outspoken opponent of police tactics. Griffin testified that church circulars have accused police of “robbing Negro youth of their manhood.” In one pamphlet this spring Fry allegedly said that “the police have been acting in such a way as to make insurrection obligatory for honorable men.”

First Church has spent $25,000 in youth funds for bail bonds and legal fees since it first tried to befriend the Rangers two years ago, Fry said. Supporters of the church project say violence has decreased in the area and credit the Rangers with keeping things cool on the South Side after the murder of Martin Luther King, while the West Side was in turmoil. They see the hearings as a chance for Chicago officialdom to discredit the Rangers and the antipoverty program without bringing in trial-worthy evidence, since cross-examination and other standard procedures are not followed in congressional investigations.

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Besides Fry, the senators heard Charles LaPaglia, $11,000-a-year church social worker who Committee Chairman John McClellan of Arkansas said was fired from a city youth-welfare job. LaPaglia complained that a cooperative living project involving youths and Chicago Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ) students had been raided by police fifteen times, with twenty-six arrests and only one conviction. LaPaglia knows of none of the 4,000 to 5,000 Rangers who belong to First Presbyterian Church and in reply to a question said they “haven’t gotten a conversion yet.”

A Bishop Overruled

Disregarding pleas of the resident bishop, officials of the Episcopal Church’s urban-crisis program refused to hold up a $10,000 grant to the Black Unity League of Kentucky. Bishop C. Gresham Marmion had asked for a delay following the arrest last month of two VISTA workers who had been involved in planning the league. The pair were charged with conspiring to dynamite a Louisville oil refinery. Religious News Service quoted a spokesman as saying the grant “has been authorized … and will be going out.” He declared there seemed to be some misunderstanding about the relation of the accused to the league. The Episcopal Church reports it has issued nearly $1 million in urban and black-power grants this year.

Fry won quick support from United Presbyterian home-mission secretary Kenneth Neigh, General Assembly Moderator John Coventry Smith, National Council of Churches social-justice chairman David Ramage, the Presbytery of Chicago (which had given the project $38,000), and the session of the local church. Editor Robert Cadigan of Presbyterian Life wired the committee that Fry, who was his news editor before taking the pulpit, was telling the truth.

Fry, 44, was decorated for gallantry by the Marines in World War II and later graduated from Union Theological Seminary, New York. Speaking to an evangelism conference at this year’s United Presbyterian General Assembly, Fry charged that white America and the Church are guilty of “monstrous crimes” against blacks and that violent white “law and order” has created the urban crisis.

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The Rev. James L. Rohrbaugh was found guilty of schism and contumacy by Seattle Presbytery last month because he joined his congregation in seceding from the United Presbyterian Church in protest of the Confession of 1967. A presbytery executive said the church would be allowed to practice under the traditional Westminster Confession alone if it stayed in.

Amid hoots at Hunter College, New York, U. S.-touring Chief Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin, 74, of Moscow said the Soviet Union severely punishes anti-Semitism and that things are better than under the Czars.

Detroit’s black-nationalist pastor Albert Cleage, Jr., resigned as co-chairman of Operation Connection. He said he was dissatisfied with the slowness of financial support from whites for building political and economic power among the poor. The effort is directed by Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore, Jr.

Police and FBI agents entered a Unitarian church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to arrest AWOL Private Richard Scott, who had been given “sanctuary” by the pastor.

Catholic Theological Society of America said Texas Archbishop Robert Lucy’s charges of heresy against Father John McKenzie’s book Authority in the Church were “unjustified.” Roman theologians are astir over rumored criticism by the Curia’s doctrinal office of Father Hans Küng for his new book The Church, and a reported halt to publication of new translations.

United Methodist minister Randolph Nugent was promoted to director of MUST, the New York urban training program. Former director George Webber will remain on the staff.

The Rev. Samuel D. Proctor, a former National Council of Churches official, was named by the University of Wisconsin to handle statewide educational aids for disadvantaged citizens.

The Rev. Frederick R. Wilson, planning secretary for United Presbyterian missions, was elected first president of the World Association for Christian Communications, a union of the World Association for Christian Broadcasting and the Coordinating Committee for Christian Broadcasting, formed at a Norway meeting. He defeated the nominating committee choice, the Rev. Everett C. Parker of the United Church of Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Eugene Ransom, Wesley Foundation director at the University of Michigan, was appointed new head of the United Methodist Church campus department.

John Capon, a 29-year-old Baptist, was named editor of the Church of England Newspaper, a weekly that represents the Anglicans’ evangelical wing.

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The Rev. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is retiring August 31 after thirty years as noted evangelical preacher at Westminster Chapel (Congregational) in London, so he can do more writing.


Several white ministers in Zoneton, Kentucky, offered use of their facilities to a small Negro congregation, First Corinthian Baptist, whose frame church was dynamited June 23, just ten weeks after the building had been the target of arsonists.

Negroes were turned away from First Baptist Church and Tuskegee Methodist Church in Tuskegee, Alabama, last month but were permitted to worship at previously segregated First Presbyterian Church, which decided to open its doors after the murder of Martin Luther King, the Southern Courier reports.

Missions boards of the United Church of Christ and Christian Churches (Disciples) are combining administration of their Latin America work. The United Presbyterian Church and Reformed Church in America are doing the same with their Africa offices.

A United Church of Christ confirmation course on Christian beliefs related to social issues is being published jointly for use by Roman Catholic churches.

New York’s Interchurch Center, home of major ecumenical offices, decided not to build an annex that had been opposed by a neighborhood group. A similar issue helped spark the Columbia University student strike.

The new United Methodist social-concerns magazine, engage, will be edited by the Rev. Allan Brockway, who edited Concern, published by the same agency until it was terminated last fall. Women’s magazines from the former Methodist and E.U.B. denominations will be merged into response magazine next January.

Facing financial pressures, Baylor University President Abner McCall and heads of six other private colleges issued a major report asking aid from the Texas legislature.

Contributions to the United Church of Canada increased 4.6 per cent last year, but membership was 1,060,335, a loss of 1,771.

The nineteenth centennial of the traditional martyrdom of Saint Mark was marked in Cairo with four days of rites and the opening of a new Coptic cathedral that will contain relics of the apostle. President Nasser of the U.A.R. and Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie joined churchmen in the festivities.

Evangelistic rallies by forty-four congregations in the French Baptist Federation resulted in 325 public decisions for Christ.

Long Weekends

President Johnson last month signed a law likely to cut church attendance. The measure—which won rare unanimous support from the National Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and the U. S. Commerce Department—moves four federal holidays to Monday. Beginning January 1, 1971, new three-day weekends will result annually from these holidays: Washington’s birthday (third Monday in February), Memorial Day (last Monday in May), Veterans Day (fourth Monday in October), and Columbus Day (second Monday in October). The changes will increase weekend travel and, as a result, church absenteeism.

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Meanwhile, Senator Everett M. Dirksen said he intended to raise again his proposed prayer amendment to the Constitution before Congress adjourns for next month’s national party conventions. Dirksen introduced the resolution in January, 1967, and could circumvent the constitutional committee’s opposition by attaching it to an unrelated bill.

Reports say free churches in Czechoslovakia may have to shift from government-paid pastors to full church support. Nearly 4,000 persons attended a memorial Mass at the Prague Cathedral for victims of Stalinism in Czechoslovakia.

A long article in the official Communist paper in Moldavia, Soviet Union, accused dissident Baptists of slandering the state and maintaining contacts with anti-Soviet Russians in the West. Three youths in a leftist Christian group in Britain were arrested in Moscow, then released, after handing out leaflets criticizing imprisonment of writers and Baptists.

Churchmen planning a Pan-Orthodox Conference have refused to put on the agenda an appeal from the conference of eight ethnic American communions that they be permitted to form a single Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere.


Reformed, Baptist, and Episcopal bodies in Spain decided not to register by the May 31 deadline under terms of the new “religious liberty” law. But Plymouth Brethren won permission to hold meetings in a public auditorium in La Corona, and Billy Graham associate Fernando Vangioni drew overflow crowds to a church crusade in Barcelona. The Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club recently performed in Spain and at the Sports Palace in Lisbon, Portugal.

A group at non-denominational Church of the Savior, Washington, D. C., is helping establish Dag Hammarskjold College in Columbia, Maryland. Target date for opening the internationally-attuned, non-sectarian school is September, 1970.

The Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, is holding its first workshop for musicians in non-liturgical churches July 15–19.

Wheaton College, Illinois, recently added 110 original letters and a set of Oxford University lecture notes to its C. S. Lewis Collection, said to be the most complete one in existence.

A poll of most of the unmarried undergraduate women at Oberlin College, Ohio, disclosed that 40 per cent had engaged in sexual relations, one out of thirteen had become pregnant, and more than four-fifths of these pregnancies had been terminated by abortion. Most of those polled wanted the college to supply birth-control information.

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