American Congress of Liberal Religious Societies


1. Name. — This organization shall be known as “The American Congress of Liberal Religious Societies.”

2. Objects.—To unite in a larger fellowship and co-operation such existing societies and liberal elements as are in sympathy with the movement toward undogmatic religion ; to foster and encourage the organization of other non-sectarian churches and kindred societies on the basis of absolute mental liberty ; to secure a closer and more helpful association of all these in the thought and work of the world under the great law and life of love; to develop the church of humanity, democratic in organization, progressive in spirit, aiming at the development of pure and high character, hospitable to all forms of thought, cherishing the spiritual traditions and experiences of the past, but keeping itself open to all new light and the higher developments of the future.

3. Directors.— The first board of directors shall consist of the following persons:—


ARTICLE I. Seal.— The seal of this congress shall be inscribed with the outlines of the globe, across the equator of which shall be the word ” Humanity,” around which shall be the words ” Knowledge, Justice, Love, and Reverence.”

ARTICLE II. Membership.
Delegate Members.— Any church or society which may have shown its sympathy with this congress by a contributionto its treasury within one year shall be entitled to three general delegates and one additional delegate for everyone hundred members of such society.

Ex-officio Members.—The president and secretary of any State, local, or other conference or association, Sunday-school society, women’s or other reformatory associations, qualified as above, shall be ex-officio members of this congress.

Fellowship Members.— This organization is primarily a union of societies, not of individuals; but any person paying into the treasury a sum of $1 a year, or $25 for life, will, on the recommendation of the board of directors, be considered a fellowship member, entitled to all its privileges except voting. Fifty or one hundredmembers of this class, not connected with any local organization, may organize under any name and in any manner; and the president and secretary of said organization shall be ex-officio members of this congress.

ARTICLE III. Officers.— The officers of this congress shall be a president, ten vice-presidents, a general secretary, with an assistant at a salary, a treasurer, and thirty directors. The directors shall be divided into two classes, one-half of whom shall be elected at each annual meeting, and hold their office for two years. The president, vice-presidents, secretary, and treasurer shall be elected each year, and shall be ex-officio members of the board of directors. Eleven members of the board shall be a quorum, unless the board itself shall otherwise order.

ARTICLE IV. Duties of Officers.— The duties of the officers shall be such as usually devolve upon the officers of executive and missionary bodies. The board shall elect an Executive Committee of seven members to have charge of all the interests of the congress when the board is not in session.

ARTICLE V. Subordinate Organization.—So far as practicable, this congress will hope to realize its aims through the activity of subordinate and more local organizations, and, when necessary, the formation of new ones. All subordinate congresses and societies shall have entire freedom in the manner of organization and the administration of their own affairs.

ARTICLE VI. Meetings.—The congress shall hold its regular meetings annually in the month of May, or at such time and place as the directors may arrange. The board of directors shall hold semi-annual meetings, and the Executive Committee quarterly meetings.

ARTICLE VII. Amendments.— These by-laws can be amended at any regular meeting, provided due notice of the same shall have been given at a preceding meeting, the nature of the amendment to be published in the announcement and programme of the meeting.

The following officers were elected:


    • H. W. Thomas.

Vice-presidents :

    • T. W. Higginson, Cambridge, Mass.;
    • Dr. E. G. Hirsch, Chicago;
    • M. J. Savage, Boston;
    • Marion D. Shutter, Minneapolis;
    • H. Newton, New York City;
    • William Salter, Philadelphia;
    • B. F. Underwood, Chicago;
    • Susan B. Anthony, Rochester ;
    • Mrs. Celia Woolley.

General secretary,

    • Jenkin Lloyd Jones, and as many assistants as are necessary.


    • Leo Fox, Chicago.

Board of directors:

    • R. C. Whitmore, St. Louis;
    • F. E. Dewhurst, Indianapolis;
    • Florence Kollock, Pasadena, Cal.;
    • A. W. Martin, Tacoma ;
    • Caroline Bartlett, Kalamazoo;
    • J. H. Crooker, Helena, Mont.;
    • L. W. Sprague, San Francisco ;
    • J. H. Acton. Aurora, Ill.;
    • Alexander Kent, Washington, D.C.;
    • A. M. Alcott, Elgin, Ill.;
    • Arthur Judy, Davenport ;
    • J. D. Ludden, St. Paul ;
    • Merle St. C. Wright, New York City;
    • A. W. Bisbee, Philadelphia;
    • John Faville, Appleton, Wis.;
    • W. L. Sheldon, St. Louis ;
    • W. C. Crowe, Newark, N.J.;
    • A. W. Gould, Chicago;
    • J. H. Ecob, Albany, N.Y.;
    • S. J. Barrows, Boston ;
    • W. I. Nichols, Philadelphia;
    • Anna Garlin Spencer, Providence;
    • Mrs. Henry Solomon, Chicago;
    • Clara Conway, Memphis, Tenn.;
    • Rabbi Wise, Cincinnati;
    • Mrs. C. T. Catlin, Brooklyn;
    • Dr. Thomas Kerr,
    • R. A. White, Chicago;
    • Miss Ida Hultin, Rockford, Ill.;
    • Prof. M. M. Mangasarian, Chicago.


    • Dr. Thomas and Dr. Hirsch, Messrs. Jones, Alcott, and Leo Fox.

The society will be incorporated under the laws of Illinois.

From: Unity pulpit, Boston: Sermons of Minot Judson Savage;
June 8, 1894 Volume 15, Number 36, pages 18-19 available on Google Books

Posted September 19, 2019