John Holmes '02 is minister of the Community Church of New York, head of one of the most novel and popular attempts to fit the church to the needs of modern times. He was graduated from the University in 1902 after a distinguished record, which included membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
The Community Church movement is a deliberate attempt to organize a new type of religious institution on a social as contrasted with a theological basis. It is an expression of the idea that religion is fundamentally social in character and that the church should be an expression of the spiritual ideas of the social group. Just as the democratic community has developed such institutions as the state, the school and the social center as instruments for the proper functioning of its life, so should it develop the church as a similar instrument.
Perhaps the Community Church idea can best be presented by specifying or defining its specific characteristics. As I understand them, they are as follows:
Community Church Undenominational
The Community Church is undenominational. It eliminates affiliation with any sectarian body whatsoever, in favor of identification with the community in which it is placed.
The Community church is public. It accepts the universality of the religious instinct, and welcomes all men, regardless of sect, class or nation, or race, on a basis of membership identical with that of citizenship in the community.
The Community Church is free. It recognizes no creed, or statement of faith, but leaves all matters of theological belief to the unfettered thought and conviction of the individual.
The Community Church is social. It interprets religion in terms of social service, and dedicates its members to the fulfillment of social idealism.
The Community Church is democratic. It is organized on a basis of self-determination; recognizes a single constituency of members who are voters; and places its affairs in the hands of a board of managers responsible in all things to the congregation.
The Community Church is the community functioning spiritually. It emphasizes the community, and not the church as the source of religious life, and itself as a free agent for the expression not the control, of this life.