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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
The Rev. Dr. Henry Lunn, chaplain of the London Polytechnic School and president of the "Grindewald Conferences," spoke last night in Sanders Theatre on "Christian Reunion."
Dr. Peabody introduced Dr. Lunn, saying his work of bringing together all denominations of Christians at Grindewald was a particularly interesting one to Harvard men who are familiar with the somewhat similar plan pursued with regard to the preachers at Appleton Chapel. Dr. Lunn spoke substantially as follows:
"Some years ago a number of instructors and students of different denominations in Dublin University, formed themselves into the "Contemporary Club" which used to meet every Saturday night to discuss the leading political events of the week. The meetings of this club were always perfectly harmonious and from it two or three of its members, including the speaker, conceived the idea of an international congress of clergymen of all denominations. When this proposal was made public it received the support both of the Oxford Church influence, consisting of Cardinals Manning, Newman and others, and of the broad church, comprising men like Arnold and Dean Stanley. The very general and active desire for social reform was also a great aid to the movement. The Conference was necessarily held abroad on account of the social prejudices which exist between denominations in England. The chief cause of these divisions is ignorance of one another and of one another's beliefs; knowledge of others is necessary to union, and to obtain this knowledge is one of the chief objects of the Conference. The first conference was held in 1892 in the Valley of Grindewald, Switzerland; about 500 clergymen attended. Last summer the attendance was over 2500. The Conference was immediately successful in bringing together men of all denominations and in extending their views of other beliefs. The conclusion has been reached by many that the belief of every sect and denomination, however distorted it may seem to the outside world, is founded on some great truth and that its upholders firmly believe themselves right.
One result of the Conference was a general prayer last Whitsunday of all the churches in England for unity of thought and action among all denominations. It originated from an accidental conversation between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the speaker.
The Conference has also resulted in much practical good work of a non-sectarian kind, such as visiting the poor, etc. A Church Congress has been formed in Great Britain to carry on this work on a larger scale. Another result has been the united action of all the English churches at a recent election in securing the use of the bible in the English common schools.
Heretofore, Protestant denominations have been too decided in their own beliefs to pay much attention to the positions of others, and so, have more or less shut themselves off from union with others. The Roman Church has acted more wisely, in this respect, in the institution of its orders. It is to be hoped that the movement begun by the Conferences of Grindewald will tend to unite all sects and denominations in a common belief.
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