Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers records, 1749-2008.
Convention scribe, Joseph Bassett wrote a brief summary of the organization in 2008 (original in box 5):
The Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers as we know it began between 1692-94 when ministers in Massachusetts Bay met to consider issues afoot in the land... By 1721 the Convention met to hear a Convention sermon in May followed by a dinner with members of the Great and General Court popularly known as The Feast of Moses an Aaron. In 1949 Professor George Williams ardently pled that the MCCM not fold its tent since it was the only Massachusetts clergy configuration not to split in the Unitarian controversy.
Since 1973 a pattern of addressing topics theological, pastoral, and international has emerged in the Massachusetts Convention. The Spring Convention is held alternatively in the UUA and UCC churches with the Convention preacher being from the side other than the host. The average attendance is 15-25 pastors who come out of interest in the topic at hand, be it inclusive language, stem cell research, missionaries in Iraq, or Goodrich v. Department of Public Health.
In 1984 the Convention began to sponsor a two day Karl Barth Seminar of Pastors in mid or late June. In the morning a visiting teacher would lead discussion of forty or so pages in the Church Dogmatics. In the afternoon an ecumenical document would be received and discussed.
Given the many solid sermons preached at the Convention, in 2005 the Convention Archivist began to hold a sermon seminar sometime following the spring Convention to study a past sermon in order to learn the shape of the ministry in Massachusetts for more than three centuries.
The Convention is responsive for distributing the income from the Judah Monis Fund and a modest Convention fund for widows and orphans of Congregational Ministers.
Programs and publicity are the responsibility of officers elected a the spring Convention; a Moderator, Scribe, Treasurer, two Directors from the UUA and two from the UCC with four additional advisers. Mailings are sent to the Congregational clergy in the neighborhood of where the Convention is being held.
For an in-depth history, refer to the essay written by Harold F. Worthley: "An Historical Essay: The Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers", The Proceedings of the Unitarian Historical Society, v XII, pt. 1, 1958, p. 47-63.
Scope of Collection
The earliest records are five bound volumes, 1749-1928. The records after 1928-2008 were maintained in loose leaf notebooks and, unlike the bound volumes, also contain correspondence, memoranda, financial statements, invitations, clippings, speeches, photographs and publications. A significant portion of material, primarily personal notes and memoranda, from the 1970s-2000s, by scribe Joseph Bassett was separated and sent to be added to his personal collection at his seminary.
The earliest records are primarily financial in nature. One of the large responsibilities of the Convention was the financial support of the widows and orphans of deceased ministers. The Convention recorded the monthly donations distributed to these individuals. In addition to this work by the MCCM, its charitable arm, the Congregational Charitable Society, also engaged in the financial support of these needy women and children. Some of the annual appeals for funds for these causes are included as a part of this collection. There are two folders of records of the Evangelical Missionary Society (1909-1913) and the Society for Promoting Theological Education (1893-1901).
|These materials include historical documents and the leather bound, handwritten minutes of the MCCM meetings from May 31, 1749 through May 31, 1838. The five volumes in this series are in excellent condition.|
|These boxes contain more heterogeneous records of the MCCM, spanning the years 1948 through 2008. The records came in loose leaf notebooks and later in individual folders. The earlier decades were kept in original order, later material combined into single year folders, not necessarily in chronological order. They cover a wide assortment of types of records including meeting minutes, meeting notices, invitations, correspondence, drafts, programs, photographs, and some clippings.|
|These financial records include the accounts of the Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers and its auxiliary groups including the Congregational Charitable Society, the Evangelical Missionary Society, and the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education. The records of the MCCM and the Charitable Society document the donations for the support of deceased ministers' widows and orphans. Also included here is a folder on bequests.|
|Contained in this series are the sermons of ministers: John W. Harding in 1887, Edward Everett Hale in 1891, Samuel Collins Beane in 1893 and Prescott B. Wintersteen in 1972.|
Microfilm copies of 1749-1789 records available, positive and negative, 35 mm.
Worthley, Harold F. "An Historical Essay: The Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers", The Proceedings of the Unitarian Historical Society, v XII, pt 1, 1958, p. 47-63.
Detailed Description and Container List
Series I -- MCCM History and Early Meeting Minutes
|1||Handwritten document appealing to discontinue state fasts||undated, Colonial era|
|2||Ledger of Meeting Minutes, Volume I||1749-1789|
|3||Ledger of Meeting Minutes, Volume II||1789-1815|
|4||Ledger of Meeting Minutes, Volume III||1816-1838|
|1||Ledger of Meeting Minutes, Volume IV||1839-1879|
|2||Ledger of Minutes Meeting, Volume V||1880-1928|
Series II -- MCCM Records, Correspondence, Financial Reports, Invitations, Minutes, Photographs, Clippings
|Barth session topic list||1985-2001|
|History of MCCM by Joe Bassett||2008|
Series III -- Financial Records
|1||Congregational Charitable Society Committee of Inquiry, report||1830|
|2||Congregational Charitable Society, financial records||1800-1827, with gaps|
|3||Evangelical Missionary Society, ledger of financial records||1909-1913|
|4||Fund Raising Brochures, appeals for funds to support widows and orphans||1890-1894, 1906, 1911|
|5||Gifts and Bequests||--|
|6||Judah Monis Fund, correspondence about bequest||1902-1903 and undated|
|7||MCCM Financial Records, loose||1905-1918|
|8||MCCM Ledger of Payments to Individuals||1839-1903|
|9||MCCM Ledger of Payments to Individuals||1860-1881|
|10||Ledger of Payments to Individuals||1872-1904|
|11||Society for Promoting Theological Education, financial reports||1893-1895, 1901-1902|
|12||Unitarian Fund, financial record and transfer of funds||1901, 1916|
Series IV -- Sermons
|Rev. John W. Harding||May 26, 1887|
|Edward Everett Hale||January, 1891|
|Rev. Samuel Collins Beane||June 1, 1893|
|The Rev. Prescott B. Wintersteen||May 1, 1972|