First Parish in Concord History and Impact of Social Action Grants

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Winifred Campbell. Interviewed 4/14/11.

Her main interest was Renewal House, under the UUSC. This was and is a shelter for women, mainly the victims of domestic abuse. Usually 12-15 women there, with children. Winifred was the chief FP contact, and was often in contact with the director. She visited frequently. (The actual location of the shelter was not widely known, and she did not publicize her visits in order to keep the location secret.) WPA was active in furnishing clothing, bedding, and toys. They had a storage problem at Renewal House, and sometimes women would stay longer than planned (no surprise). They would collect gifts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Winifred worked for 10 years for the Harvard Divinity School in charge of the historical archives of both the Unitarian and the Universalist church records. She is a historian herself.

  1. Ivan Massar. Interviewed by phone 4/14/11.

Not strictly speaking a SAC member at all, since he always operated solo and “wasn’t a committee guy.” In 1968 Dana Greeley asked him to go to Transylvania to record the Unitarian presence there—churches, pastors, etc. Capture the essence. He went with a colleague, China Altman, a journalist for Life magazine. They went with tourist visas since could not get journalist visas. In Romania, pastors were required to “report contacts with strangers”. A bishop in Cluj told them that their hotel rooms were bugged. They puzzled authorities. Eventually came back with a lot of photos---ox carts rather than autos, ancient churches. It was all published. Some in “UUA News”, a color spread, used up the entire budget for that year. He had been in the Navy for three years in the S. Pacific. Became a pacifist during that war. During the Vietnam War, he heard of a Quaker group that was trying to get medical supplies to North Vietnam. US Government said no, “trading with the enemy,” Quakers asked for volunteers. Ivan went immediately to Philadelphia and signed up. He had wartime experience, spoke French. The other four volunteers were all Quakers. They travelled to Hanoi in a wooden ketch, from Japan. Helicopters on the way buzzed them. However, they had orders not to attack; Pres. Johnson did not want to be attacking Quakers. The whole story was published, with Ivan’s photos, in Paris Match. There was not that much connection with First Parish, but Dana Greely was helpful. After their return, their passports were impounded, and Greeley helped to get them returned. Ivan’s wife (at that time) Barbara always said that it was the Sunday evening seminars at First Parish, led by Arthur Jellis, that got her started with civil rights activity. Ivan heard about the proposed march by Martin Luther King, 50 miles from Montgomery to Selma. He thought King was suicidal, that he would be shot along the way. Ivan went, marched the whole way. Took many pictures. One Unitarian minister was murdered, hit over the head. Greeley was there too. Ivan’s pictures were published through a New York agency. Although Ivan knew many of the First Parish people, he did not join. He is an interesting example of a non-committee type of person, self-motivated, went his own way.

Appendix 3

Charts Showing FP Social Action Grant Allocations

1 Dave Dawson, review of pre-1965 Annual Reports of First Parish in Concord as shown in Appendix 1; see particularly excerpt of WPA activities from Meetinghouse on the Green (1986).

2 Interviews conducted by Dave Dawson in preparation for First Parish 375th birthday celebration in fall 2011 as shown in Appendix 2.

3 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1965, p. 12.

4 Tim Warren, interviewed by David Dawson on December 19, 2010. Jellis’ ministry also was controversial in exposing the countrywide conflict between institutional versus private social activism. See interview notes of Tim Warren, Mark Connelly and Ivan Massar in Appendix 2.

5 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1966, p. 23.

6 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1967, p. 18.

7 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1968, p. 27-28.

8 Mark Connelly, interviewed by David Dawson, December 2010; see Appendix 2. The Parish continues to debate the priority between social action giving and “local” needs over the years.

9 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1971

10 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1971, p. 37-38.

11 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1977, p. 37.

12 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1979, p. 37.

13 See interviews with Dick and Carolyn Shohet and Di Clymer for further description on start-up of Concord Prison Outreach in Appendix 2.

14 See interview with Loretta Ho Sherblom in Appendix 2.

15 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 2006-07 (Social Action Community section)

16 2009 Annual Meeting minutes at

17 See interviews with Gary Smith, Jim Reynolds and Loretta Sherblom for commentary on SAC giving policies in Appendix 2.

18 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 1980, p. 36.

19 Annual Report of First Parish in Concord, 2000; see also interviews with Betty King and Rich Stower in Appendix 2.

20 For comments on the Greeley Foundation, see interviews with John Esty and Gary Smith in Appendix 2. An important post-script is that a substantial part of the proceeds from the dissolution of the Greeley Foundation went to support Jericho Road.

21 See interview with Winifred Campbell in Appendix 2.

22 See comments by Loretta Sherblom and Gary Smith in Appendix 2.

23 See comments by Jim Reynolds in Appendix 2.

24 See comments by Katherine Esty in Appendix 2.

25 For comments on early history of First Parish involvement in Transylvania, see comments by Ivan Massar in Appendix 2.

26 For comments on City Year, see comments by Dave Dawson and Gary Smith in Appendix 2.

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