Peoples Temple Christian Church, 975 N. Delaware, was one of three interracial congregations receiving grants in aid in a new program of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) here last week.
Purpose of the “Churches in Transition Program,” which was reviewed by the board of trustees of the United Christian Missionary Society, is to help interracial congregations serving communities where “drastic” population changes have occurred.
The other two congregations given grants were Jackson Boulevard Christian Church, which is in an urban renewal area 24 blocks west of Chicago’s Loop; and Monroe Street Christian Church, Los Angeles, whose neighborhood is described as containing “one of the nation’s largest interracial mixtures.”
THE PEOPLES TEMPLE, pastored by Rev. James Jones, has been thoroughly integrated throughout its history in which it has occupied four different locations. It affiliated with the Disciples of Christ last year.
Rev. Jones serves as executive secretary of the Mayor’s Human Rights Commission. The Temple has earned recognition for its community service program, including the maintenance of two nursing homes, a commissary for poor families, and a “free restaurant” in the rear of the church.
A spokesman for the Disciples said the initial grant to the Peoples Temple was $1,000 for the purpose of buying a used station-wagon needed to transport food. The program will continue for 10 years with grants made annually to various congregations.
FUNDS IN THE “Churches in Transition” program are administered jointly by the Department of Christian Action and Community Service, of which Lewis H. Deer is executive director; and the Department of Church Service, headed by Arthur J. Stanley. Both are agencies of the United Christian Missionary Society, of which Dr. A Dale Fiers is president.
Besides financial aid, the plan includes expert program guidance for the churches in changing communities, and consultations in which ministers and other church leaders can share their problems and ideas.
Next spring, a Consultation on Churches in Areas of Transition will be held, at a place yet to be selected.
The funds for the program are being raised in the Christian Churches’ “Decade of Decision” capital campaign.
THE CHURCHES IN Chicago and Los Angeles will use their funds in employing staff, it was reported. Other congregations at Markham, Ill., and Washington, D.C., have requested financial aid for the erection of buildings.