“The Greatest Crisis in the 120-Year History of Our Church”

Stephen R. Haynes

in The Last Segregated Hour

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395051
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979288 | DOI:
“The Greatest Crisis in the 120-Year History of Our Church”

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This chapter narrates the story of “defiance, intervention and schism” that followed in the wake of the kneel-in crisis at Second Presbyterian Church. It details the church session's resistance to outside efforts to bring its practices into line with denominational policy. It describes the role of Felix Gear, former minister at Second Presbyterian, who as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (US) in 1964–65 intervened to strip the church of the right to host the upcoming meeting of the Church's General Assembly. The chapter then details the efforts of senior minister Henry E. “Jeb” Russell, who sought to rally the congregation against the session's segregationist stance, and the role of an organized group of church members who successfully put an end to the crisis by forcing a vote to limit the session's governing power. The chapter concludes with a description of the departure of several hundred church members to form a new congregation.

Keywords: Second Presbyterian Church; Felix B. Gear; Henry E. Russell; Independent Presbyterian Church

Chapter.  9052 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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