Guide to the Utah Council of Churches records

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Utah Council of Churches records
Dates: 1949-1966 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-008
Summary: This collection contains the minutes and other records of the Utah Council of Churches dating from 1949-1966. The Utah Council of Churches was an organization for the various Protestant faiths and denominations in which they worked together for the betterment of their communities.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

series: Series 1. Minutes
box 1, folder 1: 1949-1952
box 1, folder 2: 1953-1954
box 1, folder 3: 1955-1956
box 1, folder 4: 1957-1958
box 1, folder 5: 1959-1960
box 1, folder 6: 1961-1962
box 1, folder 7: 1963-1964
box 1, folder 8: 1965
series: Series 2. Subject files
box 2, folder 1: Audio-visual Center
box 2, folder 2: Audits
box 2, folder 3: Bible study
box 2, folder 4: Book review
box 2, folder 5: Brochures
box 2, folder 6: Budgets
box 2, folder 7: Civil rights
box 2, folder 8: Committee lists
box 2, folder 9: Committee reports
box 2, folder 10: Community action programs
box 2, folder 11: Constitution
box 2, folder 12: Correspondence, 1952-1956
box 2, folder 13: Correspondence, 1961-1965
box 2, folder 14: Directories (Churches)
box 2, folder 15: Editorial
box 2, folder 16: Financial statements
box 2, folder 17: Higher Education, Commission of
box 2, folder 18: Indian Commission
box 2, folder 19: Map (Utah counties/population)
box 2, folder 20: Ministers
box 2, folder 21: National Council of Churches
box 2, folder 22: Newsletters
box 2, folder 23: Newspaper clippings
box 2, folder 24: Nominations
box 3, folder 1: Officers
box 3, folder 2: Population statistics (1950)
box 3, folder 3: Prayer for new officers
box 3, folder 4: Prison ministry
box 3, folder 5: Programs
box 3, folder 6: Protestant crusader
box 3, folder 7: Publications--Migrant ministry
box 3, folder 8: Refugees
box 3, folder 9: Registrations (Annual meeting)
box 3, folder 10: Reports--Annual
box 3, folder 11: Reports--Annual organization (State of Utah)
box 3, folder 12: Reports--Commissions
box 3, folder 13: Reports--Presidents
box 3, folder 14: Reports--Special
box 3, folder 15: Resolutions
box 3, folder 16: Rosters (Utah Protestant churches)
box 3, folder 17: Social security
box 3, folder 18: Speeches
box 3, folder 19: Statistics (Salt Lake City)
box 3, folder 20: Surveys
box 3, folder 21: Television guide
box 3, folder 22: United Christian Church Youth Movement
box 3, folder 23: United Church Women
box 3, folder 24: Utah Foundation for Protestant Campus Ministry
box 3, folder 25: Utah Migrant Council
box 3, folder 26: Vietnam War
box 3, folder 27: Visitations to churches

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The Utah Council of Churches was an organization for the various Protestant faiths and denominations in which they worked together for the betterment of their communities. In 1949, planning for the Utah Council of Churches was begun. By 1951 the Council was holding annual meetings. In 1957 the Council filed articles of incorporation mainly so donors could claim tax deductions. Annual meetings took place at various Utah churches and the Westminster College campus.

In the early 1900s, many smaller communities in Utah were either without any Protestant churches or had small community churches without formal affiliation to any national-level denomination. The Comity Committee of the Utah Council of Churches worked with community leaders to determine which denomination an unaffiliated community church would be assigned. Comity is a principle of reciprocity, that one jurisdiction will extend certain courtesies to other jurisdictions. In 1917 for instance, Wendover and Gold Hill had been allocated to the Baptist denomination; thus in 1949, the Utah Council of Churches deemed recent contacts at Wendover by the Baptist Church to be in line with the previous allocation. That same year the Council approved occasional sacramental services for Episcopalians in the Toole community church, reinforced that Brigham City Church was allocated to the Presbyterian Church years ago and thus new work in the area (in this case by the Utah Baptist State Board) would be a violation of present Comity agreements. The Council drew up and revised Comity agreements over the years.

In the 1950s, the Council was discussing the publication and distribution of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, assistance to the Washington Terrace Community Church (Ogden area), Lutheran work in the Rose Park area of Salt Lake City, comity agreements between Protestant denominations within Utah, women's leadership in Protestant church work, and claims that American churches were being infiltrated with communists. By the 1960s the topics of concern included civil rights, interracial marriage laws, divorce laws, the Vietnam War, and ministry to migrant workers, prisoners, and students. It is unknown if the Utah Council of Churches continued to exist after the mid-1960s, however the World Council of Churches and National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America are still active.

Content Description +/-

Series 1 of this collection includes minutes taken at meetings of the Executive Committee/Board of the Utah Council of Churches and at annual meetings from 1949 to 1965, as well as documents of constitution, bylaws, and resolutions. The majority of the minutes are typed; the remainder are handwritten. Annual meeting materials include programs (a few printed), and reports (mostly typed). The August 17, 1964 Executive Committee meeting minutes (Box 1, Folder 8) are mimeographed on Utah Council of Churches letterhead, giving the address as 2160 South 10th East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106, and cooperating denominations as: Baptist, Christian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. In 1965 the letterhead address changes to 2916 South 8900 West, Magna, Utah 84044 and Rev. Charles L. McCarty appears as President of the Council.

Series 2, the remainder of the collection, is comprised of notes and paperwork relating to various projects and associations with which the Council worked.

Utah Council of Churches presidents were mostly Utah ministers, but sometimes church laymen. Cited within the collection materials are the following Council presidents:

  • Robert D. Steele, Presbyterian (1951)
  • Walter C. Wampler, Methodist (1952)
  • A. Walton Roth, Presbyterian (1953-1955)
  • Hampton E. Price, Clearfield Community Church minister (1955)
  • E. Dale Peak, Congregational (1956-1959)
  • Lloyd W. Newton (1959-1960)
  • Reynolds W. Blackinton, Presbyterian (1960-1962)
  • Sidney H. Buckham, Congregational (1962-1963)
  • Robert R. "Bob" Runnells, Methodist (1964)
  • Charles L. McCarty, Baptist (1965)

Series 1. Minutes. The earliest minutes of the executive committee of the Utah Council of Churches in the collection date April 8, 1949 (Box 1, Folder 1). This meeting took place at Westminster College and was attended by "Bishop Clark, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Ross, Dr. Adams, Dr. Wampler, Ven. Bulkley, Pres. Steele". While it cannot be determined when the Utah Council of Churches was originally formed, it appears from the content of these 1949 minutes that the Council had recently been formed. June 27-29, 1949 were set as the dates for an annual meeting of the Council. It was voted that "the cooperating denominations be asked to secure $20.00 each for the treasury ... to undergird the tentative expense of the annual meeting." A directory and abridged record of the 1951 annual meeting (Box 1, Folder 1) lists all officers of the executive committee, and of the varous committees. The Minutes of 1953-1954 (Box 1, Folder 2) include a 1953 list of "Ministers in Utah" arranged by denomination, and including name, address, and city. The list includes 11 Baptists, 5 Congregationalists, 8 Episcopalians, 17 Methodists, 5 Lutherans, 13 Presbyterians, 1 Congregationalist, and under the heading "Others", 1 or 2 names each from Assembly of God Tabernacle, Christian, Community, Greek, Jewish, Salvation Army, and Unitarian.

The minutes of the Annual Meeting of February 1953 records that in a Report on Special Literature, given by Dr. Frank Robinson (Council Vice-President) "he expressed concern that we continue referring to Mormons as non-Christians, and start appealing to the most liberal and fringe elements of Mormonism."

Committees mentioned in the 1959 minutes of the Cabinet of the Utah Council include: Audio-visual, Christian education, Comity, Community relations, Evangelism, Higher Education, Ministry to State Institutions, Indian work (later renamed Indian Commission), and a short-term committee "to re-edit Utah Council brochure, revise the by-laws, and draft a new Comity Agreement". Committees which were voted to be dropped were: Radio and T.V., Boy Scouting, and Publications. In the 1960 annual meeting program, there were reports from additional committees: Women's Division and Social Action. In a letter dated January 21, 1961 from the Social Action Committee, read at the annual meeting of the Utah Council, the committee reports they wrote "letters to Congressmen, U.S. Army Air Force heads, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and to daily newspapers in Utah on the controversial Air Force Manual, which accuses both the National Council of Churches and the churches in American society today to be infiltrated with communists" (Box 1, Folder 5). There is a 1959 report of the Women's Division to the Utah Council of Churches on "Utah Council of United Church Women" letterhead.

The printed program from the 1961 annual meeting (Box 1, Folder 6) includes quotes from the Constitution for Utah Council of Churches, stating 3 purposes of the Council: "1) To express through fellowship, cooperation and service the essential unity of the Christian Church; 2) To provide an interdenominational agency for cooperation of the churches in Fellowship and such other service as may achieve more effectively the objectives of the Christian religion; 3) To study the religious needs of the Area and devise plans through which these needs can be met." As for membership: "Any Churches of a denomination which holds membership in the National Council of Churches of Christ in America are considered to be members of the Utah Council of Churches." The 1961 Executive Committee meeting minutes mention "a letter from E. Dale Peak, Pres. of the Salt Lake Council of Churches" in which he points out a conflicting overlap of the annual meeting date of the two Councils; the Salt Lake Council of Churches at the time encompassed 16 churches in the area. There are minutes dated December 18, 1961 from a joint meeting of the Executive Committees of Salt Lake Council and the Utah Council of Churches.

The minutes of the Annual Meeting, January 19, 1961 (Box 1, Folder 6) recorded that Dr. John B. Ketcham, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Churches was the featured speaker of the meeting. Also at this meeting a resolution was passed stating that the Utah Council of Churches petitions the Utah Senate and House of Representatives bring the Civil Rights Bill to the floor of each body for debate and a vote, urging the legislators to "support the civil rights of all citizens in this State and put an end to second class citizenship and discrimination". In the September 1963 Executive Committee meeting, Rev. Wade reported on the Freedom March in Washington, D.C. which he attended, and that a Human Relations Committee is being set up by the City Commission for Salt Lake County (Box 1, Folder 7). In the Executive Committee minutes of November 1963, there was a report from the "Ministry to Migrants" committee by Rev. Don Randstrom reporting that the Council has been asked to co-sponsor a Migrant Conference to be held March 13, 1964. In a later planning meeting with one representative from the Council (Feb. 3, 1964) is was decided "after considerable discussion" that because the Utah Farm Labor Association had not been involved in planning for a March conference "there was some question as to whether the conference would serve a useful purpose at this time".

The Executive Committee meeting minutes dated March 15, 1965 record the "main feature of the evening was a discussion of the War on Poverty and the Church's role in it", as well as the Economic Opportunity Act.", a discussion led by Dr. Edward Moe, Director of the Bureau of Community Development at the University of Utah. The last set of minutes in the collection, mimeographed together on one sheet, are from the Annual Meeting of December 3, 1965 and the Executive Committee meeting held January 13, 1966 (Box 1, Folder 8).

Series 2. Subject files.

  • Audio-Visual Center materials (Box 2, Folder 1) date 1955-1956 and undated. There are lists of filmstrips and movies available for Protestant churches to use. The Center was located on the Westmister Collwege campus.
  • Audits (Box 2, Folder 2) date 1957, 1958, 1960, and 1961, and were submitted by Alexander, Currin, Greer, Bennett & Wayment, CPA firm from Ogden, Utah.
  • Brochures (Box 2, Folder 5) includes a brochure defining the roles and relationship between the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches and Utah Council of Churches. Another brochure is the program for "The Second Lay School of Theology" held at Westminster College June 23-29, 1963, co-sponsored by the United Church of Christ and Salt Lake Council of Churches.
  • Budgets (Box 2, Folder 6) contains proposed and finalized budgets, as well as financial statements. Materials date 1962-1965.
  • Correspondence (Box 2, Folders 12-13) dates 1952-1965, interfiled incoming and outgoing. Correspondents include many UCC presidents, Council officers and committee chairs (for instance Hampton E. Price, A. Walton Roth, Sidney H. Buckham, R.R. Runnells). Additional correspondents include related councils of churches (Salt Lake Council of Churches, Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches, Intermountain Convention of Congregational Churches, Montana Council of Churches, Wyoming Council of Churches, National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America, Montana, Idaho and Utah Baptist State Conventions); national denominational offices (National Lutheran Council, American Baptist Home Mission Societies), national and local social agencies (Committee on Human Rights for the Western States of the National Bar Association, Utah Protestant Mobile Ministry, Great Salt Lake Council of Boy Scouts of America); Utah State agencies (State of Utah office of the Governor); related Utah Protestant church groups and congregations (Elim Lutheran Church of Ogden, Utah, Community Congregational Church of Provo, Utah, Christ Memorial Methodist Church of Salt Lake City, United Church Women of Utah) and individual Utah church ministers and parishoners involved in the Utah Council of Churches activities. Two signed letters of particular interest are from Governor George Clyde to Utah Council of Churches president Sidney H. Buckham. In the first letter, dated January 29, 1963, Clyde responds to an earlier letter from Buckham and answers "this is to advise you that I have caused to be prepared ... a bill which would repeal laws prohibiting interracial marriage". In the second letter, dated November 20, 1963, Governor Clyde says he is appointing the first Utah Committee on Indian Affairs and asks for a representative from the Utah Council of Churches.
  • Directories--Churches) (Box 2, Folder 14) lists Salt Lake City churches in the years 1955, 1956, 1957, and a 4th directory of "Cooperating Utah churches and ministers" dated 1961.
  • Financial statements (Box 2, Folder 16) date 1961-1965.
  • Higher education commission (Box 2, Folder 17) contains one 1958 report, plus two lists of Utah Council of Churches committee members dated 1959 and 1960.
  • Indian Commission (Box 2, Folder 18) materials date 1953-1956
  • Map--Utah counties/population (Box 2, Folder 19) contains 2 copies of an undated map.
  • Ministers (Box 2, Folder 20) contains lists of Protestant churches and ministers in Utah, dated 1954, 1956, and undated.
  • Newsletters (Box 2, Folder 22) contains four newsletters: U.C.C. Reporter: the United Church Canvass (1955); Y.W.C.A. Bulletin, Salt Lake City (May 1963); Civil Rights Newsletter, Utah Citizens Organization for Civil Rights, (1963); World Community news and views of Christian concern (October 1965).
  • Newspaper clippings (Box 2, Folder 23) materials date from 1956-1963 and are primarily about the Utah Council of Churches.
  • Officers (Box 3, Folder 1) has lists for 1955, 1956, and 1963.
  • Population statistcs--1950 (Box 3, Folder 2) has a list of Utah's population in 1940 and 1950 by town.
  • Prison ministry (Box 3, Folder 4) contains a single undated typed document entitled Protestant Prison Chaplain which lists the duties of the chaplain at the Utah State Prison. In pencil are notes--an address and telephone number, a weekly schedule, and reimbursement budget for each visit.
  • Programs (Box 3, Folder 5) contains printed programs of the Annual Meetings (1956, 1958-1963, January 1964, December 1964, December 1965); Opening Service of Worship at the 1963 Annual Meeting; Festival of Faith, Utah Council of United Church Women/Utah Council of Churches (1958-1959); Festival of Faith, Utah Council of United Church Women/Utah Council of Churches (1959); Salt Lake Council of Churches First Annual Meeting (May 1, 1958, First Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, President Dr. Elton Newman).
  • Protestant crusader (Box 3, Folder 6) contains 4 issues of the monthly publication "officially endorsed and sponsored by Utah Council of Churches": Vol. I, No. 1 (March 1956), 2 (April 1956), 3 (May 1956), and 5 (July 1956).
  • Publications--Migrant ministry (Box 3, Folder 7) contains six booklets published 1961-1963 by the National Council of Churches, California Governor's Advisory Committee on Children and Youth, U.S. Dept. of Labor, United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and the Colorado Council of Churches.
  • Refugees (Box 3, Folder 8) contains a singled document "Relocation of Cuban refugees in Utah" dated August 1963.
  • Reports (Box 3, Folders 14) include: committee reports (1963-1964), organizational reports to the Utah Secretary of State (1963-1966), commissions (1958), presidents of UCC (1955, 1958, 1962, 1965, president of UCC United Church Women (1959), and special reports concerning the Protestant Student Center at Brigham City and the Indian Work Committee (1963)
  • Speeches (Box 3, Folder 18) contains two undated addresses by Rev. John Chester Smith, Executive Director of the San Francisco Council of Churches, entitled "The Council movement in the world and nation" and "The distinctive tasks of state and city councils".
  • Statistics--Salt Lake City (Box 3, Folder 19) is one set of tables and graphs dated 1951 concerning Salt Lake City residents' religious preferences.
  • Surveys (Box 3, Folder 20) includes 2 documents, "San Juan County, Utah, Survey--Looking toward Protestant work in this area" (1955), and "Survey of South-East Salt Lake City" (undated) responding to a denominational preference study done earlier.
  • Television guide (Box 3, Folder 21) is a undated brochure about "Breakthru : a TV series ..." presented by the Film Commission of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
  • United Church Women (Box 3, Folder 23) materials date 1955-1963.
  • Utah Foundation for Protestant Campus Ministry (Box 3, Folder 24) contains rosters, correspondence, newsletters, minutes by the Foundation and various related campus ministries, dating 19621-1964.
  • Utah Migrant Council (Box 3, Folder 25) materials date 1963-1965.
  • Vietnam War (Box 3, Folder 26) contains a single undated 4-page document entitled "The F.O.R. and the Vietnam Crisis" published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Nyack, N.Y., affiliated with the International Committee of Conscience on Vietnam.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research.

Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

Utah Council of Churches records, 1949-1966, MSS-008, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


The collection is organized into two series:

  • Series 1. Minutes
  • Series 2. Subject files
Series 1 is arranged chronologically; Series 2 is arranged by topic or genre, and thereunder chronologically.

Processing Note:

Processed October 2007 by Charlene Newbold.


Utah Council of Churches


Collection materials are in English.


1 linear foot

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written by Charlene Newbold in October 2007; expanded January 2016 by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2016 January 19 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
International Committee of Conscience on Vietnam
National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America
Salt Lake Council of Churches
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Education and Labor. Subcommittee on the War on Poverty Program
United States. Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
Utah Council of United Church Women--Archives
Utah Council of Churches--Archives
Utah Protestant Mobile Ministry
World Council of Churches

Subject Terms:

Interdenominational cooperation--Utah--History--Sources
Protestant churches--Utah--History--Sources

Form or Genre Terms:

Administrative reports
Clippings (information artifacts)

Personal Names:

Buckham, Sidney H.
Clyde, George D
McCarty, Charles L.
Newton, Lloyd W.
Peak, E. Dale
Price, Hampton E.
Reynolds, W. Blackinton, 1914-2001
Roth, A. Walton (Albert Walton), 1903-
Runnells, Robert R.
Smith, John Chester, 1902-1997
Steele, Robert D. (Robert Denham), 1901-1972
Wampler, Walter C.

Geographical Names:

Utah--Church history