THE FEDERATED CHURCH IN THE SMALL TOWN .

The News has received a pamphlet from Mr. John W. Hansel, containing the articles of association of the First Church of Collegeport, in Matagorda County , a federated congregation which is designed to meet the needs of a community where the population is small and the religious learning of the people diverse. This federated church at Collegeport is prosperous and is meeting the expectations of the people who founded it. A note from a member of the congregation says of this church of many denominations: "Like your commission form of government, it is up to date and it works." Eight denominations are now represented in the congregation of this one church and the membership numbers 100. The Sunday school has 187 members, and the young men's class is a potent influence in the athletic and social life of the village.

This federated church of Collegeport was founded a little more than a year ago. It came about through the desire of several church members to have a strong church and the inability of any one interested denomination to accomplish this because of the small number of members of each denomination. This is recited in the preamble to the articles of association. The basic purpose of this federated church is set forth in one of the articles of association in this form:

The aim is to affiliate and be in good standing with all federating bodies: desiring to give and receive letters upon a common basis, and willing to support any existing missionary or benevolent movements of these churches, or one which may be selected whose aim is the advancement of truth and righteousness. The slogan of this church as to ideals is "broad but high." Members are expected to live earnest Christian lives, the emphasis being placed upon the discipleship of Jesus Christ, rather than upon theological tenets and opinions. Independence in thinking but community in purpose is encouraged, the idea being that each person shall enjoy his own freedom, and permit his brother to do likewise, each in turn being under obligation to consider his brother's highest welfare, together seeking to make the greatest contribution to society.

Many of the people of Collegeport, which is one of the flourishing towns of the midcoast country, settled by persons from all corners of the country, believe they have solved the problem of the struggling church of a small community by getting together into one big church that is broad enough to accommodate all shades of theology and flexible enough to impose no hardship upon any creed or conscience. The result of the association is understood to make it possible for the church to employ a capable minister and own a commodious, comfortable church building.

The spirit of progress in the Texas coast country is notable. That these people should go so far in the work of co-operation and unity of effort as to get their church members federated into one big church speaks much for the temporary welfare of the community as it is eloquent for the spiritual progress of the people. It may be suggested that when the people of a small community can co-operate in their church affiliations to the extent that has been accomplished in this midcoast town there is no room to doubt the quality of united effort that will be displayed by them in the material problems that confront a growing country.--Galveston News.

Reprinted in The Palacios Beacon, March 11, 1911