The above video is a performance by Demitra Papadanis of a portion of Sarah Grimke’s reflection on the “Pastoral Letter of the General Association”. The full text can be viewed here.

On June 28, 1937 Massachusetts Congregational ministers gathered and produced what was referred to as “The Pastoral Letter of the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts”. The full text can be viewed here.

This letter was written in response to growing agitation within the churches in regard to slavery and asserted that:

3 All that we would say at present with regard to these subjects, is this: They should not be forced on any church as matter for debate, at the hazard of alienation and division.

7.1 Your minister is ordained of God to be your teacher, and is commanded to feed that flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made him overseer.

7.2 If there are certain topics upon which he does not preach with the frequency or in the manner that would please you, it is a violation of sacred and important to encourage a stranger to present them.

And in regards to women taking active roles in the abolitionist movement:

9.5 We appreciate the unostentatious prayers and efforts of woman, in advancing the cause of religion at home and abroad:–in Sabbath schools, in leading religious inquirers to their pastor for instruction, and in all such associated effort as becomes the modesty of her sex; and earnestly hope that she may abound more and more in these labours of piety and love.

9.6 But when she assumes the place and tone of a man as a public reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnecessary, we put ourselves in self defence against her, she yields the power which God has given her for protection, and her character becomes unnatural.

9.7 If the vine, whose strength and beauty is to lean upon the trellis work and half conceal its clusters, thinks to assume the independence and the overshadowing nature of the elm, it will not only cease to bear fruit, but fall in shame and dishonour into the dust.

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