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Chapter Ten - The International New Thought Alliance
held at San Francisco, in connection with the Panama-Pacific International
Exposition, 1915, was called The First International New Thought Congress.
It began August 30, and continued until September 5, with three sessions
daily and noon healing meetings. The meeting place was Moose Auditorium,
Jones St., near Golden Gate Ave. The convention was preceded by New Thought
Day, August 28, at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. The program for that
day was as follows: Assembling of all New Thought people at Fillmore St.
entrance, to be escorted by officials and band to the Court of Abundance,
to receive commemorative bronze medal; Science and Demonstration of Mind
Reading by The Ellises, Pompeiian Room, Inside Inn; banquet-lunch at Inside
Inn; music and reading, Recital Hall; interpretation of Dante's La Divina
Comedia, Rev. Lucy C. McGee; choral and organ recital, Mr. A. L. Artigues,
At the opening session of
the convention, August 30, Henry Harrison Brown was chairman, and the speakers
were: Rev. Lucy C. McGee, Boston, "The Divine Adventure"; Mrs. F. J. Nellis,
London, "Philosophy, Ancient and Modern"; Mrs. R. G. Peaseley, Los Angeles,
Cal.; and Dr. Theresa Stockman, New York City. In the afternoon Mrs. Agnes
Lawson presided, and in the evening Annie Rix Militz, president of the
California New Thought Exposition Committee. There were addresses of welcome
by James Ralph, Jr., mayor of San Francisco; H. K. Bassett, Panama-Pacific
Exposition; James D. Barry, San Francisco Bulletin.; Grant Wallace,
chairman of the convention news bureau; and responses on the part of the
New Thought by Mr. Edgerton, Dr. Julia Seton, and Harry Gaze. The address
of the evening was by George VVharton James, "California, the Natural Home
of the New Thought." At the succeeding sessions of the convention there
were addresses by Miss Julia M. Cook, Miss C. Fraser, Mrs. M. J. Merrill,
Miss Lida M. Churchill, Mrs. A. H. Simpson, Harold Palmer, L. J. Fealy,
Elizabeth Towne, Annie Rix Militz, William C. Gibbons, Mrs. M. W. Sewall,
Mrs. C. E. Cumbertson, John Milton Scott, P. J. Green, Florence Crawford,
R. C. Douglass, Mrs. M. E. T. Chapin, Harry Gaze, Dr. C. F. Winbigler,
Mrs. Anna W. Mills, Harriet Hale Rix, Mrs. Grace Brown, J. Stitt Wilson,
Miss Harriet Hulick, and others. Different leaders were chosen to conduct
the noon healing sessions, to give the closing affirmations, and to preside
at the various discussions.
The business meeting of the
Alliance was held Friday, September 8. The morning session, September 9,
was devoted to a children's festival, with a lunch-party and games from
1 o'clock to 4. The session Saturday afternoon was for parents, teachers
and others interested in child development, with Harriet Hale Rix presiding,
There were ten-minute addresses on child welfare, physical, mental, moral
and spiritual. At 4 P.M. there
was a session devoted to Sunday-school work, the speakers being Miss Blanche
Ayles, Mrs. McQuesten, Mrs. Lintine Skinner, Miss Ethel Brown, Miss Josephine
Hopkins, and Miss Wiebach. The theme for the last day, Sunday, September
5, was "Spirituality," and the speakers included William Farwell, Mrs.
E. N. Randall, Mrs. Frenyear-Wiseman, F. L. Sears, James A. Edgerton and
Dr. Julia Seton.
The officers of the Alliance
were: President, James A. Edgerton; vice-presidents, for America, Annie
Rix Militz; for Great Britain, Hon. T. Troward; for France, Mons. G. A.
Mann; secretary, Harry Gaze; assistant secretaries, for England, Alice
M. Callow; for Scotland, Mrs. H. R. Wallace; for America, Grace Wilson;
treasurer, L. W. Blinn; auditor, R. C. Douglass; executive committee for
United States, Mrs. M. E. T. Chapin, Miss Leila Simon, Miss Villa Faulkner
Page; executive committee for Great Britain, J. Bruce Wallace, Mrs. H.
Heard, and Miss Muriel Brown. Mrs. Militz was president of the California
New Thought Exposition Committee, and the committee included representatives
of the various Homes of Truth and New Thought Centres throughout California.
In the constitution and by-laws
as published by the Alliance in 1916 the purposes of the society are given
as follows: "To teach the infinitude of the Supreme One; the Divinity of
Man and his Infinite possibilities through the creative power of constructive
thinking and obedience to the voice of the Indwelling Presence, which is
our source of Inspiration, Power, Health and Prosperity." The articles
of the constitution make the customary provisions and include the recall,
the latter to be indicated by a written petition signed by twenty percent
of the members. The executive board, besides having charge of all the business
activities of the Alliance, is to arrange for holding local conferences,
organizing groups and societies for the propagation of the purposes of
the Alliance, and the affiliation of societies already existing, also the
publication of literature. Any person in sympathy with the purposes of
the Alliance may become an active member on payment of the annual dues
of one dollar, or a sustaining member on payment of annual dues of ten
dollars. The fee for life membership is one hundred dollars. Any group,
society, association or organization in sympathy with the purposes of the
Alliance is entitled to register as a group member, regardless of the number
belonging to the group, on payment of ten dollars or a voluntary offering.
The second international
congress was held in St. Louis, September 17-24, 1916. The speakers included
Sarah C. Morse, Leila Simon, Lilian Whiting, Harriet C. Hulick, Anne Young-Huntress,
Dr. Sheldon Leavitt, T. J. Shelton, Dr. G. C. B. Ewell, Elizabeth Towne,
W. W. Atkinson, R. C. Douglass, Harry Gaze, J. A. Edgerton, Dr. Julia Seton,
Emma C. Poore, Charles O. Boring, and Sidney A. Weltmer.
The executive board consisted
of the president, secretary, treasurer, auditor, and Mrs. Chapin, Miss
Emma Gray, John M. McGonigle, and Mrs. Rose M. Ashby. The honorary presidents
were, W. W. Atkinson, H. H. Benson, T. P. Boyd, H. H. Brown, Clara B. Colby,
Florence Crawford, Horatio W. Dresser, George Wharton James, Edgar L. Larkin,
C. D. Larson, Orison Swett Marden, Edwin Markham, Annie Rix Militz, C.
B. Patterson, C. E. Prather, May Wright Sewall, Elizabeth Towne, William
E. Towne, Ralph Waldo Trine, Lilian Whiting, and Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Vice-presidents
were elected for each district, Dr. Harold F. Palmer, Southern California-Arizona;
Harriet Hale Rix, Northern California-Nevada; Mrs. Anne Young-Huntress,
Oregon; Rev. Granville Lowther, Washington-Idaho-Montana; Mrs. Grace M.
Brown, Colorado- Utah-Wyoming-New Mexico; Vernon Hendry, Kansas-Oklahoma;
Rev. H. W. Pinkard, Nebraska-Iowa; Miss H. C. Hulick, Missouri-Kansas-Texas;
Mrs. S. C. Morse, Illinois- Wisconsin; Mrs. Rose M. Ashby, Georgia-Florida-No.
and So. Carolina; Miss Leila Simon, Ohio-Indiana-W, Virginia; Mrs. A. W.
King, Michigan; Mrs. A. H. Ray, Minnesota-No. and So. Dakota; John M. McGonigle,
Pennsylvania; Dr. Julia Seton, New York-New Jersey; Mrs. M. E. T. Chapin,
New England; Miss Emma Gray, District of Columbia-Maryland-Delaware-Virginia;
Mrs. R. D. Allen, Kentucky-Tennessee; Judge T. Troward, England; Rev. J.
Bruce Wallace, Ireland; Mrs. H. Rhodes-Wallace, Scotland; M. Georges A.
Mann, France; Sister Veni Cooper-Mathison, New South Wales; Miss Grace
Aguilar, South Australia; Miss Emile A. Hulett, Victoria; Georgina Hooper
de Hammerton, South America; Dr. T. W. Butler, West Canada; Mrs. M. M.
Hunter-Jones, Eastern Canada.
The third congress was held
in Planters Hotel, St. Louis, September 16-23, 1917. Among the speakers
were, Charles F. Hatfield, W. John Murray, W. V, Nicum, Harold Palmer,
James A. Edgerton, Dr. Julia Seton, J. P. Green, Mrs. Rose M. Ashby,Mrs.
M. E. T. Chapin, Miss H. E. Hulick, W. Frederick Keeler, Elizabeth Towne,
H. H. Schroeder, R. C. Douglass, Sarah C. Morse, T. J. Shelton, and Helen
Van-Anderson-Gordon. A feature of the convention was a "New Speakers' Day."
Addresses were made by Mary L. S. Butterworth, W. J. Holt, Ida Jane Ayres,
Mida Sharp, Robert Whitaker, June Walton, E. C. Hartman, and Eleanor C.
Graham. Saturday afternoon, September 22, there was a Children's Session,
with a half hour of songs by pupils of the Society of Practical Christianity,
St. Louis, and a special program following. A "Question Box Session" came
Saturday evening. The convention closed with a grand rally of the Alliance,
At this convention the following
Declaration of Principles was adopted, as the point of view and program
of activities of The International New Thought Alliance:
"We affirm the freedom of
each soul as to choice and as to belief, and would not, by the adoption
of any declaration of principles, limit such freedom. The essence of the
New Thought is Truth, and each individual must be loyal to the Truth he
sees. The windows of his soul must be kept open at each moment for the
higher light, and his mind must be always hospitable to each new inspiration.
"We affirm the Good. This
is supreme, universal and everlasting. Man is made in the image of the
Good, and evil and pain are but the tests and correctives that appear when
his thought does not reflect the full glory of this image.
"We affirm health, which
is man's divine inheritance. Man's body is his holy temple. Every function
of it, every cell of it, is intelligent, and is shaped, ruled, repaired,
and controlled by mind. He whose body is full of light is full of health.
Spiritual healing has existed among all races in all times. It has now
become a part of the higher science and art of living the life more abundant.
"We affirm the divine supply.
He who serves God and man in the full understanding of the law of compensation
shall not lack. Within us are unused resources of energy and power. He
who lives with his whole being, and thus expresses fullness, shall reap
fullness in return. He who gives himself, he who knows, and acts in his
highest knowledge, he who trusts in the divine return, has learned the
law of success.
"We affirm the teaching of
Christ that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, that we are one with the
Father, that we should judge not, that we should love one another, that
we should heal the sick, that we should return good for evil, that we should
minister to others, and that we should be perfect even as our Father in
Heaven is perfect. These are not only ideals, but practical, everyday working
"We affirm the new thought
of God as Universal Love, Life, Truth and Joy, in whom we live, move and
have our being, and by whom we are held together; that His mind is our
mind now, that realizing our oneness with Him means love, truth, peace,
health and plenty, not only in our own lives but in the giving out of these
fruits of the Spirit to others.
"We affirm these things,
not as a profession, but practice, not on one day of the week, but in every
hour and minute of every day, sleeping and waking, not in the ministry
of a few, but in a service that includes the democracy of all, not in words
alone, but in the innermost thoughts of the heart expressed in living the
life. 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' "We affirm Heaven here and
now, the life everlasting that becomes conscious immortality, the communion
of mind with mind throughout the universe of thought, the nothingness of
all error and negation, including death, the variety in unity that produces
the individual expressions of the One-Life, and the quickened realization
of the indwelling God in each soul that is making a new heaven and a new
The fourth congress was held
in Boston, September 15-22, 1918. The officers at that time were James
A. Edgerton, president; Leona Feathers, secretary; William E. Hutton, treasurer;
and R. C. Douglass, auditor. Additional names among the list of honorary
presidents were Alice M. Callow, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Veni Cooper-Mathison,
and T. Shelton.
The various sessions were
as usual under the chairmanship of such leaders as James A. Edgerton, Mrs.
Chapin, R. C. Douglass, Elizabeth Towne, Harold Palmer, Leila Simon, and
Annie Rix Militz. Among the speakers were Mrs. Chapin, Mr. Edgerton, Harold
Palmer, Helen Van-Anderson-Gordon, J. M. McGonigle, Elizabeth Towne, Sarah
C. Morse, Dr. Ewell, Mrs. C. E. C, Norris, T. J. Shelton, Emma C. Poore,
Rose M. Ashby, Villa Faulkner Page, Sarah F. Meader, Harry Gaze and Miss
Edith Martin. A session was devoted to questions, and the closing session
was a grand rally in Faneuil Hall, with addresses by Mayor Peters and representatives
of the army and navy.
The annual address of the
president, Mr. James A. Edgerton, from which we quote in part, gave a comprehensive
summary of the recent growth and development of the New Thought in various
parts of the world. Mr. Edgerton expressed the conviction that the devotees
of the New Thought, among "all good Americans and all good citizens of
other allied countries," believed that the winning of the war was the great
need of the time, and that all other activities, even spiritual activities,
should temporarily be subordinated to this great purpose. Nevertheless,
he was able to report that the Alliance had steadily grown, with the addition
of hundreds of members and many new groups. He also reported that there
was more money in the treasury, and without any special effort to procure
Among other new Centres,
Mr. Edgerton mentioned those established at Des Moines, Iowa; Wilmington,
Delaware; Portsmouth, Va., and several on the Pacific Coast. "In Australia,"
Mr. Edgerton said, "our work has been practically at a standstill because
of the war, but all the centres are still active. In this connection, our
good friends in Australia say they owe very much of their interest in the
new philosophy to the visits of two American New Thought teachers, Mrs.
Annie Rix Militz and Dr. Julia Seton. Indeed, in all parts of the world
this new philosophy is traced to America. In England, whereas in the political
field we call her the Mother Country, in the spiritual field the English
schools of New Thought call America the Mother Country, and look to us
to lead the way.
"In France the work has been
carried on by Madame Florence Struve in Paris, who has worked mostly with
the soldiers. Another leader in Paris, M. Albert Caillet, is here in America
now with a French Government Commission and has promised that at some time
during the week he may appear at this Congress.
"In Great Britain, all of
the centres are active, but the greatest centre there, at Isleworth, the
old home of the Duke of Manchester, where the work was carried on by Dr.
Orlando E. Miller has been turned over to war work and the nursing of the
soldiers; and Dr. Miller is carrying on his work in London.
"In this connection some
of our American New Thought teachers are on the other side, assisting as
they may in the YMCA work, Red Cross work and other similar activities.
Horatio W. Dresser of Boston, from whom we have an inspiring letter, is
now in France in YMCA work and Rev. W. John Murray of New York is in Italy
in Red Cross work.
"Our field secretaries have
been busy. Miss Mary Allen of New York has made two trips across the continent
and back, making numerous addresses on the way--starting at the Atlantic
and going to the Pacific Coast. Three of our field secretaries were at
the beginning of the year on the Pacific Coast. One has since gone on with
his own work. Another in the State of Georgia was called on by the Government
to take up work in connection with the Food Administration and while traveling
over the State he takes occasion to teach the Truth.
"In New England we have had
several conferences in Boston and at various points under Mrs. Chapin,
who is not only vice-president, but held secretary-at-large, and has been
most active. In Philadelphia we have had a most flourishing year; I was
called there to give an address in one of the largest rooms in the Bellevue-Stratford,
and people were standing out in the hallways. This was very promising and
encouraging for the reason that we had not previously had a New Thought
work in Philadelphia. Recently Mrs. Butterworth organized a new centre
in the suburbs of Philadelphia and I believe a new centre in New Jersey.
"We have had field conferences
leading up to this congress in many districts. One of the largest was held
in the Waldorf-Astoria in the city of New York under the leadership of
Rev. W. John Murray, our vice-president, and the League for the Larger
Life, which is a federation of centres in that city.
"We had a very successful
conference in Washington, D. C., and two in Ohio; in Dayton and Cincinnati,
where there is one of the most flourishing centres in the world. We had
a conference in Seattle, Washington, under Judge Gay, another one in San
Francisco. and a conference that was not strictly under the auspices of
the Alliance in Los Angeles under Mr. Holmes, one of the Holmes Brothers
of that city, who are doing a splendid work, and one of whom will be in
this city to address the congress. Another conference is being held in
Los Angeles this week under the direction of the vice-president, Miss Harriet
"Following this congress,
one will be held in London under the auspices of the Alliance, as was the
case last year. They cabled us at that time that it was very much larger
and better than they had expected--and I have no doubt it will be still
greater this year.
"This in a word gives you
some idea of the work the Alliance has been carrying on in a quiet way.
As for our future plans, I can say but this: that now, in my opinion, is
the time, above all others, for everyone in this movement, or any other
kindred movement, who feels called, to prepare himself, or herself, to
carry this message of reconstruction, of optimism, this message which is
the very soul of democracy--to carry this message to Europe where we can
aid not only in the physical work of reconstruction, but in the mental
work of reconstruction, which is of far greater importance. While the war
is still on we can prepare. Mrs. Militz, who has traveled from one side
of this country to the other holding classes, has been devoted to this
single purpose--of preparing teachers who could go out into the world and,
following the Master's injunction, preach the gospel to every creature.
She already has a school at Los Angeles, called the University of Christ,
and this work she has been doing about the country is simply an extension
of the work in her school. Her example can be followed by others. In this
connection, let me say that a great number of our centres throughout the
country have made a special point this year of working with the soldiers,
not only of inviting soldiers to the centres, but of going out to the camps,
in collaborating with the Y. M. C. A., and carrying the message and rendering
service in such ways as presented themselves. I cannot too strongly urge
upon you the importance of extending that work in every possible way.
"This New Thought gospel
is not new in the sense that it is radically different from the things
that have been taught heretofore. It is only new, as I see it, in the application.
In other words, we in this age are practical, and especially so in America.
We do not much regard anything that cannot be applied and demonstrated.
This is not in any sense a denial of idealism--quite the contrary, but
it puts idealism to the test. If it is of worth, it can be used. If we
believe anything we can apply to that thing the acid test of practice,
and, if it does not prove up, it is not a thing on which we can waste our
"Truths taught by the Master
have been preached all through the ages, and believed--at least in a sense.
But they were not believed enough to put them to the acid test of demonstration,
of application. All that the New Thought movement and other kindred movements
have done in this day is to work at our faith. We have had the faith before.
We have had the ideal. Throughout all these ages the splendid example shown
by those who were of the bone, blood and sinew of the Church has proved
that they believed, for they gave themselves to the uttermost, as willing
sacrifices. They permitted themselves to be fed to the wild beasts and
to be burned as living torches in the name of their blessed Master. They
did not lack in faith; they only lacked in the adaptation.
"Looking at the world as
it is today, it grows ever plainer to us that Christianity has not failed
--real Christianity, but that people have failed to be Christians. I use
the term 'Christian' as one who is a follower of the Christ. He commanded
that we should heal the sick, but we have not healed the sick for nineteen
hundred years; and, when a cult arose in our own time, who began practising
this, His most oft-repeated commandment, they were placed beyond the pale
of the Church. He commanded us not to lay up for ourselves treasures upon
earth, yet in this age and in the lands called by His name, we have the
most colossal fortunes the world has ever known. He commanded us not to
pray in public to be heard of men, but to pray to the Father in secret,
and yet the sects continue to pray to be heard of men. He commanded us
to avoid lip service. He said unto those who call Lord, Lord, that he would
not know them. He fixed this standard as the mark of His followers: those
who kept His commandments. Yet we have called Lord, Lord, throughout the
ages and have not kept His commandments. A house divided against itself
cannot stand. We Christians must become all for Christ or all for anti-Christ.
For nineteen hundred years we have temporized between the two until anti-Christ
arose and smote us in this present world-tragedy.
"I do not say these things
in the way of criticism. I say them because they appear the profound truth.
We have learned in this age that we get what we give, that there is no
power over us that rules us to ends other than those we have shaped; that
the things that have come into the world, that have manifested, are the
results of the thoughts of the people in the world. This world war is the
result of years and even centuries of fear, hatred, race antagonism and
like negative things that people have held in their thoughts; and we shall
have to work out of these things by changing our thoughts. There will be
a new heaven and a new earth whenever there is a new thought of heaven
and earth in the minds of men, and not before. That is the reason for the
New Thought movement.
"I am asked often: What is
the relation of this movement to the Church? What is its relation to the
other new movements of the day?. I am going to answer these questions as
far as I may with utter frankness.
"This is not a new religion.
It is not an institution seeking to build itself up for the mere sake of
the institution. We do not ask anybody to leave the Church--far from it.
We have members of the Alliance, of the New Thought centres, that are members
of churches and of no church. We ask them to become better members of their
churches than before. The New Thought is designed to make people better
and more efficient in whatever relation of life they may find themselves--if
a man is a teacher, a soldier, or an accountant, to make him a better teacher,
soldier, or accountant. It teaches him to depend upon his own inner powers.
In his domestic relations, it makes him kindlier. If he is an American,
it renders him a better American. It teaches him to fulfill the place he
is given (whatever that place may be) to the utmost of his powers and without
fear, knowing that he has nothing of which to be afraid and that within
him are untapped levels of energy upon which he may call. In other words:
'New Thought teaches men and women only the old common-sense doctrine of
self-reliance, and belief in the integrity of the universe and of one's
own soul. It dignifies and ennobles manhood and womanhood.'
"But the main idea on which
Christianity was founded is that of communion with God, that of worshipping
God in spirit and in Truth. This is the very cornerstone of these modern
movements that recognize men and women as the living temples of the God
within. This thought has triumphed over all the centuries and over all
the mistakes of the followers of the Nazarene-those who have called themselves
by His name--until the Christian faith is the greatest upon the earth.
And I predict that this new interpretation and new understanding will become
universal in the new age that is now dawning; for, after all, as I see
it, the New Thought is but the Christ Thought--without forms or ceremonies,
without any appeal to religious prejudice or to tradition, but in the common-sense
way of everyday living and application. It is the realization in practical
affairs of the teachings not only of the Nazarene, but of every other great
religious teacher since the world began; for in their essence these teachings
are fundamentally alike; and the New Thought and other new spiritual movements
are but the efforts to apply, in our relations one with another, these
simple and sublime truths.
"Do not neglect the spiritual
message that is coming to men everywhere. Woe be it to him that receives
and does not heed. I am a busy man, as you have been told, but I have never
been so busy that I could not find some time to devote to this work of
my soul, work that my soul was called upon to do. Suppose Paul had neglected
the heavenly vision--what a difference there would have been in civilization.
Suppose Peter had turned back from Rome--think what that would have meant
to all the western nations from that day to this! You cannot measure the
possible effect of your failure to heed the still small voice. You do not
know what seed you may sow, what work of reconstruction you can carry on.
So my message to you tonight is very simple; it is this:
"The call is upon us, especially
upon us, to carry forth Christ's message to all peoples every where--one
of us in one way and one in an other, but to each of us in the way for
which he or she is best fitted. There could be no nobler work in the world;
there could be no work that would more appeal to the highest and best in
us. There could be no work more fruitful in spiritual blessing and in happiness
here and now and always. Are we ready? This war will not last always. I
am not one of those who prophesy when it will end--I do not know. I think
it will end when the forces of democracy get enough men to the front to
end it. That may be next year, it may be later. I am only sure of one thing,
and I am as sure of that as I am that there is a quick intelligence and
a benevolent intelligence over all the affairs of men--i am sure it will
end right. The world has seen dark days since the dawning of time, but
it has never seen any great struggle in which moral principles were involved
that right did not ultimately triumph, and right will ultimately triumph
now and in all the affairs of men. I am sure of one other thing--that the
general broad principles taught by Jesus of Nazareth, which have become
the foundation of our civilization, are the cornerstone of democracy, good
government, humanitarianism and of all the things for which we stand--I
am sure that these principles will triumph over all lands, and it is for
you and me, my friends, to assist in their triumph. When this war is over,
people will bring this new truth, which is the old truth of the Nazarene,
to England, to France, to Belgium, to assist not alone in preaching--that
is a small part of it (Jesus spent very little time preaching--He spent
most of His time doing good). But to heal, to reconstruct, to spread the
message of brotherhood --to teach the Truth.
"I expect a response from
Boston, which is the birthplace of this movement and other movements of
kindred character. I expect that the people of Boston will lead in this
work and that the International Alliance will take practical steps towards
this goal that will not end in mere talk. I am not seeking to be eloquent
tonight, but I am seeking to bring home to you the necessity, the crying
necessity, when this war is over, to send our missionaries to every country
and to start centres in all the world--to take the message to every land
under the sun, to help the reconstruction and healing of the nations, to
bring in the new age of which we have preached--the founding of God's kingdom
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