Rev. Francis E. Clark, pastor of Williston Church in Portland, Maine, formed the society in the parlor of his home at 62 Neal Street-the parsonage of Williston Church.
Members consisted of boys and girls in the "Mizpah Circle"-a missionary circle for young people which was led by the pastor's wife.
During the February Mizpah meeting, Clark
framed a constitution for the society and called it "Williston Young People's Society of Christian
Several clauses of the constitution are historically instructive and bear repeating here (For the further details on the foregoing and following points and the constitution itself, see Francis E. Clark
Memories of Many Men in Many Lands: An Autobiography.
Boston, MA: United Society of Christian Endeavor
, 1922, pp.
About Christian Endeavor Founder Francis E. Clark
Francis Edward Clark was born on September 12, 1851 in the village of Aylmer, Province of Quebec, or Lower Canada, as it was then called.
ancestors, however, had lived in "the Old Bay State" for two centuries.
ancestral lineage was peopled with deacons and pastors and descendents who were members of the Orthodox Congregational Church
young parents went to the Canadian frontier on other pursuits, but both died when Francis
was quite young.
said, "All of my boyhood was spent in two Puritan families. . . . My mother and brother were members of the Presbyterian church, in which I, too, was dedicated to God's
Very soon after his
mother's death, his
uncle, Rev. Edward Warren Clark, of Auburndale, Mass., came to Aylmer and took him to the uncle's Auburndale home.
The uncle was the first pastor of the newly-formed Congregational Church
Because of ill health, his
uncle was obliged to give up his
was elected chaplain of the Massachusetts Senate
and Overseer of Harvard College
, soon becoming chaplain of the Forty-seventh Regiment of Volunteers in the Civil War.
On the uncle's return from the war, the family moved to New Hampshire; and the young Francis
attended Claremont academy.
From there, Francis
was enrolled in Kimball Union Academy
in Meridian, New Hampshire.
On graduation in 1869, he
entered the Dartmouth
class of '73.
graduated number 12 in his
class and had received a Phi Beta Kappa "key.
commented at some length on the excessive drinking during his
years at Dartmouth-something that is part of the Dr. Bob story at Dartmouth
In 1873, Francis
decided to study for the ministry and entered Andover, which he
characterized as "the great theological seminary of New England.
Andover was Congregational
Near the end of his
senior year at Andover, he
was called to the pastorate of the Williston Church
of Portland, Maine (For the foregoing materials, see Clark
, Memories, supra, pp.
By the time its founder Dr. Francis Clark had written his autobiography in 1922, Christian Endeavor could say that eighty thousand organizations bore its name (Clark, Memoirs, supra, p. 699).
It could and did say that three hundred thousand people attended one hundred and fifty different sessions at its 1899 Convention in Detroit (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 368).
It could and did estimate that about 250,000 Endeavorers every year join the evangelical churches of the world (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 338).
An online encyclopedia archive on Francis Clark
recorded that, in 1908, United Christian Endeavor
had 70,761 societies and more than 3,500,000 members scattered throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, India, Japan and China
In sum, there was absolutely nothing like Christian Endeavor
that was similar in form, content, significance, and size during the years prior to or at the time A.A.s conception or actual formative years-nothing at all like the Christian Endeavor Society
which was to help instruct and train Dr. Bob in his youth, and which emphasized Bible, Church, Prayer Meetings, Quiet Hours, God
, Jesus Christ, fellowship, service and witness (For details, see Clark
, Christian Endeavor
, supra, pp.
If obliged to be absent from the monthly consecration meeting of the society, I will, if possible, send at least a verse of Scripture to be read in response to my name at roll-call" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, pp.251-252).
Interesting also are the first two of six covenants in the prison-societies of Christian Endeavor
I will accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
I will try to learn and do His
will by forming the habit of praying and carefully reading my Bible daily, and by thinking, speaking, and acting as I believe He
would in my place. . . ." (Clark, Christian Endeavor, supra, p. 253).
said the covenant has thus been analyzed:
"First, I will read the Bible.
"Second, I will pray.
"Third, I will support my own church.
"Fourth, I will attend the weekly prayer-meeting of the society.
"Fifth, I will take some part in it, aside from singing.
"Sixth, I will perform a special duty at the consecration-meeting if obliged to be absent" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, pp 244-245).
Certainly no less excuse should satisfy you, pledge or no pledge" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 245).
believed that the following four principles are the "roots of the Christian Endeavor
They are, he
wrote, the essential and only essential principles of the Christian Endeavor Society
1. Confession of Christ.
2. Service for Christ.
3. Fellowship with Christ's people.
4. Loyalty to Christ's Church.
As to each of the four, Clark
said the following, among other things:
concludes with this commentary on the fundamental, necessary features of the world-wide movement:
The earliest Christian Endeavor journal
was called The Golden Rule with Rev. Clark
as its editor-in chief (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, pp.
82, 622; Memories, supra, pp.
See also Matthew 7:12 for one rendition of that "golden rule."
The covenant pledge was, along with several other stated purposes, designed to secure "familiarity with the Word of God
by promoting Bible-reading and study in preparation for every meeting" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 94).
I believe in the advice of studying the Holy Bible for itself; it makes men" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 606).
Said to be the greatest preacher in England of his
time, the Rev. Dr. J. H. Jowett said at the British National Convention
in Glasgow: "Let your endeavor grow out of the great and studious contemplation of the great mysteries in Christ;" and Jowett was speaking on "Christian Endeavor
and Bible-Study" (Clark, Christian Endeavor, supra, pp.
Writing on the non-denominational and international character of Christian Endeavor
, Count Bernstorff, an eminent German Christian, wrote: "There is only one Christianity, because there is only one Christ.
Is it English that one insists upon conversion. . . . Is it English to avow a oneness of spirit with Christians of other denominations. . . . Is it English that one should seek after holiness. . . . Is it English that all Christians should work together for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom?
All these things are simple biblical truths, and should be the universal spirit of Christendom.
Indeed, they constitute living Christendom" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, pp.
B.B. Tyler, D.D., Pastor, First Church of Disciples of Christ, New York City] (Clark, World Wide Endeavor, p. 7).
The CE Founder Dr. Francis Clark wrote:
See also Francis E. Clark
, The Presence of God; Living and Loving; The Golden Alphabet; A Daily Message for Christian Endeavorers; and The Great Secret; Belle M. Brain, The Morning Watch and Quaint Thoughts; J. Wilbur Chapman, The Surrendered Life: Quiet Hour Meditations And note that the foregoing titles were all published by United Society of Christian
Whose hands point to heavenly joys on the dial of eternity" (Clark, Christian Endeavor
, supra, p. 316).
The Reverend Dr. Charles M. Sheldon was an enthusiastic Christian Endeavor
supporter (Clark, Christian Endeavor, supra, pp.
283, 149, 330, 563, 595).
wrote the famous In His
Steps, said to be the most widely-read religious novel of all time, with over 8,000,000 copies sold.
Speaking about Christian Endeavor
evangelism and Sheldon's suggestions, Rev. Francis Clark
wrote in Christian Endeavor, supra:
"The Sunday-evening after -meeting is another rare opportunity for evangelistic service, into which many pastors wisely press their Endeavorers.
Dr. Charles M. Sheldon, as has been before stated, advocates making this great young people's evangelistic service of the week for the actual bringing of men to a decision for Christ, and in his
own experience has proved the vast usefulness of such a plan (p.330).
The Foreword to Clark's World Wide Endeavor includes this rem