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Full text of "From an "Ingathering of Souls" to "Who Speaks for Man?" : A Century of February Meetings"

FROM AN "INGATHERING OF SOULS" 



to 



"WHO SPEAKS FOR MAN? 



A Century of February Meetings 




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Arda S. Walker 



Acknowledgement : 

This history was prepared at the invitation of the 1976 February 
Meetings committee, co-coordinators David P. Young (Faculty 
Coordinator for Religious Life Activities) and Barbara Kerr (senior 
biology major). Additional encouragement and help was gratefully 
received from Elizabeth H. Jackson (Professor and Chairman of the 
Department of English, 1935 - 1975) and Virginia Turrentine 
(library staff). 



One Hundred Years of Meetings 

So profound is the influence of the February Meetings on the 
moral and religious welfare of the College that it would be very- 
hazardous indeed to intermit the series even for one year. 

The Annual meetings are as much a part of the annual program as 
are the holidays; and the authorities of the institution would be 
as apt to give up Commencement Week as to surrender the College 
Meetings as they are called. 

As these earnest pronouncements by President and Faculty of 
Maryville College in the early 1900's affirm, February Meetings 
have long been central in the College calendar and life. Thousands 
of students have in these meetings for the first time professed 
Christ. One record during 1926, the fiftieth year, cited 2600 
known converts by that time. Many other students, as led by the 
spirit of these meetings, have entered upon mission work in what 
was once called Maryville's "Foreign Legion," more yet into full- 
time Christian work. These numbers may be multiplied manyfold 
to represent the students who here renewed their decisions to im- 
prove their personal lives, decisions sometimes earnestly pursued, 
sometimes undoubtedly soon forgotten. 

Numerous faculty, administrators, and alumni who have pro- 
vided the core of leadership for the College first became Christians 
under the inspiration of Meeting leaders. Dr. Samuel Tyndale 
Wilson, fifth president of the College, was a new convert in the 
first series of Meetings as were his wife and Miss Margaret Henry, 
missionary to Japan, teacher, and first supervisor of student aid. 
The sixth president was likewise converted in one series of Meet- 
ings and later led two other series. The seventh president was the 
leader of two series prior to his presidency. Perhaps not all these 
products of the religious emphasis services would be as fervent as 
was Dr. Wilson in tying their work for Maryville College to this 
early experience. Wilson, writing in 1917 while on a campaign for 
the College, declared: "Forty years ago this February all the pur- 
poses and principles of my personal life were transformed. I am 
now in New York working for Maryville College solely because of 
a decision that I made in room 24 of Memorial Hall, late at night 
on February 12, 1877." Historically, while Memorial Hall has 



disappeared, the centrality of the "February Meetings" to the Hfe 
of the College cannot be denied. 

"In the Beginning" 

In 1877, when the first series of collegiate revivals opened, 
"the footprints of the rebellion," as a then member of the student 
body reminisced, "were still visible." Only a decade had passed 
since Professor Lamar, after earnest endeavors, had succeeded in 
reopening the College on a new campus, buildings of the old 
having been destroyed by the Civil War. General Sherman at one 
time occupied the campus. One early reporter indicates that it was 
to General Burnside, then encamped on the campus, that General 
Sherman sent a note, "Hold the Fort, I'm Coming," a phrase that 
was taken over into evangelistic hymnology and traveled the En- 
glish-speaking world. It was only little more than a decade since Lt. 
General Weaver of the Confederate Army had arranged his artillery 
on the ridge just back of the future site of Baldwin Hall and by 
throwing a few heavy shot over the courthouse dislodged a small 
Union force and persuaded them to surrender. Anderson Hall was 
scarcely seven years past the laying of its cornerstone, and, as Dr. 
Wilson recalled, students could then jump over the cedars in the 
central campus while much of the surrounding area was heavily 
forested. 

Information on the genesis of the Meetings is tenuous and some- 
times inconsistent, resting primarily upon the memories of partici- 
pants at a later date— memories which, dimmed by time, were 
occasionally contradictory. Foundations antedate the Civil War, 
when Dr. Anderson held meetings in town at New Providence 
Church. After the Civil War, the college was too small to support 
an independent "revival," and united with local churches. On the 
first of February, 1877, in the old chapel on the second floor of 
Anderson, Dr. Nathan Bachman, "father" of the Meetings, held 



An article dated February 18, 1939, in the Highland Echo, asserts that Dr. 
Elmore was the first to conduct these meetings. Since Elmore as a student in 
1869 worked on Anderson Hall and graduated only in 1875, this statement is 
undoubtedly in error. 



the first series. Writing in the early years of the twentieth century, 
Dr. Wilson said, "Other series of meetings were held afterward 
during the next 7 years; but, from 1886 to the present, they were 
held every year." A later recollection of Dr. Wilson indeed did indi- 
cate annual meetings from 1877. In 1926, an Echo account 
explained a seeming discrepancy by stating, "Due to the fact 
there were two series of meetings in 1877, this [1926 J makes the 
fiftieth series of the meetings." 

In early years, closely connected with the success of the "College 
Meetings," as they were then called, were other religious organiza- 
tions, especially the YMCA and YWCA. This relationship was not 
incidental. On March 3, 1877, just after the series of meetings held 
by Dr. Bachman, three students met in Samuel Tyndale Wilson's 
room in Memorial Hall and formed the first College-based YMCA 
in the United States. Dr. Wilson later reported they had been "led 
to it by the conversions incident to a very successful series of re- 
vival meetings that had just preceded." "The aggressive Christian 
work of a year," they decided, "cannot be done in ten days' re- 
vival. Revivals are good. Constant and aggressive Christian work is 
better. Both together are best." This sentiment was to prevail for 
most of the hundred-year period that followed. 

Any adequate historical study must take into account the 
changes in social and intellectual climate as an institution passes 
through time. The Maryville of 1877 was significantly different 
from Maryville in 1900 and 1975. The town of Maryville's Main 
Street was clay and had been graded only to College Street. Not 
until six years after the "Meetings" began was the city linked to 
Knoxville by telephone. An electric light plant was not installed 
until 1901. The College ad in the Maryville Independent in 1876 
reads as follows: 

MARYVILLE COLLEGE 

Will open the second half of the Term 

Monday, January third, 1876. 

Tuition $10 for the half term. Incidentals $1. 

Good Board $2 per week. 

BOTH SEXES ADMITTED 

The most complete Chemical and Philosophical 

Apparatus ever brought into East Tennessee. 

A NORMAL DEPARTMENT 

has been organized by I^of S. Z. Sharp, a competent instructor. 



Maryville College is prepared to give a more thorough 
education than can he obtained elsewhere in this 
section of the country. For Catalogues or infor- 
mation address Rev. P. M. Bartlett, President. 

"Good Board" may have been an overstatement. Dj. Calvin Dun- 
can, recalling in 1894 his days in the early seventies, spoke of 
"poorly ventilated kitchens and poorly prepared food." These 
kitchens vv^ere for the benefit of students who preferred to board 
themselves. Fuel, light, and washing was SIO per year; room rent, 
$2.50. 

The student body was significantly different. Total enrollment 
in all departments— Primary, Preparatory and College— was 130 in 
the late seventies. In 1882 the College department was comprised 
of only 32 students, of which five young men graduated. The fol- 
lowing year, of 22, only three graduated, this time all young wo- 
men. Some of these students were mere children. In 1895 the 
Board of Directors found it advisable to abolish the Primary depart- 
ment and to limit the entering age to 15. While the student body 
climbed to around 1000 in 1920, the majority of these were in the 
Preparatory School, which was disbanded in 1926 because of the 
establishment of high schools in the area. In addition to the Bach- 
elor of Arts, a Degree of Bachelor of Letters for Young Ladies 
(1885) and a Master of Arts for Alumni with successful graduate 
careers were offered. 

Faculty were different— called upon to be far more versatile than 
present-day teachers and to be more widely prepared. For instance, 
in the 1890's the Board appointed Professor Goff to the Chair of 
Elocution and Modern Languages. His duties were to 

care for the rhetorical work of such classes as are not required to 
study in the Preparatory building and that of the Freshman class 
of the English-scientific course, if the faculty so decide; also to 
teach 2 years each of French and German; to teach the history of 
English Literature and French's study of words in the English 
Department; to have charge of the Christmas entertainments and 
of the Adelphic Union public exercises; to assist in the Library. 

The Board added, "We require Professor Goff to attend summer 
school to prepare for his chair in this vocation." 

While facilities, faculty, and students in the beginning years were 
somewhat different, problems and some people sound strikingly 

4 



familiar a hundred years later. Deficits were an annual event. The 
synod in October 27, 1877, reported "some embarrassment in 
paying salaries to Professors." In 1900 the Board sought to decrease 
the deficit by abolishing the positions of registrar and librarian. 
The energy crisis was imminant. By 1899 the student-provided 
wood, carried up two flights of stairs to a wood-burning stove in 
each room, had been replaced by a boiler house. This technologi- 
cal advancement was responsible that year for the delay of a week 
in the opening of school for the second term because the boiler 
exploded, just as the technology of gas energy was responsible 
seventy-five years later for a similar delay. The following year, the 
President boasted of a coal pile of 450 tons which "makes us in- 
dependent of coal strikes or car famines this Fall" and removes 
the possibility of postponement of the opening of College. 

Student interests may be gleaned from the topics they chose for 
debate or for commencement addresses, each student then being 
required to make such a valedictory address. In 1900 students 
debated "that the gathering of Americans in cities threatens the 
perpetuity of the government." Commencement speeches included 
"Problem of Crime"; "Conservation of Energy"; "Earth's Adapta- 
tion to Man"; "Women in Literature"; and the not-so-familiar 
topic of "Ultramundane Math." Topics for outlining in Professor 
Wilson's class included "Defects of our jury system" and "Mrs. 
Nation's Saloon-Smashing." Other student concerns were to be 
found in the well-digging then in process, the location for which 
was designated by a water-witch, a procedure protested by the 
students. The students also protested tearing up the lawn for water 
pipes, a complaint whose ghost materialized recently with student 
objections on an ecological basis to introducing a new sewerage 
system to the campus. Women in sports were very much in the 
news at the turn of the century, as the girls' basketball team 
annually played and even frequently defeated U.T. In 1913, the 
Maryville College baseball team supported by the entire student 
body, who took a special train to Knoxville, met the New York 
Giants in an exhibition game, and the following year they were 
defeated by the Brooklyn Nationals by only 11 to 0! It is against 
this background of similarities and differences that progressive 
changes in the "College Meetings" must be examined. 



"With Purpose of Heart" 

To read the record of one hundred years of February Meetings 
without being constantly aware of the purposes held by those 
responsible for these events would do violence to the principle of 
historical-mindedness and to truth. A more "modern" or perhaps 
self-styled "more sophisticated" age must not impose its own 
standards of propriety or assume that its own ways of getting 
things done are the measuring rod for a past generation. It also 
behooves those nurtured in an earlier "idyllic" age not to judge 
too harshly and anachronistically on the basis of their selected 
memories the techniques of today for fulfilling current purposes. 
The one thing that may be tested on a continuous basis is the ob- 
jective or spirit behind evolving methods. To arrive at such a 
"spirit" is difficult. Much depends upon remaining fragmentary 
written records or the absence of such records. Much depends 
upon who the reporter was. 

How does one "read" the spirit? Does he examine the form- 
ulated statements of those responsible for inaugurating and carry- 
ing out the Meetings? Does he rely upon the expressed responses 
of the few student voices that managed to see their views in print? 
Does he try to assess the mood that shines through action and 
read between the lines? All of these techniques taken together will 
help those interested to understand the invisible spirit and to trace 
the evolution of the "College Meetings." For the present, we will 
direct ourselves to the stated purposes of the leaders and the spirit 
which permeated them. Later we will present the manner and tech- 
niques of holding the Meetings. An attempt will then be made to 
assess the student response and the spirit focused in the successive 
generations. 

With a measure of regularity from the early years, those respon- 
sible for planning the Meetings published synoptic statements of 
the aims of the annual series. Frequent at first, the numbers and 
precision of these statements have tended to fade out in more re- 
cent times, perhaps because responsibility for the planning shifted 
from the executive faculty to committees composed of students 
and faculty representing a wider spectrum of College life. Perhaps 
it was because, in more recent years, the purpose was assumed to 
be firmly established, or perhaps again because there was a less 
systematic approach on the part of the planning committees. When 



the patent statements are examined over the hundred-year period, 
one notices a subtle shift in their temper, or maybe a broadening 
out and lessening of the preciseness of purpose. This may best be 
seen through characteristic statements in three different time 
periods: the early years, including the administration of President 
Wilson, in which statements have a remarkable consistency; the 
administration of Dr. Lloyd; and the administration of Dr. 
Copeland. 

In 1895 one leader stated that the "aim is not only the conver- 
sion of every boy and girl in College but also that every student be 
a member and an active member of the YMCA and YWCA." Later 
statements in the 1920's expressed it thus: 

to turn our thoughts from the commonplace and awaken within 
us an interest in the higher things of Ufe .... 

The time-honored purpose of the college in these meetings is to 
build up in every student a genuine Christian character, to inspire 
him to usefulness in life, and to prepare him for immortal life 
beyond. 

During the middle period of the century the basic statement of 
purpose, in the terse words of President Lloyd, was "Christian 
Faith, Christian Life, Christian Service." Already toward the end 
of the Lloyd administration, in 1951 and again in 1954, this pur- 
pose was put in more general and less precise terminology: "to 
devote a portion of the College year to concentrated spiritual 
emphasis." Early in his administration President Copeland desig- 
nated the period as that set aside "to focus our time and energies 
upon the essential opportunity and responsibilities of the Christian 
Faith." By 1970 the definition of purpose as published in the 
Highland Echo carried a negative as well as a positive expression: 
"The purpose of the meetings is not to convert everyone to a par- 
ticular position or to demand that all of us be Christians. The 
purpose is to confront the College community with ideas and new 
perspectives on the Christian's relation to his nation and his church." 
The careful observer reading these statements will note a meta- 
morphosis from the objective of personal conversion to confron- 
tation with ideas and perspectives on Christianity in relationship 
to the secular and a shift from "the hereafter to the here." No 
longer was the "demand that all of us be Christian." On the surface 
it would appear that more attention was being given to the intel- 



lectual understanding of the Christian faith and less to the emo- 
tional act of becoming a "professing Christian." This change had 
not come suddenly but had slowly evolved and reflected not only 
changing religious climates in the national community but gradual 
changes in the nature of the student body and its professors. One 
cannot, however, state that in the earlier period the whole purpose 
was toward a change of the inner being and faith, and in the later 
period the whole emphasis was action. Both ingredients have been 
present throughout the time, but the proportions of each have 
gradually been reversed. Some probable reasons for this shift will 
be returned to later. 

Behind these manifest statements of objectives lies an essence 
that can only be distilled from non-explicit evidence. There is a 
spirit that permeates the endeavors of those responsible for the 
"Meetings," "revivals," "Pentecostal experiences," "Spiritual 
Ingathering," "spiritual emphasis," or "February Meetings and 
January Meetings"— the various names by which the College Meet- 
ings have been known. The very terminology speaks of a spirit 
which was changing. To arrive at this "essence," the statement of 
hopes for the meetings and, more important yet, the successive 
statements of "what the meetings were not" are helpful. 

E. A. Elmore in 1904 declared the motto of Mary ville College to 
be "as always, 'Education for Evangelization.' " Early leaders were 
quite open in the use of this term. The President most active in the 
spirit of evangelism was Dr. Wilson, who had personal concern for 
and guided the spiritual progress of each and every student through- 
out his college life. A leader of the Board of Christian Education of 
the Presbyterian Church in 1914 stated to a national meeting that 
he knew of only one College president (Dr. Wilson) who personally 
led the students to direct and definite acceptance of Christ. Early 
in the century in a New York speech entitled "Planning for an 
Ingathering" President Wilson revealed the spirit of the planners 
when he cited necessary ingredients for a successful program— first 
the selection of Christian men for the work, men who honor reli- 
gion and God above all things and who enforce careful discipline; 
for, as he noted, "when the decisions of the College authorities are 
patient and impartial, just, and fair, unmistakable and inflexible, 
they teach in a very real way the dignity and sovereignty of the 
law of God and they clear the way to the logical submission to 
the law." And second he demanded a steady on-going program. 



observations on the Meetings by professors throw light on fac- 
ulty spirit during these early years. Thus, in 1906, in the Assembly 
Herald, Dr. Clinton Gillingham was careful to note, "These meet- 
ings are neither hysterical nor spasmodic attempts to sweep young 
people off their feet." For the Meetings, he added, "There is al- 
ways a four-fold preparation: devout, continuous, systematic and 
cumulative." In the next decade an article by another professor 
in the United Presbyterian revealed that "the most delightful part 
of the meetings as far as the workers were concerned was to see 
earnest Christians going after their classmates, roommates, and 
friends with all the rational [italics inserted] enthusiasm of saved 
young men and women with little emotionalism but with the 
direct appeals to our religion." The writer followed this avowal of 
rational low-key enthusiasm with a concrete example of "one of 
the strongest men" in the freshman class who had resisted the 
"direct appeals" throughout the night. The next morning the stu- 
dent rose and addressed the President in chapel: "Dr. Wilson, I 
may not be a Christian but by the help of God, I'm going to be." 
Within the hour, he turned to plead with other non-Christian 
classmates. In 1926 came another disavowal of excess emotion- 
alism from the faculty: "It is not the policy of the College to excite 
anyone in these meetings but simply to get each one to face his 
or her duty to God." This faculty opinion was affirmed by a stu- 
dent editorial in the Highland Echo: 

It has been the experience of those students who have attended 
the February meetings in the past, that no wave of exciting, 
nerve storm is found in any service. One simple but sincere pur- 
pose seems to run through all the services— to show the sanity 
of living the Christ Life .... The meetings are not of the ultra 
emotional type that is so common in many revivals .... No 
attempt is made to play upon the emotions [the emphasis 
being] that faith has its foundation in fact. 

Whatever the actualization of the program— a thing which readers 
will adjudge later— its leaders felt and students confirmed that there 
was rational restraint and reasoned presentation in the early years. 
Such was apparently not always viewed as the case in other con- 
temporary Presbyterian college religious programs. In 1906, the 
President of Park College having read an article on College Evan- 
gelism written by Dr. Wilson inquired, "Is there a valley following 
the meetings in which the devil gets possession of the students 



[as at Park College] . . .? I have almost come to the conclusion 
that the special meetings for students, if of intensely exciting re- 
vivalistic character, are a disadvantage. At any event," he added, 
"we have discontinued them during the past three or four years. 
I do not see but that our spiritual life is better without them than 
it was with them." We do not have Dr. Wilson's response to this 
inquiry, but one who knew him can hear in the mind's ear firm, 
fervent words of negative reply. 

Faculty not only were expected to support the Meetings but did 
so enthusiastically in this early period. One professor noted in 
1936 that he had missed only one service in thirty-seven years, and 
that was the night his eldest child was born. Faculty actively en- 
gaged in soliciting the non-Christians, serving as guides and elder 
brothers. One retired faculty member recalls a certain unconfirmed 
young man in his class whom he had finally decided to approach. 
While he was searching his mind for an entry, almost miraculously, 
the young man, who had hitherto been reluctant to become 
Christian, left his cap in the classroom when the bell rang. When 
he returned for the cap, the professor engaged him in earnest 
conversation. This meeting resulted in a healthy conversion and a 
very active Christian life. This type of story could be repeated over 
and over. 

In the major portion of the Lloyd presidency, assessments of the 
spirit of the Meetings remained the same as earlier. One observer 
expressed it this way: "The very fact that everything is explained 
in such a natural way with deep sincerity and devotion touches the 
practical nature of the students." For the first fifty years the term 
"revival" was unabashedly used. As late as 1931 a writer in the 
Echo declared, "We like the word 'revival' " By the 1950's this 
word had taken on new connotations. The theme for tKe Meetings 
in 1949 was "New Spirit, not old-fashioned Revival." The impli- 
cation here was that here was a change in spirit. As the reader must 
agree, on the basis of contemporary assessments in the earlier 
period, the participants would not have admitted such a change. 
In 1957, the February Meetings leader, in a four-page post-mortem 
review of the campus religious climate, noted among other criti- 
cisms: "The strong tone of pietism that is the more vocal and ob- 
vious form of commitment of a certain type of student with the 
implication that those lacking this terminology and pattern of ex- 
pression are somehow not quite Christian." From this point on 

10 



there was an ever-increasing tendency to derogate the term "re- 
vival," and a shift in spirit occurred, as will be seen when student 
response to the Meetings is discussed. 

The objective observer at a distance in time would conclude that 
in actualization the Meetings fell far short of the stated purposes 
and sometimes even seemed to be permeated by a spirit expressly 
denied by their leaders. In fact, one alumnus close to the College 
for a half century, expresses the conviction that even Dr. Wilson 
was much embarrassed by the extreme turn of events taken in some 
of the Meetings. Comments penned on the carefully recorded notes 
of Dr. Lloyd through the years evidence occasional concern with 
the levity or the direction some of the Meetings took. The writer 
of this article, who recalls series over the past half century, also 
remembers occasional cases of vocal faculty objections to the tone. 
The reader can best judge for himself how much of a reality the 
spirit sought by the authorities responsible for the Meetings be- 
came as we turn now to a reconstruction from the documents of 
the past of procedures and programs followed. 

"A Man's Heart Deviseth his Way" 

In 1876, students arriving at Maryville College came by means 
of horse or railroad, or on foot. In 1976, none of these means of 
transportation is used. It is not, then, strange that the vehicle for 
delivering the religious spirit has changed over the past hundred 
years. 

Except for rare Meetings in January, the series has always been 
in February. Every day of the week has been used, and every day 
except Saturday has been the beginning day. Over this span of 
time, Meetings have lasted from four to sixteen days. For a few 
recent years, they have centered on four weekends, Friday to Sun- 
day. In the early years, twenty-four hours were sometimes spent 
in the "Inquiry Rooms." More recently, twenty-four hours have 
sometimes been used for uninterrupted prayer or fasting or all- 
night "happenings." Because of the season, more often than not 
the weather has been wretched-"stinky" as a leader in 1949 des- 
cribed it. One year ice and snow prevailed the entire time and 
temperatures hit subzero, making it especially arduous for stu- 
dents, since evening sessions that year were in town. During the 
1897 meetings, a storm destroyed the electricity, but oil lamps 



11 



were hastily procured and the service continued with Httle dis- 
turbance. 

For the first thirty years, services were held in the old chapel 
in Anderson, moving in the evenings to New Providence Church. 
Dr. Boardman in the Delineator described how, after the faculty 
and more advanced students had taken their seats, "from one to 
two hundred preparatory students marched in, two abreast, from 
the south entry and passed before the platform to their places. 
Most were 15 to 20 years old, and the majority [were] professed 
Christians." This was usually done as the hymn "Onward Christian 
Soldiers" was being sung. But even if it was not, Dr. Boardman 
noted, "I have never seen the youthful, hurrying throng, pressing 
forward to prepare for the future work of the church and the 
world, without feeling in my own heart the thrill and impulse of 
the words." For thirty-six years afterwards, the Meetings were 
held in Voorhees Chapel. Upon its destruction by fire, morning 
sessions took place in the alumni gymnasium, evening ones in 
New Providence, the First Christian and First Methodist Churches 
and in the Maryville High School auditorium. Since 1954, both 
services have been held in the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Chapel. 

As a device for handling massive materials extending over a cen- 
tury, let us again focus on four periods: 1877-1900; 1901-1929; 
1930-1960; 1961-1975. These dates, except the first, correspond 
with the presidential terms of office. Occasionally, because of the 
nature of the topic there will be some overstepping of these bor- 
ders, but where such is the case, a date will be designated. 

Early College Meetings must be seen in the context of many 
other community "revival" meetings and meetings in other col- 
leges. Local churches in the 1870's held Fall and Spring Meetings. 
A meeting in progress in 1899 at New Providence Church ad- 
journed because the College Meetings began that night. The Mary- 
ville Times, January 12, 1912, reported unusually successful evan- 
gelistic meetings of the united churches in town, in which sixty- 
two businesses signed agreements to close for afternoon sessions 



^he first service of the 1896 series was held in Baldwin dining room. 
This may have been an earUer practice, but conclusive information is 
lacking. 



12 



at 2:30 p.m. Some 750 conversions took place during this and 
the College series which followed. The tabulations made later 
indicated 474 conversions in the city meetings which college stu- 
dents were discouraged from attending because of limited space, 
96 conversions in the College meetings, 51 conversions in 
"Colored People's Meetings" and 125 re-conversions. Because 
space was inadequate 500 people the following year were turned 
away in a similar city revival. The 1912 union meeting was fol- 
lowed up with a one-day "Echo meeting," its program consisting 
of secret prayer in the home, evangelistic services in the churches, 
church services, and a union prayer and praise service at 6:30 in 
the evening and a "Soul-Winning" service at the Presbyterian 
Church at 7:00. Even after all this effort, the Times reported, 
"Still 1400 people in and around Maryville are lost." 

Other colleges likewise were in those days deeply engaged in 
meetings of this sort, and, by correspondence, colleges encouraged 
each other. In 1914 this communique was received by the students 
of Mary ville College: "We men of Lafayette College are praying 
such a blessing for you as came to us last week 200 men making 
decisions and pledging $1200 for the work: College life more 
wholesome than for forty years." When this telegram was read, 
the six hundred Maryville students rose and gave fifteen rahs for 
Lafayette. Thus it was in a total atmosphere of nation-wide emo- 
tional evangelism that the College Meetings occurred in those early 
years. 

The College Meetings were only one point in a year-long endea- 
vor and total involvement on the part of students and teachers. 
Planning for the next series began even as the follow-up for the 
last series was taking place. In 1894, a student noted, "One of the 
first questions asked a new student is, 'Is he or she a Christian?' 
There is a sense of responsibility for each other— no hot house 
pressures or forcing of Christian life, but an atmosphere that en- 
courages Christian Life." When September came, the Faculty 
met in the music room of the President's home "to forecast in the 
sacred light of the Sabbath the sacred duties of the coming year 
and to engage in limited prayer for especial blessing." Every New 
Year's morning from 1879 to the turn of the century, at least, the 
College held sunrise prayer meetings dedicating the year to God. 
Prayer circles were formed early in the year. Student leaders and 
professors were apprised of those who were non-Christian, and 

13 



many of these were converted prior to the opening of the Meet- 
ings. Tuesday evening prayer meetings "with the spirit of revival 
in them" and Bible classes in mid-week in Baldwin Hall were held 
throughout the year. On Saturdays a missionary meeting was held 
monthly in the College chapel, and on Sundays at least during 
1894 and 1895 a mission band met in the local jail. Very active 
throughout these years and until its demise in the 1960's were the 
YMCA generated by the first series in 1877 and its sister organiza- 
tion created in 1884. Indeed, a large measure of the success of the 
College Meetings must be attributed to these organizations. Once 
the climax of the spiritual year was passed in February, both fac- 
ulty and student groups met to review the Meetings and to 
encourage and instruct newly confirmed Christians. One might not 
be far from accurate if he said that, in those days, the College did 
not come fully into focus for a student until the Meetings arrived. 

With this spirit abroad, then, it is not surprising that careful 
tabulations were kept of Christians and non-Christians. While more 
will be said of this practice during the discussion of the meetings 
in the Wilson presidency, we might cite some early figures where 
available. 



Year 


Nw 


mber of 


Com 


)erts to Christianity 


1884 








35 


1892 








84 


1893 
1894 








59 
82 


1895 








36 


1896 








60 


1897 








41 


1898 








33 


1900 








42 



These figures are striking when one notes that a large majority of 
the students were already Christian when they arrived, many of 
them planning for the ministry. Thus, for example, prior to the 
opening of the series in which 35 conversions occurred in 1901, of 
350 students 15 years and older, 250 of them were professing 
Christians. Fifteen were candidates for the ministry, and 100 were 
in the Y's. The leader of the meetings in 1899 declared, "Skepti- 
cism of any kind is unknown among the instructors and scarcely 
exists among the students." 

To suggest the ways in which the meetings were conducted in 

14 



this early period, we turn in some detail to the 1899 series. On 
Sunday evening, after the first sermons had been directed to pro- 
fessing Christians, "one of the best confessional meetings ever" 
was held in which more than 100 Christians made earnest confes- 
sions. Christians spoke with brevity and simplicity, lamenting their 
lack of fidelity in religious duties. The final meeting of this series 
led by Dr. Solomon Dickie was divided into three parts. First, the 
speaker presented the request by Ehsha to Elijah: "I pray thee, let 
a double portion of thy spirit be upon me." He called on those 
over sixty to say a few words to younger Christians. Ex-President 
Bartlett, Elder Gillespie (graduate of 1849) and President Board- 
man responded. There followed brief remarks from a large number 
of students stating their religious desires. A second service then 
followed, men and women being separated by folding doors. The 
leader spoke to the men while an 1894 alumna conducted the wo- 
men's meeting. In a third session all came together again. The 
leader asked every Christian to stand. Four or five hundred were 
reported as present at this meeting. 

Every evening after the first three, sessions were held in the 
Inquiry Room, where earnest students would bring their non- 
Christian companions and entreat them to become Christians. The 
Inquiry Room will be discussed more at length when the Wilson era 
is examined. 

On the final day of the 1899 Meetings, February 23, a large 
number of students accompanied Dr. Dickie to the railroad de- 
pot, where he made a "touching farewell address" entitled "Christ 
Being on the Seashore in the Morning." The students then sang 
"Blest Be the Tie That Binds" and, as the train bore the leader 
away, went back to celebrate with an old-fashioned steeple chase 
"Little Georgie's birthday"— late since observation of it had been 
postponed because the Meetings were in session. It was customary 
then, as for many years later, not to permit anything to interfere 
with the annual Meetings. Even final examinations were post- 
poned a week on one occasion. 

The dominant factor in the Wilson administration was the Pres- 
ident himself. Nurtured in these services from his youth in 1877, 
he was the key both to the methods used and the success achieved. 
Dr. Wilson called the Meetings "Ingatherings of Souls." In 1907 
he explained his approach as being perennial, annual and immediate. 
Each of these steps in planning will emerge as his methods are 

15 



delineated below. 

At registration students were aked to indicate whether they 
were Christians. The President then set up interviews with all non- 
Christians and began his campaign. Rolls listing non-Christian 
students were given to teachers and leaders of the two "Y's". Dr. 
Wilson emphasized that the fundamental force of success lay in the 
teaching staff. Only strong Christians were chosen for the faculty. 
Among the new students each year, an observer in 1914 indicated, 
there were usually some 100 who were not professing Christians. 
By this time, enrollments were growing to peak at about 1000 in 
1920. At the end of the Meetings, repeatedly, the leaders could 
announce that all or almost all students in the College department 
were Christians. For example, during the second decade of the 
twentieth century, for four straight years all students in the College 
department ended their collegiate days professing Christians. 

Faculty were expected to engage in prayer and to exhort young 
people throughout the year. For a while the "elder brother" plan 
was employed whereby each non-Christian was assigned a faculty 
member whose duty was to nudge him, if possible, into Christian- 
ity. There are extant in the College records long lists of students, 
their Christian status, and their "elder brothers" among the faculty. 
Faculty also assisted in the "Inquiry Room." This institution, ac- 
cording to Davidson's History of the Presbyterian Church in Ken- 
tucky as cited by Dr. Wilson, was the heir to the "Anxious Seat" 
which Maryville College's first president. Dr. Isaac Anderson, had 
been the first to establish. It later became popular throughout the 
United States. Opened the third night of the series, the Inquiry 
Room was enlivened by Christian friends from the College and 
from town who would engage non-Christian students "lovingly and 
faithfully in an attempt to lead them to the Saviour." During one 
period, townswomen made this task an annual practice, but faculty 
also participated. Four keynote prayer meetings were held each 
year— two by faculty and two by the "Y's." These emphasized 
preparation for the Meetings, and Dr. Wilson's invitation to faculty 
enjoined them not to "allow anything unless it is providential to 
keep you from the meeting." Some years, for a month prior to the 
Meetings, a prayer series was established by the Faculty to run con- 
current with student prayer circles which had been operating since 
the fall term or in some instances since the previous February. 
Commenting in 1906 upon the success in one dormitory, the pro- 

16 



fessor in charge said, "Well, the reason is not hard to find; the 
Christian boys formed their own prayer circles at the beginning of 
the Fall term and then tried to live up to their program. 

When the Meetings arrived, faculty were assigned to a large num- 
ber of supporting committees. In 1925 the roster of committees 
included Order indoors, Order outdoors, Attendance, Publicity, 
Health, Ventilation, Disinfection, Heating and flag raising. Ar- 
rangement for interviews. Cooperation with the speaker, Recep- 
tion, Music, and Prayer meetings. Dr. Wilson pointed out that even 
the lowly usher was very important to the success of the endeavor. 
Ushers were used to intersperse Christian with non-Christian in 
such a way that the latter would feel isolated from like-minded 
associates. This made the pressure of the appeal at the climax of 
a meeting far more effective. In Dr. Wilson's own words, the ra- 
tionale for this seating arrangement was "to take away support 
that numbers might give to any opposition and to make it easier 
for Christians to get access to their unconverted friends during 
and after the meetings." Young men and young women were seated 
on opposite sides of the Chapel. Dr. Wilson revealed that it was 
Kim Takahashi, the active Japanese student of the 1890's respon- 
sible for building Bartlett Hall, who suggested this psychology 
and rationale. Ushers were therefore carefully chosen. Even the 
janitor in providing "God's pure air" had an important role. 

The college pastor after 1917 likewise played a major part in 
preparations for the meetings. Dr. William P. Stevenson held stu- 
dent interviews and contributed to the gatherings being held in 
the dormitories each weekday for a month prior to the Meet- 
ings. His Thursday morning talks and Sunday vespers for some 
time before were preparatory to the Meetings. 

Once the Meetings were in progress, all other events on the cam- 
pus were terminated for the duration. In the words of Dr. Wilson, 
"The line is kept absolutely clear for the Gospel train." Oc- 
casionally, since the Meetings came at the time of the term 
examinations, these were postponed.-^ The Echo was suspended, as 



"2 

There were three terms from 1902 to 1921. 



17 



were all athletic events. An Echo headline in February 1928 
reads "February Meetings give Athletes two Week Vacation from 
the Court." The ensuing article pointed out that the basketball 
teams that year had not lost a single conference game vs. such 
noteworthy opponents as the Universities of Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky. 

The Meetings always built toward a climax on the last day. 
Attendance was good. In 1920 required morning attendance, near 
1000, was almost equalled by voluntary night attendance, running 
between 700 and 1000. Each year large attendance was noted 
though perhaps not as high as in that centennial year. 

To suggest the nature of the final evening sessions two accounts 
will be given, the first in 1916, and the second, in the rather un- 
usual year of 1920. In 1916, Dr. William Thaw Bartlett was the 
leader. Son of a former president, P. Mason Bartlett, he was closely 
related to the Thaw family, major benefactors of the College. A 
graduate of the College himself, he was an appealing figure to the 
students. He had been a professional baseball player of some im- 
portance in the South and had a powerful way about him. On the 
last full day of the Meeting, according to an account by one of the 
faculty, Bartlett 

made a strong plea for reconciliation on the part of any who, 
though professing Christians, were stumbling blocks in the way 
of others by reason of their inconsistencies. . . .Students were 
apparently dazed at the tremendous import of the appeal, but 
in moments, first one, then by twos and threes they rose, until 
scores were on their feet in earnest committal of their lives. 

By the night meeting every student in the College department ex- 
cept one had made an open confession including some who had 
resisted the Spirit during their entire years in college. Friday 
morning the President dismissed the students for the day. "Just 
at that moment the last college man arose in his seat and speaking 
brokenly accepted the Savior." Students lingered on "seeking out 
and entreating unsaved friends" in the Preparatory department for 
the rest of the holiday and the next day. At the end of the last 
service, the Doxology was sung and was followed by "Howie 
How's for Jesus Christ." Those converted came forward and re- 
ceived pocket testaments. After singing "Blest Be the Tie" and 
"God Be With You Till We Meet Again" the student body followed 
the speaker to the station. As the train pulled out, Dr. Bartlett in 

18 



the caboose, the students sang "Since Jesus Came into My Heart" 
and the Doxology three times, as they gave the Chautauqua salute. 

While in much the same spirit, 1920 was a somewhat atypical 
year. That year the authorities with the assistance of Homer Ham- 
montree, gospel singer and graduate of the class of 1909, had 
secured the services of Mel Trotter, an evangelist of national repu- 
tation in a class with Billy Sunday of an earlier date. A traveling 
salesman, turned drunkard and converted while on his way to sui- 
cide in Lake Michigan, Trotter headed the Pacific Garden Mission 
in Chicago as well as a mission in Grand Rapids and had been in- 
strumental in establishing some sixty-seven other missions. On the 
team with him were Hammontree and a quartet, "The American 
Four," along with a distinguished accompanist, "Little Dick Oliver." 
These had spent twenty months with Allied troops in Europe and 
claimed part in bringing about 15,000 decisions for Christ among 
soldiers. The Highland Echo was exuberant in its reports of the 
series. "At one moment the audience would be laughing and in an 
instant they would be all aglow with indignation and shame at 
the sins that drag men and women to the depths of hell." The 
terminus of these Meetings, as in the case of most of their prede- 
cessors, was a trip to the depot and the "Howie-how for Jesus," 
led this time by Homer Hammontree. This event will be ex- 
plored further when we direct our attention to music. 

Endings were always dramatic. In 1917 a reporter noted: 

The ice began to break and one by one in quick succession young 
men and women arose to indicate decisions in response to the 
leader's appeals. One of the Seniors arose! It was easy now to ap- 
peal to others. They followed so quickly and so steadily that the 
President who had been through forty such campaigns buried his 
head in his hands and wept like a child. 

Confessions were normal throughout the weeks of meeting. In the 
early years of the century they were written, usually in pencil, 
on "Big Five" notebook paper or its equivalent. They ranged from 
contrition for such peccadillos as anger or procrastination to that 
of a young lady who confessed "I enjoy the company of evil men 
and do not reject them." Collections of these are in the Wilson 
papers, often scrawled in childish handwriting. (It was not until 
1916 that the 8th grade was dropped from the curriculum and not 
until 1926 that the Preparatory division was not a part of the Col- 
lege.) Later, at least as early as 1912, decision cards were distribu- 

19 



ted to the audience. The card in 1912 read simply: "Trusting in 
Jesus Christ for Salvation, I do now accept him as my personal 
savior." The 1916 card read: 

Sign up as far as you will go. 

Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" 

Do you accept him for your personal savior? 

Are you wilUng to give your life to him? 

Will you join his Church? 

With some variation these cards were in continuous use until the 
1960's . Students occasionally asked for prayer in the Meetings as 
did a third-year student who wrote he had fallen from his Chris- 
tian duty during the summer. Other students only after much 
resistance would succumb to the appeal of a worker. In Dr. Wil- 
son's papers there is a note dated 2/21/21 from a young lady: 
"There's no use. I am sorry and appreciate your interest very much, 
but I see no chance for myself at present. Sincerely," Appended in 
Dr. Wilson's handwriting were the words, "Became Christian 
2/23/21." 

Most often, these exertions by the entire College community 
led to apparent success. An Echo headline in 1921 was not entirely 
one of a kind: "Forty-fourth Series of February Meetings Reaps 
Large Harvest: One of the Cleanest Sweeps in the History of the 
College: One Hundred and Eight Conversions, Three Hundred 
and Forty-nine Reconsecrations during Eleven Days." 

Following the Meetings there was usually a holiday or in the 
early days a "Snap" sponsored by the Faculty. In 1912 the Faculty 
announced "Washington's Birthday will be moved forward only a 
few days. . .It will be a holiday." As in 1899, this National holi- 
day had fallen in the midst of the Meetings. A carefully drawn 
petition by the students in 1916 was received after the Meetings 
asking for a holiday on February 29 "since it comes only once 
every four years and since we want a chance to enjoy snow sports 
and; whereas, we did not have a snap after the revival as we usually 
do." 

After a snap and/or holiday, the College got down to the serious 
matter of following up the benefits reaped in February. Bible 
study groups would be held in women's dormitories. Students 
would repair to read newly distributed pocket testaments or 
religious tracts such as Torrey's "How to Succeed in the Christian 

20 



Life," "First Words to Young Christians", or "Self-Help and Thrift." 
In 1912 a Pocket Testament League was formed by 350 men 
pledged "to carry the New Testament with them." In 1920, every 
Tuesday evening was set aside for meetings for converts. A new 
institution was established to continue throughout the year in 
which every evening, as the lights-out flashed, each student was to 
go to a room designated in respective residence halls for a short 
prayer meeting. 

Frequently other programs allied with it followed upon the heels 
of the February Meetings. For most of these years the Fred Hope 
Drive was associated with the Meetings. Founded by Fred Hope in 
1901 as a result of Dr. Wilson's talk on conditions of China, this 
drive collected rather remarkable sums. By 1905 the fund was 
supporting a student in China (for S67.60) as well as a worker. 
By 1925 the students were collecting over $1500 for this mission 
fund. After the 1912 meetings, according to Dr. Wilson's Annual 
Report to the Board of Directors, "A timely and valuable series 
of addresses by Professor Shannon, a specialist in the teachings of 
Christian views as to eugenics and sexual life" was held. 

In earlier years there were a number of problems not normally 
encountered in meetings of a later day. Leaders frequently missed 
trains or were delayed in their arrival by health and death in 
families, events which also sometimes forced them to terminate 
their services early. The student body likewise was not immune to 
epidemics. Rumors of smallpox frequently sent them scurrying 
home. In 1918 smallpox broke out. One student was cared for in 
the third story of Willard Hall, another removed to the College 
Woods pest house, where he was joined by a third. Compulsory 
vaccination rules had to be enforced, and the College lost some 
students by this requirement. In 1911, Dr. Elmore was one week 
late because of an outbreak of smallpox. On another occasion, a 
student interviewed by a professor during the Meetings and en- 
joined by him to "live a Hfe of constant prayer," was taken ill the 
next evening with cerebral meningitis. When his volunteer nurse and 
then a third student, were stricken, more than half the student 
body in panic went home. With a great deal of persuasion most of 
the refugees returned for the term examinations, but even then the 
College lost 53 students for the third term. In 1903 also, smallpox 
and mumps militated against the success of the Meetings. In 1919 
over one third of the student body was stricken by the virulent 

21 



flu then widespread. This type of problem was to disappear with 
advancements in medicine. 

In 1929 Dr. Wilson noted an entire change in pace in the Meetings 
since the closing of the Preparatory department. Their purpose he 
indicated is now "spiritual uplift of professing Christians." This 
was to be the primary thrust during the Lloyd presidency. Dr. 
Lloyd too called attention to changes when he took over. Gone 
were the former long nights, the separate younger groups and the 
dramatic endings. Solemnity was the vogue, save when toward the 
end of the Lloyd era, leaders would sometimes resort to jokes as 
they said goodbye. On more than one occasion Dr. Lloyd's notes 
would carry such comments as "No jokes at the end. This is an 
improvement" or "Both men made responses; good, except when 
jokes in responses spoiled the services." The last meeting usually 
consisted of a sermon and a dedication with the signing of com- 
mitment cards or by a show of hands, after which the assembly 
filed out silently without even a musical march as was the practice 
in ordinary chapel services. Community evangelical services were 
no longer held at the same season as the College Meetings. Inquiry 
Rooms were no more. But statistics on conversions were kept and 
reported until the late 30's to the Committee on College Visitation 
of the U. S. A. Church in Philadelphia. After that, the College 
authorities received some idea of student response from the cards 
turned over to the leaders. Toward the end of the period, even 
that type of check diminished and was less emphasized. The large 
number of faculty and student committees continued as did the 
very active work of the YWCA, YMCA, and Student Volunteer 
groups. Snaps and holidays were passe' even though, after the last 
meeting, classes for the remainder of the morning were usually 
cancelled. Health problems were no longer of moment. Thus there 
were many changes, all in keeping with the changed religious at- 
mosphere in the larger community. 

Some things continued with little appreciable change. The weeks 
of the Meetings were to be kept absolutely clear of competing 
events. Athletic programs were scheduled only on Saturday nights 
"to permit some relaxation." When in the mid-forties Dr. Lloyd 
noted that county teachers' workshops were breaking up at the 
time of evening meetings, or that buses to take students to the 
U.T. artist series were parked outside the Chapel at the time meet- 
ings were to begin, these events were enjoined. Attendance during 

22 



the Lloyd years remained uniformly high. Morning attendance, 
which was required, was practically total, while the voluntary 
evening services usually had between 700 and 1000, reaching over 
that mark on a Sunday in 1940. 

February Meetings were still the great divide in the school year. 
Plans were made in the spring and following fall. In these plans, 
Dr. Lloyd, who, hke his predecessor, had been converted in the 
Meetings and had been the very successful leader of the 1928 
series prior to his presidency, held the dominant role. He was join- 
ed by active Y's. In January, letters were mailed to all "Alumni, 
Parents and Friends of the College" asking for their support and 
prayers in the approaching endeavor. Many responded by letters, 
of which Dr. Lloyd read a few each night of the series. 

Typical letters reveal a wide band of prayer circles throughout 
the world. A widow of a prominent physician wrote: "I cite one 
instance of annual recurrence. Before and during the February 
Series he [her husband] , spent much time each day praying for 
the power of the Holy Spirit, going apart during the service hours 
and uniting petitions with those being offered in the College." A 
younger alumnus wrote: "I have received assurance from my fel- 
low veterans here that at noon-hour a session of silent prayer 
shall be faithfully observed during the college meetings, beginning 
February 9." During World War II, two young army men wrote 
from France, "Of the many mountain-top experiences that we 
found in four years at Maryville, none were so real or so lasting as 
the week of spiritual emphasis. . . . Those experiences remain and 
take on new meaning as time goes on." Eleven alumni cabled 
thoughts and prayers from Iran, while a housewife in Texas 
avowed, "I beheve Maryville College is the best all-round school in 
the country, but with all its good features, I would not exchange 
the spirit of the February Meetings for all the rest." Finally, there 
was the letter from a young art student, whose campus interests 
while in school were decidedly not religious. While working on a 
Master's degree in 1961, he wrote: 

I shall never forget how I scoffed when you read a letter from an 
alumnus during the February meetings my Freshman year. He had 
said he would always remember the meetings as the highUght ot 
his 4 years at Maryville, and I remember wondering how this 
could be, but as of today there is no doubt in my mind that he 
was right .... 
If it were possible to carry the Spirit of the February meetings 



23 



into all the troubled points of the world, from Africa to Europe 
and Asia and the Americas, mankind would have little to fear 
from itself. 

Unfortunately many of these reactions came only in retrospect, 
but there is no question that the Meetings made a tremendous im- 
pact on Maryville students during this third of a century. 

It had been customary in the Wilson era for the President to 
open the meetings with the first address. The Sunday before the 
opening day, Dr. Lloyd delivered the sermon at New Providence 
Church. Meetings began on Tuesday or Wednesday and continued 
every morning and evening for ten or eleven days, including Mon- 
day morning, when there was ordinarily no chapel service. To 
compensate for this, Friday after the Meetings was a non-chapel 
morning. Sometimes, as in 1948 and 1949, the day before the 
Meetings students would conduct days of continuous prayer from 
sunrise to bedtime, signing up voluntarily for fifteen-minute 
intervals. Faculty held from three to five prayer meetings prior to 
and during the meetings, a practice which continued until the late 
1960's, when students asked to be included in these prayer meet- 
ings for a few years, after which they were disbanded. Mornings 
and evenings, four students and two faculty led in public prayer 
each day for the duration. Normally, as in 1947, student partici- 
pation in leadership of the meetings was high, 140 having assisted 
that year. Speakers made themselves available for interviews with 
students on request. In addition, as late as 1940, non-Christians 
were sought out and interviewed by the deans or leaders. Most of 
the time, interview schedules were filled. 

Special interest groups— Student Volunteers, Y's, the Ministerial 
Association, dormitories, etc.— had the services of leaders for 
discussions and forums. The latter were first introduced in 1940 
by Dr. Louis Evans and were quite popular with two to three hun- 
dred in attendance on most occasions. Especially popular were 
customary discussions with the leaders on Christian marriage and 
sex. Dr. Evans also in 1940 introduced student-composed booklets: 
"Fourteen Prominent Collegians look at Life." Leader for three 
series over a twenty-five-year span. Dr. Evans was a popular 
speaker. In the 1950's he was selected by Life magazine as one of 
the twelve great preachers in America, by Newsweek as one of the 
ten top preachers, and by Tau Kappa Alpha Speech Fraternity as 
Speaker of the Year. 

24 



In the last session of each series— as has been mentioned— it was 
customary to distribute "decision," "dedication," or "commit- 
ment" cards. These varied from year to year, and leaders used 
them differently. Until the late thirties, they were provided by the 
Board of Christian Education of the national church; after that, 
they were printed locally at College expense. Sometimes the stu- 
dents were asked to keep the card. Other times, cards were col- 
lected by the leaders, who customarily wrote each student 
personally if he had made a commitment for the first time, 
either to Christ or to full-time Christian work. First-time decisions 
for Christ declined significantly during this period. Numbering 
65, 27, 35 and 40 in the early thirties, they were 2 (1949), 39 
(1950), 8 (1957), 9 (1959). Not every year were the cards re- 
turned to the speaker and in the later years statistics were not 
diligently kept, but figures available indicate a decline. In 1961, 
there appeared to be an exception. Dr. Louis Evans that year indi- 
cated that he had received 103 acceptances of Christ, but he 
added, "Of course many of these had obviously confessed Christ 
before. . . .or thought they had." At the same time he reported 68 
interested in full-time Church vocations. 

Questions asked on cards varied. Quite simple at first, addi- 
tional options were added until in 1961 there were eleven. 
Somewhat typical was the card for 1941, which read: 

I will today accept and confess Jesus Christ as my Savior 



and master and will commit my life to His direction. 

I will renew my allegiance to Christ my Lord and pledge 

anew my loyalty to his Church. 

I pledge my life to full-time Christian service, as God makes 



known his will to me. 

The customary procedure was to place cards in boxes at the back 
of the auditorium. 

Sometimes the leader would use devices other than cards, as 
did Evans in 1936. That year, he asked all to close their eyes 
after each service. He read a verse of Scripture and asked the stu- 
dents who would accept Christ for the first time or rededicate 
themselves to Him to raise their hands. "Nobody sees but God," 
he assured them. 

The years 1943 and 1944 were war years and the forty-second 
Army Air Force Cadets was based on campus. Protestant men were 

25 



invited to services, and some came. One problem noted in 1944 
was that the services started at 7:00. Soldiers could be out with 
girls until 7:15; so only twenty-six or thirty attended. The enlisted 
men would sit together, marching in with their service flag pre- 
ceding them. 

Increasing criticism of the methods used in the February meet- 
ings during the late fifties indicated that a new mood was 
creeping over the campus. Part of these strictures undoubtedly 
may be attributed to greater freedom of expression. Part may be 
assigned to a changing profile in the student body. Almost all 
students were Christians in the early thirties— many dedicated to 
preparing for Church professions. By 1960, students came from 
differing and many from non-Christian backgrounds. Campus 
interests were changing. 

Some of those leading February Meetings were also quite 
critical. The earliest and most negative record of this type of 
censure came from the leader of the 1957 Meetings in the form of 
a five -page letter of criticism. Among other things, he criticized 
the "over-preponderant tone and attitude of a fundamentalist 
minority." He said he longed for some "good old fighters" and 
called for "healthy agnosticism." He viewed the dormitory 
discussion with the leaders as the most beneficial part of the 
series. This leader likewise criticized the "Y" organizations so 
central to historical success of the Meetings as previously noted. 
He suggested the substitution of the United Student Campus 
Christian movement or a similar organization. In 1959, the 
dormitory sessions became strident. A letter concerning the 
Carnegie discussion that year expressed concern that the students 
"shifted the emphasis from the sins of the individual where the 
preacher was putting it to the sins of the College." That same 
year, an Echo editorial indicated that the campus was shifting 
from Christ-centeredness to secularism. Then in 1961, came the 
very enthusiastic reception by students of Dr. Louis Evans. A 
new chaplain had just arrived on the campus. Three years later in 
a letter to a prospective leader and church official, this chaplain 
recalled his reaction to those 1961 sessions: "[They] had the 
atmosphere of old type emotional evangelism." He continued by 
saying he considered the Meetings "almost frightening." 

Students in 1960 discussed the commitment cards, noting that 
some of their companions resented this card. They decided that 

26 



year, however, that the cards must be of value since so many were 
turned in voluntarily. But by 1963, virtually no student favored 
the card, which, as one student expressed it, savored of "signing 
a contract with God." Communion, which had been employed in 
the forties, was substituted for this practice and continues to be a 
part of the program. Some students in 1965 expressed concern 
about the embarrassment this communion service held for the 
many non-Christians among students in attendance. By 1960, also, 
students were complaining of "too much congregational singing" 
and insisting that the evening meeting be restricted to one hour. 

These negative voices being raised were bell-wethers of changes 
in procedure that came with the arrival on campus of new leader- 
ship—a new president, a chaplain, and dynamic new members of 
the Bible department as well as an unusually fluid faculty mem- 
bership during the 1960's. Coupled with these novelties was a 
changing student body reflecting new interests and a new religious 
orientation then abroad in the country and in the Church as well. 

"Kaleidoscopic" would seem to be the best word to describe the 
changes during the administration of Dr. Copeland. The new pres- 
ident was not a newcomer to February Meetings. In 1954 and 
1959 he had been the leader. As a speaker he was quite popular 
and he had a sense of dedication to the religious sentiment which 
the Meetings represented. Circumstances noted above, however, 
were to decree new structures, new modes of worship, and a major 
change in campus response to traditional ways of doing things. The 
1962 Meetings were conducted with Httle change in the format by 
Dr. Brubaker, who had also led the 1957 Meetings. Students were 
asked to evaluate these meetings. Their chief complaint was that 
the series was too long, and the speeches were too numerous. The 
following year a committee of over fifty representing a wide spec- 
trum of campus concerns was organized into the Religious Life 
and Action Committee. It consisted of the leaders of the student 
body, the president and vice president of each of the Y's, class 
presidents, the Echo editor and other representative faculty and 
students. Noticeable was a growing desire to turn toward topics 
related to social education and action and away from emphasis on 
personal religion and character. Race, ecumenicity, war, peace, sex, 
ecology, and like themes have dominated the Copeland years, as 
students and faculty have sought to integrate religion and group 
Ufe. The year 1963 hkewise saw the introduction of four counselors 

27 



to assist the principal speaker, Dr. Thomas Franklyn Hudson. The 
speaker still used Bibhcal themes as he drew from the Parables of 
the Old Testament, but these were oriented toward the meaning 
for 1963. This was the year in which the commitment card was 
abandoned by student desire. Dr. Hudson still addressed the entire 
campus as had earlier leaders mornings and evenings but the 
series was shortened to eight days. Youth workers held a series of 
dormitory meetings after the evening sermons. 

The following year, the series was further reduced in time to six 
days including a weekend. Dr. Lewis Briner and Dr. K. Arnold 
Nakajama were brought for separate sessions. Dr. Briner the first 
two days and Dr. Nakajama the last three. Dormitory counselors 
were again employed— two local ministers, a pastor from Decatur, 
Alabama, and a popular student leader from Greeneville, Tennessee. 
The theme that year was "Man in the 1960's," and topics devel- 
oped included social drinking, sex, and cheating. Student response 
was generally quite enthusiastic. The Editor of the Echo devoted 
much space in the newspaper to the happenings of the Meetings. 
His editorial said: "The phrase, 'February Meetings' normally 
causes a shudder in those members of the Maryville College family 
vvho object to religious emphasis in a week's dose. This year, how- 
ever, we find quite a different atmosphere invading the campus." 
Again the Echo commented on impressions ranging from "O.K." 
to "Cool as a Moose." A freshman said, "They weren't the awful 
February Meetings that everyone had told me about; they were 
interesting." A new generation had found a new vehicle and were 
proud of its appearance. Not since that year has the Echo devoted 
so much space in so many issues to this subject. As novelty 
became commonplace, reports in the paper dwindled to nothing 
in 1967 and 1968 and cursory announcements in most other years. 
Of course there were also adverse criticisms. Some complained of 
"too much sociology" and others of a "lack of real religious 
emphasis." Nor did the music satisfy all. "I miss Barry and his 
piano banging," commented one girl. The communion service 
''everyone"" agreed was "wonderful." 

The years 1965 and 1966 saw the employment of a principal 
speaker in the mornings in conjunction with evening panels made 
up of five and four counselors for each year respectively. In 1965 
the panels came after the evening services extending over six days. 
In 1966 the sermon in the evening was dispensed with, and panels 

28 



consisting of the morning speaker and the counselors discussed 
such topics as the "Twentieth Century Church" and the "Place 
of Christ in a Christian College." 

The meetings in following years seem to have been related to 
each other in chain fashion, the linkage being a continuing factor 
which was joined to novelty. In 1967 the duration of the series 
was still seven days. Mornings retained the sermons. In the evenings 
panels gave way to forums as counselors, this year including two 
recent graduates, devoted time to considering problems of youth 
in deteriorating urban centers. The activist pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church in Chicago, the Reverend John Fry, and a 
University of Tennessee sociologist were on hand for the occasion. 
The forum idea continued in 1968, but novelty was introduced 
through substitution of four weekends for the week's concentra- 
tion of spiritual emphasis. The Meetings opened with a three-day 
hturgical art workshop. This concluded with a Vespers speaker. 
The following week a three-day series with a Friday-morning 
speech and an evening forum ended in a Vespers service conducted 
by the primary speaker. Dr. E. Cantelon, assisted by two recent 
graduates who were now seminarians, conducted this series. Morn- 
ing and evening speeches on two other days and a forum of four 
Presbyterian and Reform Church moderators completed the 
February sessions that year. The four-weekend concept continued 
in 1969 but shifted to January. Three "CIV" (Community Issues 
and Values) and Vespers speakers and the Singing Sisters from 
the Medical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia provided the leadership 
that year. An ecumenical panel of Protestant, Greek Orthodox, 
and Catholic leaders joined Dr. Bruce Rigdon on the third week- 
end. 

"The Christian and the State and the Christian and the Church" 
provided the topics for the January Meetings in 1970. The series 
was now confined to two days, in which four leaders were on 
hand for CIV meetings and panel discussions in the "Lantern," 
the local name for an informal student gathering place. "Infor- 
mality" was the keyword of the year. Classes were dismissed, and 
speakers joined faculty in classrooms for discussions. The Vespers 
service prior to these two days was given over to a celebration of 
the "Feast of Lights." 

Informality and "no classes" were carried over into the fol- 
lowing year, but a new word had gained currency— "rapping"; 

29 



so the four leaders "rapped" on the general theme of "Chris- 
tianity: Confrontation and Change." One speaker made his 
imprint on the student body by wearing a brand new pair of 
overalls for his CIV presentation. The meetings extended from 
Thursday through Sunday and, aside from the CIV program, 
included talk sessions with the speakers, panel discussions, a 
slide presentation, a folk-rock festival, an all-day retreat, and a 
final Communion vespers, an event which by this time had become 
"traditional." The Echo, virtually silent after recent series, voiced 
considerable dissatisfaction following this 1971 series. The editor 
objected to its "sociological," "Do Good," "humanistic" type of 
religion and the calling off of classes. He noted the large number of 
students who had left the campus. Echo comments may not 
always be relied upon as voicing general opinion, however, and 
those who remained on campus apparently considered their 
experience rewarding, as a number were in attendance at the 
retreat in Tremont (the Maryville College ecological center) and 
the various forums. 

Revision of procedures in 1972 brought high praise from the 
Echo, as it devoted almost an entire edition to the Meetings and 
declared, "The meetings reached new heights through novel 
devices." The theme that year was "Worship." The characteristic 
phrase might have been "A Happening." The position of speaker 
was dispensed with and a "Worship Coordinator" was substituted. 
Father Geoffrey Skriner, a recent Maryville College graduate and 
an Episcopal priest, held this position. Entitled "The Struggle to 
be Human," this January series embraced such programs as a 
multimedia and celebration worship; seminars with CIV credit on 
such topics as "Contemporary Problems in Coaching," "Do You 
Have to Belong to a Revolution to Be Human?," "Ecology, Abor- 
tion, and Government," "Politics and the Free Man." These 
seminars— eleven in all— were led by Faculty members. Adjuncts 
of the meetings included an all-night program on Friday with 
athletic events, recreation, folk singers, refreshments, the movie 
Rachel, Rachel and the Sartre play "No Exit" with a reply by the 
English department, "Centuries of Exits," and a celebration of 
the Lord's Supper. Saturday provided another movie, "Only Two 
Can Play," inaugurated small-group suppers in the homes of 
faculty and staff, with liturgies for the home, ending in a kiss of 
peace and concluded with a country hoe-down. The highlights of 

30 



the series were brought together in a January Meetings Vespers 
in which Dr. Copeiand and Dr. Harter provided the leadership. 
Reaction was enthusiastic. Such comments as "the lack, of outside 
speakers gave the meetings a less stratified approach" or "Through 
innovation the January Meetings became a more vital force than in 
several years past." The celebration worship, in which balloons 
bearing such slogans as "God is love," rated high on evaluation 
questionnaires afterwards, but the Saturday-night suppers rated 
the highest. Seminars were attended by seventy-three on Thursday 
and sixty-six on Friday. 

The campus-based leadership for seminars was continued the 
following year, when the theme was "There is Hope, But. . . . 
"This year there was a return to an imported speaker, and dismissal 
of classes was repeated. Seminars varied, with each department at- 
tempting to relate its discipline to Christian and non-Christian 
hope. A contemporary cantata, athletic events, Appalachian folk 
music, an art workshop, a work-service project for two hours 
Saturday afternoon, faculty-home suppers, a country hoe-down, 
a rock concert and dance, and a Communion Vespers service made 
up the program. The Echo receded into its former scanty comment 
following the meeting. One writer noted that the students were 
dubbing the series a "mid-term vacation" but concluded with an 
"unqualified 'yes' " to the self-raised question "Is there value to 
January Meetings?" "Those who attend are challenged," he 
affirmed, "to reexamine their values and are better for it." 

Again in 1974, meetings were held from Thursday through Sun- 
day. Classes were again dismissed. The theme this year was 
"Freedom (Self-Determination)." Dr. John Fry was brought again 
to the campus to make two CIV speeches: "Take Charge of Your 
Own Life" and "Ha-Ha-Ha!" and to engage in informal discussions. 
Athletic events; a country hoe-down; faculty-student-led seminars 
in the afternoon; the all-night event on Friday, this year, in keeping 
with the theme entitled "Freedom Night"; a Saturday work- 
service project, followed by supper in faculty homes and a Sunday 
Communion Vespers service were repeated. 

Pursuant to evaluating committee reports for the precedmg 
three years, the 1975 Committee on Religion and Life recom- 
mended the return to a program without dismissal of classes. 
"Survival: Alone or Together? Christian and Global Consciousness" 
was the 1975 theme. Two off-campus speakers were brought for 

31 



morning and evening speeches for each of two days. The practice 
of faculty-student-led seminars was continued, but they were 
reduced to four. Group singing similar to that of earlier years was 
reintroduced prior to the evening service. (Partly due to insuffi- 
cient publicity, attendance was less than desirable.) A discussion 
meeting followed the services. Athletics, two appropriate motion 
pictures, and a Communion Vespers service concluded the events. 
An innovation was a twenty-four hour fast symbolizing the need 
for food for the world. The small number of enthusiastic fasters 
who participated in this event met at the conclusion of Vespers to 
participate in a meal together. 

In 1960 the YMCA and YWCA were merged with other religious 
organizations to form the United Campus Christian Fellowship 
(UCCF). This in turn gave way eight laters later to the United 
Campus Movement. Student religious leadership was passed from 
one to the other of the organizations, which in sequence played 
diminishing roles in carrying out the February Meetings programs. 
In recent years, the UCM has disappeared and the student role in 
planning for the series is left in the hands of a subcommittee of 
the Religion and Life Committee of the All-College Council. In 
1975, this subcommittee was headed by a student who was most 
devoted to his task and largely responsible for the program as it 
successfully emerged. 

Trial, error and experimentation have characterized the formats 
of the last dozen years. As the program is shuffled kaleidoscopical- 
ly by successive committees, old practices are united with novelties 
to form new patterns. Students join with faculty in their search 
for the most attractive and meaningful combinations which will 
unite religion and life and join academic and spiritual progress 
into ar integrated whole. One who probes deeply may discern 
earlier paradigms for almost everything done today. An all-night 
"happening" means more to today's youth than an all-night In- 
quiry Room. Folk singers' concerts or a country hoe-down serves 
the purposes of earlier after-the-meeting "snap" socials. There may 
not be student delegations to the depot and a campus band to 
wind up the series as in the early 1900's, but there are trumpets 
and guitar or brass ensembles in the formal evening sessions and 
sometimes in Communion services. Each age tries to fashion itself 
anew out of scraps of the past in new configurations, sometimes 
quite unaware that it is doing so. 

32 



"And All Kinds of Music" 

Hold the fort, I'm coining, 
Jesus signals still, 
Wave the answer back to Heaven, 
By thy Grace, we will. 

See the mighty host advancing, 
Satan leading on. 
Mighty men around us falling 
Courage almost gone. 

Hold the fort, I'm coming; etc. 

by P. P. BUss 

If, indeed, the message which inspired this hymn by P. P. Bliss 
was sent from the Maryville College campus as reported, it un- 
doubtedly, along with Bliss's "Rescue the Perishing," was a favorite 
in the early Meetings. While fragmentary, information is sufficient 
to reconstruct a probable idea of the part music played in the early 
years. The piano was the only instrument used in chapel services, 
though by 1895 leaders were noting the need of an organist. There 
were also volunteer orchestra and song groups by that time, the 
quartet being a strong favorite. By 1899, Professor John G. New- 
man was using Song of Praise and Consecration by J. Wilbur 
Chapman in 1899. That year, the speaker noted he had not "been 
in [his] room five minutes before [he] heard the stirring strains of 
'Throw Out the Life Line' as it was sung by a band of students in 
another part of the building [Baldwin] , and as the train rolled out 
of Maryville on the last morning the teachers and students joined in 
a Christian song." 

Another song popular in the early days was the "Battle Hymn of 
the Republic." In 1894, the National Association for the Advance- 
ment of Women held its convention on the campus. Julia Ward 
Howe was present for the occasion and from the platform recom- 
mended a modification of the final verse to make it appropriate for 
peace instead of war. To the present, many Maryvillians sing this 
hymn with its pacific rather than its martial connotation. 

Music played a major role in the conversion appeal. Thus, Dr. 
Wilson in 1906 could relate the account of a young Kentuckian who 
"had enhsted for Christ the night before" asking the quartet to 
repeat a song that had helped him make his decision. As a result of 
the encore another student gave his life to Christ. In the memorable 

33 



1920 meetings led by well-known evangelist Mel Trotter, music 
was central. That year Homer Hammontree, as he had for some 
years, headed up the musical team. This consisted of "one of the 
finest quartets in the business" and an accomplished accompanist, 
"Little Dick" Oliver, who had traveled with the American troops 
during World War I. The quartet, "The American Four," called 
themselves "Sharks for Christian Work". For four and two-thirds 
cents, Homer Rodeheaver had prepared a special songbook for the 
meetings. It was the pianist, however, who evoked the greatest 
student response. Numerous Echo notations were made on his 
playing. One, in a somewhat humorous vein, perhaps deserves 
reproduction. Entitled "How Dick Oliver Played," the column 
reads: 

Dick Oliver came out and sot down at a big pianner that looked 
like a three-legged pool table. He started running his fingers over 
them keys kind of airy like and sort of like he was hunting a 
place to start ... I hadn't more'n got my hat when he came down 
on that old pianner both handed and with a slash that sent chills 
of music reverberating up and down my spine like an electric 
shock .... He did a crosshanded shimmy somewhere in the 
neighborhood of Middle C . . . . The thunder rolled clear down to 
the bowels of perdition. Now he started fox chasing up the treble 
cleff till the notes got as fine as sunbeams. After he got them notes 
clean out of sight, he took a few spasmodic curricules and jazz 
coaxers, holding every blessed note on that old pianner down at 
the same time, in jada-jazz i-quivers. 

Students of a later age would be able to detect a kindred spirit for 
"Little Dick" in "Barry." 

Some of the gospel songs sung at this period included "Just as I 
am," "I Am Coming Home," "Almost Persuaded," "Gethsemane," 
"The Land Where the Roses Never Fade," "The Prodigal Son," 
"There's a Song in My Heart." In years just prior to this, 
Awakening Songs had been purchased for the occasion, while later 
special purchases were made of Revival Gems. 

The year 1921 also placed special emphasis on the musical team. 
Hammontree, returning that year, brought with him the "Victor 
Trio." The pianist, B. D. Ackley, was acknowledged to be "not 
only a Master at the piano, but ... a composer of note," producing 
hymns such as "If Your Heart Keeps Right," "I Walk with the 
King," and "I Am Coming Home," all of which were sung in the 
Meetings. That same year, Mr. James Goddard, called by Hammon- 
tree "the world's second greatest baritone" happened to be visiting 

34 



relatives and donated his service to the success of the Meetings by 
giving a Saturday evening concert. In this performance a high point 
was reach when he sang "The Golden Bells," sending "a thrill 
through the souls of the audience." 

In those years, music always terminated the Meetings, as the 
congregation sang "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," "Till we Meet 
Again," and, after the "Howie-how for Jesus," the "Alma 
Mater." In 1921, the band under the College director, Mr. Harry 
Bannister, played at the final session and accompanied the de- 
parture of the student body. 

The arrival on the campus of the Reverend Sidney E. Stringham 
in February, 1922, brought a red-letter year. Up until 1953, Mr. 
Stringham, fondly called "Stingem," led the singing some thirty 
times and in the early years was a perennial favorite among 
students. The Highland Echo in 1923 noted that he "Worked 
many miracles on the Hill. Many sang who never had sung during 
the year." Some of these the Echo singled out by name. "No 
one," it continued, "could go away and say they had not been 
shown the way to salvation" as voices were lifted in songs such as 
"Love Lifted Me" or "Back to My Father and Home." Most of the 
Stringham years saw the use of local pianists, students or faculty. 

It became customary for Mr. Stringham to introduce choruses to 
become the annual theme songs. Such choruses as "Wide, Wide as 
the Ocean" and "Beyond the Sunset" were employed in the 
forties. Occasionally Mr. Stringham would venture to compose his 
own chorus, such as the one in 1943: 

There is a joy in following Jesus all the way; 

There is a joy in following Jesus everyday; 

His love is hke the rainbow when earthly skies are grey; 

There is joy in following Jesus all the way. 

In 1949, Stringham was joined by Henry Barraclough, who had 
been discovered by Chapman and Alexander and had been their 
accompanist as a young man. He too was a composer of gospel 
songs, among which were "Nothing but Leaves," sung by String- 
ham as a solo that first year "Barry" was at Maryville; "Ivory 
Palaces"; "We are Going through the Valley, One by One"; and 
the anthem "Trumpet of God." In 1950, Stringham set his words 
to Barry's song "Shine, Shine," to provide the 1950 theme song: 



35 



Joy, Joy, Joy in the Heart; 

Joy, Joy, Joy in the heart; 

Serve him today; 

Serve him alway; 

Serve him with joy every day. 

Throughout the entire scope of the meetings until recent years 
the choir was a key element. Barry endeared himself to the mem- 
bers and they to him. He set up an award for outstanding choir 
members which has continued to be given each year. 

By 1960, as they did in other areas, students began to question 
the use being made of music in the services. That year they stated 
that there was too much congregational singing and that the 
services should be limited to one hour. Mr. Stringham was replaced 
by John Magill, an alumnus and a Presbyterian minister, who led 
the singing seven times between 1952 and 1962. Hymns in 1963 
were cut from seven to three in the evening services, and students 
began to suggest that they be permitted to choose their own "good 
old hymns," a practice that had been followed to a degree in 
earlier meetings. Maryville's choir director, Harry Harter, provided 
leadership for congregational singing. This type of singing largely 
gave way to folk and rock groups such as the Singing Sisters (1969), 
Blufton College Travellers (1971), the Schillings (1972), and a 
modern cantata (1973), although it was never totally absent. The 
choir was used only on special occasions. Where congregational 
singing was employed, songs were often of the modern or folk type 
such as "Lord of the Dance," "Comebyar," or "They'll Know We 
Are Christians." In recent years there has been a growing tendency 
to interject some of the Old gospel songs such as "Amazing Grace." 
Instrumental music is currently more in vogue than in the past. 
Old religious favorites are often rendered on guitar, or as was "Jesu, 
Joy of Man's Desiring" in 1972, played on the Moog Synthesizer. 
In 1975, with only partial success, an attempt was made to rein- 
troduce the half-hour congregational singing prior to the evening 
service. In a sense, save for the reluctance to engage in congrega- 
tional singing, music used in the February Meetings has come full 
circle, but with variations on the themes. 



36 



"Speaking the Truth in Love" 

Leadership during the century of February Meetings has covered 
the spectrum from evangeUstically fervent to intellectually dig- 
nified. The one norm sought was dedication to the Christian hfe. 
For approximately half a century, eleven leaders conducted the 
services. Four— Bachman, Elmore, Bartlett and Broady—account 
for a quarter of a century. Except for Bachman, the "father" of 
the Meetings, these were Maryville College graduates who had 
themselves been converted at the Meetings. Five of the seven who 
led for another quarter of a century were Maryville graduates. 
Graduates throughout the century have sought to be invited back 
for the occasion. Some of the initial meetings of the series were led 
by administration or faculty persons, as was the case for the first 
four meetings inl914. Recently less emphasis has been placed on 
leadership off campus, one year there being no visiting speaker.* 

The College has always sought men of stature with qualities 
which would appeal to youth. Dr. Bachman, pastor of Second 
Presbyterian Church in Knoxville and founder of the Meetings, was 
called by President Wilson "Apostle of love and gentleness, loyalty 
and vision, who like Goldsmith's village preacher sought to allure 
to brighter worlds and lead the way." The leader for eight years 
over a span of thirty, Dr. Bachman had been a well-known 
evangelist. His interests according to Wilson were directed "man- 
ward as well as Godward." This is evidenced by the fact that from 
his meager savings he set up a student loan fund of $2000 to 
enable needy students to pay academic expenses. 

In terms of tenure, E. A. Elmore held the record as leader. A stu- 
dent worker on Anderson Hall, alumnus of the College in 1875, 
professor from 1884 to 1888, and later chairman of the Board of 
Directors, his service to the College ended in 1928. That year it was 
announced cryptically, "Dr. E. A. Elmore whose turn it was to 
conduct the meetings this year, died last May." Even in 1924, the 
last series which he led, the Echo billed him as "advanced beyond 
the alloted span of life." 



*Names of leaders for the meetings may be found in R. W. Lloyd, Mary- 
ville College: A History of 1 50 Years. For the years since 1969 see Appendix 
B. 



37 



while one comment by students on the general leadership 
extolled the "quiet, sane methods" of the men, there were other 
attractions as well.** Dr. W. T. Bartlett and Dr. Louis Evans were 
set apart because of their powerful physiques and the associations 
they held with national competitive sports— baseball and basket- 
ball respectively. Some, as was the Reverend E. A. Cameron in 
1906, were admired for their youth. The comments most in evi- 
dence from student writers, however, singled out spiritual qualities 
as those most admired. In 1904, Dr. Bartlett was praised because 
"the presence of the Holy Spirit was manifestly present, convicting 
of sin, and convincing of duty." In 1965, students themselves 
helped to lay down norms they desired for a leader; "a man of 
tried ability to preach to young people; a convincing personality, 
a clear evangelical belief and message, an intellectual approach, a 
balance of the intellectual with the emotional and ethical." 

As previously noted, topics and themes of speakers tended to 
shift over the century from those of personal salvation toward 
those of social action. As many of the topics and themes as could 
be found are listed in Appendix A for the readers' perusal. It was 
customary during the first half century, when the leadership was 
rotating each quinquennium, for some of the leaders to repeat 
their sermons. Thus, Dr. Gillingham, in 1935, president of Tennent 
College, could write: 

It interests me that they [the February Meetings] begin today, 
for one of the other times they began on February the 5th was 
exactly 30 years ago today, during my own senior year at Mary- 
ville, as this is the Senior year of my twins— a day, Sunday, snow 



**The one dramatic exception to what faculty and staff regarded as 
restrained evangelical methods was Mel Trotter, whose procedures have 
previously been noted. A 1920 assessment of Trotter's methods notes his 
"rapid fire method of jumping from text to apt illustration and back, 
keeping his audience awake and on tiptoe every minute. He translates the 
gospel into the vernacular so its meaning is not mistakable. He believes in 
covering the jail, the streets, the parks and factories." However, the 
writer concludes, 'There is only legitimate emotional appeal in his 
sermons." 



38 



a foot deep or deeper and temperatures several degrees below 
zero. Dr. Elmore was the preacher that year. 1 can remember 
yet some of his texts and large parts of sermons on those 
texts. You [Dr. Lloyd] heard them ten years later in 1 91 5, 
your senior year." 

The writer then proceeded to prove his statement by reviewing 
Dr. Elmore's topics and their contents. 

Financial resources for the Meetings came from varied places. 
Some leaders contributed services freely or for a nominal hono- 
rarium. A number of individuals made donations toward expenses 
as did an anonymous donor in the 1920's. The Presbyterian Church 
Board of Christian Education made fairly regular contributions for 
a number of years. Of $700 expenses in 1961, S80 was provided 
by this board. Dr. Evans that year was paid S300, while the musi- 
cians received $175 each. Students, too, made their contributions 
in the form of gifts to the visiting leaders. In 1920, a little over 
$207 was collected from the student body. This was expended for 

a gold watch— $50 

a wardrobe trunk— $55 

5 gold pieces at $20 each 

cartage for the trunk— $1 

balance to Fred Hope Fund— $1.41 

The most significant donation for the on-going costs of the Meet- 
ings came from the Second Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. 
Close ties to Maryville College have been held by this church since 
the beginning of both institutions under the tutelage of Isaac 
Anderson. With the $3,980 contributed to the Nathan W. Bach- 
man February Meetings Fund, the income from which was to be 
used for current expenses, financing of the series became easier 
after 1920. Dr. Wilson expressed his gratitude for this largess with 
the suggestion that "Dr. Bachman would be made happier, even 
in heaven, if he heard of that much-needed and most useful gift." 

"Many who Heard the Word Believed." 

Remaining to be examined is the student response to the 
Meetings. Difficult to summarize, or even to assess, one may 
safely categorize it as generally favorable, sometimes enthusias- 
tically so; often conflicting; sometimes indifferent ; and inire- 

39 



quently negative. 

Some reactions persist throughout the hundred years. Each 
generation has stressed its modernity and difference from its pre- 
decessors. Each generation has tried to assess and criticize the 
receptivity or lack of receptivity of its contemporaries. Most of 
the responses have been couched in terms of the acceptabihty of 
the leaders. As leadership has become less important in recent 
years, Echo assessments have become less prominent and in some 
years have disappeared entirely. Negative responses have become 
more frequent. Many responses have been reflected in the review 
of striking phraseology of the speakers, often banalities, which 
students deemed worthy of repeating. Early editorials and letters 
were basically favorable while, occasionally, later writers have 
become antagonistic. This may be explained partially by the 
greater freedom of expression, bordering on license, assumed by 
the student newspaper in recent years, as compared with the more 
faculty-controlled press in the earlier part of the century. 

It may safely be said that each generation has viewed itself as 
unique, modern, and undergoing change. A student in 1905 
stated: "Narrowness of mind is disappearing. The character of 
the class of students has been undergoing a change. . . .The change 
is a modernizing one, and is resulting in greater mental breadth." 
The essence of this statement has been repeated monotonously 
through the years. Integrally related to this opinion was the avowal 
of most student generations that Maryville College Meetings were 
somewhat different from most in that they stressed rationality as 
opposed to emotion-laden presentations. Describing the average 
reaction to revival as an "emotional spasm mistaken for religion or 
salvation outlasting revival by a day or two," a 1927 editorial af- 
firms: "Maryville College revivals or February Meetings have an 
entirely different meaning. No undue emphasis on primitive 
instincts, though of course, they are involved in all men's actions 
and behavior" is present. "The appeal throughout the entire series 
was non-emotional, sensible, and rational." Some quarter of a 
century later two editorials echo this view. "Many of us are simply 
repulsed by religion typified in 'sawdust trail,' amen corner,' and 
'sing that chorus a Httle louder. Brother,' but our meetings each 
year need not be like that. . . .They are relevant to our own day." 
Again, "The February Meetings avoid 'Cheap Sensationalism.' " 
In 1961, the same issue of the Eclio carried letters with opposing 

40 



views. One, reflecting the sentiment of the new College pastor 
(cited on page 30), suggests, "Evangelists such as Billy Graham 
must encumber their preaching with powerful emotional 
appeals. . . .but the College student should not require as much 
emotional bombardment for intellectual stimulation." Then in 
indirect criticism of Louis Evans, the speaker that year, the 
writer called for a leader for the next year "who will treat us 
intellectually and emotionally as college students." 

In marked contrast to the above view, a student widely known 
for his intellectual proclivity wrote an open letter in the same issue 
of the Echo to Louis Evans. Because this seems to reflect the wider 
sentiment as to the speaker for his three visits to the campus, 
large parts of this letter bear quoting. 

. . . We have become perhaps more tolerant of our own college 
situation, while at the same time developing sensitivity to a 
much-needed constructive dissatisfaction with personal areas 
of our institutional hves .... 

Many have said that MC was "ready" for the February 
Meetings, and thus the gaping pit of their indifference was par- 
tially filled. There are others who hold that your [Evans'] 
presentation style was the striking factor of the meetings: some 
feel that it was ineffectual or even detrimental, and most others 
looked on it as the spur to goad us out of complacency. There 
will be the pure cynics of us, whose lack of ambition will prevent 
us from plumbing depths more profound than ourselves, any- 
time; and some or us, the "open minded"— to use your garbage 
dump metaphor— who have only been tossed on the high waves of 
togetherness and self-imposed "February spirit" and will just as 
quickly be left high and dry when the tide goes out. Ninety-five 
per cent of us, though, are in the third, middle-of-the-road 
category, the two aspects of which are alike: the honest searchers 
and the honest doubters. But, being constantly turned, these are 
the most fertile grounds on which that seed could have fallen. 

Whatever the reasons for our individual attitudes, your visit 
had an effect, for once in MC's life— you uncovered furtive some- 
things that have been latent a long time. For the first time in 
years, the entire student body has been moved to a point where 
they must accept or reject, and has been left with the charge of 
its own decision: there's no more room for indifference, because 
the future of our lives, the college— and more important, the 
world-is at stake. The point is, sir, that you were one of few 
speakers on this campus in at least four years who has had much 
to say at all; about the second or third to relate your word to 
any existence outside the college community; and the only per- 
son of any kind-inside or outside MC-to "challenge" us instead 
of talking about "challenge" .... Most outstanding of all, hitherto 
unmoved faculty and students have awakened to take stock of their 

41 



personal obligations; indeed a more conscientious, vigorous re- 
lationship between the taught and learned seems essential now. . . . 

Now almost no one has been fool enough to think that Febru- 
ary Meetingsism implies automatic salvation or reawakening for any 
of us. There's a sort of natural skepticism in us that would rightly 
make us resent being used like that, and it's hard to find a better 
atom-age antidote for a religion that has previously been presented 
in comparatively medieval terms. . . . Most students and personnel 
here feel indebted to you for having shown us something of a duty 
without trying to do it for us. That's unique and even occasionally 
borders on the inspiring. Thanks a million, Coach. 

Evans appeared three times as leader. The occasion responded to 
above was twenty-five years after his first enthusiastic reception. 
It is worthy of note that what the new College pastor in 1961 
regarded as "the old type emotional evangelism" was assessed by 
one student to be a reflection of ninety-five percent of the student 
body's view as a challenge to a "more vigorous relationship between 
the taught and the learned." 

Upon numerous occasions, student editors pointed out that 
the success of the "Meetings" depended upon the nature of the 
student body more than upon the leader. A writer in the Maryville 
Magazine in 1914 notes, "If there is one thing on the yearly pro- 
gram which the College authorities stress more than another, it is 
the 'February Meetings' . . . But a great part of revolutionizing the 
lives of the students depends upon the Christian student body and 
the YMCA." Leadership assessment of the nature of students has 
remained remarkably consistent through the years. The then preva- 
lent opinion of leaders of education as to the nature of students 
was cited by Dr. Lloyd in 1928 to be that "college youth is but 
slightly concerned with religion." Assessment by a leader in 1939 
was that "students have no purpose in life." A student assessment 
of his own generation in 1959 was that it was "a growing practice 
to make fun of God, Christ, and all aspects of worship." Students 
in 1962 viewing the religious climate on the College campus used 
such words as "lukewarm," "activity without depth," "self- 
centered," "spiritual laziness," "academic overemphasis," "too 
much emphasis on religion, therefore we become stagnant," "too 
intellectual or pseudo-intellectual," and even complained that 
"students receive no spiritual experience from exams"! In 1965, 
the view of the Chaplain was that the College generation was 
"little concerned with the world issues except race," and that 

42 



there was a "too fundamentalist approach in the Bible Depart- 
ment." The editor in 1971 called "contemporary religious activity 
hardly worth a hill of beans." if, therefore, response did indeed 
depend upon the nature of the student body, the prospects for 
success of the Meetings would have been consistently gloomy. 

Throughout the period, however, much enthusiasm as to the 
effects oi the Meetings was expressed by students. Perhaps the best 
way of presenting such response is chronologically. Representative 
student comments were as follows during the years. 

(1907) "Of all the good things that come to us in Maryvilie 
College, we can say that by far the best is the annual 
Evangelistic Service." 

(1924) "Almost all the students are behind the great move- 
ment." "Eternal destinies were made in those days." 

(1928) "His messages are overflowing with good, sound advice 
and words of truth." 

(1942) "We believe there is no exaggeration in the statement 
that every student present has been influenced by the 
messages and personality of Dr. Barbour." 

(1943) "How do you like the Meetings?" Ans. "They get 
better every day." "Why do we like him more?" 
"Because we know him better." 

(1944) "I wasn't planning on going at all this year, but they 
were so interesting, I ended up going to every one." 

(1951) "There is something good intrinsic [sic] in the February 
meetings; what we get out of them depends upon our 
basic attitudes." 

(1954) "If you go expecting to be bored, you will be bored. If 

you go expecting to experience spiritual growth, you will 
experience spiritual growth. . . .Long after we graduate 
from Maryvilie College, we will look back with thankful 
memories to the inspiration of February Meetings." 

(1958) "February meetings to me hold a very high standing. 
They should never be done away with, whatever is 
discussed for or against." 

(1960) "We wish to make public the voice of the students both 
Christian and agnostic who have expressed appreciation 
for the intellectual and spiritual integrity of the 1960 
meetings." 

43 



(1962) "The meetings tend to unite the student body; provide a 
common commitment for spiritual growth." 
"They attract and change to some extent those students 
who before refused to respond to a Christian way of life." 

(1964) "One of the girls who was most critical and who made a 
very bitter speech at the forum, told me [the Chaplain] 
that the communion has changed her whole outlook on 
Ufe." 

Admittedly selective though these comments are, they reflect the 
dominant mood throughout the century. 

A minority and negative opinion first openly appeared in print 
during the 1960's. The negativism, voiced privately in a letter from 
one of the speakers in the late sixties, was submerged for a number 
of years. In the late sixties a measure of student indifference to- 
ward the Meetings followed an initial enthusiasm for novelty and 
experimentalism in Meetings format. This indifference is demon- 
strated by the silences of the Echo after the conclusion of the 
series e. g, in 1967 and 1969; normally, up to that time, the Echo 
had conducted extended post mortems. Some of this "blackout" 
of commentary may be attributed to the taking over of other 
interests, such as the new All-College Council. Some may be ac- 
counted for by the fact that classes were dismissed and a smaller 
number of students participated in the Meetings. Moreover, a more 
openly secular-minded student body had appeared. The 1970 Echo 
complained that the "meetings interfered with classwork." The 
calling off of classes resulted in sizable exodus from campus in 
1970 and 1971, but in a more enthusiastic group of those in at- 
tendance. The editor of 1970 objected to the "sociological," 
"do good," "humanistic type" of religion on campus. Although 
most indifference and voiced negativism is to be found in the past 
dozen years, the dominant expression, even during these years, has 
been positive and enthusiastic, but this comes from a smaller group 
of participants. 

What of the future of the Meetings? One writer's answer is this: 

The future must be shaped by the age in which we live. Things are 
not as they were 70 years ago. We are no longer shut in by moun- 
tains. A new age confronts us— an age of competition. . . of 
materialism. . . of individualism. We must keep step with the spirit 
of this age. We must allow freedom of investigation and give men 
time to think their way to the truth. 



44 



"We must keep step with the spirit of this age." A modernist view? 
Indeed it was— in February 1892, when Dr. Elmore, leader of the 
Meetings, expressed it! May these words and the circumstances 
surrounding them serve as a humble reminder that there were 
"modernists" in those days too. In Tennyson's timely lines, 

Let knowledge grow from more to more, 
But more of reverence in us dwell; 
That mind and soul, according well, 
May make one music as before. 



45 



APPENDIX A 

Partial List of Topics and Themes of February Meetings 
1898 to Date 



1898 
Days of Heaven upon Earth (Theme) 



1922 
Thesaurus of BibUcal Wealth (Theme) 



1900 
The Master Has Come and Calleth Thee 
(Theme) 

1905 
The Master Has Come and Calleth for Thee 

(Theme) 
Come Thou with Me unto My Lot and I Will 
Go with Thee unto Your Lot 
So I Came to Kadesh Barnea 

1913 
The Glory of God and the Advancement of 
the Kingdom Purchased by the Blood 
of the Only Begotten Son (Theme) 

1914 
Restitution for Wrongs Done (Theme) 

1915 
The Master has Come and Calleth for Thee 

(Theme) 
Come Thou with Me unto My Lot and I Will 
Go with Thee unto Your Lot 
So I Came to Kadesh Barnea 

1918 
In the Beginning (Theme) 
In the Image of God (Theme) 

1919 
What Must I Do to Be Saved? 
By Faith the Walls of Jericho Fell Down 
Create Within Me a Clean Heart 
Surely the Lord Is in This Place and I 
Knew It Not 

1920 
In the Days of Trouble Pray 
Receive the Meekness of Jesus 
Be Ye Reconciled to God 
Use and Abuse of Riches 



1924 
Way to Active Christian Life (Theme) 

1927 
(A Series of Gospel Sermons) 

1928 
Loyal to the Royal in Thyself (Theme) 

1929 
A Challenge to the Great Christian 

Adventure (Theme) 
Adventure of Religion 
Price of Christianity 
Freedom Among the Lilies 
The Yellow Streak 

1930 
Duty 

Relay Race of Life 
I Would See Jesus 
Many Adversaries 
What Met at Calvary 
Come Let us Reason Together 
The Lost Christ 
A Great Rock in a Weary Land 
Pilate's Denial 
Hypocrisy 
The Great Question 
Let Down the Net 
Wild Beasts of Ephesus 
The City Four-Square 
How Much Are You Worth? 
Great Battles You Have to Fight 

1931 
Right or Wrong: How Can You Tell 

Which? 
Reverence 
Temptation 

Let No Man Despise Thy Youth 
What It Means to Be a Christian 



Keeping the Doors Open 

Courage 

Power to Finish 

1932 



A Place Where Two Ways Met 
Weighed in the Balance 
What Must I Do to Be Saved? 
I Know Not the Man 
The Left-Over God 



Parting of the Ways 

The Invitation of Christ, "Come." 

A Seeking God 

Christ Curing Incurables 

Forgiveness 

Miracle in a Boy's Heart: Broken Bread 

Waste of the World 

Body of Christ 

Sword or the Cup? 

Doors of the Upper Room 

Peter Between Two Fires 

Broken and Unbroken Nets 

Vision of the Risen Christ 

He Is Able to Keep 

Storming the Fort 

Badge Wearers and Brand Bearers 

1933 

Rich Young Ruler 

Making up Your Mind: Your Real 

Freedom 
Your Name 
Jacob and Essau 
Holy 
Peace 

An Idea from God 
Companionship 
Hearing 
A Voice 

Seven Words from the Cross 
What Is He Doing There? 
Lost: Three Parables 

1934 



1935 

Friend 

Jacob and Essau 

The Test of a Friend; Truth, Courage, 

Holiness, Love 
Dreams 
Friendship 
Temptation 
Friendship with Christ 
The Purpose of Life 
The Sin of Omission 
Freedom 

Deepening the Friendship 
God is Love 

1936 

Wanted: A Master 

Christ in All of Life 

The Game of Life 

Rich Young Ruler 

Youth and Marriage 

Three Words for the Master: Teacher, 

Rabbi, My Teacher 
Let's Revolt 
Christ, Youth, and War 
Master of Your Money 
It Happened to John 
Youth and the Cross 
Master of Your Service 
What Shall I Do With my Life? 
Christ: Master of Conscience 
God's Old Ironsides 
Master of Your Wills 



Forgetting the Things That Are 

Behind 
God's Second-Hand Store 
Pictures 

Seeing the Invisible 
God's Four Leaf Clover 
We Would See Jesus 
Prayer 

Peril and Power 
She Supposing Him to Be the 

Gardener 



1937 

The Master of Joy 

Christ and Our Day 

What Does it Mean to Be a Christian? 

Christ and the Cross for Today 

The Difficulties of Non-Behef 

The Stewardship of Life 

The Difference Christ Makes 

Christian Progress 

Christ for the World 



One Thing Lacking 

Christ's Message to the World About 

Sin 
What Is Good for Man in His Life? 
The Humihty of Christ 
That Which We Have Seen and Heard, 

Declare We Unto Thee 

1938 

What My Religion Means to Me 

What I Believe About God 

What I BeUeve About the Bible 

What I Believe About Prayer 

What I Believe About Immortality 

Coming to Terms With Life 

What I Believe About Jesus 

What I Believe About Sin and Salvation 

Making the Most of Life 

The Necessity for Adequate Loyalities 

Commanding Us 
How Can I Tell That I Am a Christian? 
Resources for Living 
Making the Minimum Do for Religion 
Christ, The Satisfactory Answer to 

Man's Deeds 
The Intolerance of Christianity 
Taking Christianity into Everyday 

Living 

1939 



1940 

The Educational Imperative 

Youth Begins with Why 

The Religion of College 

Mores of the Crowd: Who Holds the 

Coat? 
The Gospel According to You 
Lo, I Am with You Always 
Rocks of Assurance 
I Want it: the Battle of Our Impulses 
Tests 

The Great Examination 
Prayer 

The Religion of a College Man 
How Christians Believe 

1941 

The Unshaken Realities (Theme) 

The Gospel for the World 

The Questions Christ Put to Men 

Gone with the Wind 

The Overcoming Life 

The Peril of Unconscious Failure 

Christ's Questions 

His Cross and Ours 

The Question which Shocks Us: "Man, 

Who Makes Me a Divider and Judge 

Among You?" 
Except 



Christian Faith in a Time of Crisis 

(Theme) 
Our Place in Christian Faith in a 

Time of Crisis 
The Place of Christ in Christian Faith 

in the Time of Crisis 
The Place of the Holy Spirit in the 

Time of Crisis 
The Place of the Christian Church in 

the Time of Crisis 
The Tale of Three Men (talents) 
The Tale of the Kingdom in Christian 

Faith in the Time of Crisis 
Two Plus Two Equals Four 
Our Complete Savior 
Modern Idols 
The Place of Christian Faith in the 

Time of Crisis: II 
Unconscious Influence 
Behold I Stand at the Door 
Direction of Desire 



1942 

The Reproducible Experience of Jesus 

(Theme) 
How Did Jesus Develop Means of Personal 

Power? 
What Do You Believe to Be True About 

Life? 
How Can We Overcome the Things That 

Keep Us from Power? 
Getting Above the Crowd Level, Out of 

the Jungle 
On Being Misunderstood 
What Christianity Can Do for Character 
On Facing Trouble 
Charting a Course for the Future 
Little Man: Big Problems 
Facing Success 
Pull Yourself Together 
What Kind of Religion 
Overcoming 

iii 



Great Works Shall You Do 

1943 

Pursuit of Happiness: Important 

Matters of Religion & Life (Theme) 
Silent Harps 

Have You the Courage to Be Different? 
When a Man Talks to Himself 
God and the Ordinary Man 
On Making Your Faith Your Own 
God at the Door 
Who Would Have Thoutht It? 
Secret of a Happy Home 
The Conquest of Doubt 
Christ's Interpretation of Discipleship 
Some Confessions of a Past 
Do You Want to Get Well? 
The Secret of a Christlike Personality 

1944 

For Such a Time as This 

Faith as a Trust 

Faith as Truth 

Platform of the Kingdom 

The Program of Jesus 

The Goal of Jesus 

What Is Pearl Harbor? 

Two Men Who Took the Way: Columba 

and St. Francis 
Four Johns: Chrysostem, Calvin, Knox, 

Edwards 
Our Unrecognized Allies 
Answering the Ultimate 
The Eleventh Commandment 
Behold, I Stand At the Door and Knock 

1945 

The Mission of Christ (Theme) 

Reveal the Truth 

Retrieve Men in Moral Contusion 

Revolutionize Life's Objectives 

Redeem the Passions of Man 

Revise the Mathematics of Religion 

Receive the Talents of Men 

Rectify the Loyalities of Life 

Recall Runaways from God 

The Fraction of Life 

Stockpiles and Crisis 

Christ as a Builder of World Order 



Pioneer of Life 
Companionship with Christ 
Masters of Circumstances 
The Gamble Magnificent 
Stumbling Blocks to Salvation 

1946 

Business of Living: Questions We Have 

a Right to Ask (Theme) 
The Longings of Man 
Made Alive 

Growing Up and Building Up 
The Business of Being Alive 
Complete Commitment 
Ye Shall Be Witnesses of a New Order 
That's for Me 
He is Able 

The Morning after the Night Before 
How Can We Keep Christ? 
Why Worship? 

Can We Have the Mind of Christ? 
Can We Find the Will of God? 
What Shall I Do When Life Shoves Me 

Around? 

1947 

How the Gospel Relates to the Individual 

Life (Theme) 
Trying to Live in an Empty Room 
Jesus and the Man in the Street 
The Place Where all Spiritual Victories 

Are Won 
The Unpardonable Sin 
Pilate's Dilemma 
The Cross 

A Reasonable Sacrifice 
No Divine Imperative 
How the Gospel Relates Itself to the 

Christian Community 
When Christians Read History 
The Urgency of the Time 
Elijah's Lesson 

The Church's Strong Foundation 
The Kind of Church Christ Wants 

1948 

What Do You Want Out of Life? 
Four Great Facts 
Keeping the Faith 



To Whom It May Concern 

Truth at the Cross 

Some Inconvenient Convictions 

Are You Honest About It? 

Life's Biggest Question 

Yoking Yourself with Christ 

Marks of a Christian 

Basic Requirement for Satisfactory Living 

Inadequate 

Place of Christ in Our Personal Relations 

Meeting the Measure of the Stature 

What's Your Trouble 

1949 

"Living Power of the Living Christ" 

(Theme) 
Jesus Christ the Same, Yesterday, Today, 

and Tomorrow 
The Living Word 
Prayer 

The Living Christ and History 
The Touch of Christ 
The Choice Before Us 
The Call 

Speaking Face to Face 
With or Against? 
Power of Christ for the World 
The Gift of Joy with Christ 
Power for Present Problems 
Friendship: Human and Divine 
Power of Christ for the Problems of Man 
Christ's Call for Sacrifice Begins Faith 

1950 

Are You Wanting Happiness? 

Have You the Courage to Be Different? 

Your Declaration of Independence 

In the World but Not of the World 

The Glens of Gloom 

He Profits Most Who Serves Best 

For Those Who Feel Their Limitations 

Our Choice of Life Work 

God Is At the Door 

The Pleasures of Being a Christian 

The Parable of the Last Son 

One Request God Will Not Refuse 

On Making God a Last Resort 

Are You Morally Passing the Buck? 

How God Treats a Repentant Sinner 

The Elder Brother 



On Getting Rid of a Dragon 
1951 

Days of Decision (Theme) 

Born to Receive 

Something Hidden 

To Whom Shall We Go? 

Born to Give 

New Lives for Old 

What Do I Get Out of It? 

By the Renewing of Your Life 

Finding a Vital Faith 

Remember Jesus Christ 

I Am Four Monkeys (Four Aspects of 

Life) 
Life Is a Laboratory 
What Good Does It Do to Pray? 
The Christian's Destiny 
Finding the Will of God 
Marriage Is for Maturity 

1952 

The Set of the Soul: Night, Sin and 

Salvation (Theme) 
Who am I? 
Who Is God? 
Who Is Jesus? 

Job: The Problem of Suffering 
What Jesus Can Do for Us 
A Colony of Heaven 
Prayer 

Immortality and Everlasting Life 
Remember Lot's Wife 
You Are Living in an Unchanging World- 

His Hands 
Amen 

The Christian Vocation 
You and Your Enemies 
The Necessity for God 

1953 

The Gospel: Christ in Relationships 

(Theme) 
The Power to Become 
The Gospel According to Enemies of 

Christ 
The Power in the Cross 
Voices for God 
The Power of Prayer 



The Power of His Resources 

The Power of the Living Christ 

Follow Me 

Relationship of Gentlemen and Ladies 

Relationship Between Old and New 

1954 

The Purpose and Power of Life: Honest 

Answers to Honest Questions (Theme) 
Power Over Powers 

Power of Cooperating with God's Laws 
The Cross and the Crossroads 
Power of God's Directing 
Power of God's Concern 
Power of God's Love 
Power of Surrender 
Shall I Turn the Other Cheek? 
Does It Pay to Be Honest? 
How May I Have a Mature Faith? 
Can a Christian Sin? 
What Color U a Christian? 
What Is Christian Marriage? 
How Can I Know God's Will for Me? 

1955 

Tyranny of the Herd 

When a Man Comes to Himself 

The Secret of a Christian Personality 

Begin with Yourself 

Is Yours a Second-Hand Religion? 

Man Is Heaven-Starved 

Why Not Try God? 

God Is At the Door 

When One Feels His Limitations 

This Business of Being Christian 

Is It Worth What It Costs? 

Ye Are The Branches 

Ye Are My Friends 

Ye Are the Salt of the Earth 

Ye Are the Light of the World 

And Ye Shall Be My Witnesses 

1956 

The Set of the Soul (Theme) 

Who am I? 

Who Is God? 

Who Is Jesus? 

What Is Sin? 

What Is the Church? 



What Is ImmortaUty? 

What Is Faith? 

Who Is God's Enemy? 

How to Have a Happy Marriage 

Only God Is Great 

The Robbery 

God's Friends 

The Deadly Sin of Accidie 

What Is Judgement Day? 

You Are Living in an Unchanging World 

1957 

The Danger of Becoming a Christian 
The Danger of Being a Christian for the 

Wrong Reasons 
The Danger of Daily Encounter 
The Danger of Faith That Pretends 
Religious Faith or Discovery 
The Danger of Crucifixion 
The Most Dangerous Word You Can Hear 
The Church As a Threat to Society 
Do You Love Me? 

Putting Your Faith Through College 
The Seven Deadly Virtues 
Juke-Box Religion 
What Do the Miracles Mean to Modern 

Man? 
God and Color 

The Christian Doctrine of Sex 
The Will of God for Your Life 

1958 

In Search of the Uncommon Man 

There Ought to Be Some Changes Made 

Three Ways to Nowhere 

Love and Marriage 

Man of the Years 

Our National Health 

The Satellites and You 

Preparation 

About Our Faith 

God Is What You Believe In 

What Is a Christian? 

Life's Greatest Question 

Three Theological Questions 

Positive Protestantism 

The Faith and the Future 



1959 

By-life of Belief (Theme) 

I Believe in God 

I Believe in God's Revelation 

I Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord 

I Believe in Jesus Christ as Savior 

I Believe in the Holy Spirit 

I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins 

I Believe in the Resurrection and Life 

Eternal 
I Believe in a Creed to Conduct 
The non-Conformity of Conscience 
Hot and Cold Blooded Sins? the Rebel 

Within Us 
The Meaning of Baptism: Sprinkled by 

the Spirit; Dunked of God 
Progress with a Christian Purpose: What 

is Christian Education? 
Pertinent Prayer 
Power Over Powers 
Knowing God's Will for My Life 
Circling Around Religion 

1960 

Your Faith and Your Life (Theme) 
Christians Must Be Unpurchasable 
God is Not Unknown 
Our Hope for Years to Come and For- 
ever 
Life's Events and God's Providence 
From Separation to Reunion 
The Primary Purpose of Prayer 
On Living Before and After you Die 
Believing by Doing 
On Recommending Your Religion 
Whom God Hath Joined Together 
When Work Becomes Worship 
Where Is God's Dwelling Place? 
A Tough Mind and a Tender Heeirt 
Why the Cross 

The Changing and the Changeless Church 
This Thing Called Love 

1961 



The Church: Old Ironsides 

Three Cheers 

Are You Good Soil? 

Is your Religion Real? 

Test of Behavior 

Love Not the World 

Test of a Creed 

The Rewards of Being Christian: Is it 

Worth It? 
Marriage: Duet or Duel? 

1962 

Not to Live Long but Well 
What Christ Can Do for You 

1963 

Themes: Parables of the Old Testament 
and Meaning for 1963 
A Christian's Creed 

1964 

Man in the 1960's (Theme) 

1965 

On the Nature of Love 

The Second Sexual Revolution 

1966 

The Twentieth Century Church 
The Place of Christ 
The Christian College 

1967 

Rapid Changes and a New Burst of 
Freedom 

Loss of Identity and New Styles of Life 

The Erosion of Authority of Respon- 
sibility 

The Failure of Belief and the New 
Theology 



Your Tomorrow 
Do You Really Believe? 
Prayer: Do You Care? 
Your Profession 
Christians in a Vacuum 



vii 



1968 

The Meaning of Faith in Our Time 

1969 

World Church and Christian Unity 
(Theme) 

1970 

The Christian's Relation to His 
Nation and Church (Theme) 
The Christian and the State 
The Christian and the Church 

1971 

Christianity: Confrontation and Change 

(Theme) 
Panel: Role of a College in a Changing 
Society 



Student Life Styles in a Changing 
Society 

1972 
The Struggle to Be Human (Theme) 

1973 
There Is Hope but. . .(Theme) 

1974 

Freedom (Self Determination) (Theme) 
Take Charge of Your Life 
Ha! Ha! Ha! 

1975 

Survival: Alone or Together: The Chris- 
tian and Global Consciousness (Theme) 

1976 

Who Speaks for Man? (Theme) 



1970 Dr. Edward Brubaker 
Mr. Ray Nott 
Dr. Bruce Rigdon 
Dr. George Webber 



APPENDIX B 

Leaders of February Meetings, 1970-1976* 

1972 Father Geoffrey Skrinar 

1973 The Rev. Beverly Asbury 

1974 Dr. John Fry 



1971 Mr. Feliciano Carino 
Dr. C. Samuel Calian 
The Rev. Mr. John G. Gatu 
Dr. Daniel B. Wessler 



1975 Dr. Chnton M. Marsh 
Dr. George R. Edwards 

1976 Dr. Phyllis Trible 
Dr. Patrick Henry 

(Mr. Norman Cousins spoke to the 
theme in March) 



* Leaders prior to 1970 may be found in R. W. Lloyd, Maryville CoUege 150 years , 
1819-1969 . Only the off-campus leadership has been listed here. These were years 
of many campus-led seminars.