MARCH 15, 1945
MONTREAT, N.C., Wednesday—This is beautiful country, and our rooms face the Presbyterian College across a charming lake. I am attending a meeting of the Council for Southern Mountain Workers and finding it most interesting.
After arriving at Montreat Inn yesterday morning, we had breakfast and by 10 o'clock met for the first session of the council. The subject under discussion was "The Rural Mountain Church." After the brief religious exercises conducted by Mark A. Dawber, executive secretary of Home Missions Council of North America, there were statements and discussion on various subjects.
Dr. A. Rufus Morgan, who is the priest in charge at Franklin, North Carolina, spoke on the rural church and self-support, and I gathered that he felt the churches were important enough for the rest of the country to be interested in their support. Other areas should feel that they are amply repaid, in view of the number of boys and girls who go out from this area and live in communities all over the country.
He was followed by Henry S. Randolph, secretary of the Rural Church Unit, Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. His topic was "The Role of the Rural Minister—Spiritual? Social? Economic?" He felt strongly that the minister served the community and not his own parishioners alone. Finally Ladmir E. Hartman, field worker of the council from Berea, Kentucky, gave a report on the Institute for Rural Pastors.
To me, one of the interesting things to come out of the whole morning's discussion was the similarity of the problems facing the rural areas of the South today with the problems facing rural areas elsewhere in the country. They are probably a little more acute because the poverty is greater, wages have been lower, land has deteriorated more and reforms have been slow. Some of the conditions existing today I can remember as existing in New York State 25 years ago, and I know of places in other parts of the country where land is poor and therefore people are poor. I know other parts of the country where wages are low and where general social conditions are unsatisfactory.
After lunch Mrs. John C. Campbell, director of the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown, North Carolina, talked about "The Folk School and Community Planning," and an interesting discussion followed. I had to miss the report on recreation given by Miss Marie Marvel because at 4 o'clock I went with Colonel Willoughby and Colonel James to see the redistribution center in Asheville.
This is a new and very interesting attempt by the Army to give overseas men who have been returned after their period of hospitalization and furlough a two-weeks rest and reclassification period. They live very comfortably in hotels which have been taken over. Recreation is planned for them, and if they are married their wives can be with them.