Christian Endeavor Society

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An international, interdenominational Protestant youth organization founded by Rev. Francis Clark of the Williston Congregational Church, Portland, Maine, "to make young people more useful in the service of God and more efficient in church work thereby establishing them in their faith and the practise of the gospel." Clark, desiring to provide an avenue of expression for the religious life of young people and to give them an opportunity to perform tasks for the church, organized a local youth society, which was quickly duplicated in many Protestant congregations across the nation and beyond. An international and interdenominational organization was formed in 1885 called the United Society of Christian Endeavor, with Clark as its first president. In 1927 the official name was changed to the International Society of Christian Endeavor.

The basic principles of the society are confession of Christ, service for Christ, loyalty to the church, and Christian fellowship. Any Protestant youth organization that accepts these and adopts the name Christian Endeavor is admitted to all the privileges of the international society. Individuals are received into local societies on the basis of their commitment to the Endeavorer's pledge: "Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for strength, I promise Him I will strive to do whatever He would have me do." The local societies administer courses in religious training and leadership, provide for devotional meetings and social activities, and organize welfare and other Christian causes for their members. The international society holds conventions and conferences for youths of various denominations and nationalities, unites cooperating societies in interchurch programs, and joins with its constituent churches and other religious agencies in common enterprises for the Christian cause and human welfare. Headquarters for the international society was originally located in Boston, Mass., until 1946 when it moved to Columbus, Ohio.

[t. horgan/eds.]

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Christian Endeavor Society

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