U.S. Unitarians reach out to Canadians, 1911-1917

The National Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches was restricted to churches in the United States until 1911 when the group voted to replace the word “National” in the organization's title with the word “General.” This opened the conference to Canadian Unitarian congregations.

In 1915, when American Unitarians attended the 26th biennial General Conference of Unitarian and Other Christian Churches in San Francisco, California their chartered train took the Canadian trans-continental route. Starting in Boston, they traveled across Canada from Montreal, Quebec to Vancover, British Columbia. As the 260 U.S. Unitarians crossed Canada they visited local Unitarian congregations. They found the Canadian churches in crisis because so many men and ministers had left to fight in the war.

From Vancover the Unitarians headed south to San Francisco to attend the conference and to take in the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The U.S. conferees voted to provide supplemental funds to help support struggling Canadian congregations.

They also voted to hold the next biennial conference in 1917 in Montreal, the first time outside of the United States.