Inner City Protestant Parish Records

The Inner City Protestant Parish was an experimental, interdenominational, ecumenical, and evangelical group ministry to the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio, organized in 1954 and patterned after the East Harlem Protestant Parish, a similar ministry to Lower East Harlem in New York City. The ICPP was formed by denominational executives, ministers and laymen concerned about the Protestant exodus from the inner city. The ICPP received immediate support from six denominations, and eventually nine, to establish churches and promote religious education and social reform in Cleveland’s inner city. The ICPP also established a number of specialized support services: vacation church schools; resident and day camping programs; food, clothing, and emergency cash assistance; educational scholarships, and an inner city credit union. In 1955, the ICPP began its Friendly Town program for inner city children patterned after the “Fresh Air” programs in New York City in the 1880s. The collection consists of histories and statements of purpose, articles of incorporation and bylaws, minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees as well as reports to the board, minutes of meetings of the Executive Committee and files of various other committees of the ICPP, and a variety of subject files pertaining to the work and Group Ministry of the ICPP. The collection includes material for understanding the urban crises of the 1960s and the civil rights struggle at that time, as well as the ecumenical movement within the church and the ideas of the “social gospel” and the theology of the “secular city.”

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