Guild House Records

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Guild House records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Guild House records collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Ecumenical Christian campus ministry at the University of Michigan. Records include correspondence, minutes, financial reports, annual reports, newsletters, photographs, audio-tapes; materials concerning University of Michigan religious organizations, including Office of Religious Affairs, the Association of Religious Counselors, Student Religious Association, the Interfaith Center, and the Protestant Foundation for International Students; also files on other religious organizations, especially the Ann Arbor Bible Chair, the Michigan Christian Foundation of the Disciples of Christ; and papers concerning Ann Arbor churches, particularly the Bethlehem Evangelical Church, the First Congregational Church, and the Memorial Christian Church.

The roots of Guild House go back to 1893 when the Christian Women's Board of Missions of the Disciples Church established the Ann Arbor Bible Chair at the University of Michigan. Through the years other denominations have joined the Disciples in their aim to provide a setting for Bible study and the "Christian education" of university students. The Guild House became an ecumenical "United Campus Ministry" with local churches sponsoring their activities. These included Memorial Christian Church, the Bethlehem United Church of Christ, the First Congregational Church, the Church of the Good Shepherd, and the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

The historical development of the modern Guild House has many strains. One of these certainly was the Disciples' missionary outreach to the university community. Also significant was the appointment in 1934 of H. L. Pickerill as director of student work for the Michigan Christian Foundation (Disciples of Christ). In this capacity, Pickerill subsequently organized the Disciples Guild, which was the immediate forerunner of the modern Guild House. During the war, there was a move to bring together some of the other denominational groups sharing similar goals respecting the university student community. In 1942, the Disciples of Christ and the Congregational Church agreed to cooperate in this ministry, forming the Congregational and Disciples Guild. Then in 1958, following the merger of the Congregational Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church into the United Church of Christ, the local groups formally incorporated as the Congregational and Christian Parish House, or Guild House as it came to be called. In 1969, a decade later, the name of the organization was officially changed to Guild House to reflect its character an ecumenical organization with the inclusion of additional denominational sponsorship.

Through the years, Guild House has provided a supportive environment for campus groups to debate and exchange ideas. Social issues of concern included in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s included U.S.-Latin American foreign policy, Recombinant DNA, issues of sexuality and the role of men and women in the church, and cases of sexist and racist discrimination at the University of Michigan. Guild House has worked to foster an atmosphere of creativity, spiritual growth, and sharing of ideas. The House offered weekly poetry readings and "Great Awakening" discussion groups, as well as fund raising dinners to support self-help and self-development groups in Central America. In 2000s, Guild House began and annual Alternative Spring Break trip to Honduras. The Guild House also provided counseling for students and faculty having problems on matters of religious belief and concerns about social and personal matters.

Some time in the 2000s the Board of Guild House "determined that the students of the University of Michigan require a different approach to their search for religious truth."1 This brought an end to the over 100-year ministry of Guild House. Currently the Board of Trustees is determining what new form of ministry should emerge to replace Guild House.

Please note:

Copyright has been retained by Guild House.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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