Congregational Workings


History of the Alliance

(Talk given 27 April 1997, Alliance Sunday by Sandra C. King)


(See "History of the Arlington Association of Universalist Women")


"June 10th 1853
To Mrs. Prentiss, Treasurer of the Female Samaritan Society. Dear Madam,
I have just received a note from Mrs. Hill requesting me to refund the one hundred dollars taken from the Samaritan Society to pay for the organ. Had the request come from a society composed of gentlemen, I should have looked upon it, as only a polite invitation to hand in my report of the subscription towards the organ, which I have failed to do, up to this time, only on account of saving the feelings of some delinquent subscribers.
Enclosed please find one hundred dollars, together with the subscription list, and a partial report, which I take the liberty to hand in, in order to stop any further anxiety in regard to it.
Respectfully, John Osborn"

October 1879 Report of Samaritan Society
"At this meeting 'twas voted to assess each member 5c who does not sew, and 5c when absent."


7 June 1849, Social Circle formed - "The Ladies of the First Congregational Parish in West Cambridge have formed themselves into a society for promoting a social, religious and philanthropic interest in said Parish."

Constitution adopted, prepared by the Rev. J.F. Brown.
Subscription (dues) 50c annually, $1.00, exempt from active duty

First Year - Purchased melodeon for Sunday School and "other aid bestowed upon the school"
Second year - carpeted and furnished Sunday School room.

1853 - The Fair proceeds to pay for new organ for church [which then burned in 1856].

Mar 21, 1922, Report to Annual Meeting
Mrs. Blake reported work of Alliance for the past year:

- Sewing for the Children's Mission
- Making of layettes for Red Cross
- Curtains for Sunday School room

"if all the ladies who new pay their $1.00 membership fee would only come to our meetings it would strengthen us tremendously."

Mar 20, 1925 - Average attendance at Alliance meetings about 55, total membership about 130. This appears to have been a high point for the Alliance.

Feb 13, 1939 (depression) Board voted to support financially,

Boston projects

Norfolk House
Children's Mission
Student's work

Alliance Appeals

Aid for ministerial students
Meadville President's Emergency Fund
Proctor Academy
Aid for ministers' widows and daughters
Hurricane relief
Chautauqua House
Missionary Extension work in Minnesota
Lynchburg, Virginia
International work in Prague and Hungary
Rowe Camp
Star Island
YPRU (Young Peoples Religious Union)

2 months later they added -

P.O. Mission Co-operative Advertising
Unitarian Service Pension Fund
General Alliance Traveling Expenses
Associate Alliance
Arlington Hospital Free Bed Fund
Anniversary Week Hospitality
Two Cheerful Letter Subscriptions
Star Island Delegate
Gift to Rev. Mr. Mark
50 new hymnals
4 choir robes

EVENING ALLIANCE (from "History of Evening Alliance," 1955
1929 - Formed Evening Branch for those 3who could not attend afternoon meetings.
1930 - Purpose: "some preferred type of special activity and for the promotion of a warmer friendship and interest." 35 members - "busy mothers, teachers and business women." They had their own table at the fair.
1941 - Annual Report: Mrs. Horton Jones gave a "first hand account of Life in Parish under the Jack Boot.."
1943 - "Guest night in March showed us how important our men are to one of these evenings. The Social Alliance members have always been our guests at this meeting but never the Laymen's League members. We challenged the men to a debate, we won, we enjoyed having them and have asked them to come again for a round table discussion of post war planning."
1968-9 - That year a single program was printed for The Social Alliance and The Evening Division. Since that time the organization has been known as the Alliance of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington or just "The Alliance."
1970-1999 - Special projects have included providing input into design of new church after fire including the kitchen and parlor area and providing furnishings for these two areas of the church. Pews for balcony area, furnishing Tobey Lounge, replacing windows in the new church and other projects around the building.
Ongoing responsibilities: flowers for sanctuary, coffee hour hosts, art wall, camp scholarships for the RE program and the Ministers' discretionary fund.
The proposed Alliance budget for 2003-2004 $10,775.00. Our pledge to the church general expenses is $5000, the largest single pledge made to the church. Membership stands at 49 active women members, 10 honorary women members and 1 honorary male member.
Our denominational contributions include:

Clara Barton Camp
Star Island Corp.
Ferry Beach Park Assoc.
Bethany Union
UU Urban Ministry
Doolittle Home

We also contribute to Hospice Care Inc. and Visiting Nurses.


  • First women members of Parish Committee. Mrs. Rufus Blake, Mrs. Emma L. Sprague 1934
  • (Women served on the Parish Committee continuously from that date; usually the committee of 6 was divided- 2 women, 4 men.)
  • First woman usher - Gwen Hooper, ca 1973
  • First Finance Committee Chair - Sandra King 1976
  • First Treasurer - Phyllis Spence 1977
  • Chair of Building Committee - Cynthia Tobey 1975-1981
  • First Trustee of Trust Funds - Sandra King 1980-1985
  • First Parish Committee Chair - Peg Capron 1981

Most, if not all, of these women were also members of the Alliance..

To Alliance Bylaws, History, Programs, Personnel


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