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Open for research. Medical, educational, and psychological records of living people are closed.
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The Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War (EMCW) was established in 1969 by the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. EMCW was created in response to perceived concerns following a 1968 General Assembly pronouncement about initiating a study on church involvement in conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. EMCW was administered through the Office of Church and Society of the Board of Christian Education (BCE), and its funds were derived from the World Refugee and Emergency Service Committee. The aforementioned study was based upon church recognition that draft board members were considered to be unsympathetic toward dissenting views, that the draft law itself was considered unjust and discriminatory, and that the church had failed to respond consistently and forcefully in support of conscientious objectors. When the study was completed in 1969, it was recommended that ministry on conscience and war should be continued and expanded, and the church should deploy its resources to increase education about war by providing study materials, media, and staff services.
The fundamental strategy of EMCW was to emphasize the pastoral and counseling orientation in giving impartial aid to draft registrants and their families. The three levels of aid were providing information and education about the draft, helping the registrant develop competent ethical analysis skills, and giving direct aid to conscientious objectors to war through prison visitations and aid to emigrants to Canada. L. (Leroy) William Yolton worked as executive secretary of EMCW from February 1969 until the end of 1973. Early activities of EMCW consisted of providing grants to judicatories to aid and establish draft and military counseling programs throughout the United States; disseminating packets of educational information on the draft, war, and conscientious objection; and publishing national listings of alternate service positions.
The 1969 General Assembly suggested that unallocated funds from the Council of Theological Education be used to enable internships and field work for EMCW. Bruce D.D. Stuart was a middler at Princeton Theological Seminary and interned with EMCW during 1969. Stuart focused on expanding draft counseling resources in secondary education, specifically in high schools. He continued his work with EMCW until 1971.
The advisory committee of EMCW proposed the creation of the Emergency Ministry on Veterans Services (EMVS) to address the needs of veterans returning from the Vietnam War. In 1972, EMVS was funded and established, with Peter Salerno selected as its executive secretary. EMVS's objectives included providing counsel and assistance to judicatories in developing programs of service to veterans of the Vietnam era, specifically as veterans faced problems of employment, housing, education, poor mental health, drug use, and addiction; raising awareness within the church of veterans' issues; and providing financial resources and grants to grow ministry work with veterans.
While EMCW was set to terminate at the end of 1973, the advisory committee suggested that EMCW continue its work, especially on the issue of amnesty, using decreased funds and an intern. The advisory committee selected intern E. William D. Galvin (Bill Galvin) to continue EMCW's work in September 1973. Under Galvin, EMCW worked on and promoted amnesty for exiles and military deserters and issues surrounding veterans' legislation.
This collection contains correspondence, minutes, administrative records, financial records, reports, printed items, and ephemera collected and created by the Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War (EMCW) as it worked to address issues of the draft, conscientious objection, military counseling, alternate service, and amnesty during the Vietnam War. Executive secretary L. William Yolton and intern E. William D. Galvin (Bill Galvin) created and maintained the records.
The L. William Yolton Files series, circa 1958-1975, contains correspondence files, operation files, geographical files, and subject files which document EMCW's activities during Yolton's tenure as executive secretary (1969-1973).
The Correspondence Files subseries, 1969-1973, contains alphabetical correspondence files (arranged by sender) and chronological files of correspondence sent (chiefly carbon copies arranged loosely by year). The subseries documents EMCW's communications with other UPCUSA entities, church constituents, and external organizations.
The Operation Files subseries, circa 1968-1974, contains files of minutes, reports, budgets and other financial records, printed items, educational resources, case files, internship materials, and requests for EMCW resources (arranged in an alphabetic-subject filing system by folder title). This subseries chiefly documents EMCW's core function of disseminating information on the draft, draft counseling, and conscientious objection; EMCW's internal functions within the Board of Christian Education's Office of Church and Society; and EMCW staff's other activities nationally, regionally, and locally. Four folders (titled "Draft Counseling for African Americans") document EMCW's work with and financial support of the National Association of Black Students (NABS) and the National Black Draft Counselors and include several letters from Gwendolyn Patton. Two folders (titled "Draft Counseling for Spanish Language Speakers") document EMCW's efforts to procure Spanish language draft counseling materials. One folder (titled "Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention (Black Panther Party, Philadelphia, Pa.)") includes a form from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends designating Yolton as an observer in a "third party" role at the Black Panthers' convention. One folder (titled "York 5 Defense Case") includes correspondence documenting EMCW's use of its Fund for Conscience to contribute money to the York Five's defense fund.
Also included in the subseries are case files (arranged alphabetically by counselees' last names) documenting EMCW's draft counseling and outreach work with specific individuals. There are materials pertaining to Walter Collins, an African American draft resister and civil rights activist, including a letter from Yolton to Collins while he was imprisoned in Texarkana, Texas. There are also materials pertaining to John A. Gruneich's legal case against the Selective Service System.
The Geographical Files subseries, circa 1969-1975, contains files of correspondence and printed items documenting EMCW's communications and work with congregations, presbyteries, and synods throughout the United States. Files are arranged alphabetically by state or territory. Letters chiefly discuss the establishment and funding of draft information and counseling centers, seminars, workshops, programs, and services in specific states and cities. Printed items are chiefly ephemera created by draft counseling centers, congregations, and presbyteries.
Also included in the subseries are a set of files concerning international issues, arranged alphabetically by continent or country. There are four folders (titled "Japan - Legal counsel / lawyer in Japan (John Hedges)") regarding EMCW's participation in funding a lawyer to provide legal services for GIs on trial in Japan. There are also materials pertaining to individuals immigrating to Canada.
The Subject Files of Organizations subseries, circa 1964-1974, contains files of correspondence, printed items, minutes, reports, and studies, arranged first by subject and then by organization. Subject areas include amnesty, conscientious objection and objectors, draft counseling and counselors, draft legislation and reform, draft repeal and resistance, pacifism and peace, veterans and veteran support, and war resistance. While most materials in the files were created by external organizations, there are also materials created by EMCW as it worked with these external organizations. Organizations represented in the subject files include the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO), the Interfaith Committee on Draft Information (IFCDI), the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Emergency Ministries Concerning the War.
Also included in the subseries are files pertaining to Christian denominations' engagement with draft counseling, conscientious objectors, and peace work. There are two folders of materials created by Jewish groups and organizations on these subjects as well.
The E. William D. Galvin Files series, 1966-1979, contains operation files and subject files which document EMCW's activities during Galvin's internship tenure as head of the unit (1973-circa 1976).
The Operation Files subseries, 1966-1979, contains files of correspondence, minutes, reports, printed items, educational resources, and research materials (arranged in an alphabetic-subject filing system by folder title). The subseries chiefly document EMCW's work on amnesty for exiles and military deserters. Correspondence files include materials regarding Robert R. Warner, Jr., a Presbyterian minister who set fire to an ROTC building at the University of Hawaii as an act of resistance to the Vietnam War. Several folders contain materials pertaining to President Gerald Ford's "Earned Re-Entry" Plan (Ford's program for the return of Vietnam era draft evaders and military deserters). There are also Galvin's research files, which contain materials he used in writing "The United Presbyterian Church's Response to the Vietnam War" (published in 1978), and files containing materials of the Emergency Ministry for Veteran Services (EMVS).
The Subject Files of Organizations subseries, 1972-1978, contains files of correspondence, printed items, minutes, reports, and studies, arranged first by subject and then by organization. Subject areas include amnesty, conscientious objection and objectors, pacifism and peace, veterans and veteran support, volunteers and volunteerism, and war resistance. While most materials were created by external organizations, there are also materials created by EMCW as it worked with these external organizations. Organizations represented in the subject files include the National Council for Universal and Unconditional Amnesty (NCUUA) and the Special Ministries / Vietnam Generation.
The collection is arranged as follows:
SERIES I: L. WILLIAM YOLTON FILES, CIRCA 1958-1975
Subseries 1: Correspondence Files, 1969-1973
Subseries 2: Operation Files, circa 1958-1974
Subseries 3: Geographical Files, circa 1963-1975
Subseries 4: Subject Files of Organizations, circa 1964-1974
SERIES II: E. WILLIAM D. GALVIN FILES, 1966-1979
Subseries 1: Operation Files, 1966-1979
Subseries 2: Subject Files of Organizations, 1972-1978
The Presbyterian Historical Society holds additional resources related to this collection:
Researchers should also consult RG 410 (United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War Records) for additional materials related to the Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War.
Researchers should also consult RG 414, Series I (Biographical Vertical Files) for additional biographical information related to L. William Yolton.
Researchers should also consult "The United Presbyterian Church's Response to the Vietnam War" by E. William D. Galvin. Call number BT 736.2 G.4. Catalog record.
Researchers should also check the holdings for additional materials relating to conscientious objectors and the Board of Christian Education's oversight of this ministry.
Transferred from the Program Agency (New York) in 1975 and from Bill Galvin (Center on Conscience & War, Washington D.C.) in 2009.
Collection processed and guide prepared in 2022 by Nicholas Skaggs, Processing Archivist.
While the processor maintained creator-supplied folder titles, the processor also created additional description to supplement folder titles. Processor-supplied descriptions are enclosed in square brackets in the Collection Inventory.
United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Emergency Ministry on Conscience and War Records, RG 533, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.