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Labour Church, The

LABOUR CHURCH, THE, an organization intended to give expression to the religion of the labour movement. This religion is not theological it leaves theological questions to private individual conviction but " seeks the realization of universal well-being by the establishment of Socialism a commonwealth founded upon justice and love." It asserts that " improvement of social conditions and the development of personal character are both essential to emancipation from social and moral bondage, and to that end insists upon the duty of studying the economic and moral forces of society." The first Labour Church was founded at Manchester (England) in October 1891 by a Unitarian minister, John Trevor. This has disappeared, but vigorous successors have been established not only in the neighbourhood, but in Bradford, Birmingham, Nottingham, London, Wolverhampton and other centres of industry, about 30 in all, with a membership of 3000. Many branches of the Independent Labour Party and the Social Democratic Federation also hold Sunday gatherings for adults and children, using the Labour Church hymn-book and a similar form of service, the reading being chosen from Dr Stanton Coil's Message of Man. There are special forms for child-naming, marriages and burials. The separate churches are federated in a Labour Church Union, which holds an annual conference and business meeting in March. At the conference of 1909, held in Ashton-under-Lyne, the name " Labour Church " was changed to " Socialist Church."

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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