Monday, July 2, 2012

Washington Gladden (1899-1918)

Washington Gladden was a leading American congregational pastor regarded as the father of the social gospel. movement.  Gladden advocated expansion of the church's responsibilities to every area of social life critiquing a free enterprise society as being more concerned with profit than people.

 Gladden became the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio in 1882, and would serve in that position for thirty-two years. During that time, Gladden would develop his reputation as a religious leader and as a community leader. In 1886, he traveled to Cleveland during a street car strike and spoke at a public meeting on "Is it Peace or War", supporting the rights of the workers to form a union to protect their interests.

He was a leading member of the Progressive Movement, serving for two years as a member of the Columbus Ohio city council.  Gladden was probably the first leading U.S. religious figure to support the unionization  of the workforce. He was opposed to racial segregation. 

He was a prolific writer, with 40 books to his credit.  Gladden is credited with having written a number of hymns including O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee. He resigned as pastor of the First Congregational Church in 1914 and died of a stoke in 1918.

 compiled from several sources

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