More about Throop Church
This contains historical notes which were too detailed to put into the Throop History article. It also contains references to other documents.
The full history at the old huge church is not known. There are only a few bits and pieces available. One is that Conger left due to poor health. Another is that there was a big increase in attendance at Sunday services when Florence Kollock held the pulpit. And still another is that William Jones left after being misclassified as an "ultra radical".
An oral statement by a former attendee is that the huge church seemed nearly empty on Sundays. In 1915 they were planning on moving to a smaller building due to low attendance See Angry Letter to the Editor, 1915. The alleged "prostitution of the pulpit" was perhaps by Alan R. Tillinghast. The short periods of tenure by the ministers (except for Carl Henry) tends to imply problems. Were some of them not performing well and forced to resign? Or were some of them quite old and died? But if there were any ministers that were noteworthy one would expect John Cahill's history (1936) Looking Back 50 Years to mention them. But he only expounds on the big success of Florence Kollock and has nothing to say about any of the other ministers during this period.
When Dr. Conger arrived in Riverside, California in Jan. 1887, the Riverside minister, Dr. Deere, said that Conger was "one who had come, we thought, to die". But he recovered. However Bradley states: "His health was never robust and at times his strength was insufficient for the demands made upon it. He never pushed himself, simply spoke his message as opportunity offered. ... there is no question as to the debt California Universalism owes to Dr. Conger." It should come as no surprise and Conger had to give up his active ministry due to poor health, being replaced by Florence Kollock.
Florence Ellen Kollock lived during 1848-1925. She was ordained in 1877 and married Joesph H. Crooker (1850-1939) on June 18, 1896 at age 48. There is also a Xeroxed 4-pages (numbered 15-18) of typed manuscript, which was found in the archives with no notation as to it's source. Page 18 has handwritten words at the bottom which are from page 19 (to complete the Kollock section of the article). The section is titled "FLORENCE KOLLOCK CROOKER--ROMANCE OF A PIONEER". This may be part of a larger article about women in the UU religion since the paragraph prior to the above title use both words: she and UU.
Florence Kollock preached at Throop during two periods: a short one in 1886 and again in 1893-5. In 1886 per Bradley, she "labored for a few months organizing the parish. Later that same year Rev. E. L. Briggs served for a short time." Then Rev. Everett L. Conger become pastor in March 1887. The church wasn't incorporated until Jan. 1887 so it looks like Conger was the first regular pastor (and not Kollock nor Briggs). It was once incorrectly claimed at Throop (in the 2000's) that Kollock was the first minister, but she was acutally the second regular minister and also did some preaching before the church was formally organized.
Regarding the second period of her service in 1893-5, Bradley writes: "Dr. Conger's health broke under the strain, and in 1893 Rev. Florence Kollock was called as associate. In 1894 Dr. Conger withdrew from the pastorate, and in a few months Miss Kollock resigned, and returned to the East." Per Wilcox's history she resigned in May 1895 after being made the regular pastor in June 1894. So she was the regular pastor for almost a year. Why did she resign? Was it because she sensed that another minister would be called to replace her? The ministry passed in 1895 to William Jones who had come from the East to California under the misapprehension that there were vacancies here. Since The Universalist church in Pasadena was the flagship Universalist church in California at that time, he likely let it be known that he was available.
Cahill writes that she resigned (in May 1885) to get married, but she didn't marry Joseph H. Crooker (a Unitarian minister) until June 18, 1886 (per the Internet). So was it just a resignation to get married or did the availability of William Jones to replace her have anything to do with it?
She was nearly 50 years old when she got married and lived from 1848-1925. In 1877 (age 29), she was ordained as a Universalist minister and served in a number of churches besides Throop. There is a file folder on her at the Andover-Harvard Theological Library: bMS 900/10(2)
One of the California ministers kept a list of other ministers whom were classified on a radical-conservative scale ranging from "ultra radical" to "very conservative. Wm. Jones had the unfortunate fate of being misclassified (per Bradley) as an ultra radical where the California State group of ministers leaned toward conservative. As a result, one very conservative minister held up his fellowship. Since Jones was not a fighter, he withdrew from the ministry. Bradly writes that Jones was an able preacher and that this was a loss to the Universalist cause.
Per Wilcox's history: "He is described as a man of strong intellectual power. The science of psychology was one of the things in which he was interested, and he organized a class for the study of modern ideas in this field of science. He is kindly remembered by a group who were his young people in the days of his ministry in this church."
There seems to be no information about him. But an Angry letter to the editor (1915) claimed that the pulpit was "prostituted" to pull off school sites. Could Tillinghast be the alleged "prostitute"?
Swami Vivekananda delivered a lecture at the Pasadena Universalist Church, on January 28, 1900: "The way to the Realisation of a Universal Religion". Excerpts from it are to be found on the Internet. It's widely acclaimed by his various Hindu followers. Although Vivekananda is of the Hindu religion, he sounds quite a bit like a Universalist. A follower of Vivekananda wrote a piece on the Internet about visiting the old church building just before it was demolished in order to see where Vivekananda spoke. Source: Internet.
Dedicated to Carl F. Henry, D.D. Feb 16, 1930. A gift from Mr. Wel Wood. Set in concrete by Boy Scout Troop 28 under the director of Benjamin Robinson. Per data in archives.
The 1972 stock market crash hurt the endowment fund. After realizing that they couldn't fund the budget in 1970's, they may have cut budget in Jan. of each year. They kept taking money from endowment fund and then used the endowment fund to pay back the loan for Henry House.
This is Your Church .. what will you make of it in 1968?: 312 members, 185 pledging units. During 1962-1967, about 12k/yr withdrawn from endowment of $176k. (This endowment was exhausted later on. In the 1970s ?) Pleads for more $ from congregation. 1967 Parish Poll showed the average pledge was 1.85% of gross income. Goal was 3% of income which would eliminate the deficit. Pledges about 30k. Mean pledge $162.
Pacific Coast Universalism, by Asa Mayo Bradley (mostly written 1900-1910 ??). See the "Pasadena" section.
1929-30: Report to the California Univ. Convention. Membership: 275 families, 499 individuals (includes families), 120 members of church school (includes adults), 15 teachers.
Reid, Hiram "History of Pasadena" 1895, Pasadena: A History Company, Publishers. See pp. 492-3: First Universalist Church. Covers founding, purchase of Methodist church building, building church on N. Raymond, Throop's opposition to such a costly building.
Jan. 31, 1936 "Anniversary for Church Planned; Throop Memorial to Be 50 Years Old Soon". Short account on the founding of Throop.
April 12, 1937: "Universalists Hold Annual Dinner" Mortgage of $15 thousand paid off. Existed since church built in 1923.
One may use the http://waybackmachine.org to try to find what was on the church's website in the past. Since only a few samples are taken each year, all one gets is a sampling of the news from Throop, but images and statements that remain on the website for months often are found in the Wayback archive. For example, to view the photo of the interracial Sunday school in 2005, use the wayback machine to find the archive for throopuu.org/images/kids.jpg.