Church History
and other writings by
Dr. Charles A. Maxfield

724 Derstine Ave.
Lansdale, PA 19446


When I applied to graduate schools, some of them required I submit a research paper. As I had been out of school 20 years, I wrote a paper for submission, The Creation of the United Church of Christ in North Dakota. As Part of my Th.M. work at Union Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, I wrote The Presbyterian and Congregational Churches Among the Dakota. For the Ph.D. degree I wrote The 'Reflex Influence' of Missions. I later wrote A Pilgrim People.

Any major project offers numerous tangents, sidelines, or spin-offs that can only be pursued at a later time. After completing Reflex Influence, I wrote two other papers, that do not appear here because they have been published in print form:

Not published was A Missionary Spirit. After completing Pilgrim People, I wrote Germanness on Trial, What Kind of Unity and Conference Staffing. As a teacher of United Church of Christ History and Polity, I have used in my classes Wholistic Church History, Effects of World War I on Religious Thought in Europe, and The Braid of Post-Reformation Theology.

Church History Resources
The Creation of the United Church of Christ in North Dakota
A history of the five communities that came together to form the North Dakota Conference, now the Northern Plains Conference, of the United Church of Christ, from 1876 to 1989.

The Presbyterian and Congregational Churches Among the Dakota
My Masters in Theology Thesis, It's about the Indians, the mission, the churches, and the denominations. It's about Christian unity and integrity, and a distinct way of thinking and doing.

The 'Reflex Influence' of Missions: The Domestic Operations of the Americal Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1810-1850.
My Ph.D. dissertation, it explores how the missionary movement changed the church at home.
There are a couple of traditions related to the early history of the ABCFM which have acquired mythic proportions. These were not essential to my dissertation. Here are my comments on them:

A Pilgrim People: A History of the United Church of Christ and Its Antecedents
I wrote this book out of a need for the history of our denomination in one volume, for use in teaching lay ministers. Self-published, with two printings, the 700 copies have now sold out. So I am making it available on the internet. Students in seminary courses or lay ministry courses on United Church of Christ history are free to downlaod this book for their personal and academic use.
In preparing the book A Pilgrim People, I cut several sections that were worthwhile explorations, but not essential to the telling of the story. I share these here:

Missionary Spirit: Instructions Given to One of the First Permanent Agents for Foreign Missions
This letter of June 11, 1834, from Benjamin Wisner to William Armstrong, clearly presents the philosophy of the domestic operations of foreign missions. I have reproduced the letter, with a thorough introduction and notes.

Germanness on Trial: The German Evangelical Synod of North America and the Espionage Act of 1917.
A description of the struggle in the Evangelical Synod caused by anti-German hysteria at the time of World War I, with special attention to the trials of pastors Wilhelm Schumann and John Fontana.

What Kind of Unity?
An examination of the different understandings of Christian unity among the four groups that came together as the United Church of Christ.

A Brief Survey of Conference Organization and Staffing in the United Church of Christ and Its Antecedents
Prepared when New York Conference was considering reorganization in 1998, it is relevant to any UCC Conference.

Wholistic Church History
A Statement of my approach to Church History.

The Effects of World War I on Christian Thought in Europe.
A paper that examines the impact of the War on the thought of Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer, and others, and their impact, in turn, on Europe.

The Braid of Post-Reformation Theology
My way of simply describing the three major movements in theology since the Reformation.

Other Writings of Dr. Charles Maxfield
Education for Ministry
A working paper presenting a theology of ministry and strategy for education of all forms of ministry
Blank Chart
Chart filled in from this article

Issues in Mission Today
A series of essays, not providing answers, but asking questions that need to be asked, concerning mission of the church today.

Poems, Stories and Essays
A collection of poems, character sketches, letters to the editor, and other writings, which I put together at the time of the 45th anniversary of my ordination, and which I gave away under the title From the Heart and Mind of Chuck Maxfield.

Sermons and worship services which I led as pastor of Saint John Hill United Church of Christ, Boyertown, Pennsylvania, during the pandemic of 2020, in video form.

Take another Look
Dr. Maxfield examines some scriptures that have been interpreted by tradition in a certain way, and challenges us to take another look.

This page updated in 2021
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