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Christian Service Brigade (1937-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Christian Service Brigade (1937-)

Historical Note:

The genesis of the Christian Service Brigade can be traced to a Sunday School ministry led by Joseph Coughlin, a Wheaton College Student, in 1937.  Coughlin influenced other leaders to adopt his ideas and by 1940 there were 18 groups in the Chicago area.  The organization was officially established in 1940.

A key in the continuing success of the program was an influx of funds from the Christian Worker's Foundation and the leadership of Herbert Taylor.  Taylor became chairman of the Board of directors in 1943.  He recruited Kenneth Hansen to act as general secretary of the organization.  Hansen emphasized local church sponsorship of Brigade activities while Coughlin developed literature and program resources.

Christian Service Brigade grew slowly until 1955. In that year Joseph Bubar took charge of the program.  Many staff members were added under his direction.  Brigade centers were established, giving a regional organization to the movement.

In 1963 a Canadian branch office was opened in Burlington, Ontario.  Four years later the Canadian staff began operations under their own license.

A new executive director was appointed in 1970 to replace the retired Bubar.  Sam Gray took over an organization with a sizeable debt and a divided leadership.  In spite of internal struggles and declining membership new programs were developed.  A program for primary-aged boys was undertaken called Tree Climbers was established in 1986.  Brigade's ministry expanded its outreach to young adult men, fathers with daughters, and inner-city people.

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