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1955 22 people attended The American Society of Seminary Professors of Christian Social Ethics in the US and Canada, most as members of American Association of Theological Seminaries. This Society met annually through 1959.
1959 American Society of Christian Social Ethics was founded, thanks largely to Das Kelley Barnett. It was structured to be governed by regional directors. Annual membership dues were set at $5.00. Program consisted of 2 panels in plenary sessions. Total cost of meeting: $586.35. Quorum for business meeting was 25, raised to 50 in 1978.
First Presidential Address: Henry Kolbe, when being told that he needed to give a presidential address, stood up and recited his residential address. Panel of seven men (all but one were white) discussed “The Moderate Strategy in Race Relations.”
1960 42 men attended meeting at Union Theology Seminary in New York City. Rooms cost $3.50 with 3 to a room. Program theme: Pedagogical Aspects of the Profession. Three other regional meetings were held at Vanderbilt, Perkins School of Theology, Emanuel College (Toronto), Garrett Biblical Institution (Evanston IL).
1961 Program theme: Moral Problems Raised by War. Membership reached 117 (96 were teachers in theological schools or on faculties of divinity schools; 21 either teachers in college or university departments of religion, executives in denominational agencies or social action groups). The membership included 1 woman and 6 African Americans.
1963 The position of vice-president was reconfigured to be that of president-designate. Roman Catholics were invited to attend, and 6 attended.
1964 “Social” was dropped from title: American Society of Christian Ethics. Membership now included 2 women.
1965 Program was organized into concurrent sessions for the first time: three presentations per session.
1966 A new program format was tried: participants were to read papers in advance. This format was abandoned after 1967. Membership reached 140. Registration for annual meeting was charged for the first time: $2. The ASCE was granted tax-exempt status.
1968 First (plenary) session on sexual ethics. Membership expanded to include students in Ph.D. programs. A Protestant worship service was added when the program was extended to Sunday.
1969 A first task force was created, chaired by Alan Geyer, to explore theological education and international affairs. A first paper on Jewish ethics. Annual dues were raised to $10.00.
1970 First president of color: John Satterwhite. The program focused on the “Black Agenda”. A second task force formed, to address white racism.
1971 Membership reaches 319. Pacific region was established by 16 members (all but 2 from southern California). A third task force was established to work on issues raised by the trial of the “Catonsville Nine” for destroying draft records.
1972 First paper on Roman Catholic heritage, by Warren Reich. First paper on “women’s liberation”, by Penelope Washburn. Book discussions were added to the program, and ten were discussed.
1973 The Journal of Religious Ethics was launched, as was a task force to consider how to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial?
1975 The Religious Studies Review was launched. For the first time,nominations exceeded the offices to be filled. Ever since, therehave beentwo candidates nominated for each SCEposition.
1976 Dues were raised to $15. Membership reached 491, including 20 women. A further task force was created to study the relation between religion and law.
1977 The program includes Interest Groups for the first time. First paper from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, by Stanley Harakas. First paper on the family, by Beverly Harrison. The Selected Papers was launched, later to become the Annual (1981) and ultimately the Journal of the SCE (2002).
1979 Paul Ramsey stressed Evangelicals needed to be welcomed for the SCE to be truly national in scope.
1980 Task force established regarding the relationship of Jewish and Christian Ethics. Members voted to keep “Christian” in the Society’s name rather than replace it with “Religious”.
1981 Membership reaches 603. A sliding scale of dues was instituted, based on salary. The first issue of The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics appeared.
1982 First woman president was elected: Beverly Harrison. Membership reached 664, including 15 African Americans.
1983 Meeting registration fees were set at $15 for members, $18 for non-members. The SCE declined to meet in the National 4-H Center because this institution refused to allow the New Ways Ministry, Amnesty International, Interreligious Task Force on US Food Policy, Religious Task Force for El Salvador to use its space.
1984 One-fifth of the papers given in the first 25 years focused on the “Black Agenda.”
1988 Position of Archivist was established: Edward Leroy Long, Jr.
1989 The SCE moved its state of incorporation to Tennessee, where it remains to this day.
1993 Women’s Caucus was proposed.
1995 Email addresses began to appear in the annually distributed directory.
1997 Stephen Crocco becomes Archivist, while Edward Leroy Long, Jr., becomes Archivist emeritus
1998 Student members organized a group, later creating a caucus.
1999 The 21st Century Initiatives were launched.
2001 The first woman was appointed as executive director: Regina Wolfe.
2002 The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics was renamed The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics. The JSCE began accepting advertisements. The program booklet was enlarged from book size to large format: 8 ½” x 11”.
2003 President June O’Connor launched the International Speaker Fund by asking all former Presidents to donate $1000 each. The JSCE began publishing twice per year. The Society of Jewish Ethics created agreement with SCE for joint meetings. Student representation welcomed on the Board. Programming expanded to include Friday mornings.
2004 Junior Faculty held their first announced meeting.
2005 Ads by publishers were accepted in the program booklet.
2006 The position of Associate Executive Director was established: Linda Schreiber. The Catholic liturgy was listed on program with over 100 in attendance, after years of gathering informally in members’ rooms.
2007 The position of Treasurer was established: Brian Matz. The position of Book Review Editor of the Journal established: Lois Malcolm.
2008 Junior Faculty met as a recognized caucus. The archives were moved from Syracuse University to Princeton Theological Seminary.
2009 50th anniversary of the Society was celebrated at the annual meeting in Chicago with recognition of Charter members, and Presidents. The SCE archives were moved to the Princeton Theological Seminary library from Syracuse Library. The newly installed collection is named for Edward LeRoy Long Jr , former archivist and founding member of the SCE.