SEEK MILLION NAMES FOR PEACE PETITION
World's Christian Endeavor Union Also Wants $1,000,000 for Missions.
BEGINS SESSION AT CHICAGO
Persian Expresses Gratitude for Protection Against Kurds-German Message Tells of Loss.
CHICAGO, July 7.- "Get a million new members and $1,000,000 for missions," is the slogan of the slogan of the fifth world's and twenty-seventh international Christian Endeavor Convention, which opened here today.
The call was the subject of an address which was to have been read by the Rev. Francis E. Clark, President and founder of the society. He was unable to be present, however, because of illness.
Delegates were urged to enroll a million new church members, a million signers to a peace petition and a million pledges to make the country a saloonless nation by 1920.
President Wilson sent greetings to the delegates. Explaining his inability to attend, the President wrote:
"My duty becomes more and more clear every day in matters of invitations of all sorts and I feel bound in conscience to address myself without interruption to my public duties here.
You could not offer me an audience which would more attract me than the World's Christian Endeavor Union in convention."
The Rev. Francis. E. Clark was re-elected President of the society.
The Rev. Howard B. Cross was elected Vice President; A. J. Shartle, Treasurer; H. N. Lathrop, Clerk; J. J. Arakelyan, Auditor; William Shaw, General Secretary, and Karl Lehmann, Field Secretary. All live, in Boston and all are re-elections, except Mr. Lathrop. Selection of a city for the next convention is on the programme for Friday.
The greetings presented by delegates from foreign countries were from India China, Japan, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Jamaica, Persia, Mexico and Africa.
The message from Persia brought by John B. Keena, who was converted from
Mohammedanism by Christian Endeavor missionaries, was one of the most interesting. He said:
"I believe no foreign country represented here tonight has more right to thank this great audience and through this gathering the great American Christian forces, than has Persia.
"The greatest service that America has rendered Persia was performed during the last Winter. Invaded by the terrible Kurds and everywhere surrounded by the hostile Moslems, the Christians were left to, the mercies of the murderers. It became the duty of the American missionaries to undertake the tremendous task of caring for nearly 50,000 refugees. The mission compounds were the only shelter for the natives in their hour of desperation and the Persian War Relief Committee, headed by Dr. Robert E. Speer, has been and is still doing all in its power to allay the indescribable suffering of those innocent neutral Christians. On the 4th of last January, an American medical missionary from Denver, seeing that nearly 5,000 native Christians were about to be massacred in the village of Googtapa by the onrushing Kurds, flung an American flag high in the air and rode between the battle lines until he reached the Kurdish Chief. The doctor begged this leader of the Moslems to grant him the lives of the innocent Christians. On that day alone, Dr. H. P. Packard of Urmia, Persia, saved 5,000 lives!,"
From the heart of the war now raging in Europe the following message was received from the General Secretary, the Rev. Friedrich Blecher of Berlin :
"This war is a mighty summons of God to reflection, so that our members May examine themselves to see whether their conduct is in agreement with their prayers, and therefore at the same time a bowing low in penitence which heals from many faults.
"It is our earnest prayer to God that He by His Holy Spirit will again bring into order what the human spirit has thrown into disorder, and, that Christian peoples May become conscious that in spite of all education and culture, 'sin is a reproach to any people,' as this war has revealed in a shocking way."
Daniel A. Poling, Superintendent of the Temperance and Citizenship Department of the society, said in the course of his report:
"We are fully persuaded that the Atlantic City resolution, 'A Saloonless Nation by 1920,' now- the unanimously adopted fighting slogan of the temperance forces, will become a fact of history."