CALL, LON RAY (6 October 1894 Advance NC) Education A B Wake Forest College, 1916; B.D. University of Chicago Divinity School 1920 Career: Ordained Baptist minister 1915 military chaplain 1918 19 minister Second Baptist Church, St Louis MO 1920 23 entered Unitarian
ministry, 1923; minister. First Unitarian Church Louisville KY, 1923 30, West Side Unitarian Church, New York 1930 31 associate minister Community Church, New York, 1931-33; minister All Souls Unitarian Church Braintree MA 1933-35; executive secretary Western Unitarian Conference and regional director for midwestern states American Unitarian Association (AUA). 1935 41; minister-at-large, AUA, 1941 51 minister South Nassau Unitarian Church, Freeport, NY. 195 1-60; minister emeritus since 1960 with a number of interim pastorates.
Lon Ray Call is one of the preeminent leaders in twentieth-century Unitarian extension work, having guided the fellowship program of the late 1940s from the theoretical stages of planning to its implementation under the direction of Munroe Husbands. Call had been raised a Baptist. but he studied at the University of Chicago during the years when the conflict between fundamentalism and theological modernism was acute, and he was gradually won over to liberalism. Curtis Reese, one of the leaders of the Humanist movement and himself a former Baptist, was instrumental in Call's entry into the Unitarian ministry. The origins of the Unitarian Fellowship movement lay in part in Call's recognition during his Louisville pastorate of how several small Kentucky churches "had been kept going by laymen for years on end without benefit of clergy" ("Fellowships," p.6). He gained further experience in church organization as AUA minister-at-large, during which time he founded thirteen Unitarian churches. When the fellowship program was launched in 1948, it contributed to a significant growth in Unitarianism. Call saw the fellowship as a vehicle that called out the talents of its members and said that "the matching of great talent to the crying need for leadership has happily been a major result of the fellowship movement" (p. 10). In 1967 Call was given the Unitarian Universalist Award for Distinguished Service to Liberal Religion.
A. "Fellowships: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow-with the Accent on Yesterday," in Department of Extension, Unitarian Universalist Association, Take a Giant Step: Two Decades of Fellowships (Boston, c. 1967).
B. "Lon Call Honored," Unitarian Universalist World, 13 (July 15, 1982), 2.