Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Problem child of the Caribbean
 The Evangelical church in Puerto...
 Some self-supporting churches
 The Puerto Rican pastor looks at...
 Constructive measures
 Looking to the future

Group Title: The church in Puerto Ricos dilemma : a study of the economic and social basis of the evangelical church in Puerto Rico
Title: The church in Puerto Ricos̓ dilemma
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078342/00001
 Material Information
Title: The church in Puerto Ricos̓ dilemma a study of the economic and social basis of the evangelical church in Puerto Rico;
Physical Description: viii, 80 p. : ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: International Missionary Council -- Dept. of Social and Economic Research and Counsel
Davis, J. Merle ( John Merle ), 1875-1960
Publisher: Dept. of Social and Economic Research and Counsel, International Missionary Council
Place of Publication: New York London
Publication Date: 1942
Subject: Protestant churches -- Puerto Rico   ( lcsh )
Social conditions -- Puerto Rico   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: J. Merle Davis, director.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078342
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000118667
oclc - 24397052
notis - AAN4527

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Half Title
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Problem child of the Caribbean
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The Evangelical church in Puerto Rico
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Some self-supporting churches
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    The Puerto Rican pastor looks at his church
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Constructive measures
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Looking to the future
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
Full Text

(o co












A Study of the Economic and Social Basis
of the
Evangelical Church in Puerto Rico




A77 ME2 'ICA


Copyright, 1942, by the
International Missionary Council
New York, N. Y.

Printed in the United States of America
q 181


Page f, line 8, last 2 wcrds: for "of the", read "appointed by the Association of Evangelical Churches'.
Page 13,Line 24: for "205", substitute "208".
Page 16,11ne 25; for "36", substitute "26".
Page 16,line 34: delete "the Dominican" and substitute "many of the".
Page 27,line 2: for "10 consecutive Saturday nights", read "for 4 consecutive Saturday nights".
Page 30,line 12: for catechumenn", read catechumenss".
Page 31,last line: for "First Fruit", read 'First Fruits*.
page 50,line 9: after settlement', insert "at Mayaguez".
Page 52,line 18: for *southweet*, read 'northwest".
page 69, next to last line: for "Theological College", read "Agricultural College'.
Page B8,2nd column,line 24: for "Dominican Evangelical Churches", read "Evangelicpl Churches of the Domini-
can Republic'.


PREFACE .. . .. Vii







VI. OBSTACLES . .. .57


INDEX ......... ...... .78



M UCH has been written and a great deal has been said about
the economic dilemma of Puerto Rico and her problem
of population density. Little hope of any other prospect but an in-
creasing struggle for existence has been offered to Puerto Ricans
under the present economic and social structure.
The purpose of this study is to ascertain the position of the
Evangelical Church in the face of an island dilemma and the
conditions by which it may eventually become indigenous and
financially independent. The problems and outlook of the Evan-
gelical community cannot be studied apart from the economic
framework within which it is enclosed, for it is subject to the
same general economic and social laws which govern the destiny
of the whole people. The fact that a considerable number of Evan-
gelical churches have actually attained financial independence
under existing conditions gives a reasonable basis for belief that
this survey is not a hopeless quest. Where some, even though a
few, have found the trail, others may surely follow. The methods
which Puerto Rican churches have used to attain self-support,
the obstacles which they have overcome, and the inner resources
which they have utilized will be examined in this survey.
A major factor to consider is the extensive program of economic
and social reconstruction which has been undertaken by the
Government upon an island-wide scale. The Puerto Rico Re-
construction Administration is fully aware of the serious eco-
nomic outlook of the population and has taken hold of the situa-
tion with an energy and with an organized program that has no
parallel in the experience of any dependency. What bearing has
this government program upon the status of the Evangelical comr
munity? Is that community completely availing itself of the as-
sistance offered by Government? Can the more than three hun-
dred Evangelical churches of the island cooperate more usefully
with the effort to create a new life in Puerto Rico?
The survey was carried out under the auspices of the Associa-
tion of Evangelical Churches of Puerto Rico during March and
April, 1941. Regional conferences were organized with groups of

pastors from several centers attending; many personal interviews
were held with officials, educators, social workers, religious lead-
ers, and agricultural workers; and, finally, visits were made to
government reconstruction projects, land settlement and housing
projects, educational institutions, churches, hospitals, sugar estates,
and private farms in many parts of the island.
The director of the survey is greatly indebted to the Reverend
William Arbaugh, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the
Association of Evangelical Churches who assisted him at every
step of the inquiry; to Dr. James A. McAllister, President of the
Union Theological Seminary at Rio Piedras, for hospitality dur-
ing his stay in Puerto Rico; to Mr. George L. Crawford, Director
of the Government Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, for courtesies extended in visiting official recon-
struction projects; and to Professors Jose C. Rosario and Rafael
de J. Cordero of the University of Puerto Rico for counsel and the
loan of valuable documents. Space does not permit mention of
the many pastors, educators, officials, and laymen whose generous
hospitality and counsel furthered the progress of the survey and
aided the director in his efforts to understand the problems of the
island. I also wish to thank Georgiana Eagen for assistance in
editing and Mary Curtis Ritter for seeing the manuscript through
the press.
Just how far can a human society which has marked cultural
and economic characteristics be influenced by the introduction
of alien forms of political, social, economic, and religious theory
and practice? That some real progress has been made along these
lines in Puerto Rico is unquestionable. However, whether such
progress will last in view of the diverse cultural and economic
heritage of the Puerto Ricans, only time and the methods em-
ployed will determine. Although the Church of Christ possesses
spiritual values which elude economic law, at the same time it
is a human society subject to economics and is peculiarly con-
cerned with the problem of adjusting these influences. If the
Church is fully aware of its power and of its social and spiritual
responsibilities, it should be in a unique position to influence
the whole structure and progress of Puerto Rican society.



M ANY competent observers have described the people and the
island of Puerto Rico, have analyzed their problems, and
suggested solutions for them. Economic and sociological com-
missions have studied and reported. The University of Puerto
Rico is constantly working on various aspects of island life. The
Administration is conducting far-reaching experiments and in-
vestigations. Findings agree upon at least three problems: poverty,
distribution of the land, and overpopulation. Proposed solutions,
however, differ.
The purpose of this study is distinct from that of any yet made.
It is to look objectively at the Evangelical Church, a small minor-
ity in the body politic of Puerto Rico; to discover its place within
the social and economic structure; to observe the trend of its de-
velopment; and to suggest how it may secure an indigenous
growth under the limitations and opportunities which exist.
The main outlines of the Puerto Rican picture are familiar. A
mountainous island only one hundred miles in length by thirty-
five miles in width, it is the smallest of the Greater Antilles, has
an area of 3,435 square miles, and a population of 1,850,000 or
540 people to the square mile. The birth-rate in the island is 39.4
per thousand, and the death-rate, 20.3 per thousand which gives a
crude rate of natural 'increase of 20 per thousand population.1
A one-crop sugar economy has appropriated the best lands and
has forced the expanding population onto the mountain slopes
where only a precarious living can be gained from the difficult ter-
rain with its less productive soil. During the ten-year period,
1929-1938, an average of $26,500,000 was paid out yearly for im-
ported food, much of which could have been raised by the Puerto
Ricans themselves. For the year, 1938-1939, sugar accounted for
.62 per cent of the total Puerto Rican exports. One hundred and
I. E. B. Hill and S. L. Descartes, An Economic Background for Agricultural
Research in Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras, P.R.: Agricultural Experiment Station,
Dec., 1939), Bulletin 51, p. 13.


twenty-five thousand laborers who, with their families, repre-
sent approximately one-third of the population are dependent
upon the sugar industry and work under conditions which give
them employment for less than one half of the year without a
productive relationship to the land. Absentee ownership of the
larger farms is common. Five per cent of the large farms (50
cuerdas2 or more in size) occupy 58 per cent of all cropland, and
75 per cent of the small farms (less than o1 cuerdas in size) oc-
cupy 18 per cent of all cropland.3 The average wage of agricul-
tural labor is from 48 to 69 cents a day, providing a daily family
subsistence budget per person of 8 to 13 cents. Universal under-
nourishment prevails in rural districts and is accompanied by a
high incidence of infectious and parasitic diseases (i66.6 cases per
,ooo0). Sixty per cent of the children are without schooling, and il-
literacy is as high as 70 per cent in many rural districts. Towns and
cities have slum areas where human life exists on the lowest
possible level, and in rural areas unsanitary conditions and over-
crowding are present in o9 per cent of the homes. A result of such
conditions is that 35.2 per cent of the children born in Puerto
Rico are illegitimate.4
If this picture is depressing, it is not unique, for each condition
referred to is equalled or exceeded in one or more of the neigh-
boring islands of the Caribbean. For instance, 78 per cent of
Cuba's export trade for 1929-1938 consisted of sugar and sugar
derivatives, and that island is even more dependent upon this
one-crop industry than Puerto Rico.' The population density of
at least three neighboring islands: Barbados, Granada, and Mont-
serrat (1,163, 672, and 426 per square mile respectively), exceeds
that of the American dependency. Jamaica, with her population
of 1,176,645, imports a larger proportion of her food (6,485,221
pounds sterling) than Puerto Rico (,850o,ooo people and $27,-
2. One cuerda equals .9712 of one acre.
3. Ibid., p. 49.
4. The preceding statistics have been used with the permission of the authors,
P. Morales Otero, Manuel A. Perez, R. Ramirez Santos, Rafaela Espino and Mario
Marrero, and may be found in "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto
Rico," (Reprinted from the Puerto Rico Journal of Public Health and Tropical
Medicine, March, 1939).
5. U.S. Tariff Commission, The Foreign Trade of Latin America-Cuba, 194o,
Section 18, Part II, p. 38.


420,000 worth of imports in 1938) and has an incidence of illegiti-
macy (71.6 per cent) twice as great as that of Puerto Rico.6
Finally, Puerto Rico has less illiteracy in proportion to her popu-
lation than Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, or the Dominican Republic,
while housing conditions, undernourishment, and endemic dis-
eases can be matched or exceeded in several islands of the Greater
and Lesser Antilles.
The position of Puerto Rico is unique, not because of its eco-
nomic and social conditions. These are often typical of popula-
tions in the tropics with a similar inheritance. It is the intimate
relationship of the island to the United States that has made
the people conscious of their dilemma. Puerto Rico has been
brought within the life of the giant northern republic, and it is
difficult to dissociate estimates of island conditions from those
of its neighbor. The tropical and Latin background of Puerto
Rico is such a contrast to the background of the United States
that it fixes the attention of the people of both lands on the
economic and social disparities of the two countries. This has
probably had a tendency to give island conditions a higher visi-
bility and an importance out of proportion to their real signifi-
cance and out of relation to the general environment.
For forty years the lifeblood of the United States has been flow-
ing in the veins of Puerto Rico, and its ideology and ways of
life have been penetrating island society. The constant travel be-
tween the two countries, the presence of a Puerto Rican colony
of approximately 180,000 people in New York City, the educa-
tion of Puerto Rican youth in United States' colleges, stimulate
the cultural fusion of the two countries. The island administra-
tive system, the courts, banking, commerce, and industry are
organized on the continental pattern. The shops, motion pictures,
radio, sports, transportation, and the countless small gadgets
and commodities imported from the United States which find
their way into the homes and into the daily life of the island are
changing the standards and enlarging the wants of Puerto Rico.
Most powerful of all is the educational system which reaches
the remotest hamlets and humblest families. At the system's apex
is the University of Puerto Rico, a first-class American institution
of higher learning, crowded with young men and women study-
6. Jamaica Annual General Report, 1938, p. 5.


ing for degrees. The department faculties are led by Puerto Ricans
who have had the best training the United States can provide,
and they are imparting these academic standards and techniques
to the new generations of island leaders. The eyes of the students
are being opened to the economic and social disabilities of their
country, and the graduates are prepared to deal with them.
Besides the educational system, the imposing reconstruction pro-
gram of the United States Government, called the Puerto Rico Re-
construction Administration, is undertaking to build a new order
of society by means of agricultural and social projects set up at
hundreds of points throughout the island. It has carried the ideal
of a better way of life to the common man and is painstakingly
showing him how he can improve his condition.
Altogether, one of the most notable experiments of modern
times in the cultural, economic, and spiritual transformation of a
people is taking place in this small island. The permanence of
the results will depend not so much upon the amount of money
that is spent as upon the degree to which a synthesis of cultures
can be effected, the patience with which Puerto Rican values and
leadership can be evaluated, and the adjustment of the experiment
in tempo and economy to the foundations of island life. The
Evangelical movement is an active agent in the group of influ-
ences by which Puerto Rico is being changed, and its present and
future position must be considered in this general context.

Puerto Rico, like the other islands of the Greater Antilles, has
a rural economy. Ninety per cent of her total exports are
agricultural. Since 74 per cent of these products are sugar and
sugar derivatives, she may correctly be classed as a country with
a one-crop economy. Of the remaining 26 per cent of island ex-
ports, tobacco accounts for 11 per cent, fruits, coffee and coconuts
for 3 per cent, textiles for o1 per cent, and other products for 2
per cent. However, the textiles exported do not represent Puerto
Rican products since the cloth comes from the United States.
The real export commodity in the textile trade is Puerto Rican
labor. The value of total exports in 1939 was $86,487,000. Puerto
Rican imports during 1939 totaled $83,000,000, with food pur-
chases amounting to 34 per cent of the total.
Nearly two-thirds of the population is classified as rural, and


the agricultural workers together with those in the sugar mills
and cigar and tobacco factories make up about 53 per cent of the
gainfully employed workers in the island. As with Cuba, the
Dominican Republic, and many of the Lesser Antilles, sugar
dominates industry in Puerto Rico. The occupational census of
1935 listed 93,450 male laborers working upon cane farms with
an estimated 31,550 other workers employed in the manufacture
of sugar derivatives such as rum and molasses. Workers on coffee
plantations, tobacco, and citrus and vegetable farms account for
another 90,000 workers. In these four agricultural occupations
alone are found 215,000 laborers who, with their families, com-
prise more than one-half of the population of Puerto Rico.7
The high per acre profit from fields planted to sugarcane has
shaped the land policy and economic destiny of Puerto Rico.
Sugarcane covers 34 per cent of harvested land, and the island
has a sugar producing capacity of more than one million tons
annually. Ownership of the more fertile lands has been concen-
trated in the hands of a few great companies and estates. Since
1934, this trend has been offset by an increase in the number of
small cane growers from 7,200 to ii,800. The small cane farmer,
however, is cultivating the steep slopes of the hills which are
unprofitable for the large grower.
Coffee stands next to sugar in the amount of area under cultiva-
tion. Although it constitutes less than i per cent ($527,000) of the
total value of net exports, in 1935 there were 9,600 coffee farms
comprising 400,000 cuerdas or 21 per cent of the cultivated farm
area of the island. These farms represent an investment of
$26,000,000 or 16 per cent of the total agricultural investment.
The last two decades have seen an extraordinary decline in the
tobacco industry-from $25,000,000 worth of shipments in the
peak year of 1927 to an average annual shipment value of only
$9,000,000 for the period, 1935-1939.
The principal fruit industries of Puerto Rico in the order of
their average annual export value are grapefruit, raw and canned,
$1,518,4o6 (1930-1939); pineapples, $1,500,000 (1930-1939); coco-
nuts, 300,000 (1934-1939); and winter vegetables, $234,000 (1938-

7. E. B. Hill and S. L. Descartes, An Economic Background for Agricultural
Research in Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras, P.R.: Agricultural Experiment Station, Dec.,
1939), Bulletin 51, pp. 2-7, 9, 24, passim).


1939). These five industries: sugar, coffee, tobacco, fruits, and
vegetables, all dependent on the United States' market, provide
a livelihood for the bulk of Puerto Rican labor and determine
their living standards.
Trade with other countries, principally the United States, is
the basis of Puerto Rican economy. In exchange for her agricul-
tural products, the island buys food, clothing, machinery, and
manufactured products. The fact that Puerto Rico can produce
sugar cheaper than the United States, while the United States
produces rice and wheat cheaper than Puerto Rico, explains the
anomaly of an agricultural island annually buying food from the
United States valued at $26,500,000 (1929-1938)--one half of the
total amount of food which the island consumes. The value
of the export crops which are exchanged for food imports is so
great that it would be a loss to divert land now used for culti-
vating sugar, coffee, or fruit to the production of cheaper food
Since so large a proportion of Puerto Rican life is agricultural
in character, we are presenting, with the permission of the au-
thors, condensed portions of a most valuable study on "Health
and Socio-Economic Conditions in the Tobacco, Coffee, and
Fruit Regions."9 This study was made under the auspices of the
Health Division, Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration,
and the School of Tropical Medicine during 1937-1938 and pre-
sents a carefully compiled picture of conditions in a typical group
of the rural population. The investigation was conducted in 246
rural barrios'1 of 47 municipalities, covering a total of 5,743 fam-
ilies and 34,265 people.

The average number of persons per family and per house was
6, as compared with 5.3 persons to a family and 5-9 persons to a
dwelling respectively for the whole island. The population under
five years of age was 17.9 per cent of the total, and under fifteen
8. Idem., pp. 26-38, passim.
9. P. Morales Otero, Manuel A. Perez, R. Ramirez Santos, Rafaela Espino and
Mario Marrero, "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto Rico," the Puerto
Rico Journal of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, March, 1939, pp. 201-277.
1o. Minor political unit.


years was 47.9 per cent, or nearly one-half, of the population.
It is of interest to compare these percentages with those for sim-
ilar population groups in four states in southeastern United States
which showed 12.4 per cent under five years of age and 37.6
under fifteen. The proportion of colored to white population was
16 per cent and 84 per cent respectively, which is much less than
for the island as a whole: 24 per cent and 76 per cent (1935).

In four-fifths, or 80.7 per cent, of the houses of the families
studied, the walls were of wood, and in one-sixth, or 16.5 per cent,
the wall material was of straw. Two-thirds of the roofs were
made of galvanized iron and one-third of straw. More than one-
half, or 54.3 per cent, of all houses were from 1oo to 199 square
feet in size, and 32.6 per cent were between 200 and 399 square
feet. Fifty-eight per cent of the houses were owned by the em-
ployers of the families occupying them; 40 per cent were owned
by the householders; and only 2 per cent were rented. Eighty-
three per cent of the family members lived in houses with only
one sleeping room, with an average of 5.8 occupants to the room.
One-half of the houses were classified as "fairly well" lighted,
and 47 per cent as "fairly well" ventilated. Ninety per cent of all
families reported that they slept with windows closed. Only 13
per cent of the houses were classified as "good" in cleanliness. A
majority of the families had at least two beds, one table, two
benches, one trunk, and one hammock. Only 16 per cent of the
families had chairs. Only twenty showers and twenty-six tin bath-
tubs were found among the 5,743 families. Fifty-two per cent of
the families living in the areas studied did not have sanitary
conveniences or latrines of any kind. Eighty-six per cent used
water from streams and shallow wells for daily consumption,
and only 4 per cent had water piped to the house.

Fifty-three per cent of the total persons included in the survey
took only coffee for breakfast. Of this number, two-thirds took
vegetables and dried codfish for lunch, and 87 per cent took only
rice and beans for supper. Fifty-seven per cent of the people were


not consuming milk-the daily consumption of those using it was
less than one-half pint per person per day.
Among the diseases reported in the survey, the highest rate,
166.6 cases per I,ooo, more than half of the total illness rate, was
in the infectious and parasitic group. Intestinal parasite cases
comprised 70 per cent of the entire classification of infectious and
parasitic diseases and 39 per cent of the total number of cases
reported. Next in frequency was malaria with a rate of 18.6, in-
fluenza with 14.4, syphilis with 5.5, and tuberculosis with a rate
of 4.9-all rates per I,ooo persons investigated. Fifty-five per cent
of the cases of illness reported that they had received medical
attention; and 45 per cent had had none.
There were only 17 public health doctors, 69 nurses, and 69
sanitary inspectors in the 47 municipalities surveyed which have
972,028, or 56.4 per cent of the total population of the island.
The death rate was low, 19.4; the birth rate was high, 40.9 per
i,ooo. Infant mortality rates were 115 per i,ooo live births.
The typical family surveyed was white and consisted of five
to seven members. The husband was 39.8 years old and had never
been to school; the wife was 33 years old and was likewise illit-
erate. One out of three husbands barely knew how' to read or
write. Husband and wife as well as the children suffered from
hookworm if they lived in the interior or from malaria if they
lived on the coast, or from both.
The indigenous nature of the people was shown by the resi-
dence of 83 per cent of the population in the community for
ten or more years. Forty-eight per cent of the population surveyed
were civilly or ecclesiastically married, and 13.3 per cent were
consensually married.
Three-fifths, 59.1 per cent, of the heads of families had never
been in school, although 161 of this total of 3,393 knew how to
read and write; 30.2 per cent had completed from one to four
grades of school. Of persons above ten years, 39.2 per cent were
illiterate. In Puerto Rico as a whole, the illiteracy rate is 35.1
per cent.


Among the 16,356 persons in the survey area under fifteen years
of age, 80.8 per cent were legitimate and 19.2 per cent were il-
Of the families studied, 69.6 per cent were gainfully occupied
at the time of the survey and were receiving an average wage of 60
cents per day. However, about one-eighth of the total number of
families surveyed were affected by unemployment.
Cases of separation were found in only 4.8 per cent of the fam-
ilies; alcoholism in 1.7 per cent; and desertion in less than I per
cent of the families studied.
Nearly 94 per cent of the persons who gave their religious af-
filiations were Catholics; 4 per cent were Protestants; and 2 per
cent were Spiritualists. Sixty-two per cent of the Catholics and
81.3 per cent of the Protestants claimed that they attend Church.
One half of the persons (49.6 per cent) of all ages from one
year up did not wear shoes.
Forty per cent of the persons questioned said they used their
leisure time for visiting; ii per cent went to dances; 9 per cent
attended political meetings; 4 per cent went to cockfights; 3 per
cent played games of dominoes; 2 per cent attended moving pic-
tures; and the remaining 30.8 per cent spent their leisure time in
various other entertainments. Only 2.3 per cent of the total popu-
lation surveyed belonged to any social, civic, or religious organ-
Three-fifths of the farm laborers who formed 59.8 per cent of
the total group surveyed, worked a maximum of forty-three weeks
a year and had earnings of less than $1oo per worker annually.
The remaining two-fifths who worked from forty-four to fifty-
two weeks earned from $132 to $147 per annum per worker.
Only io per cent of the workers had work during the fifty-two
weeks of the year. The average annual earnings from wages per
worker for unskilled farm labor was $102.34.
The skilled and semi-skilled workers had, on an average,
annual earnings from wages of $160.o6 per worker. Of all these
workers, 29.2 per cent had work during fifty-two weeks of the
year, with earnings of only $198.47 per worker.


Of the total number of families, 5,073 with 30,300 members, or
88.3 per cent of the total, derived their main income from wages
and had an average annual income of $175-49 per family and a
per capital income of $29.38, or 8 cents per person per day for all
the necessities of life. (The average worker's family income in the
sugarcane industry is $254.63 and per capital income is $48.59 re-
spectively-a marked increase over the earnings of the group of
families studied.)

The distribution of the weekly income of the family reveals that
more than four-fifths, 80.2 per cent, of the earnings were spent
in food; 10.4 per cent in clothes; 4.3 per cent in health, including
money paid to quacks and money spent in nostrums and propri-
etary medicines; 3.8 per cent were spent in recreation; 3-3 per cent
in transportation; only 0.5 per cent went for rent; and 6.9 per cent
in all other and unspecified items.
The families with an income of less than $3.00 per week spent
more than their total earnings in food; and the group of families
in the non-wage earners class spent practically all of their earn-
ings, 99.6 per cent, in food. Many of these families have to obtain
on credit items indispensable for mere subsistence since they
spend ii cents per person per day. This creates a deficit economy
amounting to as much as 3 cents per person per day among many

Nearly three-fifths of the families, 56.6 per cent, had plots of
land under cultivation-the sizes varying from one cuerda or less
to ten cuerdas or more. Of these plots, 58.3 per cent were of one
cuerda or less. The plots were usually planted in vegetables and
food crops, although on some of the larger farms notably in the
tobacco area, part of the land was devoted to cash crops.
The land was owned by 21.2 per cent of the families; in 57.9
per cent of the families, land was the property of the employer;
and in 16.8 per cent, the land was the property of some relative or
friend of the householder.


The vast majority of the families, 89.8 per cent of the total, had
some kind of property aside from furniture and accessories. The
average value of the property owned by each family was $86.68
including the value of the land, houses, livestock, and crops.
(This compares poorly with the property value of $142.54 owned
by the average family in the sugarcane area.)

Of the 5,743 families investigated, 4,788, or 83.4 per cent, had
accumulated debts for one purpose or another. Only 1.7 per cent
of these families had mortgages on their land, houses, or on both.
Most of the debts, 79.7 per cent of all cases, were incurred for food.
The amount of debt per family was $28.89 for the surveyed
area as a whole. (This is virtually the same as the average per
family debt of $28.80 incurred by the sugarcane workers on a
wage which is one and one-half times that of the workers in these

Puerto Rico is building a modern state with modern institu-
tions and services upon the basis of a subsistence economy and
standard of life. Schools, colleges, courts, police, high-salaried
officials, public utilities, transportation, health and sanitation, and
agricultural extension are normally premised upon the existence
of a strong middle class which possesses real property, can pay
taxes, and can earn a fair margin of income above the cost of
ordinary living. In Puerto Rico, the middle class-the backlog
of the United States-is practically non-existent. More than 85 per
cent of the people are without real property, cannot be taxed, and
barely exist from hand to mouth.
It is difficult to see how a modern state can be built upon an
economic system where the great bulk of the profits of the
main industry finds its way into the pockets of foreign owners
and a handful of island capitalists. Three-quarters of the sugar
industry of Puerto Rico is foreign-owned, and dividends flow
out of the island today under American occupation as they did
under the Spanish colonial system. It remains to be seen whether
the Administration can devise means to redistribute sugar lands
and the control of the sugar industry so as to divert a part


of this outward flow of island earnings to the people whom it is
trying to prepare for the responsibilities of democratic citizenship.
The Evangelical Church is deeply involved in this whole situa-
tion. It is subject to the same limitations that are experienced
by other continental institutions in the island. The Church has
been developed in a middle-class social order and requires the
support of middle-class incomes. Where such incomes are absent,
the machinery of church economy is upset, and the Church must
either be dependent upon foreign subsidy for its support or dis-
cover a new system of supervision and finance. On the other
hand, the Evangelical Church has access to sources of power
which transcend economic determinism. If these are fully under-
stood and utilized, they will enable the Church to meet and solve
the most formidable obstacles which confront it.



THERE are nine principal Evangelical church groups in Puerto
Rico: the Baptists, the Disciples, the Episcopalians, the Amer-
ican Missionary Association and the United Brethren in Christ
which together form the Iglesia Unida de Puerto Rico, the Meth-
odists, the Presbyterians, the United Lutherans, the Pentecostals,
and the Seventh-day Adventists.
Of this number, the first seven church groups cooperated fully
in this survey of the Puerto Rican churches, and the last two
supplied us with statistics and information regarding their work.
Since these two denominations are well organized and widely
scattered throughout the island, they will be included in the de-
scription of the Evangelical movement in Puerto Rico appearing
in this chapter.'
There are 319 organized churches in Puerto Rico with a total
registered membership of 32,122 upon their rolls and with a con-
stituency estimated at 81,854. The churches are served by 231
pastors. The organized churches of the seven denominations
which gave full cooperation to this study numbered 208 with
26,734 communicant members and 150 ministers. The 528 Sunday
schools of eight denominations were reported to have 46,165 stu-
dents including children, young people, and adults. Cooperating
with the 319 churches are 41 continental missionaries-an average
of four or five to each mission group. Six denominations reported
4,795 catechumens. Of the 205 churches of seven denominations,
ioo are described as rural (in centers with less than 2,500 popula-
tion) and io5 as urban. Fifteen, or 7.1 per cent, of the 208 churches
of the first seven denominations are entirely self-supporting.
However, including the churches of the Seventh-day Adventist
and Pentecostal groups, both of which have developed a very high
degree of self-support, the total number of financially independent
i. The information and statistics appearing in this chapter have been supplied
by the courtesy of the Superintendents of the various denominations and, in most
cases, represent the status of the Church for the year, 1941. The data upon the
Presbyterian churches was supplied by Dr. E. A. Odell of the National Board of
Missions of that Church.


churches would be increased to 115, or 36 per cent of all of the
Evangelical churches in the island.
The average salary paid to the pastors of the seven cooperating
church groups is $85.68 per month or $1,028 annually. The lowest
paid group of pastors receive $66.66 per month, and the highest
are paid nearly double this sum-$124.25 per month. Including
in the computation the Pentecostal salary scale which averages
$30.00 per month, the average salary for the pastors of all nine
denominations is reduced to $77.38 per month or $928.56 per year.
The combined annual church budgets for the nine denomina-
tions, representing approximately the entire Evangelical work in
Puerto Rico, total $343,515. Of this sum, $I42,043 is raised an-
nually by the island churches, and $201,472 is contributed by the
mission boards, or 41.3 per cent and 58.7 per cent respectively. Ex-
cluding the Seventh-day Adventist and Pentecostal Churches
which are 95.2 per cent and 91.2 per cent self-supporting, we
find that the total annual expenditure of the seven cooperating
church groups amounted to $295,254 of which the Puerto Rican
churches contributed $97,282, and the mission boards provided
$197,972, or 33 per cent and 67 per cent respectively.
The per capital annual contribution to the church varies within
the seven cooperating denominations from $2.13 to $5-93, with
an average gift of $3.87 per member. The extraordinary per capital
giving of the Seventh-day Adventist churches is in a class quite
by itself, for it amounts to no less than $14.28 a year per member
or $1.19 per month.
The following tables indicate the comparative strength and
nature of the nine denominational Churches of Puerto Rico:
municant Candidates
Organized Mem- for
Churches bership Constituency Baptism
Baptist . ... 47 5,046 15,000 507
Disciples . .. 28 4,000 8,500
Episcopal . .. 21 3,500 7,300
Lutheran . .. 14 1,030 5,000 223
Methodist . ... 26 3,120 12,000 1,420
Presbyterian . .. 40 4,734 13,443 259
United Evangelical 32 4,646 10,000 413
Seventh-day Adventist 25 1,400 3,000 250
Pentecostal . .. 86 4,646 7,611 1,982

81,854 5,054


. 319 32,122


Baptist ..
Disciples . .
Episcopal . .
Lutheran .
Methodist ..
Presbyterian .
United Evangelical .
Seventh-day Adventist .
Pentecostal .


Baptist .
Episcopal .

Presbyterian .
United Evangelical .
Seventh-day Adventist
Pentecostal .

115 $ 5.18

$8,356 $696.42

Baptist .
Disciples .
Lutheran .
Methodist .
Presbyterian .
United Evangelical
Adventist .
Pentecostal .



TOTALS .. $343,515

Given by


Given by


1,100 95.2 4.8
2,400 91.2 8.8

$142,043 $201,472 47.3 52.7

A remarkable degree of comity exists between the denomina-
tions in Puerto Rico. A system of zoning was planned by which
definite territory has been assigned to most of the denominations
working in the island. With the exception of the churches in
the large cities and those of the Seventh-day Adventist and Pente-


. 231
















I -

. .


costal groups, the churches of more than one denomination are
rarely found in the same part of the island. The Baptist churches
occupy a broad diagonal zone extending through the center of
the island from the southwest near Ponce to the northeast near
San Juan. The Disciples churches are found in the north center
between San Juan and Arecibo. The whole western end of the
island is assigned to the Presbyterians. The Methodists are in the
north near Arecibo and in the southeast, and the United Evan-
gelical churches occupy the far eastern region centering about
Humacao and along the southern coast. The Lutherans are in
the north center and in and around San Juan. The Episcopal
Church is established in most of the larger centers and their out-
lying rural districts. Neither the Seventh-day Adventist nor
Pentecostal Churches consider themselves limited by these zones
of influence which the older denominational groups follow, and
the Pentecostal Church is spreading with great rapidity in nearly
every section of Puerto Rico without reference to prior occupa-
tion by other denominations. Ten new churches were organized
by this denomination during I94o.
The Union Theological Seminary at Rio Piedras is one of the
finest examples of Evangelical interdenominational cooperation
on any mission field. Five church denominations have united in
this educational project: the Baptists, Disciples, Methodists, Pres-
byterians, and United Evangelicals. There was, in 194i, a resident
student body of thirty-six and a faculty of six. Dr. James A.
McAllister of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. is the Pres-
ident of the Seminary, which was a Presbyterian institution be-
fore it merged with the other denominations. The students of the
Seminary supplement their theological training with courses in
the University of Puerto Rico which is adjoining and with which
the Seminary maintains a scheme of mutually granted scholastic
credits. For many years, the Union Theological Seminary has
prepared candidates for the Presbyterian churches of Cuba and
also for the Dominican Evangelical Churches of the Dominican
Through the courtesy of the Superintendents of the denomina-
tional groups of churches in the island, a picture of the main
financial policies and trend of the Puerto Rican churches and of


the mission boards has been secured, as well as the opinions of
these leaders upon various church problems.2

All the mission boards follow the practice of holding title to
property-churches, schools, and hospitals-which have been
built with mission money. A majority of the boards, however,
provide for national ownership of buildings which have been
built by island congregations. The main load of repairing, erect-
ing, and maintaining church buildings is still carried by the
mission boards, but, more and more, local congregations are
sharing the responsibility for such costs by contributing labor,
materials, and cash gifts. In three church groups, congregations
have begun to carry the entire cost of new buildings: in some
cases, receiving from the mission a part loan to be repaid in three
to five years; in other cases, managing the whole payment alone.
Pastors' salaries are quite generally paid by the mission boards,
but with the understanding that the local churches assist in so
far as they are able. Two denominations, with the objective of
final self-support in mind, insist that the financial quotas of their
churches be gradually increased from year to year. One denom-
ination guarantees 80 per cent of the maximum salary fixed for
its pastors, leaving it to the local congregations to make up the
full allowance. Another mission has set the salaries of its pastors
who are in charge of mission-aided churches at 25 per cent less
than the salaries of the pastors of its financially independent
churches. The individual Adventist and Pentecostal churches are
theoretically responsible for the complete support of their pastors
and, in practice, provide 96 per cent and 92 per cent respectively.
The cost of operating schools and hospitals is met partly by
the mission boards and partly by matriculation fees and fees for
services rendered. The salaries of the missionaries employed in
such institutions are paid by the boards, but, without exception,
a large proportion of the operating costs is financed locally.
The cost of educating Puerto Rican pastors is undertaken in
almost all instances by the mission boards. Two missions follow
the plan of educating their ministerial candidates in the United
States where they are aided by scholarships. Several of the mis-
2. The Presbyterian Church is not represented in these replies.


sions cooperating in the Union Theological Seminary at Rio
Piedras use their theological students for weekend assignments,
and the pay received for such work is applied to their seminary

The combined annual operating budgets for the schools, hos-
pitals, and churches of the seven denominational groups total
about half a million dollars. Three of the mission boards operate
several large hospitals; three conduct educational institutions;
another one operates two mission farms and an embroidery in-
dustry; one has a large social settlement; and still another has a
school and home for girls. Well over one half of this total amount
comes from Puerto Rican sources. However, when the cost of
institutional work is extracted, the picture changes. The com-
bined cost of operating the churches and maintaining the evan-
gelistic work of the seven boards totals $295,254. Of this, $97,282
or 33 per cent is contributed by Puerto Ricans, and $197,972 or
67 per cent by the mission societies.
All but one of the seven Superintendents reported an increase
in the proportion of the operating expenses contributed by the
members of their groups of churches during the five-year period
ending in 1940. The ratio of increase in national support during
this period was slight in most of the returns, but it showed a
definite upward trend. For instance, this increase in one denom-
ination during the last five years was 7.7 per cent; in a second,
12 per cent; in a third, 24 per cent. However, there was a 96 per
cent increase in the portion of the budget contributed by the
mission boards during the same period-four times the rate of
increase of the national gifts.

Subsidy reduction has been attempted by four of the seven de-
nominations. An island-wide hurricane which destroyed many
churches and much private property interrupted the reduction
of subsidy in at least two groups. A third group has applied the
principle in three of its churches with success, and it is now in
operation with two others. Another Superintendent reported a
written plan for subsidy reduction but stated that, in practice,


help to the churches has increased rather than diminished during
recent years.
Those Superintendents whose churches have experienced sub-
sidy reduction differed in their opinion as to its effect upon the
The experience of one denomination was discouraging, indi-
cating that subsidy reduction had reduced evangelistic activities;
the pastors had been hampered by having more work placed on
them; the pastors' salaries were reduced by 19 per cent; some pas-
tors had had to supplement their incomes by outside work; and
not only the cost but the scope of the church program had been
cut down.
A second Superintendent reported that the effect of subsidy
reduction upon the spiritual life and influence of his churches
had been excellent; the missionary and evangelistic activities of
the churches had been stimulated; in every case but one the pas-
tors had shown a decided improvement in their efficiency and
better results in their work; in three instances, there had been
marked increases in the amount of the pastors' salaries; sources
of income had been developed more intelligently; and the cost
and scope of church programs had been increased rather than
reduced as the churches learned to have greater reliance upon

The Superintendents were unanimous in their belief that a
larger proportion of church members-at least one half of those
now giving--could substantially increase their gifts to the church.
Methods suggested by these leaders for increasing membership
contributions were: education in Christian giving; tithing; the
weekly envelope system; the every-member canvass; consecration
of gifts in kind; the Lord's Acre principle; and, most important
of all, the pastor's own belief in the soundness of the principle of
We found tithing practiced in varying degrees by the Evan-
gelical members of the Puerto Rican churches.
The Superintendent of one of the largest denominations in
Puerto Rico, speaking of the growth of self-support in his
churches, said: "Tithing was emphasized in the teaching of our


pastors and with splendid results. It was based upon Biblical in-
struction. If our churches all tithed, they could carry the entire
financial load, including pastor, evangelism, repairs, and all."
It is important to note that this denomination has the highest pro-
portion of financially independent churches, nine out of forty-
eight, of any of the older Evangelical church groups in Puerto
Rico. Further, the proportion of its church budget raised in
Puerto Rico, 57.2 per cent, is also the highest.
The financial practice and status of the Seventh-day Adventist
churches in Puerto Rico are outstanding.Tithing is considered
by this Church as essential a Christian virtue as obeying the Ten
Commandments. Members freely accept the practice upon join-
ing the Church as a basic part of the Christian confession and
fellowship. As a result, one hundred per cent of the twenty-five
churches of the denomination are self-supporting, and, of the total
operating budget of $21,000, 95.2 per cent is raised in Puerto Rico
and only 4.8 per cent is provided by the mission.
The potential power that lies in the practice of tithing is clear
when contrasting the average annual per capital church gift of
$3.87 of the 26,734 members of the seven older Evangelical de-
nominations with the average annual per capital church gift of
$14.28 of the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in
Puerto Rico.
The Superintendents' opinions were divided on the subject of
how much training is required for the pastor of a rural church.
One half of the Superintendents believe that the rural districts
need highly trained men, since they have the opportunity to be-
come the leaders of their communities. An equal number were
convinced that such highly educated pastors are not required at
the present stage of rural church development in Puerto Rico.

The opinions expressed on the experience and value of lay lead-
ership in the churches were somewhat negative. It was generally
thought, however, that, with a circuit minister in charge who is
acquainted with rural problems and knows how to handle rural
people, trained lay leadership could be of great help to the Church.


One church Superintendent who discussed this subject said:
A layman trained in evangelism, in church management and
discipline, and in the use of the Bible, could take care of a rural
congregation between the visits of the supervising ordained min-
ister. Such lay workers, however, need to be on a voluntary basis
and should not receive stipends for their work.
It was pointed out by all the Superintendents that the present
system of occasional pastoral visits to a circuit of rural churches
invites the predatory activities of the independent and emotional
sects and is a source of constant loss to the rural church mem-

Five of the six church Superintendents believe special training,
supplementing the courses now offered in theological seminaries,
should be required for the pastoral candidate who plans to enter
rural work. It was suggested that, rather than duplicate schools,
the course offered by the Union Theological Seminary should be
strengthened by using supplementary lecturers. One Superinten-
dent advocated an interneship period of training for young theo-
logical graduates during which they can serve under the direction
of a mature and experienced pastor.
The Superintendents agreed unanimously upon the difficulty
of developing self-supporting rural churches when under the
direction of trained and well-salaried leadership. However, it was
pointed out by several that a beginning could be made under
the leadership of pastors who are able to identify themselves with
rural conditions and share in the hardships of their people.
One Superintendent believes that the support of the farm-
ers in a district may be won through a program of parish and
community activities which minister to the well-being of the
whole community.
The following statements were made on the subject of pastoral
training for the rural Church during our visit to the island. One
Superintendent said:
The future of the Evangelical work in Puerto Rico depends upon
what is done in the rural churches. There is a coming trend from
city back to the farm, and the Church must be ready.
A rural pastor needs regular theological training, but he also


needs practical training in agriculture and stock-raising. He must
have the missionary spirit and not be afraid of hard work. Finally,
he must have a vision of what he expects of his rural parishioners,
and a plan to bring it to reality.
Another Superintendent said:
A year's study of agricultural and rural problems in the Puerto
Rico Agricultural College would help all our pastors. A knowledge
of intensive gardening is important, for a garden not only would
demonstrate to the parish what might be done but would supple-
ment the pastor's own food supply. You cannot expect seminary
men to prepare definitely for agricultural careers, but they could all
profitably learn the essentials of gardening.
A third Superintendent told how all of his pastors had come
from rural backgrounds and that among them were men who
would be sincerely willing to dedicate their lives to the country
areas, do a wonderful work amid rural conditions, and live on
small salaries.
A somewhat different policy for manning the rural Church
was outlined by the Superintendents of two other denominations.
They believe that a new type of church leader is needed who is
trained to occupy the rural field. One of them said:
We can never evangelize Puerto Rico with men who have been
trained in seminaries alone. So far, we are educating men who are
prepared only for the city churches. We need to have two kinds of
pastors in Puerto Rico.


IN EMPHASIZING the importance of self-support among the
churches, it must be borne in mind that financial indepen-
dence is not the only test, nor, indeed, the chief test, of the vitality
of a church of Christ. Scores of Puerto Rican churches, at present
helped from abroad, are a living proof of the possibility of a deep
religious experience and Christian witness. There are two impor-
tant aspects of the subject, however, that need constantly to be
kept in mind by mission boards and by Puerto Rican churches
alike. First, in their desire to assist the younger churches, the
mission boards should not use their money for work which, if
the churches were to support, would bless and revitalize them.
Second, mature and comparatively strong churches are being
maintained by large sums of mission money which could other-
wise be released and used for extending the frontiers of the
Church to as yet unevangelized territory.
Studies of many younger churches in various parts of the world
lead to the conviction that there is probably no local church in
any field whose problems and difficulties have not been experi-
enced and successfully met by one of the fifty thousand other
younger churches. A study of the Evangelical churches in Puerto
Rico confirms this conviction, for within Puerto Rican church
experience may be found basic methods which can help many
island churches to a position of financial independence.

The Methodist Church in the northern coastal city of Arecibo
has three hundred members. The Young People's Society enrols
one hundred members, and there are four hundred members in
the central Sunday school, with 565 others enrolled in seven
mission Sunday schools for which the church is responsible. The
annual budget of the church is $2,400. Out of this, the pastor re-
ceives $84 a month, or $1,ooo a year. The church has recently
finished paying for a $4,000 annex above the Sunday school rooms


to accommodate its young people's activities. This $4,000 was
raised entirely by the congregation. The chuch members repre-
sent many classes of society. There is a large group of tithers in
the membership, some of whom give more than one-tenth of
their income to the church. In addition, an every-member canvass
is organized, and finance meetings are regularly held for the
whole church. The pastor is assisted in his work by an energetic
finance committee and preaches at stated intervals upon the duty
and privilege of Christian stewardship. The church employs a
deaconess who works among the women and in the homes of
the city and who also assists the pastor as his secretary.

In the same city, the Christian and Missionary Alliance has a
small church which has been established for nine years and
now has thirty-eight members. The church rents the building in
which the congregation meets for $37.o00 a month. This building
also serves as the parsonage. The members contribute $40.00 a
month to their church which makes an average annual contribu-
tion of $12.60 per member. This leaves a margin, after paying for
the rent, of only $3.oo a month to go towards the pastor's salary.
The balance of his meagre salary of $23 per month is paid by the
members of two other churches of the same denomination at
Santurce and Barceloneta. The sacrificial giving of the 38 mem-
bers of this church is an example of what a small congregation
can do by uniting their entire strength in a cause in which they
believe. The members, for the most part, are very poor, but the
church has had no subsidy from the mission board for several

The Baptist Church at Cayey, a thriving hill town in the center
of the island, has 366 adult members. This total also includes the
members of three small rural congregations nearby. Of this num-
ber, 294 members or 80.3 per cent contribute regularly to the
church. Twenty members are tithers. The church has been self-
supporting for many years and has outgrown its building which
has seats for only 250 people. The Sunday school of 300 members
also needs more space and has to meet in two relays at different


hours. The church is seeking to build or to extend the old struc-
ture at an estimated cost of $7,ooo, which they intend to borrow
and repay at the rate of $500 a year.
The church is responsible for 20 rural Sunday schools in the
Cayey district which have a total enrollment of over 1,200 scholars
who are taught by members from the central church. The con-
stituency of these Sunday school mission groups can give very
little since they are mostly poor laborers with no independent
farmers among them. However, the three rural church branches
contribute toward the upkeep of the central church.
The Evangelical community of Cayey is estimated at one thou-
sand, including Adventist and Pentecostal groups, and the town
itself is sympathetic and friendly toward the Evangelical work.
However, the Baptist pastor believes there is great need for a
Christian social center with recreational and social activities for
the youth of the town.

There are 280 members in the Baptist Church of Ponce. Al-
though the church has been financially independent for ten years,
only 77 members were contributing with any regularity when
the present pastor took charge three years ago. This num-
ber has increased to 130 regular contributors. The pastor attrib-
utes the growth in financial strength to: the active work of a
finance committee; an annual Stewardship Week; religious edu-
cation, including the meaning and privilege of Christian giving;
and, finally, the cooperation of the women's societies which have
greatly increased their gifts to the church.
The members have been surprised to find out how easy church
support becomes if it is thoroughly organized and planned. Dur-
ing the annual Stewardship Week, the pastor preaches on the
topic of stewardship and also presents this subject to each or-
ganization in the church by means of discussion and the study of
special literature on giving, such as the Gift Tree Book and vari-
ous other devices put out by David C. Cook and Sons, Publishers,
Elgin, Ill. These methods have aroused the interest and stimulated
the giving of the members.


There are eight churches of the United Christian Missionary
Society (Disciples), called the Churches of Christ, which left the
denominational fellowship several years ago and became inde-
pendent of the mission. Upon an initial wave of enthusiasm, sev-
eral of these congregations built their own churches at a cost of
$1,200 to $3,000, raised entirely by their members. The pastors'
salaries of this group are $40 to $60 per month. Although still
retaining a nominal relationship with the Disciples Mission, these
eight churches have received no help from the mission board be-
yond the payment of cyclone insurance upon their buildings.
Tithing is extensively practiced by the members of these churches.
Their experience demonstrates that, given a sufficient emotional
incentive and banded together by a common aim, the members
of an average Puerto Rican church can maintain their organiza-
tions and be financially independent of the mission board.
The Baptist Church in Rio Piedras not only is a strong self-
supporting organization but is a radiating center from which
branch churches and chapels are emerging in the outskirts of the
city. The 350 members of the central church are responsible for
all of its $4,000 annual budget including its extension work. There
are 400 enrolled in the Sunday school. The great majority of the
members give regularly each week to the church-the gifts vary-
ing from one cent to one dollar per week. Many members practice
the tithe, and one university professor gives more than one-tenth
of his income. He reasons that we should not be limited by the
Levitical conception of the compulsory tithe, that Jesus taught
the principle of "going the second mile," and that we should
therefore apply this principle to our giving.
This church has organized and assists three branch churches
whose services and Sunday schools are taken care of by the lay
members of the central church and the branch churches. The at-
tractive buildings of the branch churches have been made of con-
crete and cost from $2,500 to $3,000. One-third of these building
costs has been paid by the church members-the mission supply-
ing the balance. However, one of the churches has given its note
to the mission and is paying for the entire cost of the building in
annual installments.


The pastor of this parish holds an annual Laymen's Training
Institute for ten consecutive Saturday nights in April. At this
time, the members of all four churches of the parish meet for
intensive instruction on the meaning of the Church, the responsi-
bilities of membership, and methods of church work. Lay mem-
bers and preachers share in the training of these classes. Quarterly
institutes for lay instruction are also held for the members of the
local churches. This parish is notable for its fine organization, the
responsibility taken by the members, and the consequent freedom
of the pastor to plan and direct the work of his parish.

About 87 per cent of the 86 churches of the Pentecostal denom-
ination of Puerto Rico are self-supporting. These churches pay
their pastors the lowest salaries of any of the nine leading Evan-
gelical denominations-$4o.oo a month being the maximum
salary. Therefore, many of the Pentecostal preachers supplement
their incomes by outside activities-frequently by farming.

As we have already seen, the Seventh-day Adventist churches
illustrate the power that lies in the practice of the tithe for the
support of a church. Of the 1,400 communicant members of Ad-
ventist churches in Puerto Rico, 92.5 per cent are practicing
tithing, and between 96 and 97 per cent contribute regularly to
their churches. The average annual gift of the member to the
pastor's support is $14.28 and, including Sunday school and
supplementary organizations and objectives, it goes as high as
$15.00 and $16.oo a year.
Tithing is at the heart of the faith and practice of Adventism.
When a man joins the Church, he accepts tithing as a part of
his creed of faith. However, he is not compelled to tithe in prac-
tice, nor is he disciplined when he does not tithe. It is not sur-
prising, under these circumstances, to learn that every one of the
twenty-five Adventist churches in Puerto Rico is financially in-
dependent. Salaries paid to Adventist pastors vary from $45 to
$53 a month for a pastor with his first charge and may go as
high as $90 a month for an experienced pastor.


The Superintendent of the Church said:
Our members who are working at the air and naval bases are
getting big salaries, $2.50 to $5.00 a day-four and five times what
they normally earn. One church with two hundred members gave
$360 in tithes last month. Another church of 175 members gave
$280 in March. The members are tithing their big wages just as they
tithed their smaller ones. Our churches are now giving enough so
that a balance is left to put into special projects after meeting all
current expenses. Tithing by all the members will solve the prob-
lem of support of any church.


T HE INFORMATION about the Evangelical churches of Puerto
Rico appearing in this chapter was supplied by 69 of the 148
pastors of the seven principal denominational Churches in the
island. A questionnaire was sent to these pastors covering the vari-
ous aspects of their churches and their own problems as pastors.
The proportion of answers to the questionnaire, 46.7 per cent
or nearly one-half, is unusually high and enables us to get a fairly
accurate picture of the financial and social position of the Evan-
gelical churches and their pastors. It should be kept in mind, how-
ever, that the pastors who responded to the questionnaire repre-
sent, as a rule, the stronger and better organized churches. There-
fore the composite picture presented in the analysis of replies is
probably somewhat more favorable than would be the case were
all of the 195 churches of the seven denominations represented.
A large proportion of the pastors of two denominational groups
of churches, the Lutheran and Episcopalian, replied to the ques-
tionnaire-81.8 per cent and 76 per cent respectively. Returns were
received from 12 of the 23 Baptist pastors, I of the 12 Disciples
pastors, 13 of the 17 Episcopalian pastors, 9 of the ii Lutheran
pastors, 14 of the 30 Methodist pastors, 9 of the 28 Presbyterian
pastors, and ii of the 27 United Evangelical pastors.
There is a fortunate balance of urban and rural churches repre-
sented in the replies to the questionnaire. Thirty-nine of the
churches are classified as urban and thirty as rural. A church was
designated as urban if located in a community with more than
2,500 population.
The average number of communicant members in a church
is 130: the smallest number reported was 27 and the largest 476.
An average of 33 Evangelical families belong to a church,
and an average of 60 individual members not constituting families.
The Evangelical family averages five persons. This number
corresponds with the findings of the survey on "Health and Socio-


Economic Conditions in the Tobacco, Coffee, and Fruit Regions,"
carried out in 1938 by the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Admin-
istration and the School of Tropical Medicine in San Juan.' The
range in 65.4 per cent of the 5,743 families studied in this survey
was from three to seven persons, with the median size of the
families, 5.2 members.
There is an average of 350 persons, including children, who are
related to a church.2 The church Sunday school and Bible
classes enrol an average of 243 persons. Of these, 137 are children,
53 are young people, and 52 are older people enrolled in Bible
classes. An average of 12 new members were received into each
church, and an average of 23 catechumen were preparing for
baptism during 1940. An average of 34 church members were
reported absent. This number constitutes 26 per cent or more than
one-quarter of the average church membership of 130.
An interesting picture of Evangelical Puerto Rican society ap-
pears from the replies to the question on the occupations of church
members. It bears out the general impression of the low earning
power and humble social positions of the church membership.

Day laborers .
Students .
Farmers .
Factory workers .
Professional workers .
Servants .
Artisans .
Office workers .
Government employees
Retired .
Shopkeepers .
Transportation workers .
Contractors .
Other occupations (including
Unclassified .

. 14.5
. 6.5
. 5.8
. 4-5
. 2.0

. .7

those of wives)

i. "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto Rico," The Puerto Rican Jour-
nal of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, March, 1939, P. 242.
2. The returns of 2 constituencies numbering 9oo and 5,000 from large city
churches have been excluded from the above figure.



From this classification, it is apparent that only about io per
cent of the average church membership belong to the middle
class of Puerto Rican society.
The returns from this question reveal that more than two-thirds
or 67.4 per cent of the members of Evangelical churches earn $25
or less a month. This is less than $300 a year. The scale of earn-
ings is as follows:

Scale of
Searnles $0 $0-25 $25-50 $50-75 $75-100 $100-200 $200 plus

of members 28.5 38.9 19.2 6.9 4.2 1.8 .5

An average of sixty-eight per cent of the church members are
in debt and have an obligation averaging $70 per member.
Out of 50 replies, 20 pastors believe that their members are
above the average of the population in economic resources, while
30 believe that they are below. Only 2 pastors reported men of
large business interests within their church memberships; the
remaining 55 pastors stated that there are no people of this type.
Of the 57 churches which reported, 12 have government officials
among their members. Of 54 churches, 45 have no individuals
who are prominent in the sciences, belles lettres, or arts, while 9
churches have a few of this sort.
Thirty-nine churches out of 45, whose pastors reported, use the
plan of an annual budget. All but 4 churches out of 46, whose pas-
tors reported, have both a treasurer and a finance committee. Of
33 churches, 32 use an annual membership campaign for securing
pledges for church support. Of 48 churches which reported, all
use the weekly or monthly church offering plan. All but I of 46
churches provide for special offerings from time to time. Of 26
pastors who responded to the question on tithing, 20 reported one
or more members who tithe regularly. The "First Fruit" type of


offering is practiced by the members of only 2 of the 18 churches
whose pastors reported on this question. The members of one
church out of 17 use the Lord's Acre principle of giving.
It was reported that the members give an average of $389 per
year toward the running expenses of the average church.
From a five-year schedule of budgets, it appears that 75 per
cent of the churches which reported have slightly increased in-
comes from members' gifts. These increases ranged from 2 to 5
per cent.
Debts averaging $1o per church have been incurred by 18
churches for such purposes as running expenses, property, or
equipment. All but 3 of the churches are liquidating their obliga-

The factors determining the pastor's salary are listed in the
order of the frequency of their appearance in the returns. They
are: preparation, experience, size of family, mission determin-
ism, strength and size of the church, location of the church,
economic condition of the members, and the educational needs
of the pastor's children.
The average salary of 47 pastors is $79.00 per month. Six
denominational groups reported that their pastors' average salaries
were as follows: $67.85; $69.60; $71.40; $73.80; $92.93; $112.40.
This shows a marked difference between the lowest and the high-
est stipends.
A large majority of the pastors, 80 per cent, agree that the pas-
tor's salary is too low. A few, belonging to the better paid groups,
believe they are receiving enough to meet their needs. Of 54
pastors, 37 stated that their salaries are higher than those of the
average members of their churches; 4 stated that they are lower;
and 13 that they are the same. Twenty-seven pastors have lower
salaries than those of their church members who have had a
similar education; 8 pastors reported that their salaries are larger;
and 12 that they are paid substantially the same. Of 52 pastors,
46 or 88.5 per cent believe that the pastor's standard of living
should be superior to that of the average member of his church;
while 6 or II.5 per cent think it should be equal.
It should be the responsibility of the Board of Missions to pay


the pastor's salary, according to io of 55 replies. Forty-three pas-
tors believe the responsibility should be divided between the
mission and the local church, and 2 believe that the church alone
should pay the whole salary of the pastor.
A majority opinion, 83 per cent or 44 out of 53 replies, is op-
posed to the pastor supplementing his salary by means of outside
activities. Only 17 per cent or 9 pastors approve of the practice.
Types of outside work by which the pastor and his family supple-
ment their income are: agriculture (5 replies), teaching (2 re-
plies), selling pastry (i reply), and professional nursing by the
pastor's wife (I reply). Five pastors believe that such activities
have no effect upon the pastor's work; 11 believe that the effect
is bad; and 3 consider the effect to be good. Among the adverse
effects listed are: a lowering of a sense of responsibility among
the church members, the interruption of the duties of the pastor,
and a loss of dignity and personal humiliation before the com-
munity. On the other hand, it was pointed out that by doing
manual work, especially in agriculture, a pastor is able to enter
more fully into the problems and experiences of his people, and in
this way his helpfulness and influence are increased.
The factors which should determine a pastor's salary are listed
in the order of their importance as follows: preparation and edu-
cation, efficiency in work, size of family and economic needs,
economic conditions of the church: unemployment, consecration,
place and type of city and church, cost of living in the parish, size
of the congregation, and experience.
Out of 49 replies, 18 pastors reported that their church members
believe their pastors receive a sufficiently large salary; 23 replied
that their members thought the salary too low; and the 2 remain-
ing pastors reported that their congregations believe they are
being paid too much. Six congregations are reported to know
nothing of what their pastors are paid and, for this reason, have
no opinion on the matter. Furthermore, since the mission pays
the whole amount of the salaries of this group of pastors, the
congregations feel that "it is none of their business."
Nearly every pastor replied to the following question: "What
do you consider an adequate salary for a pastor who wishes to
maintain his position as a leader in the community and provide for
his own family's cultural growth?" Opinions ranged from a


salary of $102 to one of $2oo00 a month, with the returns averaging
$120. It is of interest to compare this estimate with the average
salary of $76.25 a month which all the pastors of these seven de-
nominational groups receive.
Thirty-nine pastors replied to the question on how many fam-
ilies a church would require to provide this adequate salary.
There was a very wide range of answers to the question: 25 to
I,ooo families. However, the average estimate returned was 250
families, if they all gave regularly.
It was reported that contributions amounting to 12 per cent of
the averaged incomes of one hundred members would be required
to support the church. The majority of replies to this question
were from 5 per cent to io per cent, but the total range estimated
was between 2 per cent and 50 per cent.
An overwhelming majority, 93.4 per cent or 57 of 61 replies, do
not believe that the rural church has sufficient economic resources
to support adequately a well-prepared pastor and his family. Only
i pastor believes that the rural church is able to support a trained
pastor, while 3 pastors returned qualified replies.
Of 55 pastors, 29 were opposed to the suggestion that a rural
church should unite with one or more other churches to support
a pastor. Out of the total, 11 were in favor of this suggestion, and
15 believe that such a union would be advisable under various
Seventy-seven per cent of the returns or 41 answers out of 55
believe that the average rural church requires the services of a
highly trained pastor; 18.9 per cent or Io of 55 believe that a
highly trained minister is not required; while 2 pastors were un-
certain and returned qualified replies.
The advantages and disadvantages of self-support elicited the
second largest proportion of replies on any question--65 pastors
responding. Sixty pastors listed the following advantages of self-
support in their replies:
18 pastors believe that self-support develops a greater sense of re-
sponsibility in the church;
7 pastors mentioned the fact that the church feels it can select its
own pastors;
6 pastors believe that the pastor is given more responsibility and


that he feels he must play a more active rl6e in the church and
in the community;
5 pastors believe that there is a greater strength in action;
4 pastors believe that it creates a greater vision of the missionary
task and needs of Puerto Rico;
4 pastors believe that there is more harmony and a greater sense
of unity;
3 pastors believe that the church develops into a happier organiza-
tion and has more of a life of its own;
3 pastors believe that the congregations become more interested in
the work of the church;
3 pastors believe that there would be advantages in being inde-
pendent of the mission board;
2 pastors believe that there is a greater sharing of the work be-
tween the pastor and the congregation;
2 pastors believe that it creates a greater spirit of sacrifice and gen-
i pastor believes that the congregation identifies itself to a greater
extent with the church and the church work;
i pastor believes that the pastor feels a greater unity, stability, and
i pastor thinks the dignity of the church would increase in the
community, and that, morally and economically, the church's
position in the community is strengthened;
I pastor reported that former financial assistance could be used for
I pastor believes that there is greater appreciation and interest in
the work;
i pastor believes that the congregation does more for its pastor;
I pastor reported that he would be able to give all his time to the

The disadvantages of self-support were listed by 25 pastors, as
8 pastors mentioned the instability of the economic position of the
church, the transient population, and times of depression;
6 pastors believe that the congregation would dominate the work
and make the pastor's position insecure for him;
6 pastors believe that the authority passes from the pastor to his
4 pastors mentioned the unemployment and the extreme poverty
among the church members;


2 pastors believe that the congregation is placed in a position
where it can hamper the pastor and treat him as a puppet;
I pastor believes that the church would become too independent of
its denomination;
i pastor believes that it creates a corrupt spiritual and moral level;
I pastor believes that the church members look to the pastor for
monetary help;
I pastor feels that a poor church cannot support an educated
I pastor feels that the pastor's work would be interrupted, debts
would accrue during the dead season, and in the end the
pastor would have to get supplementary employment.

Out of 51 answers, 31 pastors reported that their wives were not
employed in remunerative work, and 27 of these pastors stated
that financial help from their wives was not necessary. The wives
of 15 pastors are employed, for the most part as teachers and one
as a trained nurse. Several of these wives are earning larger sal-
aries than their husbands. Eight pastors believe that outside work
on the part of the pastor's wife assists the work of the church
and enlarges the pastor's influence; 3 pastors deplore its effect
upon the church; and several believe that it has no effect what-
soever. A large majority expressed the opinion that the primary
responsibility of a pastor's wife is the care of her family and
home and that assisting in the work of the church is only

An average of 40 per cent of the members of 50 churches give
regularly to the support of their organization. Although there
was a very wide range in the estimates returned, a majority of
the pastors reported that between 30 and 40 per cent of their
members were contributing regularly.
The following table of replies presents the factors which affect
the giving habits of Evangelicals:
Pastors' Replies
Unemployment 35
Poverty 18
Lack of instruction in giving 7
Education of children 6
Small incomes .. . 6


Large families 5
Responsibility for parents 4
Students 4
Sickness 3
Indifference 3
Cost of education 3
Excuses. .... 3
Cost of living 3
Absence from community 2
Debts 2
Domestic problems .
Other obligations I

A majority opinion, 78 per cent, agreed that Evangelicals sup-
port their churches more generously than non-Evangelicals. Six
of the 41 pastors replying to this question disagreed, and 3 pastors
believe that the contributions of the two groups are about the
Out of a total of 47 churches, 28 have had some experience with
tithing. Sixteen of the 28 churches were greatly helped by this
experience; and only 3 of the total number of churches had had
no experience at all with this practice. However, the majority of
the churches reported that only i to 5 per cent of their members
tithe, and even the highest reported number is only 20 per cent.
An average of only 32 per cent of the church members are re-
ported to give on the basis of a pledged contribution. The results
of this method of giving are invariably reported as satisfactory.
The pastors of 23 churches estimated the proportion of the
annual incomes of their 1,184 church members which is given
to the Church, as follows:

Annual income 1/300 1/200 1/100 1/50 1/40 1/30 1/20 1/10

Percentage 13.3 13.7 16.2 21.3 8.2 11.4 6.7 9.2
of members

3. It is possible to substantiate this majority opinion upon the basis of voluntary
contributions alone. When the difference in the basis of Evangelical and Roman
Catholic church support is considered, it may be fairly questioned whether the
voluntary per capital gifts of the Evangelical church member approach the cost of
special services for which the Roman Catholic church member pays.


The pastors listed the financial demands upon their church
members in the order of their importance: education of children,
increase in cost of living, illness, support of parents and relatives,
and civic and community obligations.
Sixty-three pastors stated that an average of 49 per cent of their
membership show an interest in the church apart from loyalty
to pastor, missionary, or church groups.
The answers of 46 pastors indicated that an average of 30 per
cent of the members consider the support of the church as their
responsibility rather than that of the mission.
An average of only 3.4 per cent of church members have an
economic relationship with the mission: either in its employ
or as students in one of the mission schools. This percentage of
members contributes an average of 14 per cent of the church
budget, according to 32 pastors who responded to this question.
From the fact that 37 pastors did not reply to the question, it
may be inferred that over one-half of the churches do not have
members who have an economic relationship with the mission.
However, an average of 22 per cent of the church income is
contributed by the pastors or missionaries connected with the
church, according to 26 pastors.
An average of 65 per cent of the annual operating expenses of
the churches is received from the mission boards with which they
are connected. The answers to this question reveal an exceedingly
wide range of subsidy-from o to o9 per cent.
The pastors believe that 44 per cent of their members under-
stand the organization and program of the denomination to
which their church belongs. Thirty-three of 52 replies claimed
that the members give joyfully to their churches; 7 pastors as-
serted that their members do not; while 12 reported divided feel-
ings among the church members.
Forty-two per cent of the members could increase their con-
tributions to the church without injuring their health or shirking
their civic responsibilities. However, there is a wide divergence
of opinion on this matter. While 4 pastors replied that none of
their members could increase their gifts, io other pastors are
convinced that one hundred per cent of their congregations could
give more. Eight out of 40 pastors believe their church members
would not respond to an appeal to increase their gifts to the


church. However, 32 pastors believe that 20 per cent of their mem-
bers would respond favorably to an appeal of this kind.
The highest proportion of answers of the whole questionnaire,
were elicited from the question: Would members accept new
methods to raise funds for the church if economic conditions
permitted? Of the 67 answers, 55 believe that their members
would accept new methods; 5 replied in the negative; and 7 be-
lieve there is a possibility.


T HE Second Unit School of Puerto Rico represents an earnest
effort on the part of Government to relate the education of
rural children to the realities of their environment and to improve
rural living conditions. In 1939, the public schools of Puerto Rico
enrolled 290,150 pupils of whom 133,325 came from rural homes.
Of these rural pupils, 11,564 were enrolled in 83 Second Unit
Schools distributed evenly in almost every district of the island.
The rural school follows a two-anit plan. The first unit con-
sists of grades one to four, and the second unit, grades five to
eight, inclusive. To give the children in the Second Unit Schools
opportunity for further vocational training, a number of first-
year high schools have been organized. The academic subjects
taught in the Second Unit Schools are English, Spanish, arith-
metic, elementary sciences, physical training, and health educa-
tion. One half of the day is given to instruction in the academic
subjects, and the other half to vocational training. The pupils are
taught agriculture, animal husbandry, woodwork, tinsmithing,
electrical wiring, shoe repairing, clay work, toy making, hand-
weaving, and carpentry. The girls also learn cooking, sewing,
hand and machine embroidery, and lace making. The boys are
taught effective farm and industrial techniques and learn to re-
spect and love the land.
Vegetable truck farming is emphasized, and the produce sold
or consumed by the children in the school lunch room. One-
third of the money from the sold produce is given back to the
boys who have raised the crops. The technique of raising the
principal island crops of sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, and fruits is
taught so that the boys will be able to succeed as cash crop farm-
ers and will be capable of being foremen or managers on farms
as well as laborers.
The animal husbandry section of the Second Unit School is
rapidly improving the breeds of the pigs, chickens, rabbits, and



goats of the communities. The pupils are given the young animals
under contract, are taught how to care for them, and, after rais-
ing them, are required to give back to the schools what the ani-
mals originally cost. In this way, the students not only learn the
essentials of animal husbandry but learn business management
and are able to add to their own income and contribute to the
wealth of the community.
Carpentry is related to the simple needs of the rural home and
farm: the construction of tables, chairs, washing and ironing
boards, farm fences, and shelters for housing the stock.
The cooking lessons train the girls in the principles of well-
balanced diets, and the sewing helps them to be independent of
the shops for simple garments. The school lunch room where the
pupils take their mid-day meal provides a splendid schooling in
proper food selection and preparation under skilled guidance.
One member from the staff of each school is a social worker
who visits the homes of the pupils and reinforces the school
instruction by advice to parents and children on health and on
social and educational matters. She reports regularly to the health,
school, and municipal officials.
The Second Unit School also provides a social center for the
community. A reading room is open evenings for parents and
young people, and frequent lectures are given on holidays and
Sunday. The Second Unit School, at its best, is a center where
the community may learn to live efficiently in relation to the en-
We picked at random and visited one of these rural centers
near San German. It was a model of effective organization, earn-
est work, and practical demonstration. Its model workshop, tilled
fields, and handsome farmstock-all tended by the pupils under
expert supervision-not only taught the children how to live but
served equally well as a demonstration to the adults of the com-
munity. Many clever devices were in use for helping the pupils
to better their personal care and the care of their possessions. For
instance, posted prominently upon one of the walls of the do-
mestic science classroom were two lists of names beautifully
written upon decorated scrolls. Above the names of thirty-five
girls on one scroll was inscribed: "These girls still have lice in
their hair." The other scroll was the honor roll of the school, and,


under the legend, "These girls have no lice in their hair," we
counted the names of forty-one girls.
The place of the Second Unit School in Puerto Rican life is
apparent. Seventy-five per cent of the children in Puerto Rico
who enrol in the first grade of rural schools drop out before they
finish fourth grade. The academic nature of the schooling offers
small hope of increasing the earning capacity of the rural child.
This, coupled with the pressure to add to the low family income,
terminates the education before great numbers of children can
be said to be literate. It is at this critical point in a child's career
that the Second Unit School steps in. The School provides thor-
ough grounding and at the same time practical help in acquiring
those skills which will enable the student to earn a comfortable
living and add to the comfort and prosperity of the whole com-

The United States Department of Agriculture has for seven
years maintained a Soil Conservation Service in Puerto Rico
which is closely integrated through its Advisory Committee with
the following organizations: the Agricultural Extension Service,
Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the Rural Rehabil-
itation Division of the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administra-
tion, the insular and Federal experiment stations, Agricultural
Adjustment Administration, the College of Agriculture and
Mechanic Arts, and the United States Forest Service. Some sixty
local technical men are employed and 1,500 skilled and un-
skilled laborers. Each soil conservation technician supervises from
two to four areas. Two soil conservation experiment stations are
maintained: one at Mayagiiez and the other at Rio Piedras.
More than forty per cent of the arable land of Puerto Rico
has a slope of forty degrees or more. Since 80 per cent of the popu-
lation depend directly or indirectly upon agriculture for a liveli-
hood, and since 94.3 per cent of the farms are less than ioo cuerdas
in size and occupy, for the most part, the hilly and less pro-
ductive lands, it is apparent that the first measure of national
existence should be to safeguard the soil of the island.
i. Condensed from a manuscript on Rural Education in Puerto Rico and used
with the permission of the writer, Mr. S. J. Sepulveda.


Two of the major problems of the experiment stations are,-first,
the control of bench terrace banks, and, second, after determining
the proper slope of the bank and the type of grass best adapted
for bank cover, finding a food crop that can be grown on these
banks in place of the grass cover. Another task is to develop a
cheaper method of building bench terraces than by hand. Experi-
ments have evolved the vegetative barrier method. Stiff upgrowing
plants are planted at intervals of from three to eight feet on the
mountainsides. By the normal process of preparing land, culti-
vating crops, and rainfall, the soil banks up against these plant
barriers and, in three to five years, a bench terrace is formed.
The Soil Conservation Service is working in four areas with
five hundred private farms. More than 85 per cent of these farm-
ers have entered into a contract with the Puerto Rico Reconstruc-
tion Administration to cooperate in the soil conservation pro-
gram. The small farmers in many mountain areas are being of-
fered an opportunity to cooperate in the program. This includes
not only hillside ditch construction and contour cultivation but
also a crop rotation plan to supply adequate food for the family
and add humus to the soil for gradual increase of its productivity.
The farmer is also being given several months' work under the
supervision of a personnel trained in soil conservation methods.
This program is supplying him with funds while he develops
his farm for greater production. A five-year program has been
agreed upon and set up by the farm superintendent in the re-
settlement area, the farmer, the Agricultural Extension agent,
and a representative from the Soil Conservation Service. By this
agreement, about two thousand resettlers' farms have been de-
veloped, making use of the best soil conservation methods. In
many instances farmers are now for the first time deriving a sub-
sistence living from their farms.
The chief of the Soil Conservation Experiment Station at Maya-
giiez explained the two main purposes of their program: to help
the people make the wisest use of their land and to help them
safely occupy and till the upper slopes of the hills which are so
steep that they are not being utilized but which can be devel-
oped, with scientific treatment and proper care, to support a large
farming population. This is one of the most hopeful methods of
relieving the overpopulation problem of Puerto Rico.


On our way to visit the Marini project in the hills northeast
of Mayagiiez, the Assistant Director of the Station suggested that
we first examine a private farm project. The Government is help-
ing the owner of this farm to save his badly eroded land, pre-
pare it for the largest possible yield, and experiment with new
crops. The farmer, Mr. Vidal, owns a fine dairy with forty head
of Guernsey and Holstein cattle. He has seventy-six acres of very
hilly land, ten of which are under sugarcane cultivation and
thirty-five are steep eroded pasture land with a slope of sixty
degrees. After using the trash barrier system for two years, a
majority of these steep pastures have been beautifully turfed, al-
though some slopes are still deeply gullied. The grass slopes
which provide the fodder for his cattle have a twenty to forty
per cent declivity and have been bench-terraced by building up
an earthen wall every fifteen or twenty feet. When plowing and
cultivating the terraces, the soil is turned over from the inner to
the outer edge which gradually is raised until the flood water
drains along the inner edge preventing downhill erosion. At in-
tervals, main ditches are dug to carry off the lateral drainage
from the terraces. The liquid manure from the dairy barn is used
to fertilize the fodder terraces and is led to them by gravity
through small sluiceways. By these various means, the nine acres
of fodder grass yield six harvests a year where, before treatment,
they yielded only three.
After a losing struggle over a period of nine years, Mr. Vidal's
farm and dairy have been saved in a comparatively short time
by the Soil Conservation Service and have now been put upon
a profit-yielding basis. This man, however, has been one of the
few farmers who have been willing to invest their money in the
conservation work-a fact which helped Government accomplish
maximum results in a minimum time. The Vidal project is a fine
example of the close correlation of the Soil Conservation Service
with the Resettlers' Project of the Puerto Rico Reconstruction
Administration and of the results which may be achieved by
concentrating several Services in one project.
Not far from the Vidal farm project was a group of eighty-
seven small farms or holdings from one to three acres in size


which have been improved and allocated to small farmers or
working families. A cement house with three rooms and a bath,
a shed, and simple farming equipment have been provided for
each lot. All of the land has a steep slope and has been bench-
terraced with barrier rolls and contour furrows, and suitable run-
offs for water have been made. The prospective tenant works
side by side with the government men learning the technique of
soil conservation. The three-acre farms, if intensively cultivated,
can support a small family. The produce from a one-acre plot
supplements a laborer's wages but can hardly sustain a whole
family. The tenant pays fifty cents to $1.50 a month in rent and
signs a contract to obey government regulations for the care of
the house and for the use and care of the land. If he fails to
comply with the contract, he may be moved off the property.
The project center is in a commanding position on a central
ridge overlooking all the project farms. These are scattered over
several square miles of mountain and valley and are isolated
from each other, but are all accessible to the center. At the center
is the school, the community house, a small store, and the homes
of the superintendent, the teacher, and the welfare worker. There
is an industrial center where weaving of cloth and carpets and
dressmaking are taught-skills by which the tenants are encour-
aged to augment their incomes. At the community center itself
we found reading and game rooms, a cr&che for little children,
a radio, a few books, newspapers, and various games. The homes
are visited regularly by the social worker, and the farms by the
Agricultural Extension officer, both of whom check the progress
of the people and give them encouragement and help.

One type of rehabilitation we did not visit was the government
rehousing project which is undertaking to move the homes of
workers from congested or undesirable localities to potential farm
sites and to teach the people practical farming on a small scale.
This plan includes moving the house to a one-acre plot
of ground, preparing the land, building a latrine, providing
tools, seed, instruction, and supervision in farming, and noting
the progress of the effort. The plan also provides for the physical
conditioning of the tenants, clinic and medical care, and help


with diet and hygiene. A social worker and a medical officer
keep in touch with these underprivileged people for a consider-
able time and try to rehabilitate them.

Several imposing housing projects are nearing completion in
various parts of the island. They are under the Federal Housing
Authority, the Puerto Rico Housing Authority, and the local
municipal governments. We spent an afternoon at the project
of the Mayagiiez Housing Authority Council to which the Fed-
eral Government had delegated its authority.
One million dollars have been assigned to this project by the
United States. Forty modern, concrete, two-story apartment
houses, each with twelve apartments of three, four and five
rooms with bath and balcony, are under construction. All are
equipped with a kitchen having a charcoal or kerosene cookstove,
a sink with running water, a showerbath, and a flush toilet. The
living room measures thirteen by sixteen feet, and the bedrooms,
ten by eleven feet. All apartments are wired for electricity.
The buildings are by the seashore and occupy an attractively
landscaped tract of land shaded by stately palms. They are
less than one mile from the center of the city and within easy
walking distance of schools. The project was intended to relieve
low-salaried and poorly housed but reliable people of the lower
and middle classes. From a social survey of 4,600 families who
were earning between $27 and $40 a month in Mayagiiez, it was
found that they were paying on an average of $4.50 for rent, $1.50
for light, and $.80 for water-a total expenditure of $6.80 a month
for overhead. In the new project, the combined cost of rent, light,
and water will cost from $3.75 to $5.50 per month. This includes
up to fifteen kilowatt lighting hours per day. No fewer than
three nor more than seven people in a family are permitted to use
these apartments, the number depending upon the size of the
rooms. The project will house 2,600 people. Only families having
good records for payment of rent are eligible as tenants. Forty-
two per cent of the families studied were earning less than $26
a month and are automatically excluded, as are the indigent and
very poor except at the discretion of the authority. A central
building provides an auditorium, an administration office, library,


recreation rooms, radio, and quarters for the social welfare staff.
There is also a ballpark, ample playground space, and spacious
lawns. Two social workers will visit the homes, give training in
child welfare, sanitation, hygiene, recreation, and in the proper
use and care of property, and will watch the general discipline
and morale of the dwellers.
This outstanding institution of college grade in Puerto Rico
is notable not only for the quality of its academic work and for
its non-sectarian Evangelical training but also for its emphasis
upon practical preparation for citizenship. This preparation in-
cludes instruction in avocational interests, industrial and agricul-
tural skills, and the cultivation of democratic social attitudes.
The Institute was first founded by the Presbyterian Church,
U.S.A., in 1912 as a school in which the sons and daughters of rich
and poor alike might meet on common ground for work and study.
In the charter of incorporation, the objective of the Institute was
stated to be: "... to develop youth of both sexes mentally, moral-
ly, and physically through studies in liberal and practical
arts and sciences, the study of the Bible, and the performance
of manual labor." The Institute was incorporated as of college
rank by the legislature of Puerto Rico in 1921 and, since that
year, has graduated over three hundred students. The enrolment
at the close of 1940 was 323 pupils. The Polytechnic Institute has
been greatly assisted in its expansion by generous private dona-
tions and by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The President of the Institute is Dr. Jarvis S. Morris who has
held that office since 1932.
The college itself, occupies a beautiful and commanding site
of fifty acres in the foothills of San German not far from the city
of Mayagiiez. It operates an adjoining farm of 21o acres which
provides a large part of the food, such as milk, eggs, fruit, vege-
tables, and meat, for the students and faculty.
A unique feature of the training is the Industrial Project Plan2
which proposes to give an opportunity to the students to develop
proper attitudes toward labor and skills in practical arts and
2. The description of this plan is condensed from the General Catalogue of the
Polytechnic Institute, July, 194o.


crafts. Each student is required to work at least one year for five
hours a week under the supervision of some member of the
faculty on a practical project, with the option of further work
if desired. During the first college semester, the rate of pay is
ten cents an hour. After that, all student work is paid for at a
rate determined on the basis of the student's previous record. A
fine feature of the Industrial Project Plan is the close relationship
of teacher and student working together upon the various pro-
jects. The students are assigned to one of the following: vanilla
culture; forestry: planting and care of valuable lumber-producing
trees; poultry: use of incubators, broilers for the market, battery
system of poultry-raising, feeding, diseases, marketing, etc.; or-
charding: alligator pears, oranges, bananas, etc.; landscaping:
floriculture, roadside planting, etc.; practical electricity and
plumbing; vegetable gardening: study of the types of vegetables
best suited for Puerto Rico, of plant diseases, selection of seed,
fertilizer, etc.; carpentry: use of tools and simple machinery to
make articles for the campus and the home and for sale in gift
shops; arts and crafts: embroidery, dyeing, batik, applique, leather
work, metal work, maguey, etc.; bookbinding for the college
library; library science: care of books, repairing, cataloguing, etc.
A limited amount of work, in addition to the regular assign-
ments, is provided for students who wish to earn a part of their
expenses. This includes work in the administrative offices, dining
halls, the carpentry shop, and the farm.
In addition to this self-help, the Federal Government has
granted scholarships to io per cent of the neediest students. Under
this plan, the college has been giving employment upon its build-
ing and campus maintenance projects to some thirty or forty
unemployed young men who reside at the Institute and take a
limited part in the activities of the campus. The construction
of a large reservoir and the completion and repair of college build-
ings was under way at the time of our visit.
Through the integration of academic and practical training,
the Polytechnic Institute of Puerto Rico is furthering a greatly
needed change in the attitude of Puerto Rican society toward man-
ual and industrial work.


A most interesting and successful needlework industry was or-
ganized by the Episcopalian Mission of Mayagiiez thirty years ago.
This industry has an imposing and uninterrupted record of twenty-
six years of success in supplying the poor women and girls of the
church with remunerative work and in marketing its product in
the United States. About one hundred different women are em-
ployed-one half in Mayagiiez and the other half in other church
centers. Thirty of the women work daily on the ground floor of
the mission quadrangle which is devoted to the industry, while
the remainder work at home. These workers are all confirmed
church members, and, although among the poorest in the church,
give most generously. Some of the needle women have so im-
proved their condition by means of this industry that today
they are among the middle-class group of the church. They work
six hours a day and earn from $4.00 to $6.00 a week. The industry
uses the piece work plan and has thus far not come under the ap-
plication of the Minimum Wage Act, since it is not rated as a
commercial concern.
The St. Andrew's products are small table sets with embroid-
ered patterns of people, trees, animals, and flowers worked in
several colors of silk on lovely linen; handkerchiefs with em-
broidered initials; doilies and tray cloths with carefully executed
drawn stitch work, etc. The articles sell from $.50 to $5.00 or $6.oo
per set. The manager explained that, although the previous year's
sales had reached $15,000, a good share of the profits from the
industry are turned back into it to cover overhead, new equip-
ment, and materials. Her own salary is not paid from the profits.
She believes that production could be almost indefinitely increased
with the help of an adequate supervisory staff, for the demand
among the Episcopal church organizations for this kind of
product is steady and large.
For a time the industry marketed its product in some of the
largest New York stores but had to cease on account of the exhor-
bitant commissions, as high as eighty and one hundred per cent,
which were charged. The manager believes that the best way for
the industry to succeed on a commercial basis is to open a shop
in the United States with an experienced manager in charge of
importing and marketing the product. If the manager were in


close touch with the producing end, middlemen's profits and some
of the handling expenses could be avoided. She is of the opinion
that it would be possible for several missions to join in such a
marketing scheme on a commercial basis, provided the product
were kept at a very high level of quality, and first-class, experi-
enced management were available. One of the surest ways to in-
sure failure in such an industry is to cheapen the product. This
has happened with similar attempts which have all failed.

This church social settlement, the only project of its type in
Puerto Rico, was opened twenty-five years ago by the Presby-
terian Board of National Missions. The commodious, attractive
plant is in a depressed slum area bordering the sluggish Yaques
River at the point where it empties into the sea. The building is
in the shape of a quadrangle facing an attractive patio and in-
cludes a church, a social hall, school classrooms, clinic and dispen-
sary, and living quarters for the staff and guests. There is a large
playground, a cemented and electrically lit basketball court, a
creche and day nursery, boy scout quarters, and a sick ward. The
property covers a whole city block and forms an oasis of organ-
ized work and play in a desolate neighborhood.
The two hundred and fifty children who attend the day school
pay twenty-five cents a month tuition, although this charge is
reduced or entirely cancelled for many of the poorest pupils. The
school income from fees totals only a little over $ioo a year, while
the salaries of the teachers aggregate $750 annually. The children
of working mothers are cared for in the creche without cost except
for one cent a day to pay for the three meals which are provided.
A trained nurse is in charge of the clinic which treats about a
dozen patients daily and which has the voluntary services of a
capable doctor.
A striking feature and, indeed, the central feature of the Marina
Neighborhood House is that it is church-centered. The church
building is a prominent unit in the quadrangle plant and faces
the main street. The church work is led by an able pastor, and
the three hundred members have been drawn largely from the
very poorest of the neighborhood. The Sunday school, young
people's society, mothers' association, and regular services have all


been a means of revitalizing the neighborhood and have most
effectively conserved and strengthened the social ministry of the
settlement. The mayor of the city of Mayagiiez, the third largest
center of the island, is an active member of this Marina Neighbor-
hood Church. The church members, despite their poverty, con-
tribute $60 a month toward the pastor's salary.
In the twenty-five years during which the Marina Settlement has
had work in this slum area, there has been a gradual rehabilita-
tion of many families who have been taught higher standards of
living, have become dissatisfied with their surroundings and ways
of life, and have moved to better parts of the city.
That a large institution can be to a great extent self-maintained
by a scientific use of the resources at hand is well illustrated by
the Ryder Memorial Hospital of the United Evangelical Church
at Humacao in eastern Puerto Rico.
The hospital farm is forty-four acres in size, twenty-seven of
which are cultivated with fifteen acres under irrigation. The city
reservoir immediately above the farm provides the hospital with
an ample water supply at a cost of only $20 a month. No sugar-
cane or market crops are raised, although some of the surplus
vegetables above the needs of the hospital are sold. The farm
has been bench-terraced and standardized by the Government
Agricultural Extension Service, and the advice of the Extension
Service officers has been of basic help. Most of the vegetables,
fruit, poultry, eggs, meat, and milk that are consumed by the
more than one hundred patients and the staff of the hospital are
raised on the farm. This amounts to more than one-half of all
the food required and makes a net saving for the hospital of
$4,000 to $5,000 a year. The director said:
Our four high-grade Guernsey cows supply an average of eigh-
teen quarts of milk a day, enough for the whole hospital. The
cows are stall-fed upon elephant grass, beet silage, bran, and
molasses. Our henhouse has two hundred and fifty New Hamp-
shire Reds and fifty White Leghorns which are too delicate for the
tropics. The model pigpens, well-stocked with Hampshires, not only
fill the needs of the hospital but provide the Blanche Kellogg Insti-
tute of San Juan with a pig a week. For several years we kept an
average of two hundred and fifty rabbits, but this was discontinued.


All the pens, stalls, and runs have cement floors which are washed
down twice daily, and the manure saved and put on the fields.
Compost beds are forming constantly of straw, refuse, and organic
matter of all kinds and are used as fertilizer.
A most interesting part of the organization is its labor policy. A
permanent staff of from eight to ten men is employed and, in ad-
dition, a number of discharged patients who are working off their
debt to the hospital. When a man cannot pay his bill, we let him
take care of the chickens or livestock until he has earned the equiv-
alent of his obligation. In doing this, these men are trained in ex-
pert farm methods which may be a good life investment for them.
Nearly all of our regular farm hands came to us in this way.
The director of the hospital who is from the United States per-
sonally supervises this project which is his avocation and relaxa-
tion from professional responsibilities.
This farm of 245 acres, centering around a venerable and
massive church, is hidden away in the foothills on the southern
slope of the central range of mountains a few miles southwest
of Ponce. Reminiscent of a medieval monastery in the foothills of
the Alps, this church establishment has made a gallant effort to
demonstrate the possibility of maintaining a Christian center,
church, training school, clinic, and a community by means of a
farm. Built by a religious brotherhood thirty-five years ago, it
was acquired by the American Episcopal Church twenty years
later and is now in charge of a priest of this denomination. A
rambling wooden dormitory and school building attached to the
rear of the church once housed a day school and training school
for women catechists. A well-equipped clinic and dispensary in
charge of a trained nurse is visited twice a week by a doctor from
St. Luke's Hospital in Ponce. Twenty girls are employed in a
needlework school which is an extension of the St. Andrew's In-
dustry in Mayagiiez. The pastor has five hundred parishioners
for whom he is responsible, in addition to which he oversees the
farm, clinic, and needlework industry.
Of the 245 acres of land, thirteen are planted to sugarcane al-
though only three acres of this are within the quota allotted to
the farm. The expense of producing and marketing the small
amount of cane in addition to the cost of the labor involved


leaves no profit from this crop. Some land is planted to coffee,
some to bananas and plantains, and the remaining to corn and
small crops. There are seventy head of cattle including twenty
milch cows, twelve working steers, six horses, numerous hogs,
and much poultry. A government dipping station has been in-
stalled at the dairy which produces only twenty quarts of milk a
day marketed in Ponce. The farm gives employment to twenty
families-church members who do the work on the farm and are
paid sixty cents per nine-hour day which is the current wage rate.
The cost of operating and maintaining the property absorbs all
its income, and the project appears to be at a stalemate on the
basis of its present organization, methods, and small volume of
production, The operating budget of the farm is only $3,000 a
year, but, after paying wages and upkeep charges, nothing is left
to apply to church expenses or to the pastor's salary which is
paid by the Episcopal Board. The five hundred church members
are extremely poor unskilled laborers each earning a cash income
of less than $1oo a year and a few small farmers also poor and
struggling to make a living. These members contribute from
one to five cents a week towards the support of their church-
a total of about $300 a year.
The greatest physical handicap of this farm project is lack of
water. The land lies in the dry belt of the southern coast and has
only twenty inches of rainfall a year. The little stream which
traverses the property is so situated as to be nearly useless for
irrigation purposes, and, for a large part of the year, it runs
nearly dry.
The pastor has accomplished much with a highly technical
project for which he was never trained, and he deserves much
credit for his courage, skill, and persistence in the face of great
difficulties. He has a vision of the farm as the center of an agri-
cultural and industrial institute similar to the Salonica Institute
in Greece. He would like to secure a trained man to take hold
of the project, leaving him free to devote himself exclusively to
his church duties.
Conferences with the pastor and leading men in Ponce, includ-
ing Agricultural Extension and Soil Conservation experts who
are well acquainted with the problems of this farm, brought out
the following points:


I. A careful survey and appraisal of the property should be
made by the Agricultural Extension and Soil Conservation ex-
perts to ascertain: the quality and crop-producing power of the
soil; the possibilities of soil conservation, water conservation, and
irrigation; the type of cash and food crops best suited to the land
in relation to its soil and water analysis; and, finally, the possi-
bility of building up the cattle herd and improving the milk
2. If possible, this farm should be included in the government's
scheme of Private Farm Assistance Areas.
3. The proceeds from the sale of one hundred acres of the steep-
est farm slopes-now useless except for pasture-would build a
dam or well, buy new equipment and stock, pay for bench-
terracing the hillsides and putting a concrete floor in the dairy, etc.
4. A highly trained farm manager should be employed to take
charge of the project, thus releasing the pastor to devote his time
to the work of his big parish.
Here is a large church enterprise which should be operated
with the expert assistance and under the close supervision of the
trained, skilled personnel provided by the Government for the
people of Puerto Rico. Under such conditions, this project, now
at a stalemate, could in a few years be made to show a profit,
give substantial support to the church, and become the nucleus
of a unique agricultural and industrial institute and training cen-
ter such as does not exist at present in Puerto Rico.

In a scattered rural community near Arecibo on the north
coast of the island, the Methodist Mission with the help of local
citrus farmers from the United States built a church and farm
parsonage and bought two and one-half acres of cane land. The
district was owned by two great landlords, and the majority of the
people worked on these great estates as peons, i.e., unskilled
workers. For a time the church was almost entirely supported
by the farmers from the United States who raised citrus fruit.
A missionary family was also located in this district. When the
fruit business failed, both the farm families and the mission-
ary moved away, and the church was left in difficulty. Only


$121 a year was contributed by the church members towards
their pastor's support.
Eight years ago, the present pastor, the Reverend Rico Saltero,
took charge of the church and promised the members that if
they would do their utmost he would remain and build up self-
support. Under the pastor's leadership, the cane land belonging
to the church was cultivated. A committee of five members, small
farmers and unskilled workers employed by the sugar centrales
in various capacities, organized all the work of preparing, culti-
vating, and harvesting the cane. The work is done in shifts on
different days. One shift of twenty members cuts the cane, packs
it into wagons, and hauls it to the mill. A second shift cleans the
field and gets it ready for the next crop. The pastor does not touch
the cane. Two hundred dollars profit was made from the two
and one-half acres of cane land during the previous year. For a
time, the church income was $700, but during the depression it
dropped to $400 to which the mission board added $300. The
church is now seeking to buy five more acres of land for diversi-
fied farming and dairying at a cost of $700 for the land and
equipment. They are hoping to borrow the money to buy this
land and repay it gradually.
The pastor's family operates a roadside refreshment stand,
neatly built, well organized, and boasting an electrically operated
refrigerator. Last year, this stand earned $1oo for the church. The
pastor's wife, who is raising eight children, runs the stand. The
church members also use the Lord's Acre Plan and contribute
in kind. The church is now the owner of a large flock of hens
and several pigs. Several of the members tithe. One very poor
old woman provides flowers every Sunday from her garden
for the church and helps with the light work around the building.
She has dedicated the eggs from her hen to the church. Alto-
gether the combined offerings from the church members amount
to from $3oo00 to $400 a year. With the enlarged acreage, the
church hopes no longer to be a burden upon the mission board.
The pastor wants to spend his life in the rural field. He believes
that the self-support of a rural church can be secured only by
identifying church and pastor with the economy and activities of
the rural environment. He also believes that a pastor should stay
many years in one locality and should train his members by giv-


ing them responsibility. In addition to managing the church
farm, his members help him carry out services in two other
A trained social worker with many years of experience in
American social settlement work who is a member of the United
Evangelical Church has presented various plans for a Christian
community center for the city of Ponce, the second largest city
of the island.
The original plan, for which she began to raise $,ooo0 from the
local citizens, called for rebuilding the present church plant to
include several rooms for the social and recreational activities of
young people. The church is situated on a prominent corner near
three other churches, but it stands on a crowded lot with no
available play space.
Another plan is to use two lots owned by the church on the
southwest edge of the city about a mile from its center. It is in a
new section which is growing rapidly, and there would be ample
room for sports and out-of-door activities. The United Evangelical
Church owns a small chapel on this property.
A third plan would be to use the modern, centrally located
cement building of the "Evangelico," the monthly paper owned
by the six Churches which comprise the Association of Evangelical
Churches of Puerto Rico, when the publishing house moves to San
Juan. The building is commodious and well-adapted for commun-
ity center work, and few, if any, changes would be needed. There
is a large space in the rear for volleyball courts. The interdenom-
inational ownership of the building suggests the interdenom-
inational operation of such a community center. In the absence
of a Young Men's Christian Association and a Young Women's
Christian Association in Ponce, an interdenominational Christian
community center would strengthen the Evangelical movement
at one of its weakest points.


T HE LIFE of the Puerto Rican underwent profound changes
with the overthrow of the Spanish regime. Not only was the
government reorganized but the courts, the educational system,
health and sanitation, the public works, trade, commerce, and the
banking of the island were all remodelled upon the continental
American pattern. Great sums of money were spent upon this
reconstruction program. Officials, business men and experts, edu-
cators, technicians, and scientists came in large numbers to Puerto
Rico and began the task, which is still going on, of reorganizing
and rehabilitating the life of the little nation on the pattern of
that of the United States. Almost overnight, the mechanism of a
Spanish colonial society was geared to the mighty powerhouse
of its neighbor, and, after forty years, Puerto Rico still pulses with
the throb of this dynamo.
The Evangelical Church entered Puerto Rico upon the crest of
the wave of foreign power and institutions. Missions appeared in
response to the conviction of the Church in the United States that
it had a responsibility for the spiritual ministry of the new de-
pendency. The Puerto Ricans accepted the Evangelical Church
as a part of the transformation of their island. Like the other
agents of occupation from the United States, church representa-
tives were supplied with ample funds. Church buildings, schools,
hospitals, parsonages, and the education and salaries of the
pastors and teachers were provided. It was as natural for Evan-
gelical church buildings to appear as for new banks and schools.
No one questioned their appearance nor the source of the funds
with which they were established. Today, the Evangelical Church
has a share in the dilemma which Puerto Rico faces under United
States' occupation and reconstruction. How completely can a new
way of life with its alien institutions and standards be grafted
upon a people with a low economy and supporting power?
One of the most stubborn obstacles in the path of church in-


dependence and growth is the identification of the Evangelical
Church in the minds of Puerto Ricans with the power and wealth
which attended the establishment of United States' institutions
in the island. Church superintendents and many Puerto Rican
pastors are keenly aware of this fundamental problem. One able
pastor said:
The Evangelical Church has brought a very high standard of
living to Puerto Rico. Our ministers live on a higher scale than the
townspeople and the church members. We are so closely in touch
with the way of life in the United States that we cannot reduce
our salaries to the point where our people can pay them.

Another pastor believes that a careful analysis of the whole
problem of church standards and support is essential and that it
might be well to try to go back to the beginning and start again,
training the people who are now giving one cent to give ten
cents a week.

A third pastor made the following statement:
It is as expensive to live here in Puerto Rico according to stand-
ards of the United States as it is to live in Detroit or New York.
Our salaries, however, are not suited to such a way of life. Besides
which, our salaries are on a scale the average church member cannot

The superintendent of one of the largest denominations in the
island made this comment:
It becomes more and more clear that we have started on a scale
the Puerto Ricans can never maintain, and now it is hard to get
back upon a simpler basis. We seem to have gone ahead faster with
the use of methods and money from the United States, but, in the
course of years, we will find that we would be farther ahead if we
had started upon a simpler basis. Unless we get rid of the pastor's
idea that he is an employee of the mission, the outlook is dubious.

These were the words of a church superintendent of another
denominational group:
Much of our work has been built up by means of money from
the United States. This has been pumped into our churches for so
long that if it were to be suddenly withdrawn our work would col-
lapse like a deflated balloon. The use of so much foreign money has
brought our churches very close to a position of stalemate.


The economic poverty of Puerto Rico is considered by many to
be the major problem of the Evangelical Church and, indeed, of
the whole people. Here statistics are basic. The two studies' on
the socio-economic conditions among the sugar workers and
among the fruit, tobacco, and coffee workers to which we re-
ferred in Chapter I reveal the following facts: the average annual
income for an unskilled farm laborer in Puerto Rico is $102.34
a year; $8.oo to $12 a month is a very common income for a
family of six; an average annual cash income is $254 per family
for sugar workers and only $175 per family for other types of
agricultural workers; these men receive an average daily wage of
sixty cents which is paid them for actual working time and which
must last through the long seasonal periods of unemployment.
The occupational studies point out that for a family of from five
to eight people this wage provides from eight to twelve cents per
person per day for food and all the other necessities of life. Even
when this sum is supplemented by the small occasional earnings
of children and wife, such a scale of subsistence living can only
result in serious malnutrition and disease.
A survey of the sugar, tobacco, and coffee workers, made by
the members of the Sociological Department of the University
of Puerto Rico, discovered one unemployed family of four that
was actually being supported by their sole hen. The family ex-
changed the daily egg at the country store for just enough rice
to keep them alive.
Such pictures of unbelievable want throw into bold relief the
economic dilemma of the rural churches. It is, however, partly
relieved by the presence in many churches of people who are in
somewhat better circumstances, and of a small minority of families
with fairly reliable, although modest, incomes.
The economic poverty of the island has led to an assumption
on the part of many pastors and some missionaries that the Puerto
Rican community is too poor to support a church. This is a fur-
i. P. Morales Otero, Manuel A. Perez, R. Ramirez Santos, Rafaela Espino and
Mario Marrero, "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto Rico," The Puerto
Rico Journal of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Part I, June, 1937, and
Part II, March, 1939.


their difficulty in the path of church independence. On the one
hand, church members have readily accepted this assumption
and have adjusted their contributions with it in mind and with
the knowledge that the mission boards stand behind their
churches. On the other hand, the mission boards have accepted
the low scale of giving of the people as normal and as a proof
that the church members are unable to do more, and they there-
fore continue to subsidize the churches. The first step to break
this vicious circle is to challenge the assumption. If it is dis-
covered to be unfounded, a new policy and growth of indepen-
dence will follow.
Closely allied to this problem is the unsuccessful experience of
some of the missions in withdrawing or reducing the subsidies
of their Puerto Rican churches. Congregations, accustomed for
many years to a great deal of financial help from abroad, cannot
suddenly be deprived of it without disaster. They will compen-
sate for the withdrawal by reducing the church expenses: either
cutting down the pastor's salary or giving up a part of their
evangelistic program. Subsidy withdrawal is safe only when the
members of a congregation have been provided with compensat-
ing values: regular instruction in the principles of Christian
stewardship, the introduction of new methods of giving, or the
reorganization of church finances.

The relation of the people to the land is considered another of
the important economic problems of Puerto Rico. Some of the
heroic measures Government is taking in agrarian reconstruction
are described in Chapter V, and suggestions are made on what
policy the Church should take towards these official efforts.
There are a great many Puerto Ricans who have access to a
little land but are making poor use or no use at all of it for
growing food crops. It is not generally realized that a plot of
ground no more than twenty by fifty feet in size, if cultivated
with intelligence and patience, can yield enough fruit, vegetables,
and berries to keep the average family supplied with a good diet
throughout the year. This is being demonstrated at the Training
School of the West Indies Mission near Placetas, Cuba. Each
member of the faculty has a small plot of ground in his own


garden which he and his family cultivate intensively. Besides
vegetables, fruit trees, and berry bushes, there are beehives, a
fowl run, and a pigpen. The principal of the school told us that
by preserving the excess produce from these little gardens, faculty
households were to a great extent self-contained in their food
The report of the Commission of the Foreign Policy Associa-
tion of New York deals with the relationship of the Cuban fam-
ily to the land in some detail.2 The Commission points out that
families living on a bare subsistence level can add the equivalent
of $1oo to their earnings by raising food crops upon whatever
land is accessible to them and thereby raise their standard of living
to that of the lower middle class. Most of the island of Puerto
Rico is blessed with fertile soil and has a climate similar to that
of Cuba, and its lower classes are in no way inferior in energy
and intelligence.
The unemployed time of the Puerto Rican is not only an ob-
stacle but a potential resource of the Evangelical Church and, if
organized, has possibilities of major importance. It is variously
estimated that 20 to 38 per cent of the population of Puerto Rico
are without employment during the greater part of the year. Of
the 125,000 workers in the seasonal sugar industry, some 75 per
cent of the unskilled farm laborers have regular work only three
to eight months of the year.3 The study made in 1938 of the
tobacco, coffee, and fruit workers shows that 59.8 per cent of the
workers are without employment during periods of from three to
nine months of each year. Neither nation nor individual can pros-
per and attain a reasonable standard of living with such a huge
loss in its productive power.
This problem of Puerto Rican life is of importance to the
Church of Christ, for a considerable part of its membership is
2. Report of the Commission of the Foreign Policy Association of New York,
Problems of the New Cuba (New York: 1935), PP. 92-93.
3. "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto Rico," The Puerto Rico Journal
of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 4, June, 1937. Part I,
pp. 468-469.
4. "Health and Socio-Economic Studies in Puerto Rico," The Puerto Rico Journal
of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, March, 1939. Part II, pp. 258-262.


found in these seasonally unemployed groups. This unused asset
of the Puerto Rican may be compared to the Biblical parable of
the man who wrapped his talent in a napkin and buried it in the
earth. The unused leisure time of the Puerto Rican presents an
unprecedented opportunity for the Church to devise ways of in-
vesting it constructively.
The poor health of a large proportion of the people is a serious
handicap to the growth of a vital Evangelical Church. Malaria,
hookwarm, and parasitic infections are endemic in a very high
proportion of the rural population. Government health statistics
estimate an incidence of 70 per cent of the people in certain areas
who suffer from one or more of these chronic maladies, and in
some occupations the proportion rises as high as o9 per cent.
Efficiency tests made by the Union Miniere Corporation in
Belgian Congo of the thousands of men applying for work in
the mines showed that endemic infections had reduced the vital
energy of the average African tribesman by as much as from 40 to
50 per cent. The Church cannot hope to build up vigorous congre-
gations from people who are only one-third or one-half alive. It
must concentrate upon a ministry of health paralleling that of
spiritual instruction.
At this point the network of influences holding back the people
is most clearly seen: unemployment, poverty, low earning power,
inefficient use of the land, undernourishment, lack of sanitation
and pure water, barefeet, inadequate medical help, ignorance and
inertia. This citadel of powerful foes of the Puerto Rican cannot
be taken by a frontal spiritual attack alone. They call for a type of
ministry that is aware of their devastating power and is able to
plan a strategy and technique to deal with them-both singly
and as a whole.
The lack of contact and cooperation between church organ-
izations and government programs of reconstruction, as well as
the ignorance of pastors and Evangelicals regarding these pro-
grams and their available facilities, hinder any effort to strength-
en the Evangelical churches of Puerto Rico. From conversations


with church leaders and officials, the nature of the problem is
The impression prevails that the official rehabilitation program
frequently overlooks the peasant and laboring classes from which
the bulk of Evangelical members are drawn.
Evangelicals hesitate to submit themselves to the red tape and
procedure required of applicants for governmental help.
Pastors and Evangelical members are reluctant to subject them-
selves to the rebuffs of petty officials who have a strong anti-Protes-
tant bias.
A tendency exists for district officials to discriminate against
Evangelicals in the reconstruction program.
The rehabilitation measures and the facilities offered to the
Puerto Rican public by Government are not widely enough known.
We were assured by high officials in different branches of the
Government Reconstruction Program that religious discrimina-
tion was illegal and that they would welcome information of its
presence in order to investigate and correct it.
We visited the farms of Evangelicals who have been struggling
desperately for many years with problems of soil, crops, irriga-
tion, and terrain-for the correction of which the Government is
maintaining expensive services. The owners of the farms seemed
to be unaware of the presence of the Government Agricultural
Extension Service and the Reconstruction Centers with their
staffs and personnel trained to help farmers meet these very
It is not generally understood that the Evangelical Church, as
brought to Puerto Rico, is the product of a middle-class culture
and economy and is dependent upon the strong support of
middle-class incomes. The Church has been transplanted to a
land where the middle class as it is known in the United States
hardly exists, or, at best, is very small. The Evangelical Church
has attracted only a few of the middle-class and upper-class Puerto
Ricans, and it is dependent to a degree that is unknown in the
United States upon the gifts of the very poor. The ministry
which the Evangelical Church has introduced to the island is a
middle-class profession, alien to Puerto Rican society and to the
economic structure and life of the community. The arrival of


a new pastor and his family in a village and their support create
an unsolved economic dilemma not to say a disaster for the small
Christian community whose members are struggling to make a
living. The dilemma is heightened by the high standard of liv-
ing of the newcomers and the comparatively large salary they
require. Under these circumstances, the only possible way to
finance the church and to support the pastor is for every Evan-
gelical church member, from the most prosperous to the hum-
blest, to throw his whole strength into the effort.
In three of five conferences with groups of pastors, the dan-
gers and weaknesses in the strategy of a mission-developed
Church were frankly discussed. The following comments, made
by the pastors, clearly indicate the great need for instruction in
stewardship among the Puerto Rican churches:
i. Our churches are known to be helped from abroad. Our
people do not give more because they lack the interest and the habit
of giving to a mission-developed Church. They say: "Why should
we give to the Church when the mission board in New York is
able to support it?"
2. After years of work in a church, the missionary goes away
and leaves behind him a congregation untrained in giving and a
pastor without the funds to keep up the work. We believe that the re-
lation of the missionary to the work should be studied as thoroughly
as that of the pastor. The missionary is well-equipped with money
and consequently sees his efforts develop into something, but the
Puerto Rican pastor has no such financial power, and the same
work languishes under his leadership.
3. The pastor often lacks the courage to report how low the gifts
of his members are. Instead, he makes up any deficiency from his
own small salary. He has had no training in church finance and
does not know how to draw upon the resources of his own people.
He is afraid to open the subject and would rather sacrifice his fam-
ily and himself than frankly share the problem with his church
4. The people have been trained to give a penny a Sunday. They
have not been taught reciprocal giving or sacrificial giving. They
know that the pastor receives his salary from the mission and that
some church members are well-to-do, so why should they support


5. In my three years at the Seminary, I did not hear a word ut-
tered by the faculty on the subjects of church contributions, stew-
ardship, or self-support.
The head of one of the principal church groups in Puerto Rico,
commenting upon the need of stewardship training, said:
All of our churches are woefully weak, and poverty is widespread
and acute. Church members give next to nothing towards the pas-
tor's salary; their church gifts go to special causes and for the up-
keep of buildings. Along with training in stewardship, the Church
should attempt by every possible means to increase the earning
power of the people. I would like to see church schools reorganized
with practical industrial and agricultural training as their main
emphasis. The Polytechnic Institute at San German has made a
good start along this line, but I wish it would change its emphasis
more and more to the type of practical preparation, technique, and
training that will increase the earning power of the people.
Although the work of the Pentecostal Church was not held up
as model with respect to its finances, Puerto Rican pastors were
constantly contrasting it with the practice of other Evangelical
groups. The following statement is typical:
From the beginning, the Pentecostal Church started on a basis
of self-support, and its people were unspoiled by foreign money.
The whole island knows that the Pentecostals are working without
outside help. For this reason, their Church has a leverage upon the
people which we do not possess. They can pay their pastors fairly
well because all of their members, even the poorest washerwoman,
contribute generously. It may be true that the Pentecostals use emo-
tion and pressure, but the Puerto Ricans like to be emotional.
Another serious obstacle for many Puerto Rican churches is
that those church members who are in the best position to give
financial aid to their churches assume the least responsibility.
The poorer members are frequently the larger givers, both in
proportion to their incomes and the actual size of their gifts.
This difficulty was stressed by pastors and missionaries through-
out the island. The following remark was typical:
Very few of the church members give in proper proportion to
their salaries. The very poor give beyond their means, and the
upper classes give below theirs. In fact, the check receivers are the
worst givers in the church.


The self-supporting churches in Puerto Rico are, without ex-
ception, financially organized to include the gifts of better-placed
members. This is true of both the churches with large congre-
gations and those with small. On the other hand, some of the
strongest and most prominent churches in Puerto Rico are not
self-supporting because of the inadequate contributions from
many of their salaried members. For instance, upon the member-
ship rolls of one of the largest city churches in the island, we
were shown the names of fifteen prominent people in govern-
mental, educational, and professional fields. Five per cent of the
aggregate salaries of this group, if devoted to the Church, would
carry its whole budget. A majority of these people were not con-
tributing regularly nor were they giving upon the same scale as
the poorer members: in fact, they were giving less. This poten-
tially strong church still receives one half of its support from its
mission board. It is supposedly as difficult for these people with
their many social and community obligations to give to the
Church as it is for the humbler members who have fewer out-
side responsibilities.

The pastors of Puerto Rico, like the pastors of every coun-
try visited, are not trained in church financial theory, methods,
or management. Some resourceful men have met the situation
with courage and have worked out their own methods of church
support. In general, however, the schools which prepare the future
leaders of the Church do not offer required courses of study in
Christian giving and in the principles and practice of church
finance. Until these subjects find a place in the curricula of theo-
logical seminaries, we cannot expect to have financially indepen-
dent younger churches nor should we blame the pastors for this

Another obstacle in the path of church independence is the
theory and practice of the Roman Catholic Church with regard
to church finances. In the early years of the colony, the Roman
Catholic Church was granted lands and city properties by the
Spanish Crown. These properties, in the course of time, have


increased in value and now provide a considerable and steady in-
come. The Roman Catholic believer has been trained to pay for
the specific services of the priest upon fixed rates: so much for
baptisms, weddings, funerals, or for masses for the dead. Another
source of income is the money given for the upkeep of chapels
dedicated to patron saints.
The Evangelical free will offering, given regularly Sunday by
Sunday for the general support of the Church, is a novelty in
the experience of the Puerto Rican and corresponds to nothing
in his past social or religious inheritance. Added to this is the
fact that the early Evangelical preaching emphasized the free
nature of salvation: the gospel was to be had without money and
without price. This antithesis to the position of the Roman
Catholic Church was accepted literally by the people and at-
tracted many of the poorer Puerto Ricans to Protestantism. Al-
though this type of preaching has almost completely disappeared,
the misunderstanding arising from it still persists.
The loss of young people from the church membership is a
problem that the Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico has in
common with many other lands. The natural increment of the
membership is not being maintained in several of the largest
church denominations. Various influences are responsible for this
depletion: young people are leaving their homes and communities
to enter schools and employment in distant places and are marry-
ing into non-Evangelical families.
One basic difficulty is that the Church frequently gives the im-
pression of opposing young people's activities. The Church
stands in their minds as a big negation, for it says "no" or frowns
upon nearly everything they enjoy. Since there is almost no pro-
vision in the church program for compensating forms of recrea-
tion, it is natural for the growing boys and girls to become
estranged and no longer to value their association with the Church.
This problem was apparent in many of the churches we visited.
One church leader with some experience in working with young
people said:
We find it very difficult to hold boys and young men in the
Sunday school and church. Sunday basketball, baseball, and social


dancing are too strong an attraction and take the young people out
of church life. We have tried to introduce pingpong and Chinese
checkers but find they do not interest Puerto Rican boys and girls.
The Church forbids Sunday recreation, excursions, and dances of
any kind, but the young people ignore the Church. No serious effort
has been made to substitute adequate recreation to take the place
of less desirable amusements, for the Church has never had the
trained leadership nor the space and equipment. The greatest
problem of the Church is to hold its children when they get past
adolescence. We need positive activities to attract them and counter-
balance the negative attitude of the Church towards nearly all forms
of popular recreation. A community center, carefully organized and
planned and skillfully directed, would do much to hold young
people within the Church.
Another obstacle impeding the growth of the Evangelical
Church in Puerto Rico is the predominantly urban character of
its organization and program. It was a farsighted mission strategy
that placed churches in all the cities and towns of the island.
However, a ministry and an extension program adjusted to rural
Puerto Rico have not yet been developed. The various denomina-
tions are concerned over this need, and many rural churches and
preaching points are scattered over the island. These are usually
outgrowths of a city church, modelled upon the mother organiza-
tion and administered to as adjuncts. It is impossible for the city
pastor who is responsible for the rural church in his circuit to
provide the constant pastoral care essential for its growth. Like-
wise, a city pastor with several rural churches in his charge is
handicapped in adequately serving his own urban church.
The graduate of a theological seminary is well prepared to
minister to a city church made up of middle-class literate people.
However, is he fully prepared to deal with the highly specialized
problems of a rural parish? How far can homeletics, church his-
tory, dogmatics, and systematic theology prepare a man to serve
a rural community in which only one-half of the people are
literate; over one-third are out of work for sometimes more than
six months of the year; four-fifths are in debt; three-quarters are
weakened by hookworm, malaria, and other parasitic infections;


and a majority are squatters who have practically no knowledge of
how to use the soil to grow food crops and most of whom are
undernourished, listless, and hopeless. This is typical Puerto Rico.
The task of the Church of Christ is to serve hundreds of little
communities of this character. Such a community calls for special
training and gifts. The Church has just as much responsibility
to equip its ministers with the tools and training needed for this
specialized work as, for instance, the modern mining corporation
which sends its experts out to different territories to meet vary-
ing conditions. Although specialized training cannot supplant
the customary theological course, much of it is basic for every
field, urban or rural. In addition to his usual training, the pastor
should know how to help his people in practical ways in their
daily struggle for life and should feel at home in his rural sur-
The seminary graduate often comes from a rural background
but has grown entirely away from the circumstances of his origin
during his long years of study in urban surroundings. His train-
ing orients him to city life and to those cultural amenities which
are not found in the rural parish. He hesitates to ask his wife to
share the loneliness and privations of a rural parish, and to rear his
children among such conditions presents further complications.
However, there are well-trained young Puerto Rican pastors
who have built up difficult rural parishes with real enthusiasm
and success. One young pastor, only two years out of the Union
Theological Seminary, spoke enthusiastically about his rural
Upon graduating from the Seminary, I took a difficult rural field
and built it up from next to nothing to a church with twenty-eight
members. I am strongly attracted to rural people and find them
more sincere, less distracted by worldly excitement, and more re-
liable than those of the city.
I believe that theological training should be supplemented by
agricultural training, both practical and theoretical. My four years
at Polytechnic Institute were invaluable, for I learned the dignity
of manual skill and became accustomed to physical work. At the
Union Theological Seminary, there is enough land to have demon-
stration gardens for the students. This training could be supple-
mented by courses in agricultural theory at the Theological College
of the University.


The economic weakness of the Puerto Rican rural congrega-
tion and its inability to support a highly trained pastor are a
dilemma common to nearly every mission field.
When a structure is found to be too heavy for its foundations
the load may be lightened or the foundations strengthened. A
rural church having its own trained pastor must follow one or
both of these courses. For example, the rural pastor can help to
lighten the load of his church by growing some of his own food.
Or, with the aid of a finance committee, he can systematize the
finances of the church and place them on a business-like basis.
To strengthen the economic foundations of the church, the pas-
tor can show his members new ways and methods of giving,
such as the Lord's Acre Plan, giving in kind, cooperative labor
on church projects, etc. The churches of many lands are follow-
ing these two courses, and progress is being made to solve this



THERE IS NO magic road that leads the Church to independence.
It is a matter of education, discipline, and inner growth. It
calls for conviction, determination, and patience. It requires or-
ganization, cooperation, and experimentation. Above all, it is
based upon the surrender of oneself and all one's possessions to
divine control. Here is the key to the self-support of a church,
and, without this spiritual experience, economic and sociological
surveys and ingenious methods and devices will not succeed.
The methods suggested in this section have been used by many
churches to overcome the same obstacles which Puerto Rican
churches now face. Among the methods are some already in
use in Puerto Rico. It is not probable that all these measures
can be put into practice by any one church, nor that a congre-
gation can usefully attempt to carry out more than a very few
of them at a time. Most of these measures require time to develop
and will need patience and cooperation on the part of pastor and
members. However, should a church start but one new project
each year, in the course of a decade, very great changes would
The suggestions fall into three groups: to pastors and mission-
aries, to the Association of Evangelical Churches of Puerto Rico,
and to mission boards and executives.

The pastor should be an apostle of the slogan: "Better Use of
the Land." He should preach it, teach it, and demonstrate it.
Land will be the solution of Puerto Rico's economic problems,
and, by emphasizing the necessity of its intelligent use, the
Church will find the chief economic solvent of its own difficulties.
The pastor should acquaint himself with the official and un-
official measures for economic and social betterment in his area
and the conditions of participation in them. He should explain


these measures to his church members and help them to under-
stand their value and to make good use of them. Discussion and
study groups, visits to special projects, and distribution of explana-
tory literature would be useful.
The pastor should take the first opportunity to study the rudi-
ments of agriculture and learn the technique of raising garden
crops by attending vacation schools and short-term courses or
even enrolling for a semester in the Agricultural College.
Each church should try to secure a small plot of ground for
demonstration and practice purposes and get the advice of the
Agricultural Extension officer in its best use.

A church also has the opportunity to help its members utilize
more profitably their leisure time. Church members should be
enlisted in practical forms of endeavor. Nearly every church has
a few specially gifted and skilled individuals who could be used
as leaders to train members who are out of work and those who
are illiterate. Such a church program might include: night or
day classes to teach adults reading and writing; interest clubs for
boys and girls; instruction for women in sewing, knitting, cook-
ing, in the care of children, in hygiene, sanitation, and home-
making; demonstration gardens for children; training in new
industries which utilize local materials, such as canning and pre-
serving of fruits and vegetables, weaving, plaiting, dressmaking,
embroidery, carving, pottery, or leatherwork.
The church should make a special study of unemployment in
the community-particularly in the Evangelical community. The
circumstances, history, and capacities of each unemployed church
member should be known, and a committee appointed whose
responsibility it would be to counsel with such members, en-
courage them, enlist them in leisure time activities, and help
them to find work.
A church with a doctor among its members could start a small
clinic and dispensary upon church property or close by. In time,
this might develop into a health and hygiene center for the
whole community.
A "Better Village" Club is an interesting development in which
both young people and adults can participate and work on such


village problems as cleaner streets, garbage disposal, neater yards,
treatment of stagnant pools of water for malaria control, improve-
ment of the water supply, planting of flowering shrubs and trees,
better street lighting, etc. A club of this type serves as an outlet
for the energy and ability of the people and meets their desire
to cooperate.
It is possible for a church to start a small library and reading
room in the space used only for Sunday school classes on the
Sabbath. The same room could be used in the evenings for adult
literacy classes.
The pastor should enlist his church members in studying the
problem of recreation and social life for the Evangelical young
people. Positive activities should be provided in the church pro-
gram to attract and hold the youth as, for instance, equipping the
church yard with simple play apparatus; setting aside a room for
young people's clubs and games; arranging picnics, excursions,
and exchange visits to neighboring churches; developing choirs,
instrumental bands, baseball and tennis clubs within the Evan-
gelical community and holding competitions with similar clubs
from other church groups. Such efforts not only would be a step
towards meeting the problem of Sunday recreation but would
develop church unity.
The pastor, while not encouraging his people to draw apart
from the non-Evangelical community, should make the develop-
ment of church brotherhood and cooperation a central aim of his
ministry. The whole Church needs to recognize and practice a
wide Christian fraternity and stand solidly together in mutual
sympathy, understanding, and helpfulness. In such a brother-
hood, the strength of the whole is available for each member, and
the misfortune or injustice experienced by the weakest member
becomes the concern of all.

The pastor should put the subject of systematic giving and
Christian stewardship into his regular schedule of preaching and
group discussions. He might profitably study the methods used
by self-supporting churches, including those of the Seventh-day
Adventist and Pentecostal denominations, and learn the basis
of their success.


The pastor should secure literature on stewardship and sys-
tematic giving, not only for his own preaching and teaching of
the subject but for the use of his members. He should secure and
study handbooks on church finance, organization, and methods
of giving, such as the Lord's Acre, giving in kind, self-denial
week, the tithe, etc.
The pastor should try to rid himself of assumptions and pre-
judgments as to the inability of his members to support their
church and to give more generously to it. His aim should be to
raise his people's estimate of their own giving power and of their
responsibility to the church. He should try to look impersonally
upon the question of church finance and school himself to speak
frequently about it, both to the church as a whole and to promi-
nent individual members who may be negligent in their church
Every church should have a finance committee made up of
active and conscientious members to assist the pastor and help
carry the financial load for him. The chairman of this committee,
not the pastor, should be the man to lead in financial efforts-in
soliciting uncooperative members and in planning for forward
If the pastor is to lead his church in social and economic better-
ment, he needs to study some aspect of the environment of his
church: the problem of unemployment, utilization of the land,
use of leisure time, problems of youth, methods of giving to the
church, or cooperatives. No minister can master all of these
problems, but with patience and study he can eventually learn
much about a few of them, and, with that knowledge, will be
able to help his people and show them how they may help them-
The Association of Evangelical Churches of Puerto Rico is the
natural agent for united action upon the economic and social


questions which Puerto Rican churches face and which cannot
be solved by separate action. The following measures for united
action are suggested:
Encourage by every possible means financial independence
among the Evangelical churches of Puerto Rico.
Study the obstacles and difficulties standing in the path of self-
support and the methods which are most effective in re-
moving them.
Hold interchurch conferences and institutes at which the many
aspects of financial independence can be discussed and studied
and an exchange of experience brought about.
Gather literature on church finance methods and support and
make it available to all churches.
Assist weak churches by visitation and counsel.
A committee on Evangelical church relations with the gov-
ernment of Puerto Rico might be organized to represent the
common interests of all the Evangelical bodies and to express
their convictions on matters of economic, social, and moral bet-
terment and religious liberty. In such a committee, the interests
of the smallest church and weakest Evangelical member in the
island would be represented, and the strength of the whole Evan-
gelical movement would be behind them. The committee would
study the various reconstruction measures provided for the people,
would make these clearly understood among the churches, and
would encourage pastors and congregations to use them.
Such a committee would work to hold the Evangelical youth
within the bonds of the Church by organizing interchurch fellow-
ship and social intercourse, facilities for recreation and sports
under the auspices of the churches, young people's clubs and
social service activities, participation of young people in the ser-
vices of the church: music, drama, etc. and interchurch social and
recreational centers for youth, such as the one that has been pro-
posed by church workers at Ponce.
A research committee on the economic and social problems of
Puerto Rico as they affect the churches would be of great value.


The Evangelical movement is well-placed with regard to this
proposal. The cordial relations between the Union Theological
Seminary and the University of Puerto Rico; the availability of
the directors of the various university departments as counsellors
and the archives of the university library; the accessibility of gov-
ernment specialists and the imposing fund of data which has been
gathered on matters pertaining to the welfare of the people-
would all combine to amplify and further the work of such a
Since so large a part of rural Puerto Rico is still unevangelized
and since 75 per cent of the people are related to rural pursuits,
the importance of organizing a standing committee upon the
rural church is emphasized. The task of such a committee would
be to study:
The type of church organization, program, and methods best
suited to the needs and resources of the rural field;
The type of supplementary training needed for equipping pas-
tors to serve in rural areas;
The training of lay leadership for rural churches by means of
short courses, institutes, and special summer schools;
Special problems and methods of rural work as presented in
district and national conferences;
The best way to gather, prepare, and distribute literature upon
rural church work and methods.
A committee to promote sound family life and the enrichment
of the home through training in motherhood and in the care and
discipline of children would have a valuable place in the life of
the Church in Puerto Rico. The social foundations of the Church
of Christ center upon the training and the family environment
of the growing child. Where these remain upon a low level, the
Church is permanently crippled. Where family life is wholesome
and disciplined, the Church has a basis upon which it can build.
The suggestions on policy and program to mission boards
will have been already anticipated by those who have looked


through the pages of this report, but, at the risk of repetition,
certain measures for which the mission board executives have
special responsibility will be briefly outlined.
In selecting candidates for the Puerto Rican field, men and
women who have had special training and experience in some
aspect of the environment of the Church should be found. The
field is wide: cooperatives, the larger parish program, settlement
work, rural economics, problems of the home and family, rural
sociology, cottage industries, and young people's work.
The missionary on furlough can, with great profit, attend one
of the schools for rural missionaries provided by the Agricultural
College at Cornell University; by Scarritt College, Nashville;
Iowa Agricultural College, Grinnell; and Oregon State Agri-
cultural College at Corvallis. With the many needs of the rural
field in mind, these colleges offer a wide range of useful subjects
which supplement the original preparation of the missionary.
A new approach is needed to the question of subsidy reduction
in the stronger churches. Such withdrawal, when attempted,
should be first thoroughly discussed in conferences with field
leaders, pastors, and congregations. The best chance for success
will be where the churches themselves are convinced that subsidy
reduction is desirable and where new methods have been started
within the churches to compensate in part for the withdrawal of
mission assistance.
The peculiar and exacting conditions of the Puerto Rican rural
field suggest the need of special preparation for the pastor in
addition to the thorough divinity training of the Union Theo-
logical Seminary. The mission boards which cooperate in the
training of the pastors, together with the leaders and superin-
tendents of the national Churches, will naturally make this a
matter of study.

Absenteeism, 2, 5
Adaptation to environment, 4, 21-22,
40-42, 43-45, 47-48, 57-58, 72
Administration, P. R. Reconstruction,
1, 4, 6, 11, 30, 43, 44, 62-63
Agricultural Adjustment Administra-
tion, 42
Agricultural Experiment Stations, 42
Agricultural Extension Service, 42,
51, 53-54, 63, 72
American Missionary Association, 12
Assemblies of God, Inc., 13
Association of Evangelical Churches
of P. R., 56, 71, 74
Assumption of church poverty, 59-
60, 74
Authority, Federal Housing, 46-47;
P. R. Housing, 46
Baptist Church, 13, 14, 15, 16, 29
Baptist Church at Cayey, 24-25; at
Ponce, 25; at Rio Piedras, 26-27
Barriers, vegetative, 43
Bench-terrace banks, 43
"Better Village" Clubs, 72
Birth-rate, 1, 8
Budgets, church, 14, 15, 17-19, 31-
32, 38; family, 2
Carnegie Corporation of N. Y., 47
Centers, community, 25, 41, 45, 52,
68; demonstration, 22, 41; recon-
struction, 63; rural parish, 21,
52; youth, 56
Christian and Missionary Alliance
Church, 24
Church, the Evangelical; 1, 12-22,
63-64, 68; adjustment to environ-
ment, 4, 12, 57-58; attendance, 9,
30; baptisms, 13, 14, 30; budgets,
14, 15, 18-19, 31-32; comity, 15;
constituency, 13, 14, 29-30, 31;
contributions, 14, 15, 20, 36-39,
65; debts, 32; denominations, 13;
finance policies, 12, 17-18, 19-20,
31-32, 57-58, 64-65, 66, 70, 74;
and government, 62-63,75; growth,
1, 15, 32, 67-68, 68-70; independ-
ence, 13-15, 18, 26, 38, 60, 71-
77; and lack of middle class, 12;
loss of membership, 21, 67-68;
maintenance, 13, 14, 17, 18, 32;
number of churches, 13, 14; prop-
erty, 17-18, 57, 67; responsibility,
38; zoning, 14
Churches of Christ (see independent
Churches of Christ)

Church, the rural, 13, 15, 20-22, 34,
68-70, 76
Clinics, 50, 52
College of Agriculture and Mechanic
Arts, 42
Community, Evangelical, 9, 13, 29-
30, 31
Conservation, soil, 42-43, 53-54
Cooke and Sons, Publishers, 25
Cooperation, government, 62-63; in-
terdenominational, 16, 73
Crops, island, 1, 4, 5-6, 10, 43, 60
Cuba, 2, 3, 4, 6, 60
Death-rate, 1, 8
Debts (see indebtedness)
Department of Agriculture, U.S., 42
Derivatives, sugar, 5
Diet, 2, 3, 7-8, 9, 41, 46, 60
Disciples, 13, 14, 15, 16, 29
Discrimination, religious, 63
Disease, 2, 3, 7-8, 62
Disparities, 3
Diversification of crops, 40-42
Dominican Evangelical Churches, 16
Dominican Republic, 3, 5, 16
Earnings, 9-10; Evangelical, 31, 65
Economic Background for Agricul-
tural Research in P. R., 1, 5, 6
Education, 3-4, 8; adult, 8; in giv-
ing (see Stewardship); lack of, 2,
8, 42; rural, 40-42; theological
(see training)
Efforts, government (see reconstruc-
Emotionalism, 21, 65
Employment, 2, 8, 9
Episcopal Church, 13, 14-15, 16, 29,
49, 52, 53
"Evangelico," the, 56
Experiment Stations at Mayagiiez and
Rio Piedras, 42-43
Exports, 1, 4, 5
Family, 6, 8-11; Evangelical, 29-30,
Farming, 27, 40, 45, 63, 71-72
Farms, church and mission, 18, 47,
51-52, 52-54, 54-56; Federal
Project, 44-45; Resettlers Project,
43; size of, 2; Soil Conservation
and, 43; types of 5, 44, 45
Food, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11, 61, 70
Foreign Policy Association of N. Y.,
Forest Service, U. S., 42



Garden plots, demonstration, 61, 69,
70, 71-72
Garrochales Church Farm, 54-56
Giving, factors affecting, 36-37; in
kind, 19, 74; national, 14, 15, 32;
per capital, 14, 15, 20, 24, 27, 65-
66, 74; proportional, 36-37, 65-66
Health and hygiene (see disease),
7-8, 9, 41, 62, 68
Health and Socio-Economic Studies
in P. R., 2, 6, 29, 30, 59, 61
Heritage, social and cultural, 3
Home, description of P. R., 7
Hospitals, mission, 17, 18, 51-52
Housing, 2, 3, 6, 7, 45-47
Iglesia Unida de P. R., 13
Illegitimacy, 3, 9
Illiteracy, 2, 3, 8, 68, 72
Imports, 1, 2, 4, 6
Income, church, 37; distribution of,
10; family, 9-10, 31, 42, 46, 59;
per capital, 10, 37, 59; supple-
mentary, 36
Increase of natural population, 1
Indebtedness, 11; church, 32; Evan-
gelical, 31, 68
Independent Churches of Christ, 26
Industrial Project Plan, 47-48
Industries, agricultural, 5-6, 40-42;
cottage, 45; mission, 18, 49-50, 52;
training in, 40-42, 45, 47-48
Industry, St. Andrew's Needlework,
Influence, U. S., 3-4, 11-12, 57
Institutes, agricultural and industrial,
54; laymen's training, 27, 75
Labor, 2, 5, 59, 61
Land, distribution of, 1, 2, 5, 10;
utilization of, 2, 42, 60-61, 71-72
Laymen, training and leadership of,
Leisure, 9, 61-62, 72-73
Literature, Christian, 25, 74, 75
Lord's Acre Plan, 19, 32, 74, 75
Lutheran (see United Lutheran)
Marina Neighborhood House, 50-51
Marini project, 44
Markets, foreign, 5-6
Mayagiiez Housing Authority Coun-
cil, 46

McAllister, Dr. James A., 16
Measures, constructive, 40-56
Medical care, 8, 46, 50, 52, 72
Methodist Church, 13, 14-15, 16, 29,
Methodist Church of Arecibo, 23-24
Methods of giving, 19-20, 31-32
Middle class, lack of, 12, 31, 63-64,
Mission, control of, 51-58; as em-
ployer, 17, 38; policies (see
Church), 60, 62; support, 14, 15,
17-18, 38, 60, 64-65
Missionaries, influence of, 38, 57-
58; number of, 13; salaries of, 17;
training and function of, 77
Morris, Dr. Jarvis S., 47
Mortality, infant, 8

Obstacles, 57-70
Occupations, 5, 8; Evangelical, 30-
Odell, Dr. E. A., 13
One-crop economy, 1, 4
Overcrowding, 2
Overpopulation, 1
Ownership, foreign, 11

Pastors, economic status of, 32-
34, 58; education of, 17-18, 20,
33, 68-70; leadership of, 34; num-
ber of, 13, 15; problems of, 32,
33, 58, 68-70; rural, 21-22, 68-
70; salary of, 14, 15, 17, 19,
32-34, 58, 60, 64, 70; supplemen-
tary activities of, 27, 33, 36, 55
Pentecostals, 13, 14, 15-16, 17, 25,
27, 65
Pledges, church, 37
Policies (see Church)
Polytechnic Institute of P. R., 47-48,
65, 69
Population, density, 1, 2, 6-7, 43;
make-up, 4-5, 6-7
Poverty, 1, 51, 59-60
Practices, church giving (see meth-
Presbyterian Church, 13, 14-15, 16,
29, 47, 50
Project, Federal Farm, 44-45; Pri-
vate Farm, 44; Resettlers, 44; Re-
housing, 44-46
Property, ownership of, 11, 17, 67
Protestant Episcopal Church, U.S.A.,
13, 14


Quebrada Limon Church Farm, 52-54
Questionnaire returns, 29-39
Reconstruction, 4, 45-56, 57, 60, 75;
rural, 40-45, 63
Recreation, 9, 10, 67-68, 73
Relations, U.S. and P. R., 3-4
Rents, 10, 46
Resettlement Project, 44
Rural Rehabilitation Division of the
P. R. R. A., 42
Ryder Memorial Hospital Farm, 51-
Salaries (see pastor)
Saltero, Rev. Rico, 55
Sanitation, 2, 7
School of Tropical Medicine, 6, 30
Schools, courses offered by, 40-42, 47-
48; enrollment of, 40, 42; mission,
17,18, 52; rural, 40-42; secondary,
40, 47-48; Second Unit, 40-42;
vocational, 40, 47-48
Self-support, advantages of, 19, 23,
34-35; amount of, 14, 15, 17-18,
32, 38-39; and the rural church,
34; methods of, 17, 19-20, 23-28,
39, 55-56, 65-66, 71-77; problems
of, 21, 34, 60, 65-66, 75; psychol-
ogy of, 19, 38-39, 55-56, 60, 65, 71
Self-supporting churches, 13-14, 15,
16, 17, 20, 23-28, 54-55, 65, 66
Sepulveda, Mr. S. J., 42
Service, Soil Conservation, 42-43, 44
Seventh-day Adventists, 13, 14, 15,
16, 17, 20, 25, 27-28
Social work, 18, 41, 46, 47, 50-51
St. Andrew's Needlework Industry,
49-50, 52
St. Luke's Hospital at Ponce, 52
Standard of living, 3, 4, 6, 7, 57-
58, 61, 64
Stewardship, 19, 23, 25, 64-65, 70,
Strategy of missions, 57-58, 60, 62,
64, 65, 68-70
Subsidy, foreign, 12, 57-58, 60, 65;
reduction of, 18-19, 60, 77

Subsistence economy, 2, 10, 11, 59,
Sugar-cane industry, 1, 2, 4-5, 6, 10,
11, 61
Sunday schools, 13, 15, 30
Tithing, 19-20, 24, 26, 27-28, 31-32,
37, 55, 74
Training, in agriculture, 21-22, 33,
40-42, 47-48, 65, 71-72; in church
finance, 66; of lay leadership, 20-
21, 27, 52, 72; of pastors, 17-18,
20, 77; for rural parish, 20, 21-22;
68-70, 76, 77; in stewardship, 64-
65; theological, 16, 17, 21-22, 68-
69; vocational, 40-42, 65, 72
Training School, West Indies Mis-
sion, 60-61

Undernourishment, 2, 3, 69
Unemployment, 9, 59, 61-62, 68, 72
United Brethren in Christ, 13
United Christian Missionary Society
(see Disciples)
United Evangelical Church of P. R.,
13, 14-15, 16, 29, 51, 56
United Lutheran Church, 13, 14-15,
16, 29
Union Miniere Corporation of Bel-
gian Congo, 62
Union Theological Seminary, 16, 17,
18, 21, 65, 69, 76
University of P. R., 1, 3-4, 6, 59, 76
Vidal Private Farm Project, 44

Wages, agricultural, 2, 9, 59; indus-
trial, 49
West Indies Mission, 60-61

Young Men's and Young Women's
Christian Associations, 56
Youth, centers for Evangelical, 56,
75; loss of, 67-68, 75; recreational
activities for, 25, 56

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs