Guide to the Denominational Ministry Strategy Collection, 1973-1995 AIS.1989.07

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Denominational Ministry Strategy Collection
Creator
Denominational Ministry Strategy Pittsburgh Coalition.
Collection Number
AIS.1989.07
Date
1973-1995
Extent
6.25 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract
The Denominational Ministry Strategy (DMS) was formed by a group of Pittsburgh clergymen early in 1982. The original mission of the organization was to assist the newly unemployed steelworkers of the Monongahela Valley and to make the state and local government aware of their plight. In addition to correspondence and newspaper clippings, there is also much polemical material directed against the business and investment decisions of Mellon Bank, U.S. Steel, Dravo and other large Pittsburgh corporations which the group believed had failed in their responsibilities to the communities of workers who had made them prosperous. Many documents in the collection articulate theological and moral positions which attempt to ground the group's political action within the Christian scriptural tradition. Court transcripts documenting the legal battles of the DMS and of Rev. D. Douglas Roth, who was defrocked by the Lutheran Church for his participation in the organization, are also present.

Preferred Citation

Denominational Ministry Strategy Collection, 1973-1995, AIS.1989.07, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh

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History

The Denominational Ministry Strategy (DMS) was formed by a group of Pittsburgh clergymen early in 1982 to assist the newly unemployed steelworkers of the Monongahela Valley and to make state and local government aware of their plight. The DMS followed in the footsteps of past groups such as the Pittsburgh Coalition and the Metropolitan Citizens Organization in that various congregations from the Pittsburgh area banded together in response to changes within their community. After initial efforts by the DMS yielded few results, the group altered its tactics to draw attention to the problems of the unemployed. Joining with the local union activists of the Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley, the organization targeted banking and manufacturing corporations within Pittsburgh as the primary reason behind the region's deindustrialization. Some of their protests included removing their money from branches of Mellon Bank and placing fish in Mellon bank boxes, symbolizing that there was something fishy about the institution. This approach brought the group into conflict with the Lutheran Church in America, which initially supported the DMS. Pastors D. Douglas Roth and Daniel Solberg were defrocked by the church in 1984 and 1985, respectively, due to their involvement with the group and both were jailed for refusing to give up their posts. Solberg's brother, actor David Soul, became involved in the work of the DMS and created, along with Bill Jersey, the 1986 PBS documentary, The Fighting Ministers, about their efforts. In 1987, the organization changed its name to the Denominational Ministry Strategy Extended (DMX) as a way of mocking U.S. Steel and their name change to USX. Later that year, the group evolved into the Confessing Synod Ministries in response to the opposition it received from the Lutheran Church. The group is still in operation as of 2007.

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Scope and Content Notes

The records of the Denominational Ministry Strategy (DMS) cover the period from 1982 to 1994. In addition to correspondence and newspaper clippings, there is also much polemical material directed against the business and investment decisions of Mellon Bank, U.S. Steel, Dravo and other large Pittsburgh corporations which the group believed had failed in their responsibilities to the communities of workers who had made them prosperous. Many documents in the collection articulate theological and moral positions which attempt to ground the group's political action within the Christian scriptural tradition and also to link their conduct with the Protestant church resistance to Hitler (hence the future appropriation by the group of the term "Confessing Synod"). Correspondence concerning the business and personal matters of the DMS and its leaders are also present, along with photographs taken at DMS events. Polemics against the alleged corporate ties of the Lutheran Church in America and its Western Pennsylvania Synod emerge as another preoccupation as the DMS sought to defend the ministers and their mission in the face of disciplinary actions levied against them by Church authorities. Court transcripts documenting the legal battles of Rev. D. Douglas Roth, who was defrocked by the Lutheran Church, as well as many newspaper clippings regarding Roth and the efforts of the DMS, are included. There are also records from the organization's predecessor, The Pittsburgh Coalition, which was active from 1976 to 1979. Year books of the Metropolitan Citizens Organization (MCO), a citizen action group led by DMS trainer Charles Honeywell that was active from 1978 to 1982, are also present.

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Arrangement

  • Series I. Founding and Organizational Documents, 1975-1989
  • Series II. Newsletters, 1986-1995
  • Series III. Media and Press Releases, 1982-1987
  • Series IV. Legal Documents, 1984-1994
  • Series V. Correspondence, 1973-1993
  • Series VI. Publications, 1976-1994

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, April 2009

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Gordon Sheaffer in April 1998. The additions were processed and the finding aid was written by Zachary L. Brodt in January 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Rosenberg, David L., "Pittsburgh in Revolt: Sources and Artifacts of the Struggle against Deindustrialization from the UEL/Labor Archives at the University of Pittsburgh," Pennsylvania History, 68 (Summer 2001): 367–82.

Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, Local 61 Records, 1943-1988, AIS.1989.05, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh

Separated Material

Photographs taken by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer Harry Coughenour, as well as video cassettes of  The Fighting Ministers and news footage can be found in the Media Storage room.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Denominational Ministry Strategy Pittsburgh Coalition.
  • Dravo Corporation.
  • Lutheran Church in America.
  • Mellon Bank Corporation.
  • United States Steel Corporation.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Legal documents
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases

Geographic Name(s)

  • Clairton (Pa.)
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Honeywell, Charles
  • May, Kenneth R.
  • Roth, Dewey Douglas
  • Solberg, Daniel N.
  • Soul, David

Subject(s)

  • Associations
  • Deindustrialization -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Labor
  • Lutheran Church -- Clergy
  • Social action
  • Unemployment -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County

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Previous Citation

Denominational Ministry Strategy Collection, 1973-1995, AIS.1989.07, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Founding and Organizational Documents, 1975-1989 

Scope and Contents note

This series contains information regarding the founding of the Denominational Ministry Strategy (DMS) and its predecessors, the Pittsburgh Coalition and Metropolitan Citizens Organization. Included are mission statements, meeting minutes, yearbooks, and correspondence from the organizations' founders. Papers on Mellon Bank, U.S. Steel, and the Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley are also present and provide an overview of their relationship with the DMS.

  BoxFolder
Pittsburgh Coalition, 1976-1980 11
  Folder
Pittsburgh Coalition Founding and Organizational Documents, 1976-1980 2
  Folder
Pittsburgh Coalition Correspondence, 1976-1980 3
  Folder
Pittsburgh Coalition Meeting Minutes, 1975-1979 4
  Folder
Pittsburgh Coalition Newsletters and Mailings, 1976-1979 5
  Folder
Metropolitan Citizens Organization Yearbook, 1978-1982 6
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy Founding and Organizational Documents, 1982-1984 7
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy Ideological and Theological Documents, 1983-1986 8
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy, 1983-1988 09-11
  Folder
Mellon Bank, 1977-1984 12
  Folder
U.S. Steel/USX, 1979-1983 13
  Folder
Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley, 1983-1984 14
  Folder
Confessing Synod Ministries, 1987-1989 15
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy Extended, 1987-1989 16

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Series  II. Newsletters, 1986-1995 

Scope and Contents note

The newsletters in this series document the activities of the DMS, DMX, and Confessing Synod Ministries. Many of the activities are concerned with the deindustrialization of Pittsburgh in the 1980s and include information on actions taken against Mellon Bank, Dravo Corporation, and U.S. Steel. Newsletters from the Christ Lutheran Church and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, both members of the DMS, are also included.

  Folder
Christ Lutheran Church, 1986-1989 17
  Folder
The Voice of the Valley, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 1987-1988 18
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy, 1987 19
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy, January - April 1988 20
  Folder
Confessing Synod Ministries, 1988-1995 21-25

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Series  III. Press and Media Releases, 1982-1987 

Scope and Contents note

This series contains press releases regarding the activities of the DMS and the companies the DMS held responsible for Pittsburgh's high unemployment in the 1980s. Many of the press releases are concerned with protests mounted jointly by the DMS and the Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley and the actions of corporate executives from Mellon Bank and U.S. Steel. Also included are examples of pamphlets which would be distributed throughout Pittsburgh communities concerning the high unemployment rates and economic fall of the region.

  BoxFolder
Press Releases and Announcements, 1982-1983 21
  Folder
Press Releases, January 1984 - January 1987 02-08
  Folder
Community Releases,1985-1986, undated 09-10

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Series  IV. Legal Documents, 1984-1994 

Scope and Contents note

The documents in this series are concerned mainly with the legal troubles of Rev. D. Douglas Roth. Early in 1984, Roth was removed from his position at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Clairton, Pa., by the bishop of the Western Pennsylvania-West Virginia Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. Roth ignored the order so that he would be granted a disciplinary hearing before church authorities to plead his case; however, the bishop filed a civil court complaint instead. Roth was jailed in contempt of court for failing to appear at his hearing and for conducting services. He remained in jail for several months because he refused to sign a paper that would end his term at Trinity Lutheran Church. Also included are legal documents regarding the DMX's resistance to developers George and Damien Zamias erecting a shopping mall in Frazer Township, Pa.

  Folder
Bishop Kenneth May and Western PA - West Virginia Synod v. Trinity Lutheran Church and D. Douglas Roth  1982-1983 11-15
  Folder
Commonwealth v. D. Douglas Roth v. Rev. William Rex Jr. Transcript, undated 16
  Folder
Bishop Kenneth May and Western PA-West Virginia Synod v. Trinity Lutheran Church, D. Douglas Roth and Nadine Roth Transcript, 1985 17
  Folder
Bishop Kenneth May and Western PA-West Virginia Synod v. Trinity Lutheran Church, D. Douglas Roth and Nadine Roth Transcript, 1988 18
  Folder
Commonwealth v. Dewey Douglas Roth Transcript, 1985 19-20
  Folder
Bishop Kenneth May and Western PA-West Virginia Synod v. Trinity Lutheran Church, D. Douglas Roth and Nadine Roth Legal Documents, 1986 21
  Folder
Motion for the Release of Rev. Roth, 1985 22
  Folder
Bishop Kenneth May and Western PA-West Virginia Synod v. Trinity Lutheran Church and Rev. D. Douglas Roth and Members Injunction, 1984 23
  Folder
George and Damien Zamias v. Denominational Ministry Strategy Extended Legal Documents, 1994 24
  BoxFolder
Motion for the Release of Rev. Roth, 1984 31

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Series  V. Correspondence, 1973-1993 

Scope and Contents note

This series contains correspondence from various members of the DMS concerning their activities within the Pittsburgh region. Many of these documents are concerned with the actions of Bishop Kenneth May against the DMS and its leaders, such as Rev. Roth, Rev. Solberg, and Rev. Gropp. There are several messages from Rev. Solberg to various judges in Allegheny County that he sent while serving time in prison, as well as correspondence regarding Rev. Roth's court hearings. Also included are letters from the United Steel Workers of America and the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America to members of the DMS about their efforts regarding unemployment in the Mon Valley.

  Folder
Miscellaneous, 1978-1993 2
  Folder
General, 1976-1986 03-09
  Folder
Bishop Kenneth R. May, 1984-1987 10-11
  Folder
Bishop James Crumley, Lutheran Church of America, 1984-1987 12
  Folder
Rev. Daniel Solberg, 1984-1987 13
  Folder
Pastor Phillip D. Long, 1984-1988 14
  Folder
Rev. James Von Dreele, 1983-1984 15
  Folder
Bishop Will Herzfeld, 1986-1987 16
  Folder
Rev. Martin Buerger, 1985 17
  Folder
John H. Tietjen, 1986-1987 18
  Folder
Nativity Lutheran Church, Allison Park, PA, 1985-1987 19
  Folder
Christ Lutheran Church, Duquesne, PA, 1984-1986 20
  Folder
Rev. D. Douglas Roth regarding Court Cases, 1984-1988 21
  Folder
Mellon Bank, 1973-1987 22
  Folder
United Steelworkers of America, 1983-1986 23
  Folder
Media, 1983-1986 24
  Folder
Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, 1984-1986 25
  Folder
State and Local Government, 1982-1986 26
  Folder
Lutheran Church in America Convention and Freedom Ride, 1986-1993 27
  Folder
Baptists, 1987-1988 28
  Folder
Other Organizations, 1984-1986 29
  Folder
Amnesty International, 1982-1988 30
  Folder
South Africa, 1985-1989 31

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Series  VI. Publications, 1976-1994 

Scope and Contents note

This series includes press clippings from local newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Press and  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as  The Wall Street Journal,  The New York Times, and  USA Today, regarding the efforts of the DMS and the Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley. The clippings include cartoons, letters to the editor, and feature articles about DMS activities, Rev. Roth's defrocking and arrest, and the state of the steel industry in Pittsburgh. Other documents include flyers and pamphlets distributed by the DMS and papers regarding the film  The Fighting Ministers. A copy of the film, as well as a tape containing news features on the DMS, is also present. Photographs taken by  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer Harry Coughenour at DMS activities are included.

  Folder
Miscellaneous Flyers and Pamphlets, undated 32
  Folder
The Basic Bible for Real People, undated 33
  Folder
The Book on Pittsburgh, undated 34
  Folder
The Fighting Ministers, undated 35
  Folder
Pittsburgh Magazine Feature Article "Steeltown Radicals", undated 36
  Folder
Clippings, undated 37
  Folder
Metropolitan Citizens Organization Clippings, 1976-1982 38
  Folder
Denominational Ministry Strategy Clippings, 1983-May 1984 39-45
  BoxFolder
Denominational Ministry Strategy Clippings, June 1984-1994 401-13
  BoxFolder
Pittsburgh Post Gazette News Photographs, undated 501-03
  Cassette
The Fighting Ministers, undated 1
  Cassette
Features from Nightline,  60 Minutes,  700 Club, and the Local News, undated 2

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