Delta Ministry and Division
Bishop Allin was obliged to maintain a working relationship with the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC) although their relationship was tense. Conservatives who opposed the NCC’s progressive social justice agenda orchestrated media attention on the Episcopal Church’s membership and involvement in the organization.
The NCC’s Delta Ministry addressed civil rights, race relations and poverty in Mississippi in the 1960s. Led by Paul Moore, then Suffragan Bishop of Washington and Chairman of the NCC Commission, it was comprised of mostly young workers and students from other parts of the United States. It instituted many programs throughout Mississippi in order to foster better race relations and provide more opportunities for black citizens. The Delta Ministry focused on health education, relief, literacy, community centers, and voter registration.
Bishop Allin and the Delta Ministry were at odds: detractors in the Ministry saw him as obstructionist to their efforts, and he found their methods foolhardy and inadequate. While he agreed with the ideals of the group, he was convinced that initiatives led by outsiders unfamiliar with Mississippi were not ultimately the most effective response to the problem. He viewed transient advocates of civil rights as motivated more by personal honor than a desire to engage the community in a partnership. His preference was to focus on race relations as an indigenous effort to be resolved in time, while civil rights advocates thought time for cooperative evolution had run out. Allin’s approach captured in many ways a sectionalist response to Civil Rights that granted to the South rather than to the nation as a whole the rightful responsibility for solving racial problems.