|The word for "church" is "preĝejo."|
One of the leaders of the Christian Endeavor movement had been active in the early Esperanto movement in the United States. The Good Templars, a Christian temperance group, adopted Esperanto at one point (and seem to have quietly dropped it thereafter). A 1912 article focussed almost wholly on Esperanto in Christian organizations.
The “religious program” of the ninth congress of the Esperanto Association of North America seems to have taken up the the whole of the congress’s final day. The meeting started on Thursday, July 27, 1916 in Annapolis, Maryland, and ran through Sunday with a day full of religious activities. The New York Evening World ran a short article to coincide with the opening of the meeting:
TO PREACH IN ESPERANTOThough brief, the article makes clear that the conference attendees are going to get a full day of Christian worship on Sunday. I know Zamenhof downplayed his Jewishness for fear that Esperanto would be rejected because its creator was a Jew (and, indeed, this did happen at times), but it seems that the Esperanto movement went overboard in being aggressively Christian. (Even today, while there is Sunday worship service in Esperanto at the Universala Kongreso, there seems to be no Jewish services.)
Delegates to Congress Will Hear Sermon and Prayer
ANNAPOLIS, Md., July 27.—The ninth annual Congress of the Esperanto Association of North America opened here to-day and will continue through Sunday. A religious programme has been arranged for Sunday at St. Anne’s Protestant Episcopal Church. Morning prayer in Esperanto will be led by Rev. James L. Smiley, assistant rector of St. Anne’s, and a sermon in the universal language will be preached by Rev. Paul F. Hoffman of Elizabeth, N. J. In the evening an illustrated sermon on “Esperanto as an Auxiliary to Religion” will be delivered.
While the early American Esperanto movement seemed to be egalitarian toward women, with many women in the leadership (though some groups had separate “Ladies’ Auxiliaries”), the early movement seems to have been overwhelmingly white, well-off, and Christian (and largely Protestant at that).
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