Summary Information
Title: Denominational Ministry Strategy Collection
Collection Number: AIS.1989.07
Creator: Denominational Ministry Strategy Pittsburgh Coalition.

Collection Dates: 1973-1995
Extent: 6.25 linear feet (5 boxes)

Language: English

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.
Publisher:

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-3232
archives-ref@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

April 2009
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Zachary Brodt.
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.


Collection 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.


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


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Deindustrialization -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Lutheran Church -- Clergy
  • Unemployment -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County

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

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

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

Genres/Forms
  • Correspondence
  • Legal documents
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases

Category
  • Associations
  • Labor
  • Social action

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Preferred Citation:

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

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.

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.

Related 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, UE/Lab 198905, Archives Service Center, 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.


Collection Inventory

Series I. Founding and Organizational Documents, 1975-1989

Scope and Content Notes:

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.


Box 1
Folder 1 Pittsburgh Coalition, 1976-1980
Folder 2 Pittsburgh Coalition Founding and Organizational Documents, 1976-1980
Folder 3 Pittsburgh Coalition Correspondence, 1976-1980
Folder 4 Pittsburgh Coalition Meeting Minutes, 1975-1979
Folder 5 Pittsburgh Coalition Newsletters and Mailings, 1976-1979
Folder 6 Metropolitan Citizens Organization Yearbook, 1978-1982
Folder 7 Denominational Ministry Strategy Founding and Organizational Documents, 1982-1984
Folder 8 Denominational Ministry Strategy Ideological and Theological Documents, 1983-1986
Folder 09-11 Denominational Ministry Strategy, 1983-1988
Folder 12 Mellon Bank, 1977-1984
Folder 13 U.S. Steel/USX, 1979-1983
Folder 14 Network to Save the Mon/Ohio Valley, 1983-1984
Folder 15 Confessing Synod Ministries, 1987-1989
Folder 16 Denominational Ministry Strategy Extended, 1987-1989

Series II. Newsletters, 1986-1995

Scope and Content Notes:

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

Series III. Press and Media Releases, 1982-1987

Scope and Content Notes:

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.


Box 2
Folder 1 Press Releases and Announcements, 1982-1983
Folder 02-08 Press Releases, January 1984 - January 1987
Folder 09-10 Community Releases,1985-1986, undated

Series IV. Legal Documents, 1984-1994

Scope and Content Notes:

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

Box 3
Folder 1 Motion for the Release of Rev. Roth, 1984

Series V. Correspondence, 1973-1993

Scope and Content Notes:

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

Series VI. Publications, 1976-1994

Scope and Content Notes:

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 32 Miscellaneous Flyers and Pamphlets, undated
Folder 33 The Basic Bible for Real People, undated
Folder 34 The Book on Pittsburgh, undated
Folder 35 The Fighting Ministers, undated
Folder 36 Pittsburgh Magazine Feature Article "Steeltown Radicals", undated
Folder 37 Clippings, undated
Folder 38 Metropolitan Citizens Organization Clippings, 1976-1982
Folder 39-45 Denominational Ministry Strategy Clippings, 1983-May 1984

Box 4
Folder 01-13 Denominational Ministry Strategy Clippings, June 1984-1994

Box 5
Folder 01-03 Pittsburgh Post Gazette News Photographs, undated
Cassette 1 The Fighting Ministers, undated
Cassette 2 Features from Nightline, 60 Minutes, 700 Club, and the Local News, undated