Religion: Fellowship Church

One day four years ago, Dr. Howard Thurman, dean of the chapel and professor of Christian theology at Washington, D.C.'s Howard University, got an unusually challenging letter. It was an invitation to help start an interracial, interdenominational church in San Francisco. There was no assurance that the colored people would take to the idea, or that white San Franciscans would approve. The pay would be negligible. Before long, Thurman had left Howard, where he had been twelve years, and was on his way to the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples.

"The...