Fifth City, Chicago
The 5th City Human Development Project [“Community Reformulation Project” at the time] began in a Chicago West Side neighborhood surrounding the Ecumenical Institute (The Institute of Cultural Affairs, 1979).
The name 5th City grew out of the sense of people that their “city” was going to be entirely different from the four socio-geographic “cities” that make up the modern urban complex: downtown, inner city, neighborhoods, suburbs. This new community was going to be based not on geography, but on the sheer decision of its citizens. It would be a “5th City,” built to bring hope and renewal to cities everywhere (5th City, Rebirth of the Human City, 1973).
The five Geneva Offices were written as a part of the RS-I courses held at Lake Geneva and were designed to represent the five sections of the RS-I format.*
The Geneva Offices were in fact created at the [Young Men’s/Young Women’s Christian Associations] conference at George Williams College in Wisconsin. In fact, George Williams College is located at/on Lake Geneva, which is how [the offices] got their name. Most people think they were named for something to do with Geneva, Switzerland, site of the World Council of churches, but that’s not true
( Jim Troxel, 1992).
The Oklahoma Connection
From 1963 to 1966, Carl Caskey and I (Vance Engelman), were Co-Directors of the Wesley Foundation at Oklahoma State University. During that time Gene Marshall with EI came to the campus to visit his parents who were on our Board. He told us what was going on in Chicago and the rest is history. We met in 1964 and over the next year and a half we sent roughly 150 students and faculty to Chicago for courses. Some you will know: Jim Troxel, Rob Work, Judy Montgomery, Leah Jahn, and a couple others who wound up in Chicago OE, and about ten others who wound up in Regional Houses
(Vance Engelman, December 15, 2002).
* Later versions of the five Geneva Offices, marked LC-1, LC-2, etc. were prepared for
use in the Local Church Experiment.