The year was 1946; the place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.; the event, the United States Junior Chamber National Convention. Visitors came from Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and the Philippine Islands. It was here that the idea of a JCI Creed was born. Past President of the Ohio Junior Chamber and National Vice President of the United States Junior Chamber C. William Brownfield realized at this convention that the organization did not have a Creed. He was inspired by the devotion of Junior Chamber members “to the purpose of serving mankind in a thousand different ways, right down at the grass roots where freedom lives or dies.”
Brownfield saw Junior Chamber as “the potential for a new force in the world, one capable of changing the balance between victory or defeat for our chosen way of life in a time of crisis.”
The actual writing of the Creed took place in July 1946 during a drive from Brownfield’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to his coal mine in New Lexington, a journey of about 75 minutes. He started that journey with a firm conviction in his mind to work on the Creed. It was during that trip that the following words came to mind and were put on paper:
The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations. Economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise. Government should be of laws rather than of men. Earth’s great treasure lies in human personality. Service to humanity is the best work of life.
In 1950 the first line, “We believe that faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life.” was added. Here’s a piece of “Jeopardy” – in the original creed, “government” was misspelled.
Since it was written, Junior Chamber members all over the world recite the Creed at local, national and international meetings and functions. During that time there has been much discussion of the interpretation of the Creed. The author himself said, “Every member is free to interpret the Creed in the light of his own conscience.”