Winter 1983, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 304-318.

Francine Cardman:
      Singleness and Spirituality

To understand spirituality for single persons, it will be necessary to examine how pervasive singleness is today, its varieties, and factors like friendship, sexuality, work, and church.

Dr. Cardman is associate professor of historical theology at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The history of spirituality and issues in feminist theology and ministry are among her teaching and research interests.

SINGLENESS beyond the stages of childhood and adolescence is becoming part of the experience of increasing numbers of Americans. Whatever its forms and origins -- whether always single, widowed, divorced or separated, or with spouse otherwise absent -- singleness was a fact of life for 43 percent more Americans in 1981 than in 1971. A striking 38.5 percent of the population over 18 was single in March, 1981, the most recent period for which statistics are available,(1) and there is every reason to believe that the figure has continued to grow in the meantime. What is the significance of this ongoing cultural shift in the patterns and forms of people's lives, and what are its implications for spirituality and ministry in the American context?

Some further figures are in order. More than 62 million people 18 and over are single in one of the ways mentioned above. Of these, 53 percent have always been single, 17 percent are divorced, 20 percent are widowed, and 9 percent married but with absent spouse. Women comprise 57 percent of the single population. The percentage of widowed singles has declined slightly since 1971, while the proportion of divorced persons has increased by 14 percentage points, and the always single by 4 points. In terms of age groups, the percentage of single persons over 65 has remained nearly constant, but there has been a large increase in the percentage of single persons among those under 35.

Statistics relating to marriage and living patterns are also revealing. There is a society-wide trend toward later marriages. For both women and men the median age at first marriage increased by a year and a half between 1970 and 1981, to 22.3 years for women and 24.9 years for men. As suggested by these statistics, more young adults are experiencing singleness for a longer period of their lives than they did a decade or so ago. Nearly 22 percent of women aged 25-39, and 33 percent of the men, had never married in 1981, as compared to 10.5 percent and 19 percent respectively in 1970. Another dimension of this picture is reflected by the data on divorce. The divorce ratio -- the number of divorced persons per 1000 who are married and living with their spouse has more than doubled since 1970, when the ratio was 47 per 1000, to 109 per 1000 in 1981. Because women tend to remarry less frequently after divorce and, when they do, to remarry later than men, the divorce ratio for women was considerably higher than for men (129 per 1000 versus 88). Two final items are worth noting. First, single-parent families have become more visible since 1970, with 20 percent of all children under 18 living with one parent in 1981, as compared to 12 percent in 1970. Second, the number of unrelated-couple households has more than tripled since 1970.

The experience of singleness, as these figures suggest, is shaped by many factors: the size of the under-thirty population in this country; the prevalency of divorce; the increased acceptance of alternative life-styles; the influence of economic uncertainty, tax laws, and the women's movement, to name a few. Some experiences of singleness are transitional, moving toward either a first marriage or remarriage. Others may be, or become, more or less permanent, sometimes intentionally. Persons are single by choice, by change, by circumstance, by calamity. Singleness can be experienced as loneliness, as solitude, as friendship, family, or other community. In its many guises, it is a phenomenon of twentieth-century life that deserves our pastoral reflection and care, whatever our calling as Christians.

Until recently, however, only casual notice has been given to the situation of single people. Although there has been a gradually increasing flow of articles and even a few good books on various aspects of singleness,(2) it has not received the kind of serious and sustained attention that the societal and personal situation of single people today demands. Nor has the subject been approached with the kind of theological insight that can genuinely affirm singleness, can claim it as a vocation, a real call from God, and can affirm all the types of single people in our churches. One of the results of this neglect is the rather common (though often vague) feeling that singleness has no particular claim to the realm of spirituality, the preserve mainly of priests and those in religious orders and congregations, with a marginal area reserved for married people. And yet, spirituality is every Christian's claim. It is, simply, our way of being in the world, with others, in response to God's word and call. Because singleness is one of the circumstances of human existence, it gives rise to distinctive forms of spirituality. Indeed, allowing for the varieties of singleness, it can be said that singleness is one of the basic shapes of Christian life.

In reflecting on singleness, therefore, it is necessary to do what much current theology is attempting to do, namely, to begin from experience. Hence the statistics cited earlier. As another point of entry into the subject, I want to bring forward some experiences that have become fundamental for me, moments and events which revealed to me some of the dimensions of singleness. In doing so, my hope is that some parts of my journey will connect with the stories of other single persons, so that our shared experience may become the matter of theology. In order for it to do so, however, it also has to be related to the experience of the Christian community past and present, as well as to that of the wider human community.

Well before I came to reflect explicitly on being single, and certainly before I began to speak or write about it, several events contained recognitions of singleness that gradually called me to consciousness. I have written about these experiences elsewhere; here I only want to summon up their general outlines.(3) The first was simply the fact of being twenty-five years old. In a funny kind of way the obvious dawned on me: I was not married. My younger sister had just had her first baby; I was at the end of my third year of graduate school. I began to wonder about the significance of a situation I had more or less taken for granted. What would it mean to continue to be single? Did I want to get married? Was I being called (implausible as it seemed) to enter religious life? What was the meaning of my work in theology and scholarship? Would it be of use to the church, or be valued by it? A retreat answered nothing, but the questions had been raised.

Several months later, in the fall of that year, I had an encounter with my Volkswagen that subsequently turned into further matter for reflection. The car was the standard "beetle," and the trunk was stuck shut. No matter how hard I tried to get it open, the simple fact was that it would take two people to open it -- one to pull on the release lever from inside, one to yank on the handle outside. That absent other person and the insurmountable obstacle of the trunk became signs for me of something that singleness was also about. So did a faculty dinner several years later. While waiting for everyone to take their places, we wondered who was missing from our table for eight: it took some time for the three married couples and myself to realize what the problem was.

And there were other situations, other signs. All single persons can supply their own. But once one has come to the recognition of singleness, what more is there to be said about it? Among the many possibilities, there are four that I want to explore a little more fully here, in order to raise some questions for further discussion. They are: friendship; sexuality and spirituality; work and world; and single people and the church.


Friendship is a place of intimacy. Beyond the circle of family, it is perhaps the primary place of intimacy, the location of the ongoing creation of human personality. In a real sense, friendship is the process which gives body to self. In giving and receiving, in solidarity and mutuality, in love and service and hospitality, I am called ever more deeply into the reality of my body-self even as I call others to theirs. The mystery of friendship expresses itself in all our lives, whether single or married or living in religious community.

For single persons, however, it has a particular significance, since it is not augmented or complemented by the intimacy of marriage, nor is it characterized by either the constraints or the companionship of religious community. Even in the situation of people living in other sorts of intentional community, friendship is the bond that makes such groupings work. Especially for single persons, then, friendship is the primary place of intimacy. For this reason, a deeper understanding of the meaning of friendship would provide the appropriate grounding for the discussion of sexual relationship that is so needed in regard to singleness.

One wonders, therefore, why relatively little attention has been paid to friendship in Christian theology and spirituality, and why much of what has been written is not really very useful. Instead of abstract treatises on "spiritual friendship," what we need now is a theological understanding of the very human experience of friendship, a theology of "bodily friendship," so to speak. Some recent works have begun to take up the topic of friendship, though usually in relation to celibate life.(4) This is a helpful beginning. But single persons need to bring their own experience of friendship into the conversation. We will all be enriched as we learn to reflect together -- single, married, ordained, or member of a religious community -- on the many aspects of the gift of friendship.

One of the most important dimensions of friendship is hospitality, the sharing of life, however temporarily, with other persons. For our lives are shaped, our selves created, by hospitality given or denied, accepted or refused. It is hospitality that creates the space for friendship. Without that space, we experience instead the loneliness that comes from being without friendship. Loneliness is everybody's problem. In fact, it is probably the most pervasive complaint in American society today. Married people know their own particular kind of loneliness, even or especially within their marriages. Those in religious communities often experience isolation within, or precisely because of, the very structures of community life. And single people have their own kind of loneliness. Because they often lack the external and ready-to-hand means of alleviating or masking loneliness, it can often be a more acute experience for single people than for others. But I think that in this acuteness is also a curious gift: we can be more readily aware and more easily moved to do something constructive with our loneliness. The problem is, of course, how to make loneliness into a centered, connected aloneness; how to find the strength of solitude that calls forth our own resourcefulness and giftedness; how to gift others with the space that we have created for them. We must learn, as Henri Nouwen puts it, to transform the place of loneliness and hostility into a place that is at once a place of solitude and of hospitality.(5)

In the movement of this transformation we come up against the problem of freedom. In what ways does singleness free persons for fuller life? What are the temptations of singleness and how can it constrict life? These are questions that need to be asked in order to avoid the unfreedom of withdrawal, of fear of rejection or of commitment, of frantic searching for mindless entertainment or excessive work in order to fill the empty hours. If singleness is to be an entry into fuller life, rather than an escape from it, we must find ways to direct its freedom to friendship, to service, and to love. The freedom of singleness must become an integral part of our spirituality, a characteristic of our relationships with other persons and with God.

Thinking about friendship, about freedom and loneliness, love and commitment, leads us to consider more deeply the human experience of embodiment, and to ask about the relationship of sexuality and spirituality in the lives of single people.


In reflecting on the relationship of sexuality and spirituality, I find it helpful to begin from an understanding of sexuality as something more than simple genitality. It is, rather, a basic mode of our being, the way in which we are present in the world as embodied persons, as male or female.(6) Sexuality is an aspect of all human relationships, not just those characterized by sexual activity. Understanding sexuality in this sense is truer to most people's experience (regardless of whether this has reached reflective consciousness for them or not) than more narrow approaches. At the same time, it also makes it both easier and more demanding to draw out the connections between sexuality and spirituality. Easier, because each is seen as a fundamental mode of being, involving the whole human person in bodily relationship to other persons, to the world, and to God. But also more demanding because it strains at the limits of traditional theological categories.

The familiar Catholic way of thinking about "states of life" was implicitly aware of some of the more obvious links between spirituality and sexuality when it acknowledged marriage as a vocation and even a sacramental means of grace. But it rarely explored the ways in which, through marriage, the partners were brought closer to each other and to God, nor did it consider the ways in which the specifically sexual dimensions of marriage contributed to this growth in grace. Similarly, the theology of states of life tended to make marriage a distinct second-best to celibacy. A major reason for the distortion and misdirection resulting from this tendency was the undue concentration given to the sexual choices underlying each state. A further problem with this approach was its inability to take singleness seriously as a state of life, except perhaps to offer some vague consolation to those who found themselves in this situation and, of course, to present them with a prohibition of all sexual activity.

Singleness was not a neatly defined state of life. It did not fit with the emphasis on definition by sexual activity or non-activity, since the sexual restrictions applied to single persons were more often imposed (or assumed) than chosen as such. Singleness could not fit into the state-of-life schema because it failed to meet a second criterion as well, that of stability. The stability of a state of life was marked by a vow at its inception and a determination toward permanence. Except for the particular case when singleness was deliberately chosen -- or, in even rarer circumstances, expressed in consecrated virginity (note again the element of sexual definition) -- this kind of stability could not generally be considered a characteristic of the single life. Nor was singleness demarcated by a vow. Singleness lacked sign, gesture, symbolic action. Without these, the elements of call and faithfulness seemed to be missing as well. Although the traditional theology instinctively sensed that spirituality and sexuality were related, it could not really explicate this relationship or develop it in a manner applicable to all Christians. It especially was unable to account for the single way of life.

What is there to stand in its place? I would suggest that we are at the beginning rather than the conclusion of a process that will eventually lead to the articulation of a contemporary theology of singleness and of other Christian life-styles. Because of the changing social and cultural situation of single people, and because of their insistence on claiming a rightful place in Christian spirituality, we are now able to take up the discussion with a new seriousness and awareness.

One part of this discussion must include the question of actively sexual relationships. Although much has been written on the prohibition of sexual activity for all but the once-married (with concessions made only for those who remarry after the death of a spouse), I am not convinced that the Christian community has done an adequate or sophisticated job of explaining the ethics, psychology, and theology of this teaching. Specifically in regard to singleness, the Christian tradition has long regarded it as equivalent to a call to celibacy. But it has failed to explicate the rationale for, and the meaning of, this discipline. In particular, it has ignored the fact that celibacy as lived by single persons, whether in a permanent or interim way, is not the same thing as vowed celibacy. It is not likely to be vowed at all, and because it does not have the same religious rationale surrounding it, it is not experienced or understood in the same way as is celibacy in religious life or priesthood. So we need to ask what this other kind of celibacy might be about.

We need to ask, too, just how sexual relationships affect our being with God. This is as critical a question for married persons and vowed celibates as it is for single persons. Specifically in regard to single persons, we need to ask whether genital sexual relationships can ever be considered permissible, or whether they always constitute an obstacle on these persons' way to God. Is it possible that for single people such relationships might not only be permissible, but even beneficial, an expression of the sort of life, integration, and wholeness that help us to grow in relationship to God and to other persons? If so, what would a responsible Christian sexual ethic for single persons look like? What sort of commitment and responsibility is inherent to sexual relationship, and what might this mean for single people? What kind of lastingness and what kind of faithfulness would be called for? And what are some of the societal implications that might be expected from any significant change of sexual ethics in this regard? These questions and the earlier ones about the fundamental theological understanding of singleness are some of the matters that would have to be considered in a contemporary rethinking of sexuality and spirituality, particularly as it relates to single persons.

Sexuality and personal relationships occupy a central place in our lives. But they are not the only factors that shape our spirituality. Work and its demands on time and energy represent another facet of life that exerts considerable, though often unremarked, influence on us. It deserves more attention.


In looking at the place work has in our lives, a major question arises: How is work to be valued? More specifically, how much of ourself is defined by our work? Who values and appreciates what we do? Who, in turn, values us, and how is this related to our work? There are numerous layers to this question about work, and I want to consider two of them here. The first has to do with the impact work has on us; the second with values and life-style. Both pertain, of course, to all persons who work. But in each case the questions raised confront single people with a certain directness, since they often do not have the immediate claims of spouse, family, or community to counterbalance the demands of work. For divorced or widowed parents raising children, the questions are all the more acute.

The first area for consideration is how much of our time, energy, and purpose work takes up. At its deepest, this is a question about whether and how work gives or can give meaning and direction to one's life. The extremes of possibility (as experienced by large numbers of persons on either end of the spectrum) would seem to be making work all-consuming in its importance, so that work is the whole of our life, or being trapped in work that is so demeaning and depersonalizing that it drains life rather than enables or enhances it. In either case, work occupies or preoccupies, preventing genuine relationship even as it occasionally dulls loneliness. Important class issues determine which possibility is actualized in a person's life. But whatever the reason for it, neither extreme is satisfactory. The problem is not only one of proportion, but of meaning: What has my work to do with who I am? Who can affirm my work and value it, while at the same time helping me to put it in its place? Is work, even satisfying work, enough for one's life? In the opposite direction, if my work is little appreciated or poorly valued, what happens to my sense of self and purpose? How is the person I bring before God and other people affected by such a distorted experience of work? In either case, the place and the purpose of work need to be brought into balance by the economic realities of our particular circumstances, on the one hand, and the needs and claims of the people around us, on the other. Because our spirituality will be marked by the effect work has on us, it is helpful to keep asking ourselves: What or whom is our work for? Is it in the service of loving relationships (with children, an elderly parent, with neighbors or friends, for instance), or is it solely for ourselves (other than meeting the necessities of survival)? Does it allow for ministry in its widest sense, either in the work itself, or as a result of it, or does work make ministry impossible?

Asking questions of this sort brings us to the matter of life-style: the disposition of our resources (time as well as money), our claim on the resources of the community, and the attitudes and values embodied in the way we live. All Christians are confronted with choices in this regard, but again single people are faced with them in a particular way. They are also often subject to some popular misrepresentations and unfair demands.

Two images are often projected onto single people by others who either do not understand their situation or in some way are envious of it. In the first, single people are thought of as financially irresponsible, or even selfish, having no one to take care of but themselves. In quite the opposite direction, they are also often regarded as not requiring, or not being entitled to, the same sorts of living standards or space as their married counterparts. Each image is a caricature of real enough possibilities, but neither is the exclusive experience of singles. Extravagant expenditure and conspicuous consumption are the vision of the single life promoted by the advertising industry. But it is not the reality lived by most singles, even though those without dependents do have more disposable income available for spending on themselves than do others. Looked at from another perspective, it seems that single people are no more financially free or irresponsible -- and perhaps even less so -- than other people. The average income of single people is lower than married people's; the majority of single people are women and women typically earn only 60 percent of what men do.(7) This is not the glamorous image of upwardly mobile young singles urged on us by the media.

Housing and living arrangements are another important aspect of life-style. Housing can claim a disproportionate part of a single person's income, unless it is offset by the tax advantages of home ownership -- a prospect which often raises another whole set of issues for singles. In many cities, single people simply cannot afford to live alone, even when they want to. Some of those who can afford to, question its justifiability for a variety of reasons that include ethical objections (the scarcity of low- and moderate-income housing) and psychological obstacles (the lack of conviction that they are entitled to make a home for themselves). Still others are living alone in record numbers, whether by choice or not. At the same time, new configurations in living arrangements are becoming more common, including so-called "unrelated-couple households" (a category which encompasses such diverse situations as senior citizens living together outside of marriage and widows who have taken in a boarder) and communal households of various sorts. Although housing patterns for singles may be more diverse than for most married people, they are nevertheless subject to the same real constraints of money and availability.

Disparate as the issues addressed here may seem, they all point to an underlying question of profound importance about the values we embody in our work and life-style. Single Christians, no less -- and no more -- than married Christians and members of religious communities, are called upon to live simply and compassionately, to be a countersign to many of the prevailing values of American culture. This challenge brings us, finally, to the situation of single people in the church.


Within the Christian community it is possible to address many of the questions about singleness that I have raised previously, and to bring our collective experience to bear on them. But it is also possible there, as elsewhere in society, for single persons to experience alienation, isolation, even exploitation. Single people have long been marginal members of the church, and until recently the community has been little inclined to acknowledge their presence in its midst or to do anything to remedy their situation. When freely embraced, the experience of marginality can be open to creative possibilities. But marginality that is the result of neglect, disregard, or deliberate exclusion is destructive. It is damaging to the persons involved and harmful to the entire community as well. Yet that is still the plight of most single people in most churches: near invisibility.

When noticed at all, single people are often equated simply with "young adults," regardless of the increasing numbers of always single persons of every age, or the prevalence of divorced persons and single parents.(8) Despite growing evidence to the contrary, the notion that nuclear families are the building blocks of the parish still holds sway. Two responses to the presence of singles in the church are particularly disturbing. One is the tendency to exploit this newly discovered resource, as if single people had no other responsibilities or interests and unlimited time to devote to the workings of the parish. The other response is to rush into "ministering to" this newly found group of needy, even afflicted, folks. In that case, the ministry is often condescending and manipulative. How can these tendencies be avoided, and how can single people assume their rightful place in the Christian community?

A necessary first step is the development of a shared theology and spirituality of Christian life that is at once more flexible and more comprehensive than previous efforts. Such a theology and spirituality must be able to acknowledge and affirm the many ways in which Christian life is now lived: as single, married, celibate; widowed, divorced, remarried, single parent; as ordained, nonordained, professional or volunteer minister; as member of a religious congregation, intentional community, unrelated-couple or single-person household; and so on. As we begin to reflect together on the experiences that would shape this new understanding, I find that two insights offer helpful starting points for our considerations.

The first is the recognition that in a real sense the initial vocation -- the fundamental way of being in the world -- of all persons is as single. Some persons continue to be called to this way of life, while others receive different calls, to religious community or to marriage, for instance. Still others are called back to the experience of singleness, though in another form, at later stages in their lives. Acknowledging the common and basic vocation of all Christians to singleness would go far toward alleviating the feeling of second- or third-class status imposed on single people in the past. So, too, would a second realization: that from the beginning, we are all called to community. All of us have become the persons we are through the experience of community from our earliest days onward -- whether in the biological or adoptive family, with other relatives or in foster care. Later, this community is extended to friends, classmates, neighbors, members of organizations to which we belong, colleagues, co-workers, lovers, spouses, sisters or brothers in religious communities. Although the place and the form of community changes throughout our lives, the experience remains common and foundational to all persons, regardless of their circumstances. From this perspective it is possible to acknowledge the profoundly relational character of single life, rather than relegating it to a state of isolation or regarding it as inferior to other ways of life. This double recognition -- of the initial and common vocation of all Christians to both singleness and community -- respects the elements of call and commitment in every Christian's life. Exploration and elaboration of the many forms into which Christian life differentiates itself would then proceed from this basis. Because of its single and shared starting point, this approach has the real possibility of avoiding the divisive and competitive categorizations of the past and affirming instead the diversity of Christian life-styles.

When the time then comes to turn from reflection to action, it will be easier to take up the matter of ministry and the role of single persons in the church. In this regard, single people themselves must determine their own needs, identify what they want from the church, and ask for the kind of support that other groupings rightfully claim. At the same time, however, it is important for us all to remember that a parish made up solely of interest groups will never be either community or church. And so it is necessary to keep the whole body in mind while also attending to the real needs of its various members.

To recognize both the legitimate differences and the basic unity of persons in the church would help turn around the whole question of ministry. In relation to single persons, it would be beneficial if we started asking, in a nonexploitative way, not what ministry to singles is, but what the ministry of singles is. What gifts do they bring to the church? What specific services might some undertake "for the sake of the reign of God"? What kinds of work, what sorts of actions for justice, might be particularly appropriate to, or flow from, the single Christian life? Through all this, it is necessary to keep asking ourselves how the gifts and services, the many ways of ministering offered by single people, relate to the ministry of the whole community, both feeding into it and being nurtured by it. All Christians are called to ministry and service, and single Christians are called in their own ways. But in every instance, the hearing and the response arise out of the personal and societal circumstances that are the opportunities for the movement of grace in our lives. Commitment and gift can never be coerced or imposed.

Where singleness is acknowledged and respected, however, it can be a sign and a service to the whole community. It is a sign of hope and hospitality, of friendship and of waiting on God. In its essential openness, the single life is a reminder of the pilgrimage that we are all on as the people of God. The lifting up of that sign is the gift of single people to the church, a gift of encouragement and expectation. As such, it is effective promise of that time when we shall all be at home and at one.

  1. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 372, "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1981" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982). This report includes comparative figures from 1980 and 1970 on some items. For further comparisons, see Series P-20, No. 225, "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1971."
  2. In addition to occasional brief articles in the popular and religious press, see: Mary Helen Washington, "Working at Single Bliss," MS., October 1982, pp. 56ff; Roger Repohl, "The Spirituality of Singleness," America, 27 November 1976, pp. 365-67. The most recent book-and so far the best-appeared after this article was written: Susan Annette Muto, Celebrating the Single Life: A Spirituality for Single Persons in Today's World (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982). Two other books from more general perspectives are of value: Margaret Adams, Single Blessedness (New York: Basic Books, 1976); and Peter J. Stein, Single, A Spectrum Book (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 1976).
  3. "On Being Single," The Wind is Rising, ed. William R. Callahan, S.J., and Francine Cardman (Hyattsville, Md.: Quixote Center, 1978), pp. 6-7.
  4. For instance, Donald Goergen, The Sexual Celibate (New York: Seabury, 1974), especially chap. 6, "Intimacy and Friendship." See also Christopher Kiesling, Celibacy, Prayer and Friendship (New York: Alba House, 1978). Paula Ripple has treated the topic in its own right in Called to Be Friends (Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1980).
  5. These are two of the three basic movements of the spiritual life as discussed by Nouwen in Reaching Out (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975).
  6. See James B. Nelson, Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1978), particularly chap. 2, "Embodiment in Sexual Theology," for a lucid presentation of this understanding of sexuality.
  7. That women earn about 604 to $1.00 in comparison with men is a widely quoted statistic. It is confirmed by wage and salary studies reported in Current Population Reports, Special Studies Series P-23, No. 118, Wage and Salary Data from the Income Survey Development Program: 1979 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979). The study also shows significant disparities between the salaries of married persons and never married: average weekly salary in January 1979 for married men was $314.26, for never married men, $151.42; for married women, $143.24, never married, $106.72.
  8. As they are, for instance, in The Single Experience: A Resource, subtitled Reflections and Models for Single Young Adulthood, published by the Department of Education, U.S. Catholic Conference (Washington, D.C.: U.S.C.C., 1979).