History of Eighth Avenue Sunday School
The Sunday School of the Eighth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church has always been an organization of strong vitality, as it has drawn from the ranks of the church membership the church's strongest and best. Reciprocally, the school has returned to the church many who were destined to become her spiritual and temporal leaders, and has furnished a large majority of the rank and file.
The school was organized in the year 1868, during the pastorate of Rev. Wm. Frysinger, with Ambrose Ward as first superintendent. While existing records of the early days are very meagre, they indicate an average attendance for the first year of about 125 per Sunday. Those who have filled the office of Superintendent are Ambrose Ward, J. W. Curry, C. W. Bradley, J. A. Rakestraw, J. Delo, T. W. Hurd, Joseph Davis, W. H. Schwartz, G. N. Anderson, W. C. Shuff, M. J. Davis, H. W. Fry and W. E. Sneath, the present incumbant.
The first sessions were held in the temporary chapel at the rear of the church lot until the completion of the lower story of the permanent brick building. It finally became necessary to expand into the auditorium with the adult department. During the erection of the present edifice, the school was handicapped by its crowded condition in temporary quarters in the Chapel of the Second Presbyterian Church. As soon as the rear room of the new church was in condition to be occupied another "flitting'' took place, the initial service being in the nature of a home-coming rally, which at once demonstrated the necessity of more room at an early date. At this writing, August 1909, the Sunday School occupies the entire building except the pastor's study and the social hall, eight rooms in all.
The present enrollment is 725.
This number would be much larger but for the policy of
the organization to drop the names of all who are absent for six
months with apparently no good reason, after failure of all proper means to secure their attendance.
The officers are: General Superintendent, W. E. Sneath; Assistants, G. W. Bradley and H. W. Fry; Superintendent Primary Department, Mrs. D. F. Miller; Assistant, Miss Elva Green; Superintendent Kindergarten, Miss Portia Cheeseman; Assistant, Miss Helen Davis; Superintendent, Cradle Roll, Mrs. A. E. Akers; Superintendent Home Department, Mrs. Clyde Brown; Secretary, E. B. Thompson; Assistant, Harry S. Taylor; Treasurer, H. M. Klepser; Librarians, E. H. Turner and H. Edgar Valentine; Chorister, C. E. Giles; Pianist, E. H. Turner.
The activities of this great school have been many and varied. The numerous re-organizations made necessary by building projects would have seriously crippled an organization of less inherent strength. Those who for many years have been active in the work attribute this strength to the fact that officers and teachers with but few exceptions have been men and women of high spiritual ideals, who, while devoting time and thought to the routine work and such special services as Children's Day and Christmas, have given the best efforts of heart and brain to the conversion of individuals and the promotion of the revivals with which God has from time to time visited these people.
The most prominent and promising feature of Eighth Avenue Sunday School to-day is its Organized Adult Bible Classes of which there are four. The oldest and largest of these is the Berean Class. Both men and women are included in its membership. Before organizing the class was of fair size, ably taught by W. H. Schwartz, a veteran Sunday School worker, but making no great advance numerically. On May 8, 1908, the class went into organization, adopted the name ''Berean,'' and received the International Associations Certificate of Recognition. The charter membership was 38, present membership 90 and growing rapidly. The officers selected, who are also the present incumbents were: President, George V. Rollins; Vice-President, D. F. Miller; Secretary, C. W. Hiney; Assistant and Corresponding Secretary, William Fox; Treasurer, Mrs. Catharine Anderson; Librarian, O. S. Raffensparger; Assistant Librarian, Roy E. Lewis; Teacher, W. H. Schwartz. The Committees are: Lookout, Social, Devotional, Visiting, and Music. The activities of the Lookout Committee are devoted to soliciting new members for the class. The membership of the class is divided into groups of ten, each under a leader whose duty it is to keep in touch with his band and secure their regular attendance at the School. The wisdom of this arrangement is proved by the results. It is the duty of the Devotional Committee to assist the teacher in every way in the Bible Study work and by prayer and personal appeal to promote the spiritual growth of the members. Recently a member who had been visited and urged to a decision for Christ, presented herself for prayer at a regular prayer meeting of the church and before leaving received the evidence of her adoption, the direct result of the committee work of the class.
The duties of the Social, Visiting and Music Committees are such as their names indicate. The Social side of the Berean Class life is not neglected. It is customary to combine business with pleasure at the regular business meetings. A musical and literary program with an address by a prominent Sunday School worker, closing with light refreshments, is the usual order.
The Emannual Class was the second to organize, the membership being exclusively men. At the date of organization, October, 1908, Eighth Avenue was the only school in Blair County with more than one Organized Class.
Upon his retirement from the superintendency in February, 1908, Mr. M. J. Davis undertook to organize a class of men who attended no Sunday School, and started with five members. Soon afterward this class united with one taught by the pastor, Dr. Klepfer, upon his retirement on account of ill health. The attendance of the combined classes numbered about ten each Sunday. By October, the number had grown to twenty and organization under the International standard was determined upon. The following were elected and still hold office: President, D. F., Sunderland, who is also County Superintendent of the Organized Bible Class movement; Vice-President, G. C. Hite; Secretary, B. M. Swope; Assistant Secretary, C. E. Mower; Treasurer and Teacher, M. J. Davis; Assistant Teacher, J. W. McAuliff; Librarian, Wilson Ramey.
The committees are: Devotional, Social, Membership and Lookout. In this class the Lookout Committee hunts up those who are irregular in their attendance and visits the sick, while the Social and Membership Committee endeavors to secure new members and interest them in a Social way when secured. In the future the Devotional committee will meet with the teacher for a brief prayer service just before lesson study period, and will make the conversion of the unsaved members of the class their chief concern.
The membership of the class at its organization was 20---now 54, and additions are made weekly.
The third class to organize bears the name of its teacher, Miss Ida Mae Fry. This is a Ladies' Class which had been in existence several years but needed the inspiration which organization brings to develop its possibilities. The organization was effected under the direction of Superintendent Sunderland February 7, 1909, and the following officers elected: President, Miss Harriet Delo; Vice-President, Mrs. Dessie Mufty; Secretary, Mrs. Annie Lathero; Treasurer, Mrs. Elizabeth Lowe; Teacher, Miss Ida Fry; Assistant Teacher, Mrs. Anna Hicks. These ladies still hold office with the exception of Mrs. Lowe who resigned the following month and was succeeded by Mrs. Emma Rothrock.
The committees are: Devotional, Membership, Social and Flower. The last named committee provides and distributes flowers among any members who may be sick. The duties of other committees are indicated by their names. This class has shown exceptional zeal in all lines of work. It is ably taught and great interest is shown in the Bible Study. Social events are arranged from time to time at the homes of the members. The ladies are valuable allies of the other two classes in that they endeavor to influence their husbands and brothers to unite with one or the other. The charter membership was 30; present membership 42.
Miss Mary E. Clarkson is the teacher of the Mary E. Clarkson class, organized in May, 1909 with 18 members, all ladies. The officers are: President, Mrs. J. W. Baisor; Vice President, Mrs. J. M. Marks; Secretary, Mrs. Bertha Wilson; Treasurer, Mrs. J. D. Fluke; Teacher, Miss Mary Clarkson. At the date of writing no plan of work has been adopted, but the ladies are prepared to start in vigorously within the next month.
While each of these classes has its special features, they work along similar lines for the material and spiritual welfare of class, school and church. A strong but good-natured rivalry exists among them, yet they are a unit in loyalty to the school. At present the Berean and Emannual classes are furnishing men who greet at the doors all comers to the church services. Other practical work for the Church is in contemplation.
While these Organized Classes carry on a many sided work the paramount importance of the spiritual life is never lost sight of. Important as is the business meeting, and however pleasant the social and banquet, the real work of the classes is the study of the Bible in connection with the Sunday School of which they form a part.
The scope of this history will not admit of even the mention of many events in the forty-one years of the school's life. It has been a record of self-denial and success, of humiliating mistake and brilliant achievement. The writer is convinced that the feature of this school which is now and promises to continue the greatest power for good is the Organized Adult Bible Class. He has therefore emphazied this to the exclusive of other matter of interest, praying that the Great Teacher may use the facts here presented for the advancement of his kingdom.,
Brick. 50 X 90 feet. A two story building. First floor---Vestibule, two class rooms, one on either side of hall; one Sunday school room, two class rooms open into Sunday school room. Second floor---one room, raised platform for pulpit. Seating capacity before remodeling 800. Chairs used on First and second floor. Corner stone laid Tuesday, Oct. 7, 1874, Occupied March 7, 1875. Dedicated June 13, 1875 (basement). Contractor Mr. Ott. Contract price $8,650. (Auditorium not complete).
When the laws of our country were made, the one propelling and pervading thought was: that men and women should have liberty, religious and political. Hence, the law grants every man the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of his own heart. This Chestnut Avenue Church had its origin as the outgrowth of these ideas of freedom; since it was not because it was needed at the time, but because of an organ in the church to which these brothers and sisters had belonged. This may sound very strange to the people of these modern times, and for fear some one may think evil of the seeming disloyalty of these saints of God, I will leave this here. Brothers George Kessler, John Trout, Nathan Green, Wm. Gable, Adam Bowers, and their wives, as far as I can learn, were the members who left First church. I have made inquiry, and from the lips of men and women who knew these people, have heard them spoken of as the most sainted, loyal, true christians of their days. And who knows but, that this movement may have been God's will concerning these brethren. However, the records tell us that in July 1871, they rented Elway's Hall, for $23.00 a month, and temporarily organized. They held meetings, such as prayer and class meetings, except occasionally, when they could secure the service of Rev. Daniel Hartman, who was then the pastor of the Logan Valley circuit. In the winter of '71, Rev. Hartman, conducted the revival service for them. It was soon learned that God was no respector of places. The old hall began to fill up, and the members, being greatly encouraged, began calling on God for more power. Those who attended those meetings tell that the Spirits presence was manifested there. The altar was crowded for weeks with unsaved souls, seeking the forgiveness of their sins. The meeting ran on until January 27, 1872, when the convertions numbered 150, and the membership had increased to 200.
During the winter the men had been petitioning the conference board, to be made a charge. To this request the conference of 1872, held in Lock Haven, granted the desire and sent Rev. Daniel Hartman to serve as regular pastor of this church, and he preached his first sermon as regular pastor on March 31, 1872. The first quarterly conference was held on April 6, 1872, the following brethren being present: Rev. J. S. McMurray, Presiding Elder; Rev. Daniel Hartman, the pastor, John Trout, A. C. Lyttle, James Lowder, John McClellan, Lobias Kreider, James Manning, William Bowan, and Adam Bowers. At this meeting the officers that have been named on the first page, were elected. G. W. Kessler, J. T. Williams and Lobias Kreider were appointed a committee to fix the pastor's salary, they reported $1,000.00 as the proposed annual salary of the pastor of the Third Avenue church. The Sunday School was organized on April 21, 1872, and elected A. C. Lyttle, Supt., William Gable as their assistant supt. When the superintendent made his reports, he would always finish by saying,. "The school is doing very well, considering the rooms we are in. There being no other church in that part of the city at that time, the meetings were very well attended in the hall.
A lot on the south-east corner of Chestnut Avenue and Tenth Street, owned by Mr. Harnish was thought to be a fine place on which to erect a church. Mr. Harnish was seen, and the best possible terms that the lot could be purchased for, were $3,000.00 This was a large amount of money for a congregation of 200 members to pay for a lot. But the place pleased them, and being determined to have a better house in which to worship God and accommodate the public that thronged the old hall, they had the faith, in May 1872, to buy the lot, paying $1,000.00 in sixty days, and giving a mortgage for the remaining $2,000.00. A subscription was taken, covering the amount, and on August 1, sixty days after the purchase, the board paid $1,000.00 on the lot. Because of some of the subscriptions not being paid up, the board was compelled to borrow $260.00 to make the payment.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Hartman, Elway's Hall was the scene of many a touching incident. Not touching, in the sense that tears of sorrow were forever flowing, but that under the power of the Holy Spirit and the kind, tender-hearted pleading of Rev. Hartman, men and women, young and old, were finding their way to the altar.
A revival of religion in a church, is like a shower of rain after a long-dry season. In many respects the two are very much alike. For weeks there has been no moisture of either rain or dew. The grass is scorched and dead. Even the trees are wilted and sear. The fountains and brooks have wholly disappeared. The largest rivers have shrinken within their narrowest beds. Clouds of smoke from burning forests, and dust from the hillside, where once the grass and flowers grew, are filling the air. Men and beasts gasp for breath in the thick and stiffling atmosphere. But God remembers his covenant with Noah and his seed. The thunder rumbles sweet music along the horizon. The lightning paints hope, on the mid-night sky. The hot, dry winds becomes cool, and moist. The clouds wheel their heavy burdens over the sky, and soon the gentle rain begins to fall, and at length, the shower settles down into a long and steady pour. When, at length, the clouds clear away, the air is pure and sweet. Every tree and blade of grass is painted a vivid green. The flowers lift their heads in beauty, and the hearts of men and beasts sing for joy. That is a revival of nature.
In a community religion is almost dead. Comparatively few go to the house of God. Family prayer has ceased in many homes. The prayer meeting has wasted away till the breath of life is almost gone.The young are growing up in unbelief and vice. The multitudes are rushing on to eternal death. God's name and God's day are profaned without fear or shame. Only a few faithful ones are on their knees, crying to Heaven for salvation. By and by there comes a change.The Sunday congregations are larger, the minister preaches with greater power. Many new faces are seen in God's house, and the saints pray and testify with new zeal. Soon the church will hardly hold the people, and scores are asking, ''What must I do to be saved?'' Haunts of vice are forsaken, and the whole community is up lifted.That is a revival of religion.
In the fall of '72 this church was visited with such a revival. The older men and women who were privileged to attend those meetings, tell us that from that time on, for many years, the Chestnut Avenue church was not able to accommodate the crowds that would attend the revival services. This meeting which I have just referred to was conducted in the hall, for as yet they had not felt able to build. The special service closed in February, '73, the results of the meetings greatly strengthening and encouraging the entire congregation. The following year was also a very fruitful year, over (100) souls being saved and about (75) acquisitions made to the church. But many of the converts and probationers would leave in a short while and join one of the other two churches, either Eighth Avenue or the First church. The situation had been very thoroughly studied and canvassed, and everything indicated the need of a new church or building on the lot on Chestnut Avenue. Finally, after much thought and prayer, for it meant quite a task to build a church with so small a number. They contracted with Mr. Ott, on Thursday, September17, 1874, or, as the records show. On September 17, 1874, the building committee articled with Mr. Ott to build the church, the price agreed upon being $8,650.00 the building complete and ready for use, except the auditorium. At a meeting held on October 10, '74, the trustees reported that a friend had offered them $3,000.00 for the purpose of building a church. This the board unanimously decided to accept. They had to pay this friend 10 per cent. interest on his money.
The ground for the building was broken on Tuesday, September17, 1874, and was very rapidly excavated. The church was to be built of brick, 50 X 80 ft, to be two stories. First floor was to have a vestibule or hall, one Sunday school room furnished; pulpit, chairs and carpet; two class rooms, one on each side of the hall, and a large partition or doors, opening into the Sunday School room, so the two-class rooms could be opened and make one large room. The second floor was to be one room, with pulpit platform raised, carpeted, and with chairs for seats. The building was to be built and the basement finished as rapidly as the weather would permit. $3,000.00 was to be paid by May, 1875, in payments of $1,000.00 each. The congregation was not long on the field until the great opposer, Finances confronted them. From the records, the enemy had not forgotten them, nor were they to have all sunshine in the starting of this new soul-saving station. They had been visited with great spiritual feasts, but this was not all that it takes to make up a church's life. One time, in conversation, with a Christian minister, I asked him if he considered a good spiritual man, or a good financier, the stronger man. He very wisely answered, "The man that is both, is the stronger man.'' I do not mean to say that the spiritual work of the church is not the greatest, work it can do, for that would be putting the cart before the horse.But the church which does not meet its obligations endangers the character of the whole body. The trustees reported that they had drawn $213.50, from the Allegheny B. and L. A., to pay for loans, that the second and third payments on the lot were due, which, with interest, amounted to $2,150.00, and that they were indebted to the man who owned the Hall, for rent $200.00. This financial situation brought to the minds of the board rather a perplexing task, with this being the expense of the new building which, was provided for by loans, and mortgages, these, however having to be paid. As nearly as I can understand with the payments due on the lot, the rent, and the debt incurred for the new building, this church with (200) members in 1874, was facing an indebtedness of nearly $10,900.00. This was a big amount of money for so small a company of christians to face. It may be said with a great degree of fairness that almost the entire congregation were people who depended solely upon their day labor for their income. However, difficult the task looked, the congregation marched on with a conquering tread. A christian was asked once, by a skeptic: ''When you come up to a mountain of trials and difficulties, how does the eye of faith pierce them?'' The saint answered, ''A christian lifts his head high enough to see over them, and marches on by faith.'' This is what the Chestnut Avenue congregation had to do. A walk by faith does not mean to sit idly down. Methodists have always believed that God expects them to put their hand to the plow; and this is what these Methodists did. The building committee solicited subscriptions everywhere they could be gotten. The congregation was canvassed, and the entire situation was thoroughly understood by the official board.
The weather was permitting speedy work on the building, and the sight of the new church was greatly encouraging the members to give liberally and even to sacrifice; yet the building committee were compelled many times to go into the Building and Loan Association to meet the bills and payments.
On a beautiful day, which was warm and fair, the records tell us, Tuesday October 27, 1874, the corner stone was laid, without any public demonstration. The conference of '75, took Rev. Hartman,who had given splendid service to this charge, and sent Rev. George Leckie to take up the work at this point. Rev. Leckie was a young man, full of energy and courage, and by his untiring efforts the work in general was carried forward. The progress of the new church was being watched with eager eyes, for the old hall, with all her memories was no longer inviting. From July 1871, they had been housed in the old dusty hall, amid the noise from the railroad and every experience that accompanies such a location for a church, was theirs. Now that the day had come to occupy the new building, there must have been much joy in the hearts of the members. On Sunday, March 7, 1875, the first service was held in the new church. The books and some furniture belonging to the congregation, were carried from the old Hall on the Saturday previous. The place was very attractive, with the new carpets, new chairs, clean new paints, vastly different from the old smoked wall and scored benches, and chairs. The moving into the building discontinued the $23.00 a month rent in the hall, and the attraction of the new church brought new faces into the congregation.
The new church was not dedicated until June 13, '75. Rev. Leckie had secured the service of Rev. G. R. Miller, who preached on the occasion, and in the financial effort was assisted by Rev. James Curns, and Rev. S. C. Swallow. The Rev. Miller asked for $5,000.00, and before the day was closed the members and friends subscribed $6,000. crowning the day with great victory. So some may know the way a Methodist church is dedicated, I will record the dedicatorial service. The congregation being assembled in the church, the minister shall say: ''Dearly Beloved, the Scriptures teach us that God is well pleased with those who build temples to his name. We have heard how he filled the temple of Solomon with his glory, and how in the second temple he manifested himself still more gloriously. And the Gospel approves and commends the centurion who built a synagogue for the people. Let us not doubt that he will also favorably approve our purpose of dedicating this place in solemn manner, for the performance of the several offices of religious worship; and let us now devoutly join in praise to His name, that this godly undertaking has been so far completed, and in prayer for his further blessings upon all who have been engaged therein, and upon all who shall hereafter worship His name in this place.'' One hymn, either 856 or 871, was sung, then some one offers extemporary prayer, the congregation all kneeling. Then shall the Minister, or some one appointed by him read:
Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built a house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling forever.
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee; that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling-place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now, therefore, arise, O Lord God, into thy resting-place, thou and the ark of thy strength; let thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness. O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed; remember the mercies of David thy servant.
Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
. Hebrews x, 19-26.
The Second Lesson
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.
Then shall one of the Hymns 856-871 be sung; after which the Minister shall deliver a Sermon suitable to the occasion. Contributions shall then be received from the People.
Then shall the Minister read the following psalm, or the Minister and the Congregation may read it alternately; the parts in italics to be read by the Congregation.
I was glad when
they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
Unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls,
And prosperity within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions' sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.
let the Trustees stand up before the Altar, and one of them, or some one in
their behalf, say unto the Minister:
We present unto you this Building, to be dedicated as a Church for the service and worship of Almighty God.
Then shall the Minister request the Congregation to stand, while he repeats the following
Dearly Beloved, it is meet and right, as we learn from the Holy Scriptures, that houses erected for the public worship of God should be specially set apart and dedicated to religious uses. For such a dedication we are now assembled. With gratitude, therefore, to Almighty God, who has signally blessed his servants in their holy enterprise of erecting this Church, we dedicate it to his service, for the reading of the Holy Scriptures, the preaching of the word of God, the administration of the Holy Sacraments, and for all other exercises of religious worship and service, according to the Discipline and Usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church. And, as the dedication of the temple is vain without the solemn consecration of the worshippers also, I now call upon you all to dedicate yourselves anew to the service of God. To him let our souls be dedicated, that they may be renewed after the image of Christ. To him let our bodies be dedicated, that they may be fit temples for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. To him may our labors and business be dedicated, that their fruit may tend to the glory of his great name, and to the advancement of his kingdom. And that he may graciously accept this solemn act, let us pray.
The Congregation kneeling, the Minister shall offer the following Prayer:
O Most Glorious Lord, we acknowledge that we are not worthy to offer unto thee anything belonging unto us; yet we beseech thee, in thy great goodness, graciously to accept the dedication of this place to thy service, and to prosper this our undertaking; receive the prayer and intercessions of all those thy servants who shall call upon thee in this house; and give them grace to prepare their hearts to serve thee with reverence and godly fear; affect them with an awful apprehension of thy divine majesty, and a deep sense of their own unworthiness; that so approaching thy sanctuary with lowliness and devotion, and coming before thee with clean thoughts and pure hearts, with bodies undefiled, and minds sanctified, they may always perform a service acceptable to thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Regard, O Lord, the supplication of thy servants, and grant that whosoever shall be dedicated to thee in this house by Baptism may ever remain in the number of thy faithful children. Amen.
Grant, O Lord, that whosoever shall receive in this place the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ may come to that holy Ordinance with faith, charity, and true repentance; and, being filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, may, to their great and endless comfort, obtain forgiveness of their sins, and all other benefits of his death. Amen.
Grant, O Lord, that by thy holy word which shall be read and preached in this place, and by thy Holy Spirit grafting it inwardly in the heart, the hearers thereof may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and may have power and strength to perform the same. Amen.
Now, therefore, arise, O Lord, and, come into this place of thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength, Let thine eye be open toward this house day and night; and let thine ears be ready toward the prayers of thy children which they shall make unto thee in this place: and whensoever thy servants shall make to thee their petitions here, do thou hear them from heaven, thy dwelling-place the throne of the glory of thy kingdom; and when thou hearest, forgive. And grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that here and elsewhere thy ministers may be clothed with righteousness, and thy saints rejoice in thy salvation. And may we all, with thy people everywhere, grow up into a holy temple in the Lord, and be at last received into the glorious temple above; the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. And to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be glory and praise, world without end. Amen.
The service to conclude with a Doxology and Benediction.
To subscribe money and dedicate a church is one thing, but to pay the money subscribed is another; and to give an account of the unpaid subscriptions, would only be repeating the same story over and over. This church had the same trouble to contend with as almost all other churches, a large amount of the subscriptions was left unpaid. But the money raised in subscriptions on that day was being paid very promptly by some and it appears that this money was very much needed at this time.
The usual revival Spirit had not lost any of its power. In the spring of 1878, Rev. Leckie reported to the annual conference, having paid on old indebtedness, in three years, $6,466.00 and a membership of 286, with 48 probationers.
The conference of '78 sent Rev. Thos. Sherlock to take charge of the work. At this time the congregation built a parsonage on the rear of the lot, facing Tenth Street, which was occupied for the first time by the pastor and his wife in November '81.
Rev. T. M. Reese served the appointment in '82, and he was ushered into the work by giving him and P. M. Dillen, G. W. Kessler, Augusta Daugherty, Sanford Dillon, S. F. Elder, G. M. Jackson and Adam Bowers, a subscription book, with which to collect money for the parsonage. I could not find any report of this committees work. One feature in the history of all the Methodist churches as shown by the records, is that they were continually having trouble, with the sexton, because the church was not kept clean or warm. It may be well to say to all the churches, that the sexton needs a kind word occasionally, and a pleasant good-morning by more than the pastor. At a trustee's meeting, held on February 18, '84, the board decided to borrow $2,400.00 from T. Wood, of New York City, at four (4) per cent, the money to be used to lift the mortgage on the church property, held by the Jacob Hesser estate. G. W. Kessler was instructed to see Mr. Wood and negotiate the loan on Mr. Wood's terms, which was done.
The church was not finished until 1888. During this time the building committee were having the work done just as the trustees and the other official members thought they could afford. Mr. Montgomery was given the work of painting the seats and chairs, and other little jobs that needed to be touched up. The building committee was dismissed, and Brothers Clingerman, and Arner, with Rev. McCord, were appointed, a committee to audit the books. A loan of $1,000 at 6 per cent had been secured from John Roller, of Williamsburg, for two years, payable semi-annually. The audit committee asked for an account of this and what it was used for, and the committee on on finance reported as follows: $300, B. A. H. Andrews of New York, for chairs; $80.00 to Eby and son, for heater; $123, P. Crozier and son, for painting; $80.00 to Frank S. Mann, for chandeliers; $50-00, B. Reamy & Co., on material; $40.56 paid J. F. Hesser; $200.00 deducted by Rev. Ganoe, as alleged money advanced to A, H. Andrew, on chairs; $100.00 paid on note of $400, in Altoona Bank; and $10.00 interest on same, for 90 days renewal; Bal. of $300.00 net; $3.70 paid for hauling ashes and rubbish, making a total of $987.26. A hint at the importance of having the books audited regularly: The trustees books say Rev. Ganoe always kept his own individual account and the church account together. He always made out the checks for the church in his own name, thereby rendering it very difficult to distinguish or understand which was the church's account. The $200.00 deducted from the $1,000 account just referred to was questioned by the board, and Rev. Ganoe, who had left, was notified to return the $200.00 to the trustees, on the ground that he was not the pastor in charge when the mortgage was executed, and that he had no authority to sign the mortgage, not being authorized to do so by the trustees. A special meeting was called on July 30, '89, and Rev. Ganoe was present and made the statement that he conscientiously believed that he had paid out $200.00 of his own money to A. H. Andrews, on a bill of chairs, for the church. But the statement was not satisfactory to the board of trustees, so Rev. Ganoe gave his note for $200.00 payable in six months. This is recorded here only, that some may see how much unpleasant feelings can be caused by neglecting to keep and audit accounts, properly. At this time 1909, the churches over the entire district are being urged to keep the business of the church more accurately, and I, as one, would like to heartily endorse this movement. The church met with the same trouble under Rev. McCord, according to the records. He was asked for a financial statement or settlement, which proved very unsatisfactory to the trustees. The board were not willing that this should happen again; they therefore appointed Geo. Kessler to write a code of rules for the government of board. Brother Kessler reported the code of by-laws on June 2, 1890, and they were adopted by the board, this ending the unnecessary unpleasantness and dissatisfaction
First. The action of the Board of Trustees shall accord with the late act of incorporation of the Third M. E. Church of Altoona.
Second. In absence of the President, a member appointed by the meeting shall preside.
Third. The secretary shall keep correct minutes of the proceedings of the board. He shall receive all loans authorized for use of the corporation, and enter the same in a book provided for the purpose, with date and amount designated in the entry-either from the loans, subscriptions, or contributions. He shall pay promptly to the treasurer all money received for the use of the corporation, taking his receipt therefore. He shall draw all orders on treasurer for payment of bills against the corporation that the board of trustees have directed. All orders shall specify the purpose for which they are drawn. He shall carefully keep on file all bills and receipts. It shall also be the duty of the secretary to take immediate charge of the weekly penny collections, and of the monthly penny-a-day envelopes, entering the amount on his book, with day and date. In absence of the secretary, one of the trustees must receive these and take them to the secretary.
Fourth. The treasurer shall take charge of all money received from the secretary for the use of the corporation, and pay out the same only on order of the secretary as authorized by the board of trustees, except in the payment of building association dues, where no order shall be necessary. But he shall keep on file all bills as receipts. He shall keep a correct account of all money received and paid out in behalf of the corporation, stating in the entry to whom it was paid and the object as stated in the order.
Fifth. The president shall appoint an auditing committee at the last session of the board preceding the last board of the conference year, who shall report in time to submit to the fourth quarterly conference. The meeting of the board shall be held monthly, on the fourth or last Monday of each month, and oftener by the request of the president or any three members of the board of trustees. Five members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
There is no further record of trouble along this line. But the large delinquency on the part of those who subscribed on dedication day, brought much care and trouble to the board. The demands upon the church for money, were so great in '89, that a meeting was called on February 2 7, '89, and on a motion by W. M. Dunmire the board decided to put all subscriptions made for liquidation of the church debt, and on dedication; into the hands of W. Lee Woodcock, Esq., for collection, to be collected forthwith. But there are always some brethren on every official board who know the ways of a church and a church's life well enough not to permit any such action; so this motion was rescinded on February 27, which was a very wise plan. A penny a day for the church and her debts. This plan was a fair success. But to continue this line of the church's life would tire any reader. The records show a long, hard struggle on the part of the members. Many times the pastor and the official men had to spend hours in the night to meet the demands of the following day. According to the records, this awful struggle, and the financial burden weighing themselves down for years, did not militate against the spiritual condition of the church to any great extent. During the pastorate of Rev. Miller and of Rev. Rue the church was visited with a great revival spirit. These pastors, and especially Rev. Miller, would secure the service of some strong evangelists, and friends of the church tell me it was impossible to accommodate the people that thronged the church. Mr. Coy states that one time an usher called back to him,'' Coy, close those doors; I am not able to seat another person,'' and men and women, young and old, were being saved by the scores. While Rev. J. W. Rue served this church, its membership had reached its height, 454, full members and 125 probationers being reported to the conference in 1894.
The members of this church feel in a certain sense that they have not been fairly treated by the conference, in that they have had the misfortune of having had two pastors who were not as true to the cause as they might have been; and the church has had a blow from this cause, from which she has never been able to entirely recover. Her membership dropped from 454, with the 125 probationers, to 264. This was a terrible shock to a congregation that had been struggling and loyally standing by the church through all her dark days.
In 1901, the annual conference sent Rev. J. K. Lloyd to this charge. Rev. Lloyd was a young man, full of energy and stick-to-itive-ness, and would have victory at any cost. When he came to the church, he found a debt of $6,000.00 and a membership of 264. But one commendable feature of the Chestnut Avenue church is: that work, sacrifice, hardships, or anything in the way of service for the church, was pleasure. All they needed was a leader. Rev. Lloyd and the official board marked from off the books every old, unpaid subscription; and the announcement was made that every subscription had been cancelled, and every member could feel free of debt in the way of old subscriptions. Rev. Lloyd stated: We are going to lift a subscription for the old debt, payable in one year, and we are able to pay this debt, and we are going to pay.'' A subscription was lifted, and each member of the official board was given a district from which to collect each month. When the one year was ended, the books were audited, and any subscription that was not paid was canceled, the pastor proceeding to take another subscription for one year, the collectors being given their districts as before. This plan was pursued for five years, at the end of which time the entire indebtedness was paid, and mortgages, and everything else that was held against the church, was burned. This was a splendid work, and worthy of commendation for such a small company. One lady told me that Chestnut Avenue church had almost given up hope of ever lifting this debt.
Rev. J. M. Johnston is the present pastor, having been returned by the conference of 1909. He has made two attempts to have a revival, but has been unsuccessful. The members are longing at the present time for an old time revival to visit their church. One lady said to me, "Chestnut Avenue church has had such revivals, our people, to the man, are loyal and we are going to have them again.'' So it seems that God in His wisdom is laying this winter's work on the heart of some so very clearly that old Chestnut Avenue church is beginning to feel the coming of the Spirit in reviving and converting power.
Built of pressed brick. One
story. 40 X 60 feet. Auditorium, and two class rooms. No. 1 on Twenty-third
street. No. 2 on parsonage side. Contractor, Mr. Counsil. Contract price
SIMPSON METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
SIXTH AVE. AND TWENTY-THIRD STREET
SIMPSON METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Hummelstown brown stone, 60
X 108 feet. 108 feet on 23d street, 60 feet on Sixth Avenue. One story with
finished basement. Part of basement used for primary Sunday school. Complete
kitchen, furnace, toilet and lavatory. Main auditorium seating 400. One Sunday
school room at right from pulpit 68 X 48 feet. Gallery all way around. Two class
rooms on each side of room with large doors. Can be opened into main Sunday
school room. Corner stone laid September 11, 1904. Dedicated February, 1905.
Cost complete $25,000.00.
It should be of interest to every Methodist to note the way in which churches took their part in the development of
Altoona. There were no committees appointed to look after this kind of work, nor any regular system; it was the
loving hand of God that reached down and laid the work on the heart of some one of his saints.
To the friends who do not believe in organized churches I would like to say this: that from the records and the
testimonies of friends who knew the charter members of the Methodist churches in Altoona, they were the most sainted men and women of their day. And we Methodist people do not think that God would permit
them all to err so seriously in judgment.
The now strong and flourishing Simpson Methodist church had her birth in the heart of a little woman,
Mrs. Chatams, who never weighed over about one hundred pounds. The members and friends of Methodism
who were living in the vicinity of Sixth Avenue and Twentythird Street, were members of the Eighth Avenue
church but the distance for the children was so great that a large number of them were not going to any church.
Mrs. Chatams lived at 2402 Seventh Avenue, and having the welfare of the children and older ones, at heart, she decided to start a Sunday School. Not having enough chairs to accommodate the people that she expected to
come, she carried boards into her parlor and laid them on the chairs all the way around the room. It was announced that a Sunday School was to be conducted in the home of Mrs. Chatams on Twenty-fourth Street on Sunday, and the friends
who lived in that neighborhood were instructed to attend, as far as possible. I talked to a lady who was at the first session of the school, and she told me that there were eleven present the first Sunday. This was not so many as Mrs. Chatams
had expected, but she was a woman of great faith and had acted according to the convictions of her heart. The lady also told me that Mrs. Chatams did all the talking and when she prayed, she touched God. In a very short while the school
had increased in attendance, and it was decided to organize and elect officers.
On March 3, 1872, the school met, Dr. D. S. Monroe being present, and reading from Eccl. the 12th chapter,
"Remember now thy Creator,'' etc. After singing a song, he stated that the object of this meeting was to elect officers and organize a Sunday School. Following is the result of the election: H. D. Whitmer, Supt.; H. Slep, Ass't.;
H. C. Crosthwait, Sec. There is no record of a treasurer being elected at this time. The library was a large clothes basket, in which were kept the singing books and supplies. Rev. R. E. Wilson was sent to Eighth Avenue church,
and the records show another election, which was the organization of the school proper. May 26, 1872, Mr. Chas. Bradley was elected Supt.; Gideon Sarvis and S. J. Hill Ass'ts.; H. Crosthwaite, Sec., and H. D. Whitman Treas.
The following teachers were duly elected: Ed. McClellin, Mrs. McClellin, Mrs. Chatams, Mrs. J. Keys, Mr. S. J. Hill,
Miss Ada Bolinger, A. M. Tippton, James Haslett, J. M. Lantz, Gideon Sarvis and T. W. Hend. After the school had been organized, the attendance reached 87, and this increased attendance demanded larger quarters. Previous to Dr. Monroe's
leaving the city, he bought a lot on Seventh Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street, and the school decided to build a chapel on this lot. This was done, the chapel being built of hemlock boards, 40 X 80 feet, one room. Before the chapel was
nearly finished, Sunday School was held in the building. The only complaint that can be laid to the charge of the Simpson church since her birth, is that her people were so anxious to get into the chapel that they held sessions of the
school there before the paints were entirely dry, causing the children's clothes to stick to the seats.
The chapel was dedicated on October 19, 1872. The entire cost was $1,298, of which $669.09 had been provided for before the dedication, leaving $638.91, to be raised in subscriptions. A flourishing Sunday School was conducted in this chapel for eight years. Local preachers of the city and the pastors of Eighth Avenue church held services quite frequently here, but not until 1880, did they have a pastor. The annual conference of '80, sent Rev. J. B. Young to the Eighth Avenue charge, and Rev. A. R. Cronce as junior pastor, to act in harmony with Rev. Young in serving the Twenty-fourth Street chapel. Rev. France served one year as junior pastor, and in March 1881, prior to the conference, the chapel was organized and became separate charge. The same year, '81, Rev. Cronce was appointed first regular pastor of the Twenty-fourth Street chapel.
Rev. Cronce and Rev. J. T. Wilson served in the chapel and had very good success in the new charge. Nearly $600.00 that remained unpaid on the chapel was paid, and the membership was increased to almost 100. In 83, Rev. Cronce admitted sixty probationers, and Rev. Wilson, fifty in '85, and thirty in '86, making a membership of 195 full members and 30 probationers.
A lot situated on the North-west corner of Sixth Avenue and Twenty-third Street, was thought to be a suitable place on which to build a church, for as yet they were worshiping in the chapel, and the building was inadequate to accommodate the members and friends that were attending. The lot was owned by Dr. Baker. Mr. Andrew Patrick interviewed him and was successful in securing the lot at one-half its real value. Before Rev. Wilson left he raised the money and paid for the lot. The next pastor coming to the charge was Rev. W. Whitney. On February 2, 1887, a building committee was appointed at the fourth quarterly conference, to act in conjunction with the entire membership of the church. Following is the committee: Rev. W. R. Whitney, Chairman; Thos. W. Hurd, Treasurer; James P. Wilson, Secretary; Solomon Cassidy, William Exline, George W. Myers, John B. Tate.
The first steps of this committee were to decide on the kind of church they wanted, and then to receive bids. The size was to be 40 X 60 feet, built of pressed brick, one story with a cellar dug out under the entire church; to be roofed with No. 1 shingles one-half inch thick at the one end, and the roof to be painted the color of a slate roof, to be finished all the way through with yellow pine, this to be true of the ceilings as well. The committee asked for bids, and following are the bids, received June 6, '87: Hayard and Ott, $6700.00; Mr. Glehn, $6,600.00 Ramey & Co., $8,600.00; Mr. Counsel, $6,795.00 The board unanimously awarded the contract to Mr. Counsel, thinking him to be a reliable and competent man. The ground was broken in June, '87, and the building was looked after to the very best interest of the church, by the board. But after the brick work was up and the work in every particular was pretty well on the way, the demand for money so great that the work had to be practically stopped for some time. A committee was appointed to secure a loan as soon as possible, and report the same to the board meeting, as soon as they were able to get it. This committee, composed of Rev. Whitney, Jno. B. Tate, and George W. Myers, reported on July 6, 1888, (nearly one year later), that a loan could be secured from A. C. Dale, of Grahamton, Pa., for five years, at five per cent, payable semi-annually, secured by mortgage and bond of the church. The secretary was instructed to give a statement of all receipts and expenses, from the beginning of the project until the present date, July 23, 1888. The loan of $2,700. was secured from Mr. Dale, and from the records the members had been paying very well, for so small a congregation. Statement of the Secretary of the Building Committee, read July 23, '88.
On August 20, '88, Wm. Exline, S. Cassidy and J. P. Wilson were appointed a committee to draft specifications for the finishing of the church. This was done and the work was given to Bushman, Noffker & Co., who agreed to finish all the work for the completion of the Simpson M. E. Church, for $ 1,191.39. The work was finished and the entire bill of the church, complete, was $6928.12. Rev. Cronce and Rev. Wilson, former pastors, were invited to attend the opening service, which was held in Dec. 1888. Rev. Cronce and Rev. Wilson were unable to come, so the pastor was successful in securing Bishop C. D. Foss, who delighted the audience, and helped to make the day a complete success.
The spring conference took Rev. Whitney who is very highly spoken of by the members, and the next man to take the position of leading this loyal band of Christian workers, was Rev. R. E. Wilson. Rev. Wilson came in the spring of '89 and found the new charge a very strong and spiritual church. It may be said, with all reverence for the other churches of the city, that Simpson church has carried one supreme desire, and has tried to make everything lead to that one end; viz: to keep a high, spiritual standard and to make everyone who came within their walls, welcome; and they are recognized as one of the most spiritual churches in the city.
At the fourth quarterly conference, held on March 4, 1890, the treasurer gave a report showing the progress of the church in every particular. Report 1, Church Probable value church property, $10,000 income, $381.26; Expenses, $375.07; Debt, $3,061.00, contracted in building the church, insurance on building, $2,700.00; insurance on furniture, $2,000.00; amount paid for building the church, during the year, $1,543.90. The church was first reported to the conference as having a membership of 145, and a probable value of $2,300.00. It was a great showing of work and effort, to be able to report eight years later, that the membership had reached 347 full members, and 34 probationers, with a probable value of $10,000.00.
Previous to this, the old-chapel and lot on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street, had been sold to Mr. J. L. Richabaugh, for $1,100. which amount was used to help pay the contractor. This amount realized by the sale of the old chapel was not used in paying the $1,543.90 in '90, being sold on March 5, '89. When the furniture of the old chapel was being disposed of, Rev. Whitney asked the trustees if he might have the old pulpit for the M. E. Church at Bakers' Mines. The board granted the request, stating that they are perfectly welcome to the pulpit as long as they remain a Methodist church.
The pastor of this church had been living in a rented house, until 1890; but at a meeting of the official board held on May 5, 1890, Mr. George Myers reported that Mr. Mackey would build a parsonage, 20 X 42 feet, for $1,875.00. There was a tie vote on this question; but it was later settled, and the parsonage was built on Sixth Avenue, next to the church. The first pastor to occupy the parsonage was Rev. Wilson.
The question of shrinkage in subscriptions in this church was like the history of every other church: some while enthused and inspired under the preaching and appeal for money, would reach beyond their means, and subscribe more than they were able to pay. From Rev. Wilson to Rev. Anderson the members had much of this kind of work to contend with, and the statistic will show a continual decrease in membership from '83, until the first year of Rev. Anderson, but this was not due to the inefficiency of any one pastor. When Rev. Hoke came to the charge he found a large number of names on the roll that he could not find members for, so he and the official men decided it would be best to make a thorough canvas of the members, and strike off the books the names of the members that could not be found. Notwithstanding the fact that there were fruitful revivals during the term of Rev. Wilson, Rev. Swartz and Rev. Hoke and 243 probationers had been taken in, the number of membership was cut down until 1889, it numbered 325. However unfortunate the decrease in membership may seem in the history of these years, there was a company of true, loyal followers of Christ, who determined to have victory, and that Simpson M. E. Church should be some day the leading church of Altoona. During these years of conflict and struggle, the members were working and planning with increased effort to pay the debt that had been lingering with them and taking so much consideration and thought on the part of the board. Rev. J. F. Anderson came to take up the work at this point, in the spring of 1900. Rev. Anderson's ability as a financier is great, and he found plenty of field here upon which to exercise his ability. During his second year the church freed herself of debt. But, as can be seen in the statistics, the pastors from the day the debt had incurred, until the entire amount was paid had their share in this work. With all due respect to the work and effort of the pastors who so loyally served and worked at this charge, the badge and the honor should be pinned only on the breast of those who stood by the work from the beginning.
I know of one incident helping to prove this: a member and friend of the church, at one time of stress gave his property as security to save the reputation of the church. A religion that will cause men and women to sacrifice and endanger their own property, and give money and time and thought to a work, as the members of this church did, indeed is worthy of our highest love and veneration.
The church had been especially favored with good pastors, and it was soon found that Rev. Anderson was not the least of this kind. The church began to grow again in 1900, and from that time on the building was being filled; so that the accommodations were soon found to be very inadequate for the continually increasing attendance. The joy of any church ought to be to see the pews filling with new faces. And if such be the case, the next move is always to provide for them and any more that may choose to come. The church was visited with a good revival during the first year of Rev. Anderson, and there were fifty new members added to the church. In 1903, the church was entirely out of debt and had a membership of nearly four hundred loyal Christians who were willing to stand by the pastor in any moves he might choose to make for the betterment of their people and the community in general.
not been out of debt very long, but they were willing to have their church made
better and larger if the conditions demanded it. At a meeting held on April 13,
1903, after the election of the officers for the ensuing year, which were,
Messrs. E. G. Hoover, Pres.; H. A. Heverly, Sec.; N. E. Weaver, Treas. The
president spoke of their crowded condition, and asked for remarks what should be
done in the way of repairs. Mr. Bowser, Supterintendent of the Sunday school
spoke of the crowded state of this department, and suggested some temporary
arrangements for the Primary department. Pres. Hoover made some extended remarks
as to what should be done. The pastor, Rev. Anderson, then read a prepared
paper, reviewing the financial condition and effort during the past three years,
and pointed out what should be done for the good of the church, being followed
by Dr. Rowe, J. B. Tate, John McKerihan, Frank Jackson, Chas. J. Marshall, Dr.
Habberacker, and Chas. Isenberg, after which the meeting adjourned. At a meeting
of the board, held on January 23, 1904, the trustees were authorized to go ahead
and make permanent improvements to the church property. On motion of Chas.
J.Marshall, the building committee, consisting of three members of the board of
trustees, were elected, these being E. G. Hoover, C. J. Marshall and A.
Isenberg. They were instructed to secure the service of Mr. Sholler at once, and
have him prepare plans and specifications for the work. J. B. Tate, W. F.
Bowser, N. E. Weaver, and H. A. Heverly were appointed by the chair as a finance
committee, to provide funds for the proposed improvements. The finance committee
were impowered to negotiate a loan of two amounts---$6,000.00 and $1,200.00 from
the Franklin B. & L. Association, it being deemed wise by the board to
secure this money. The building committee was to be the supervising architect.
This architect---committee, C. Marshall, E. G. Hoover, and A. K. Isenberg,
attended to the entire work of the building, saving the church over $5,000, by
so doing. The building was practically made entirely new. The old building was
razed in such away as to have some place, either in the new or old, to worship
during the process of erection. There was not a service missed because of not
having a place to worship. The old brick walls were replaced with Hummelstown
brown stone, the building being 108 X 60 feet. The corner was laid on September
11, 1904. One significant fact about this new building, was, that they never
lifted a subscription until dedication day. Instead they had cash days. One cash
day was the day of the corner stone laying, giving $1,334.00 cash on that day.
The building is one story, with a finished basement, a furnace, complete
kitchen, toilet, and lavatory, and enough room for the Primary Sunday School.
The main Auditorium is furnished with pews, carpet, and raised platform for
pulpit and choir. At the left from the pulpit is the Sunday School room, 48 X 68
feet, with a gallery running all the way round. Under the gallery are two class
rooms on each side of the room, with large doors that can be opened, making one
large room, and a small library room. One large window on Sixth Avenue, costing
$500.00, was donated by Mr. W. Vancroft, in memory of his parents.
This window represents Christ blessing little children. The other large memorial window was taken by four separate parties.
The work was finished and ready for dedication in February 1905. Rev. Anderson secured the service of Bishop McCabe, who, by his strong and impressive messages and singing, helped to crown the day with great success. The subscription was lifted for $16,000, to be paid in four years. Among the subscriptions taken was $2,000.00 from the Sunday School and $1,000 from the Ladies' Aid Society. This has been paid, and is a very praise worthy thing for so small a school and Aid Society to do. $16,000.00 was not a sufficient amount to pay the entire indebtedness, which was near $18,000.00. This does not include the money realized in other ways. The cost of the church complete was $25,000.00. The reason of the entire amount not being raised at dedication, was partly due to the work that had been done by Rev. Hoke previous to this. The old church had been greatly in need of repair, and the members said, rather than sit in the rain and cold until they were more able to build, they had to put on a new roof, get a new furnace, and have the church refrescoed. This cost $1,200.00 and some of the members who had given pretty heavily to this, did not feel able at the time of dedication to start in again.
This church has not given all her time to building, although she has had her share of this. Many hearts and homes have been changed and gladdened because of her sweet influence and help, in their lives. The members say they have tried to keep a high tide of spiritual influence and prayerfulness through all their work. I am unable to trace the spiritual conditions, and the help that many hearts have received, since the organization of this church; but if I can successfully tell of one of their revivals, I maybe able to help some to understand how well this church knows how to call on God and have him visit them in great saving power. The conference of 1906, sent Rev. H. A. Straub, to this charge. The membership at this time had reached nearly 500. Rev. Straub and the members began to pray and plan for the winter's revival. They were successful in securing the service of Mrs. Fitch, of Philadelphia, who stirs the heart by her spirited singing. The work began, and when the revival closed, over one hundred souls were sweetly saved and one hundred probationers taken into the church. The second year they also had Mrs. Fitch, the church being filled to overflowing almost every night, and many souls were saved. The third year, '09, was a year of great revival effort all over the Altoona district, and many of the Methodist churches had begun their special services before the Holidays. Some of the members of the church asked the pastor whom he was going to have to help in the revival this year, and he answered, ''The Lord." The church has a body of men called the Brotherhood, and they are the members of the church who know the secret of prayer. The pastor held a week of prayer for the revival, and the members of the Brotherhood attended this very regularly. So far as the eyes and ears can perceive, the old time revival fire began to burn in these meetings. Like the Pentecostal revival, at Jerusalem in the days of Peter, and like all genuine revivals, it began with the church. As soon as all the members of the Jerusalem church were filled with the Holy Ghost, the crowd came rushing in, and three thousand sinners were converted under the very first sermon which was preached to them. In that model revival no particular methods were employed. No flaming posters were pasted on the theatre bulletin board, no portraits of the apostles hung in the store windows. They had no noted singer in the upper room, where the meeting was held. They simply obeyed the commands of Christ and became filled with the Spirit. That was all the advertising that was needed. The people came. Peter preached a simple gospel sermon; and the people came and inquired the way of salvation. The pastor of Simpson church kept this one theme before the people all the time: "The Lord is with us; keep praying brethren and sisters.'' When the special protracted effort began, the members had already been filled with the Holy Ghost. The unsaved began to fill the house, and the pastor preached with power, having been anointed for service. The Spirit, who had come to them in such mighty power, was finding His way into the hearts of the unsaved, and they were filling the altar, inquiring the way of salvation. There were no special means used---only prayer. The saints would meet early, in a room they called their power-house and in this room, Brother R. Morgan told me, God came down their souls to greet. Unsaved friends were pressed into the very presence of God. God, for Christ's sake, wonderfully answering their prayers, and they would come out into the regular meeting and see those for whom they had prayed, saved. The shouts and praises to God added new music to the singing. The frequent ''Halleluiahs!'' and ''Amen!'' of Brothers Briggle and Witts, also encouraged the work. It is a splendid thing to have enough religion to shout out "Halleluiah!'' or "Amen!'' when the Spirit gives utterance. There were many evenings when the pastor opened the meeting and let the Spirit have the right of way. Then the testimonies of the young and old, and especially of those who had just been saved, melted the hearts of the unsaved and when, the invitation was given they would come to the altar from all over the room. A. H. Stackhouse, a Christian young man who loved this kind of work, would go to their meetings and sing. He was true to God, singing only for His glory, and God honored his singing, until many hearts were touched for God in this way. When the Holy Ghost, comes and fills the hearts of all, or almost all the members of a church, sinners will be convicted and converted in spite of all earth and hell can do. This revival went with or without preaching, with or without fine singing, with or without good weather or favoring circumstances. The meeting went on until it was Conference time, and the workers were becoming fagged and tired, being nearly all men who worked in public works, and mothers who had upon them care of the home. Yet regardless of how tired they were, when the revival bells pealed out, they were ready for action.
When the meeting closed, over two hundred and fifty souls had been saved, and one hundred new homes were connected with the church. The pastor reported, at the annual conference of 1909, seven hundred full members and two hundred and eight probationers. The church had, in 1882, one hundred and forty-five members, and a probable value of $2,300.00, with an indebtedness of $575.00. She has now, 1909, seven hundred full members, 208 probationers, and a probable value of $43,500.00, church and parsonage, with an indebtedness of $6,500.
forward, Christian soldiers,
Fear not the secret foe;
Far more are o'er the watching
Than human eyes can know.
Trust only Christ, thy Captain;
Cease not to watch and pray;
Heed not the treacherous voices,
That lure thy soul astray.
A remarkable feature in the history of the origin of the different churches in Altoona, is the fact that as the city was being built up and spreading her borders in all directions, God was planning his work, christian people moving into every part of the community. There lived in the vicinity of Second Avenue and Third Street, which locality was building up very rapidly, quite a few members of the Eighth Avenue Church. In the winter and in the summer, they attended their church regularly.
A church's life does not begin the day it is organized, and long before the organization of this, the Fifth Avenue church, it was born in the heart of some christian. A number of Methodist people living in this section of the city, and feeling that there was needed in the neighborhood a house in which to worship God, met together for counsel in the matter, in November, 1883, at the house of C. H. Brown. There were present that night Rev. J. H. McGarrah, Presiding Elder of the Altoona District, Rev. George Leidy, pastor of Eighth Avenue M. E. Church, Rev. Hiram Neefer, Local preacher, C. H. Brown, J. T. Brown, George Reigle, Samuel Nicewonger, Levi Hainly, and J. M. Tillard. After having invoked the Divine guidance, the propriety of starting another church was discussed. The decision was soon reached, for this had been on the heart of these men for some time.
Without any money in hand, this company of saints decided to buy a piece of ground on the south-east corner of Third Avenue and Second Street, on which to build a church or chapel. They knew that to buy a lot they must have some money for the ground. At that time the records tell us, land was being sold very fast. Rev. Geo. Leidy agreed to advance the money, and Mr. C. H. Brown said if the money could not be raised in one year, he would take the lot off their hands if Rev. Leidy did not wish to retain it, and the other laymen agreed to pay the interest on the money in that event. With these men of faith and men of God, back of him, Rev. Leidy bought the lot, paying for this the sum of $500.00, deed dated Nov. 30, 1883. Now that the lot was purchased and the money forwarded by Rev. Leidy, the next move was to raise the money among the friends who lived in that neighborhood. This task fell on C. H. Brown and a few others. They found this quite a difficult task. While conversing with C. H. Brown one time, he told me of how their vision had grown as they thought of this work. He said he knew many of the business men of the city, and quite a number of the formen in the shops, whom he felt sure would gladly contribute to this cause. They soon had their papers ready for subscription, and the raising of the money was begun. The first person who was asked to contribute was a member of the Eighth Avenue church board. This brother answered the appeal according to his best judgment, stating that those people who lived down in that vicinity did not need a church, and he believed that to have one strong church was better than starting a lot of little churches all the time. The man may have been ever so sincere in his answer, but this did not satisfy or meet the approval or the Fifth Avenue brethren. They had begun a work which had had its birth in their hearts and to be forever quieted would be disloyality to self and to God. Before they had been long at the work they knew the enemy was strongly opposing them. However, amid disappointment and opposition of every kind, (the pastor of Eighth Avenue church favored the move, but the board strongly opposed it for a short time) On May 22, 1885, Rev. Leidy was paid for the lot minus the interest which he donated by money collected and a note given by C. H. Brown, J. T. Brown, George Reigle, William Carner, Levi Hainly, Samuel Nicewonger, and J. N. Tillard.
At a quarterly conference held in the Eighth Avenue church, Rev. Leidy in the chair, Rev. Samuel Creighton pastor, nominated as a Board of Trustees to take charge of said lot, the following named persons, who were duly elected by the quarterly Conference: C. H. Brown, J. T. Brown, George Reigle, Levi Hainly, Wm. Carnes, Samuel Nicewonger, J. B. Bowles, T. D. Hughes and J. N. Tillard. The above are the names of the first Board of Trustees of the then thought Third Avenue and Second Street M. E. Church, as then thought of. During the pastorate of Rev. George Leidy at the Eighth Avenue M. E. Church, he had organized the members of this charge, who resided in the locality of Third Avenue and Second Street, into a class under the leadership of C. H. Brown, the class to meet from house to house. A regular meeting of this class was held at the home of William Carner on Thursday evening May 7th, 1885, at which meeting there were present, Rev. Samuel Creighton, Wm. B. Miller, C. H. Brown, wife and child, Levi Hainly, Samuel Nicewonger, Wm. Kantner, David Kunkle, George Reigle, Mrs. Bartley, Mrs. Slaughenhauk, and J. N. Tillard, with wife and child. After the usual exercises or worship there was held by Rev. Creighton the first meeting of the Board of Trustees, of then thought, Third Avenue and Second Street church May 7, 1885. Bro. Creighton called the roll, and the following persons responded: C. H. Brown, J. T. Brown, George Reigle, Wm. Carner, Levi Hainly, Samuel Nicewonger and J. N. Tillard. On motion of C. H. Brown, J. N. Tillard was elected Secretary; on motion of J. N. Tillard, T. D. Hughes was elected treasurer; and on motion of George Reigle the board adjourned. These few loyal Methodists working and praying and with a faith that expanded constantly, kept moving forward; and now having a lot practically paid for, and a board with its own elected officers, decided to advance still further. On Tuesday, May 19th, 1885, a meeting of the board of Trustees was called and Rev. S. Creighton presided, the meeting being opened with prayer. On motion of Mr. J. T. Brown, the following committee was appointed to draft a charter and suggest plans for a church building. C. H. Brown, Levi Hainley, J. N. Tillard. On motion of C. H. Brown it was decided that it be incorporated as Third Avenue Methodist Episcopal church. William Carner was also added to this charter committee, the work in general being discussed in this meeting. This committee went to work, and in a meeting held on June 19th, 1885, Rev. Creighton, reported form for charter of incorporation, which was accepted by motion of C. H. Brown. (See form of charter in First church history all are near the same). The committee proceeded to secure a charter, with the approval of the board.
During this time C. H. Brown had gotten the plan for the church building, and this was reported and accepted by the board, which will appear later. In view of these facts the church began to come almost in sight, and J. N. Tillard, seeing one of the needs in such an undertaking, began to look about for a man to fill the place. The board did not need to go out of its own realm for a man. Mr. C. H. Brown was appointed to solicit subscriptions, and, as at any effort for Methodism, he went at it with his heart in it. In one month, July 20th, '85, the board met at the home of T. D. Hughes, and the treasurer reported $270.00 paid on the lot, leaving a balance of $230.00, with interest from the 21st of April, 1885. The members of the board holding subscription books, reported $124.00 this leaving $106.00 of the principal of the debt unprovided for. T. D. Hughes suggested that a determined effort be made to raise the remaining amount, and carried the suggestion into effect by giving $10.00 to which was added $10.00 by each of the following brethren of the board; Rev. S. Creighton, Wm. Carner Levi Hainly, C. H. Brown, J. T. Brown, and J. N. Tillard, making a total of $70.00, leaving but $36.00 to be raised by subscription. The committee or financiers renewed the note only once or twice, and on January 4th, 1886, a note was granted on the treasurer for the remaining amount, $106.50 putting the lot in possession of the Board of Trustees. The $106.50 was to be paid by the treasurer because the money collected by the solicitors was paid into the treasury, the $124.50 reported in April 21, '85, thus passing through the treasurer's hands. C. H. Brown secured a transfer of the title for the church lot from Rev. George Leidy to the Board of Trustees of Third Avenue and Second Street M. E. Church. On April 8th, 1886, this board met, and from the suggestion of Rev. Creighton and some more of the board, the question was brought up concerning another lot on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street, owned by Clement Jaggard, which was thought to be a more suitable location for a church. After a general expression of opinions, T. D. Hughes and C. H. Brown were appointed as a committee to act in conjunction with Rev. Creighton, in ascertaining the best terms on which said lot could be bought. Mr. Jaggard was seen and $1000.00 found to be the price of the lot. This committee, with the board back of them, began to talk business. Rev. Creighton offered the lot now in possession on part pay, but Mr. Jaggard refused to accept it, saying, however, if the board wanted the lot he would put them in immediate possession of it, and wait two years before any money needed to be paid.
The writer would like to say here that as often as four, five and six times a month these brethern met, and always before entering on their business for God, they had a talk with Him and with His approval on their work, they had the faith, on April 27th, 1886, to authorize T. D. Hughes to purchase the lot on Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street, at the earliest convenience possible; and also to advertise the lot on Third Avenue and Second Street, at a price not less than $500.00.
This meant, of course, $500.00 more of a debt, but these brethren knew no fear, they were in business for their King. Nevertheless, the lot was bought, and the deed was given for $200.00 cash, and a mortgage on the lot for the balance. At a meeting held at the home of T. D. Hughes, Tuesday, June 15, 1886, with the following members present: Wm. Carner, George Reigle, C. H. Brown, F. E. Meek, T. D. Hughes, J. N. Tillard, and Samuel Creighton, on a motion of J. N. Tillard it was decided to proceed to erect a church building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street. This board elected as their building committee, T. D. Hughes, Wm. Carner, and C. H. Brown, and authorized them to attend to all business pertaining thereto. This board unanimously resolved to change or have the Charter changed, from Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue. The building committee went to work, and on August 10, 1886, reported having awarded the contract for the church to Parker Bros., building to be under roof, Parker Bros., taking the lot on the corner of Third Avenue and Second Street, as part payment in the sum of $500.00 for church building. This church or chapel was watched and seen after to the very best interest of the board, by the building committee. The contract was let in August '86, and was ready for dedication on October 24th, 1886. The building was made of pine boards, 30 X 40 feet, the floor carpeted, and chairs used for seats. There was just one room, with the raised platform for the pulpit, but everything was new and clean. On Sunday morning, October 24, 1886, the little chapel was filled to its utmost, Rev. Leidy, presiding elder of the Altoona district, and Rev. Samuel Creighton, pastor of the Eighth Avenue church, were in the pulpit. After the singing of the hymns, beginning with, ''Work For The Night Is Coming,'' and '' My Soul Be On Thy Guard,'' and prayer. Rev. George Leidy preached a strong and impressive sermon on ''Christian Activity,'' after which he stated that the whole cost of the church lot and building, was about $2,200---$1,000 for the lot and $1,200 for the building and that there yet remained $900.00 unprovided for. He proposed raising $700.00 of the amount, which was promptly subscribed by the congregation. The evening service was conducted by Rev. Samuel Creighton, who, after a stirring address asked the people for the $200.00 necessary to clear the debt, which was given, with $20.00 additional. The trustees then presented the church to Rev. Samuel Creighton, who dedicated it to the Worship of Almighty God. After a short time devoted to the giving of Christian experience, which was full of the Spirit, singing of the doxology, and the benediction by Rev. Samuel Creighton, the first meeting in the Fifth Avenue M. E. church was dismissed, these brethren returning to their homes feeling in their hearts that they had started another soul saving station, what fruits would grow from this planting, God alone being able to tell. This church, like any other church, could not and did not run without the ladies; so back in September 9, 1886, the ladies of this church organized a Ladies' Aid Society, electing the following officers: Mrs. Meek, President; Mrs. Brinner, Secretary; Mrs. Hughes, Treasurer. This society aided very greatly to strengthen the church. It is only fair here to mention that the Ladies' Aid Society of each of the Altoona churches has been one of the strongest financial arms of Methodism in this city. They, on almost every instance of a new building, took on themselves the task of furnishing the parsonage, and always carried their other obligations at the same time. One thing the Ladies' Aid of Altoona prides in, is that they always pay what they subscribe. This is a very good rule, which if adopted by many of the members, would end the worry and care of the official members and pastors of the churches. If the members who object to having suppers in the church, and have a great deal to say at times about the officials being cold and indifferent toward the means of grace, knew how much time, thought, and anxiety these men were giving to make the money meet the necessary expenses, while others were enjoying the spiritual feasts of the church, they would, instead of criticism, pay their dues, and thereby give these men a chance to get out from under the continual strain of meeting bills without money. It is not the writer's thought to show that the Methodist people do not pay their church dues, for such is not true of them; but in the life of this church and the life of the other Methodist churches in the city, the records show a shrinkage of the subscriptions made toward the new buildings, and this leaves the reputation of the church in the hands of the official members. The history of this church will show that the official men had to pay money out of their own pockets many times, that the members, in a general way knew nothing of. If I may I will venture this suggestion, to the Methodists of Altoona: do not subscribe more than you can pay, and pay what you subscribe. Pray for the men who have the entire financial burden of the church on their shoulders, and congratulate them or thank them occasionally for the splendid way in which they have managed the financies of your church. (But this is not history):
The congregation continued to grow, and these brethren, feeling the need of a pastor or some means of help more than that of the Eighth Avenue church's pastor, made a proposition to the quarterly conference of the Eighth Avenue church, that they pay $100.00 the first year, promising to advance it to $350.00 in the event, if this request be granted by the Annual Conference; and that, the annual conference send a young colleague to assist the pastor in charge, so that the work in general, and the Fifth Avenue chapel in particular, would move forward. To this request in June 1887, the annual conference sent J. B. Stein, who rendered untold service in the advancement of the chapel and its interests. Rev. Stein, with the other members of the Board, put much of their time and thought to the collecting of the subscriptions. As has been said, this church like all others, had a number of subscriptions, left unpaid, and this laid the care of the advancement and reputation of the church on the board with double work, but these brethren kept paying and praying, determined to have vctory. On August 16th, 1887, C. H. Brown and J. N. Tillard were appointed to compare the treasurer's cash book with the subscription list, and mark upon the list all credits that have not been entered. An audit of the list disclosed $337.00 of uncollected subscriptions yet available. A committee was appointed to collect the same in the shortest possible time. On September 6, 1887, a contract was given to contractors Bunker and Rhine, for an addition to the chapel, 40 ft. square, costing $930. This under the care and direction of T. D. Hughes, was finished, and occupied. Mr. Hughes took the entire care of this addition on himself; paying for the work and giving the church their own time in which to repay the debt. A report from the treasurer shows $2,987.99, entire cost of building, lot, furniture, and all complete.
As the time went on, this congregation, or mission, as it was then, grew, through the incoming and in gathering of souls, both young and old. That portion of the city built up very fast, soon demanding larger quarters and still better service. A petition was drawn up and sent to the annual conference, of 1888, asking that the Fifth Avenue church be constituted a separate charge. The conference granted the request and sent to this charge Rev. Stein, who had been acting as junior pastor, under Rev. Creighton of the Eighth Avenue church. Now that they were in the battle alone; they were free to run their own affairs, according to their own judgment. The shrinkage of subscriptions on the chapel, and the debt incurred in building the addition, left a debt of $1,300.00 (in 1889,) Rev. Stein secured the service of Rev. Dr. Reed, president of Dickinson College, and on May 19, 1889, this company of loyal christians subscribed $1,330.00 covering the entire indebtedness. Rev Stein reported at the March conference, of 1890, $1,000.00 paid on the old debt. This report was a fine beginning for a young church.
But this church was not given entirely to money raising and building. Up until this time the people had been putting much of their time and thought into the financial end of the work; but in the fall of 1889, and running into the spring of '90, a great revival spirit marked by soul saving power visited this church. Rev. Stein so held up the cross, and him who had hung upon it, up, so vividly, that when the meeting was closed, in the spring of '90, nearly 75 souls had found Christ to the pardon of their sins. This church began with seven members in November '83, without any money in the treasury, they in fact not having a treasurer; she had, until this time, 1890, 325 full members and 58 probationers, and her probable value was $5,000, and her indebtedness $300.00. The pastors who served this charge found the members to be loyal to their church and true to God. From Rev. Stein to Rev. McK. Reiley, the church had a continual growth.
On July 19, 1892, T. D. Hughes, T. O. Roads and R. W. Mulhollen, appointed to secure a parsonage, reported that the house next to the church could be bought for $2,900.00. The committee was instructed to buy the property, which they did, paying Mrs. Hick $400.00 in one year, and giving a mortgage for $2,500.00. The increased debt, interest, and shrinkages, laid the burden anew on the board. The finance committee took in all the church societies, and made a determined effort to liquidate the entire debt. The ladies collected $121.86, which was used for a furnace; a supper was held in Dec. '94, the proceeds which netted $74.61, being used for coal. A penny assessment plan in '98 assessing each member a penny, was started. This money, and the supper held by the men (proceeds $53.00), came in at the most needed times. The finance committee lifted the $2,500.00 mortgage, and to do so, negotiated a loan of $904.81, from the Altoona bank at 6 per cent. This committee was empowered to make loans from time to time, and pay with the money collected by subscriptions and other collection until the debt was discharged.
The finance committee and the members paid and planned and worked, until at the March conference of 1899, Rev. Reiley reported Fifth Avenue church free of debt. That same year God remembered their efforts, and many souls were saved under this man of God. I have been in conversation with a number of members of this church, all telling me that this pastor was above reproach.
The ingathering of souls and the increased population of that section of the city soon demanded larger quarters. When God laid anything on the hearts of the Fifth Avenue members, they obeyed the call. Everything seemed to say that God wanted them to pull the stakes, stretch the canvas of their tents, and prepare for better service in the future. A new church was talked of, and there is no report of any opposition worth speaking of. They said: ''The conditions demand it, and we are going to meet the demands for the betterment of our people.'' The annual conference of 1900, sent Rev. George Leidy to this charge. In Rev. Leidy's younger days, as this history shows, he had had much to do with the organization of this church. His ability as a revivalist and a financier in his earlier labors had been great, and his age had not robbed him of any of these powers. During his stay, the Lord honored his work, the membership increasing about 100, and the new church enterprise was greatly strengthened and encouraged. One of the first moves of any church is to elect their building committee. At a meeting held on September 6, 1901, the following men were duly elected as the building committee for the Fifth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church: Rev. Geo. Leidy, chairman; C. H. Brown, T. D. Hughes, Dr. J. E. Smith, David F. Keagy, Samuel Hutchinson, S. R. Auker, J. C. Saylor and H. O. Fettinger, Sec. These men communicated with different architects and visited other cities and inspected their churches, so that they might be intelligently able to accept the plans and get the best results possible. The feasibility of building a parsonage was considered by the committee, but at a meeting held on September 18, '01, the board decided it would be unwise at the present to build the parsonage, on account of the room necessary to accommodate the public, and it would greatly reduce the seating capacity of the Sunday School room. The plans that were considered most were that of Mr. Thos. Hamilton of Harrisburg, and Mr. Sholler, of Altoona. Finally the plans of Mr. Sholler were accepted, at a meeting held on September 20, 1901. A committee composed of Messrs. Hutchinson, Saylor, and Auker, was appointed to examine the plans in detail, which they did, reporting the same to be satisfactory, according to their best judgment. (I am recording the business of this building committee to show the care on such a committee). Bids were advertised for, and the following are the bids received.
After very carefully considering the reliability of the companies, the contract was awarded to Vipond Construction Company, for the sum of $18262.50. A committee of three, Hutchinson, Saylor and H. O. Fettinger, was empowered to act for the committee in making the contract. The committee chose Mr. F. J. Sholler for the supervising architect. The old chapel and all its memories had to go, and leave something better to take its place. The old walls, which had almost vibrated to the shouts of Bro. Franks and others, as the Spirit gave liberty, the altar, which many hearts had been quited, by the still small voice, and whose very appearance would bring joy to hearts to-day if they were privileged to look on it once more, all must go. The new building, in all its beauty, was raising its head a little higher each day. It was being built of fine, new brick, 90 X 120 ft. It was to have one Sunday School room, with many drop curtains that could be adjusted at will, making it possible to make class-rooms or separate rooms in which to teach the lesson. A basement, fitted up for socials of any kind the members might chose to have; a pastor's study, just inside the door from the parsonage; and a main auditorium. The pulpit and platform, was to be raised, and over at the left of the pulpit was to be placed a beautiful pipe organ, costing $5,000. These were the accommodations and equipment the committee decided this church should have.
In March, 1902, Rev. Pardoe came to take up the work where Rev. Leidy had left off. These are a few of the many things the building committee had to see after; on May 16, '02, the seats were contracted for, with the Manatowac Furniture company of Wic. for $1250.00, entire seating in the way of pews, complete. The art glass companies sent their representative to the committee meetings, and a committee of three was appointed to select the glass; viz., Rev. Pardoe, Saylor and Hutchinson. The glass was bought from Nutchings, Murphy and Co., Boston, Mass. The order consisted of the following subjects: ''The Good Sheperd,'' ''Gethsemane,'' ''Jesus Knocking,'' ''Jesus at the Well,'' ''Jesus Walking on the Sea,'' ''The Ascension,'' also three transoms, and twelve Sunday School room windows. The company was to pay all freight charges and also furnish the committee with a set of designs from which persons desiring to take memorial windows, could select, the contract price being $1250.00. This committee was also instructed to secure bids for frescoing. At a meeting held on August 11, '02, the committee appointed H. O. Fettinger to get estimates for lighting fixtures. As far as the records show, the building committee only went out of their own board once for help, and that was to secure assistance in selecting the carpet. One from the Board of Trustees, one from the Building Committee, and one from the Ladies' Aid was chosen. The carpet was purchased from W. S. Aaron, for $864.00 for the entire church. It was discovered that Mr. Sholler, the supervising architect, was not attending properly to his duties, and the interests of the board and church in general were being very loosely looked after. An investigation by the building committee found many unsatisfactory things, some of which were: the steps to the main entrance, which were too narrow; the main steam-heating pipes were too low, making that part of the basement of no use, only for junk or something of that kind; a thorough inspection by a skilled mechanic on heating, showed the entire heating system incomplete. The church was measured, and finding it contained 112,468 cu. ft. of space, and the system 1,800 sq. ft. of heating surface, about 30 per cent. less than it should have been. Mr. Sholler was called before the board, and asked why work was being so neglected. The board further stated that the Flexifold blinds were not finished in harmony with the other paints in color, and should be scraped and that the slate roof was leaking because of not being properly put on. The board said: "We expected better judgment from you, an expert mechanic.'' The architect was dismissed, and the following motion made by H. O. Fettinger and seconded by Mr. Auker; ''That the certificate of $1,859.35 less $65.50 for credit due them on light and heat, and rebate on ventilating process, $1,783.35 be paid by the trustees, on the condition that Wm. Vipond, the contractor, give them a release from any liability for extras on heating system, and also, withhold bill of extras on tower until after settlement with Mr. Sholler. These are some of the very many things a building committee of any church has resting upon them. The bills of the entire work have to come through their hands, and they recommend them to the trustees, who pay all bills as long as the money lasts. All honor to members of the church who pay and know nothing about where their money goes or what it is used for; for I venture to say that seventy five-per cent of the membership of any church in our city does not know what the different collections of the church are used for. They may know that a missionary collection is used for missions, but that is not knowing what the money does or how great its need, and knowledge of anything brings increased interest. On the dedication day of any of our churches, the records will show that the official men are almost always the most liberal givers. If I were to answer the question, I would not say because they are the best able, for the ones who are able do not always give the most; but I believe it is because they are paying or subscribing intelligently.
This church was dedicated to God in the usual way on December 7, 1902, and subscriptions were taken covering the amount of indebtedness. The shrinkage on the part of some, left a debt hanging over the church from that time on. The present pastor has been making an earnest effort to pay this debt, $1,000.00, having been paid since conference, leaving a present indebtedness of $7,000.00. This church has not been occupied solely in building. Since her birth many revivals have been held, under Rev. J. B. Stein, R. H. Colburn, McK. Reiley, Miller and Lamberson. These revivals were very fruitful and helpful. She began with nine (9) members in 1883. Her membership is now 550, with 75 probationers. She has given, for Home and Foreign missions, and church extensions, since 1888, $6,265.00. Probable value in 1888, $4,000. Present probable value, parsonage included, $31,000.00.
I know of no better way of expressing the attitude of this membership toward their church than in the words of Timothy Dwight:"I love thy kingdom, Lord, The house of thine abode,
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