THE NEW CHURCH IS DEDICATED

The Baldwin Ledger, 19 Feb. 1904

 

Over $13,000 Raised in Less Than Two Hours at Three Services — An Inspiring Sight — Dr. Murphy Will Go to Jerusalem.


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The People Begin to Realize That They Now Have a Distinctive Church Life.


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Join In and Swell the Fund For a Pipe Organ.


No other town in Kansas could do it. Other towns are larger, other towns are wealthier, other towns have more support from the surrounding country, but no town has done what Baldwin did last Sunday.

 

For several years the social and religious life of the town has centered about the building of the new M. E. Church. This does not date from the laying of the corner stone. It goes back farther than that. It has been a thought in Dr. Murphy’s mind ever since he came here seven years ago. It has been a growth with all of us. One of the most intensely interested ones, who wanted to see the church life of Baldwin made more efficient, was Col. Buckner. The height of his ambition was to enlarge the old church at a cost of $5,000. Some of the brethren were badly frightened over such a proposition, declaring that it could not be done. But a committee was appointed to see what could be done. Fortunately for the town and church, the committee didn’t do anything. Time moved on and with it the church enterprise. It was finally decided to build a brand new church — to cost about $10,000 — a great victory for those who wanted a church separate from the college buildings. Then came a long drawn-out, good natured controversy over where the church should be located.

 

It was soon demonstrated that the town was moving south and west and accordingly the location was made more central than the old church. The plan grew, the vision of the pastor became greatly enlarged. Some of the trustees began to fear, and fearing they resigned — some because they were too old to undertake such a task and some because the financial undertaking was too large for their faith. Everybody wanted a new church but not everybody was willing to undertake it.

 

Then the plans were adopted. They looked good on paper, but some said they would never get any farther. The pastor, some of the trustees, a few women and Providence did not give up. Subscriptions were begun and the location was secured. The pastor began the work as soon as the disciplinary requirements were met on the subscriptions. Then the fearful again saw bad dreams. This preacher was going to build a big palace of a church here, then go away and leave us for years under a great burden of debt. But the work went on, although some of the wealthiest of the town and country would not give a penny.

 

It was thirty-six years ago that the little simple marble slab bearing the date 1868 was placed above the door of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Baldwin. The society had been organized in 1857, but like today they were holding their meetings in the college chapel — "Old Castle." Baldwin was one of the several appointments which paid their minister $400 a year with the aid of missionary money and they thought they were doing well, too.

 

According to the records, the first attempt towards building a church was made at the quarterly conference held in Prairie City on April 26, 1863. S. Brooks was the presiding elder, T. J. Ferril the minister and W. W. Junkins recorded the proceedings. The committee appointed to estimate the cost and property of erecting a church building in Baldwin were: W. G. Piper, D. Willey and W. H. Schofield.

 

The records are silent until almost a year had passed, then on March 19, 1864, another committee was appointed, consisting of S. Keifer, E. Alcott, F. L. Robinson, J. W. Frame and L. L. Hartman. The committee this time was enlarged. Undoubtedly the question was talked of a good deal, but it was difficult matter to haul the material, the people were poor and besides they had a good place to meet — the college buildings. But in the sunny days of June, at another meeting, with H. D. Fisher, the presiding elder, and W. Butt, the minister, the trustees were ordered to purchase lots 90 to 100, inclusive, on Dearborn street, and the idea of building a church was beginning to take on more material form.

 

In 1865 Baldwin became a station by itself and was paying the pastor $800 a year. On April first of this year another building committee was elected. They were E..Olcott, J. W. Frame and S. Keifer. To change the monotony of the meeting some good brother objected to the use of an organ for congregational singing, declaring that it was not sanctioned by the discipline of the bishops. The elder referred him to the annual conference.

 

Again on January 4, 1868, Samuel Weeks, C. B. Beeks and Samuel Keifer were appointed the building committee. There were plenty of committees appointed and it looks as if there was little else done, but that was not the case. Each week now found some person who took his team and hauled sand or rock, and little by little preparations were made. But just at this point the women of the church took control, as the following paragraph shows: Prof. H. P. Shepard moved that the quarterly conference request the trustees on church property to constitute the ladies of Baldwin City who are associated and known as the Ladies’ Sociable as the lawful agents to undertake the building of the new church. The above motion was carried without a dissenting voice. Yes, and doubtless men breathed a sigh of relief when they could thus so easily rid themselves of this responsibility. The ladies then raised $500 and the building of the church began. After many toils and disappointments and struggles the meeting house was finished and dedicated. Five years had passed and they had been years of sacrifice to many who were not only trying to build this church but were also doing what they could to help the college. All honor to those who did what they could and did it heroically. This church cost $10,000.

 

On June 4, 1901, the corner stone of the new church was laid by Bishop H. W. Warren. The Board of Trustees at that time were: E. M. Wood, G. R. Benedict, O. G. Markham, I. Stickle, J. E. Hair, M. J. Stickel, Chas. E. Beeks, J. M. Follin. It was a happy moment for those who had labored so hard and whose faith was strong. Then the work moved on but as it moved those who had the building in charge moved on in their thoughts and plans and the church grew. There was no plan for a gallery in the main auditorium but they put in a gallery that is very beautiful in design and workmanship as well as adds very materially to the seating capacity of the church. It has been almost three years in its erection, but in many ways this has been to our advantage, for now that the end is almost here we can readily see that had the work been pushed, we would today not have as complete an edifice. The building is 103x74 feet and will seat 1,400 people with ease so that all can see the speaker. Besides this, there are a pastor’s study, and two larger rooms for primary Sunday school work. Then in the basement is a kitchen, dining room and reception or boys’ club room. There is no church in the state that utilizes its seating capacity so well, none so well arranged, none with so large an altar for communion services, none with more handsome hardwood finish. The windows are also very beautiful — the largest one being a gift of the South Kansas Conference, and others being given by different organizations and individuals.

 

And now we come to Dedication Day. It was not as pleasant a day as it might have been and kept a good many people from the country away. But if it had been a summer’s day it is hard telling what would have been done with the people. The church was crowded, although all children under fifteen years were kept at home The choir furnished some excellent music, and the prayer meeting of Saturday night with Mr. J. W. Powell, of Buffalo, N.Y., as leader, had put many in a good spiritual frame of mind. The sermon of Rev. Matt. S. Hughes, of Kansas City, was a great power. This sermon had as much to do with getting the people in a frame of mind to give as any other feature. It was a great feast. Then Mr. Powell explained his plan of taking shares in the new church and issuing certificates of stock to each shareholder. On Saturday night, about 100 people had taken stock so that they might go on the floor on Sunday morning and assist. The subscriptions in this way came in thick and fast. At 12:30 everybody went home for dinner but nobody knew how much had been raised. We needed about $10,000, but arrangements had been made with the Church Extension Board of the church for a loan of $4,000, hence, to dedicate we must have at least $6,000. Mr. Powell plead with the people not to let a mortgage be put on the building. Everybody felt that we were doing well but nobody knew exactly what we had done.

 

In the afternoon at 3 p.m., the children who had stayed at home in the morning had a meeting and each was given a souvenir button with a picture of the new church. Some classes took shares in the church and then the service was turned into an altar service. This continued until 5:30 and before it closed almost fifty young people were taken into the church. This service was conducted by Mr. Powell and the choir gave some special music.

 

At 6 p.m. the seats were still warm when the next service began. This was an Epworth League service, conducted by Rev. R. C. Harker, D. D. of Chicago. Following this service, Rev. J. C. Hall, D.D., of Wellington, a graduate of Baker in 1866, gave a very spiritual sermon. About fifteen minutes were then devoted to receiving subscriptions for shares, when, very unexpectedly to many, Mr. Powell closed this part of the service, and then all was expectation. He had not pushed this matter very much at the evening service and hence, everybody knew that we had at least reached the $6,000 mark. He then made the announcement, while everybody half rose in expectation. When he said we had raised about $13,000, people looked at each other for a few moments and did not know what to say. Then some fellow started the Doxology, but he was so excited that he pitched it too high and had to give it up. Then the leading female voice in the choir tried it but she made just as bad an attempt at it. It was evident that music could not at that time give vent to the people’s feelings. Dr. Murphy was called out but he could not control his voice for tears of joy, and so for a few moments people just sat and looked at each other in sweet contentment. Mr. I. Stickel then, as president of the Board of Trustees, announced that the two windows in the pastor’s study had been set aside for Dr. Murphy in remembrance of the most efficient work he had done in pushing the church enterprise. Don’t you remember how you used to sit in the church and hold a knowing smile on your lips whenever Dr. Murphy would talk about building a big church? Don’t you remember how you used to run your hand down into your pocket, to be sure that your pocketbook was still there when he would call you to account for your small faith in the enterprise, and your even smaller subscription? Well, after Mr. Stickel concluded with some very fitting remarks about the services of Dr. Wood, his predecessor as president of the Board of Trustee. President Murlin suggested that a collection be taken to send Dr. Murphy to Jerusalem and the people responded most heartily. The present membership of the board of trustees that are building the church is: I. Stickel, President; W. C. Markham, Secretary; W. M. Clark, Treasurer; O. G. Markham, Charles E. Beeks, Fred Harpster, J. M. Follin, John Moorhead and S. A. Lough.

 

Then came the solemn, dedicatory service, led by Dr. Murphy, assisted by President Murlin and Dr. Hughes. Then came short, congratulatory addresses by everybody who wanted to talk, and by some who didn’t want to talk, but would rather sit still and think and smile a great big smile of satisfaction. The people didn’t go home until almost eleven o’clock. They didn’t care to build three tabernacles – this one was good enough for them, and they can’t understand yet why Peter wanted to build three.


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AFTERTHOUGHTS


Come out to the church rally and social Friday night — tonight and hear and realize what this new church life may mean to our community.

 

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The trustees met Monday and ordered work to be begun immediately in the basement with the hope that it may be completed by Conference time.


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Several of our business and professional men made no subscriptions last Sunday. Other citizens are in the same class. Everybody ought to have some part in this great work and they will be given an opportunity before the matter is closed up.


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The largest subscription, with the exception of the Ladies Aid Society, was $400. We are safe in saying that $400 will cover all the subscriptions received from out of town people. Over 600 people made some subscription. This is well, for more people will now feel that they have an interest in the church.


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When it was announced that we had raised about $13,000, people immediately saw in their minds the basement completed and a pipe organ installed in the choir loft. To this end, several people around the pulpit and choir loft agreed to raise their subscriptions, provided the organ was put in immediately — that is, as soon as it can be built— and about $200 was thus added to the list. Others have spoken of it since and it is hoped that at least $1,000 additional will be taken in shares by next Sunday.


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We now have an opportunity to complete the church — basement and all, and install a fine pipe organ if the people will raise about $1,000 more. Of this amount, $250 was raised in a few minutes on Sunday evening after the service — when it was seen that such a delightful culmination was possible. But this amount was all given by those who have already given very liberally. Who will be the next to join this company? Why not make it possible for our city to have the very best that can be found for the children in even much large towns?


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Last summer when it was thought that we could get the church dedicated by September, some people thought that we ought to dedicate just before the students returned, so that they would not crowd into the church and take the places in the church that should be occupied by our business men and the country people, whose farms and business are much enhanced in value by this new building. The figures show that this would have been a grand mistake. The students, who have no property in or near town or business here, have evidently set an example worthy of emulation.


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Here are some interesting figures taken from the subscriptions toward the new church: Non-resident students have subscribed $1,725; Sunday school classes, $650; Ladies’ Aid Society, $1,000; Epworth League, $100; Y. W. F. M. S. $100; Epworth Home Circle, $350; Junior League, $25, faculty of Baker University, $960; businessmen, excluding of C. P. Ives, $400; A. F. & A. M., $50; members of other churches, $175; people not members of any church, $300. Look over this list and see if the class in which you belong has done all it can or even all it ought to. It is evident that no class of people have over-burdened themselves.


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The news from Baldwin, where subscriptions to the amount of thirteen thousand dollars were made to the new Methodist church on Sunday, indicates that the Methodist spirit reaches its highest degree of activity in a strictly Methodist community. In Ottawa, to be sure, the Methodists are successfully active with the collection basket, but Ottawas is a town of Baptists and Presbyterians and Congregationalists, not to mention a large representation of the other congregations, as well as quite a sprinkling of those whose feet are inclined not to Godly ways. Conditions, as the spiritualists would say, are not right for a test here since there are unsympathetic influences present. But in Baldwin, as everybody knows, there are none but Methodists. The results of Sunday’s campaign brought many into the kingdom and so weighted down were the coffers of the Lord with wealth that those who toiled at the collection were, like the disciples of old, scarcely able to draw in the bounteous returns which were thrown into their nets. – Ottawa Herald


The Baldwin Ledger, 22 Feb. 1904

 

There is wholly a different atmosphere surrounding us when we attend services in the church, instead of the chapel. It is more of a church home and the associations of college life are more easily put aside than they were in the old chapel.

 

The Baldwin Ledger, 22 Feb. 1904

 

The Baldwin papers are filled this week with accounts of the dedication of the new $30,000 Methodist church in that city. It is probably the largest church in a town of its size in the United States. The Methodists of Baldwin are hustlers, and are making a fine little college town in Douglas county. – Lawrence Journal


The Baldwin Ledger, 4 Mar. 1904

 

The new M. E. church is well arranged in its seating, but the architect made no arrangement for the high hat. It is very noticeable that it is utterly impossible to see the speaker when the womenkind wear their hats. The board of trustees of the church have been discussing very seriously the matter of passing aa resolution requesting the ladies to remove their hats. It has been noticed that many are already doing so while others do so when requested by those sitting behind them. If you must wear a high hat, please sit on the back row.

 
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