MISS MARTHA COWGILL WRITES COMPLETE HISTORY OF CHURCH
The Baldwin Ledger, 3 June 1932

 

Our church organization up to the present time has been housed in five different buildings exclusive of the pioneer days when for several years the congregation met around at the homes of the members.

 

When Baker's first college building, known as the "Old Castle" was completed, the chapel room was used for church services. Here for ten years the congregation worshiped but all the while the need of a home of its own was felt by this group and a conviction grew upon the people that they must build.

 

At that time, 1868, the undertaking of such an enterprise by so small a group and with practically no money seemed hazardous in the extreme. But the will to do was in large evidence and the work was begun.

 

The building committee consisted of Samuel Weeks, Samuel Kiefer, and C. B. Beeks. Much of the labor was donated, willing hands brought the loads of stone that went into the walls while others did much of the actual work of construction. At this early date the Ladies' Sewing Circle, which in these days has become The Ladies Aid, raised $500, which greatly aided in the work. In fact some authorities give this circle the credit of building the church, however this statement should be taken with some moderation when we consider the great amount of work donated by the men. Names of that Ladies Sewing Circles as far as found were: Mrs. Elisha Olcott, Mrs. Elijah Sells, Mrs. C. B. Beeks, Mrs. Dr. Dallas, Mrs. Kate Darnell, Mrs. Chas. Dickinson, Mrs. J. R. Campbell, Mrs. Richard Stephens and Mrs. Mary Foster. The cost of the building was $3,000.

 

Here the church flourished and grew until 1885 when it was found that more room and better accommodations were needed so the next move was made to the college chapel, the new Centenary hall affording much more room for church and Sunday School work.

 

After ten or more years in the chapel the congregation decided to build a church. Various plans for carrying out this seemingly impossible undertaking was put forth, the first of which was to put a $5,000 addition to the Old Stone church. But as the plans developed their faith increased. Dr. S. S. Murphy, who was the pastor proved to be a wonderful leader, and as the matter was more thoroughly discussed the conviction grew that the enterprise was worthy of the best that could be put into it. The final outcome was that the impossible was accomplished and in 1904 the Brick Church, a $30,000 building was dedicated free of debt.

 

This was an outstanding event, up to this time, in the history of our church and deserves special mention.

 

For several years the social and religious life of the town had centered about the building of a new church. It had been a thought in Dr. Murphy's mind ever since he took over this pastorate. 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 Stone Church at a cost of $5,000.

 

This proposition thoroughly frightened some of the brethren who declared it could not be done. But as time moved on it was finally decided to build a church at a cost of $10,000. As plans for beginning the work developed they grew. Some of the trustees began to fear and fearing they resigned, but the work went on to completion and in three years was ready for use.

 

It was dedicated February 14, 1904. The services of J. W. Powell of Buffalo, N.Y., had been secured to put over the money raising proposition, $10,000 dollars was the amount needed, but through the Church Extension Board $4,000 was provided so that if $6,000 could be raised the building could be dedicated. On Sunday morning Rev. Matt S. Hughes of Kansas City preached a wonderful sermon, after which Mr. Powell took the floor with his blackboard. The subscriptions came in rapidly and at 12:30 o'clock everybody went home to dinner not knowing just how much had been pledged. An afternoon meeting was held for the children who had been barred from the morning service on account of lack of room, and a League service at 6:00 p.m. preceded the evening service. Dr. J. C. Halls, a Baker graduate of the class of 1866, preached the evening sermon after which Mr. Powell took the floor. All was eager expectation as he stood to give the summary of the day's work and when he announced that the total subscriptions amounted t. $13,000 the audience was simply paralyzed when all at once somebody started the doxology. They sang it over and over. They did not want to go home. They stayed until eleven o'clock. Everybody seemed to have a speech to make.

 

The trustees were: I. Stickel, S. C. Markam, W. M. Clark, O. G. Markham, Charles E. Beeks, Fred Harpster, J. M. Follin, John Moorehead and S. A. Lough.

 

The Brick Church with all its furnishings and equipment was entirely destroyed by fire November 30, 1930.

 

Ere the flames had subsided plans were being made to rebuild, and today we are just entering our beautiful new church a model of convenience and a piece of architecture that would do credit to any town in the state.

 

Dr. Calvin Holman, the pastor in charge when this building project was launched, with the aid of the trustees and building committee, had done much toward putting the new work on a practical foundation when he was called to the pastorate of the First M. E. Church at Manhattan. Dr. Wiley Keve, his successor at Baldwin took up the proposition and although never before had he been called on to lead such an enterprise, he went at it like an old soldier determined to win and never has he given utterance to a single word of discouragement. Most ably aided by the trustees and building committee the work has been carried to completion. Never has more faithful and persistent work been done. Whenever this stupendous task ran against a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle these men, with others of the membership, got under the load with their influence and pledges that meant sacrifice of the finest order and today we have the result of their labors, the building stands a monument of their zealous work. In the words of a noble old English baronet, "They have done the best things in the worst times and have hoped in the most calamitous doubt."

 

The various committees that have labored so faithfully in this heroic undertaking are given below with the dates of their organization.

 

Nov. 30, 1930 (Day of the fire)

 

Judicious Committee Appointed: C. E. Beeks, Wallace B. Fleming, G. M. Liston, Wilson Counts, C. E. Holcombe, J. W. Spurgeon, W. M. Clark.

 

Dec. 8, 1930, Ways and Means

 

Committee Appointed: T. A. Evans, Leo Smith, W. O. Gibbon, F. E. Wolf, Will Hey.

 

Jan. 15, 1931 The Trustees reported the appointment of C. E. Holcombe as financial secretary and W. O. Gibbon, Treasurer of the Building Fund; Committee on Publicity appointed T. A. Evans, Dr. Fleming, and the pastor.

 

June 4, 1931, Committee in Church Building: W. B. Fleming, C. E. Beeks, H. K,. Ebright, W. M. Clark, T. A. Evans, J. W. Spurgeon, C. E. Stephens, Will Hey, Wilson Counts, F. E. Wolf, Leo Smith, B. H.. Schultz, G. M. Liston, and C. E. Holcombe.

 

Sub Committee on Construction: W. M. Clark, Chas. E. Beeks, H. K. Ebright, B. H. Schulltz, G. M. Liston, Wilson Counts, and Mrs. A. E. Tunin.

 

Present Trustees: C. E. Beeks, A. E. Leach, W. O. Gibbon, A. E. Preston, A. H. Kraft, R. E. McHenry, C. E. Stephens, C. E. Morris, G. M. Liston.

 
Home | Ministries | Calendar | Our History | Our Staff | Links | Photo Gallery | Church Council | The Vine