The Moody Memorial Church—A Reality
For many months the members of The Moody Church congregation have been looking forward with eagerness to the day on which the doors of the Moody Memorial Church [building name] should be swung open and the splendid future home should be dedicated to the God who gave it.
As this issue of The Moody Church News goes to press that day, so long anticipated, has come and gone. The months preceding it were filled with severe testings; yet under the good hand of God mountains of difficulty have been scaled and now, looking back over a rough road, boundless joy fills the hearts of The Moody Church family.
The opening Sunday was one long to be remembered. That the architects and contractors had builded [sic] well was demonstrated by the fact that an enormous crowd was quickly seated in the spacious auditorium without the slightest confusion. Every one of the 4040 seats was occupied and hundreds of persons stood through the whole service in the ambulatory surrounding the magnificent cantilever balcony. This was a wondrous sight—the realization of many precious dreams, the reward of years of sacrifice.
Glorious golden sun light flooded the auditorium, and, coming through amber tinted windows, it lost none of its glory and retained none of its glare. It touched the audience and the speakers with what seemed to many a radiance almost divine. The platform was banked with flowers, the gifts of many thoughtful friends.
The congregation was hushed when the Chairman of the Board of Trustees handed to the Pastor the key to the main entrance to the Moody Memorial Church and declared that the building was ready for dedication. The silence continued until Mr. Homer Hammontree, Assistant Pastor and Chorister, arose to sing Knapp’s marvelous composition “Open the Gates of the Temple.” Hearts were touched for God drew very near.
The sermon, delivered by Pastor Philpott, was a glowing tribute to the undying memory of God’s great servant, Dwight L. Moody. The incidents related in connection with his life of sacrifice were soul-stirring and challenging. Yet in no sense did they merely honor man, but rather exalted the God whom D.L. Moody untiringly served. There was a spontaneous response from the congregation to the Pastor’s earnest appeal that the doctrinal foundations of this church should ever be sacredly maintained at any cost.
A splendid audience gathered for the afternoon session of the Sunday-school and again in the evening, when President Blanchard of Wheaton College, one of the former pastors of The Moody Church, brought the message. The speakers which followed during the week, Dr. H.W. Bieber, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Leander S. Keyser of Springfield, Ohio, and Congressman W.D. Upshaw of Georgia, have all emphasized the essential foundation truths of The Moody Church upon which the great spiritual structure of the future shall be built.
On Monday evening the Pastoral Staff and the Executive Committee, with their wives, received hundreds of guests in a beautifully decorated hall near the main entrance to the church. Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company very kindly loaned furniture for this occasion. Following the reception a festival of reminiscence was held in the auditorium. The organizations of the church and Sunday-school were represented and several intimate friends of D.L. Moody spoke briefly. Among these were Bishop John Funk, who is ninety-one years of age, Mr. Ernest Vogle, Mrs. A.F. Gaylord, and Mrs. M.J. Hitchcock. One of the most appreciated features of the evening was a solo by Prof. T.J. Bittikofer, former Chorister of The Moody Church, accompanied by Mrs. Bittikofer.
The first great days in the Moody Memorial Church have come and gone, but the outstanding thought in the minds of the members of The Moody Church is not that of a task accomplished, but rather of one just begun.
The building is not the end but the beginning of The Moody Church task. May it, under God, be the center from which shall radiate the light of the gospel in undimmed splendor to the glory of God’s Son that men and women everywhere at all times may come to it for peace and comfort and salvation.