Some Facts About The Moody Church
An article about The Moody Church in 1927.
The Moody Church, as a corporate body, was first known as the Illinois Street Church, organized in 1864 with twelve charter members. The Moody Memorial Church [building], dedicated November 8, 1925, is the outgrowth of this effort.
This massive red brick structure, costing approximately a million dollars, is located at the corner of Clark Street and North Avenue, facing Lincoln Park. Breathing simplicity and power in every line, it is an appropriate memorial to the founder whose life work included also the establishment of Northfield Seminary in 1879, the Chicago Bible Institute in 1886 (named after his death “The Moody Bible Institute”), and the Bible Institute Colportage Association.
The site of the D.L. Moody Memorial Church and Sunday-school building covers a ground area approximately 225 by 200 feet of which the church auditorium occupies 140 by 225 feet, a rectangle with a semi-circular end facing Clark Street. The Sunday-school unit covers a space measuring 50 by 180 feet and is two stories high. The auditorium interior is 120 by 184 feet with a height of 68 feet to the crown of the vaulted ceiling. There are 2,200 seats in the main floor and 1,840 in the balcony, which, constructed on the cantilever principle, leaves the auditorium wholly free of columns or other obstructions. Daylight floods the auditorium on all sides and at night illumination is provided by seven main fixtures of the semi-indirect type, each seven feet in diameter and sixteen feet high. The lamp capacity of each fixture is 4,000 watts, and the lamps are divided into four circuits for each fixture, allowing four different intensities of illumination.
The rooms are named for some of the former pastors and officials:
Mr. Ira D. Sankey
Dr. R.A. Torrey
Dr. A.C. Dixon
Rev. E.Y. Woolley
Rev. William W. Borden
Rev. J.S. Jacoby
Rev. John Harper
Prof. D.B. Towner
Mr. John Morison
Mr. R.F. Aitchison
Mr. J.M. Hitchcock
Mr. E. Kappeler
Policy and Government
The Moody Church is interdenominational and unsectarian. Its object is the salvation of the lost and the perfecting of the saints. The history of this church makes it clear that D.L. Moody and his associates wrought wisely in laying down the articles of faith (each a verbatim portion of the Scripture) and in formulating the constitution. Founded on God’s Word, The Moody Church is the same today in doctrine and practice as in the beginning. The whole emphasis is now, as in Moody’s day, on a Bible preaching, evangelizing and teaching ministry.
The government of the church is democratic. An Executive Committee, composed of the pastors, elders, deacons, trustees, treasurers, clerk, head usher and Sunday-school director, meets each Monday evening to transact business. There are 25 sub-committees functioning separately and reporting to the Executive Committee.
The Bible School convenes at 9:45 a.m. There are 8 departments, 147 teachers and 18 officers. A meeting for Sunday-school workers is held each Wednesday evening. Cafeteria supper is served as a convenience.
There are three public meetings each Sunday. The attendance averages 3,500 morning and evening, but not infrequently the auditorium, accommodating 4,040, is filled. The evening address is always evangelistic, culminating in an appeal to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This has been the object and the program of The Moody Church since the day of its founding. It has not swerved from this purpose and God has not withheld His blessing.
The regular mid-week meeting of the church is held on Wednesday evening from 7:45 to 9 o’clock, in Sankey Auditorium, located below the main auditorium, seating approximately 1,200 people. Between 700 and 1,000 attend regularly. Fully half of this number are young people under thirty years of age. Smaller groups meet for prayer in many parts of the building on Sunday and during the week.
The Lord’s Supper is celebrated monthly, at the close of the Sunday morning service. In this church, regardless of denominational connection, all believers are welcome to partake of the emblems of our Lord’s death and coming again.
Frequently the dedication of children is a part of the Sunday morning schedule.
Believers are baptized on the third Sunday evening of each month. The baptistery is conveniently located at the back of the pulpit and above the choir where the ceremony may be easily viewed from all parts of the building.
It has been frequently said that Moody and Sankey taught the world how to sing. In The Moody Church a prominent part is given to the ministry of gospel music. Each Sunday evening an hour’s musical program is offered. The month-end song service is a historic feature of this church. The last Sunday evening of each month is given almost entirely to the presentation of the gospel in song, with gratifying results.
Eighty-seven members of The Moody Church (34 men and 53 women) are missionaries serving under 19 societies in Africa, Central America, China, Korea, India, Romania, and South America. Of that number, the church and Sunday-school support 62. The policy of The Moody Church, adopted in 1923, provides that this church shall aim, first of all, at the support of its members who are foreign missionaries (personally approved by the Missionary and Executive Committees), working under societies approved annually by these committees.
The Moody Italian Mission and the Moody Mission Church of Ravenswood, branches of The Moody Church, are located, respectively, at 454 West Division street, in the Italian quarter, and at the corner of Lincoln, Montrose and Leavitt streets, in the northwest section of the city.
The Women’s Meeting is a Wednesday afternoon fellowship hour. It is especially attractive to mothers who cannot attend the Sunday services.
To the Business Women’s Hour, Sunday evening at five o’clock, come women of many vocations who appreciate such an opportunity for praise and Bible teaching.
The Nursery is a comfortable, modernly-equipped suite of rooms where small children are cared for during the services on Sunday and Wednesday afternoon. There are two sewing circles, which meet for fellowship and the making of garments for the poor.
The Business Girls’ Council meets each Monday evening for supper and fellowship. The direct object is the salvation of souls and the cultivation of wholesome friendship.
Two organizations for young people, meeting each Sunday afternoon, are the Friendship Club and the Christian Companionship Club. There is a Children’s Church, where services are held Sunday morning and evening.
One hundred and thirty-five men are members of the Usher Band. They meet for prayer each Sunday morning at 9:30 and during the week they conduct evangelistic meetings in rescue missions.
The Tract League is an organization of men and women who visit jails, police stations, hospitals and other institutions each week, holding religious services, distributing tracts, and endeavoring to lead men and women to Jesus Christ.
Nearly 100 men and women assist in the work of Visitation among members of the church. Thirty men are designated “District Overseers” and each has charge of a definite territory. There are 50 lady visitors. These groups meet monthly for fellowship and the presentation of reports.
During the summer months, Open Air Meetings are conducted systematically by six or more organizations. Tracts, Scripture portions and invitations are distributed.
The Yoke Fellow Band is one of the oldest organizations of the church. Following their Sunday afternoon meeting, the members distribute on the street corners invitations to the services of the church.
Publicity and Expense
The official organ of The Moody Church is The Moody Church News, published monthly. Regularly it contains a sermon by the Pastor and other Bible teachers, correspondence from missionaries, and items of local interest.
Each week it requires $1,090 to meet the general expenses of The Moody Church. This amount is covered entirely by the freewill offerings of the people.
In addition, $600 is needed each week to meet the interest due on bonds, making a total weekly requirement of $1,690.