The Twentieth Anniversary Of The Dedication Of The Moody Memorial Church
Sunday, November 8, 1925, was a day of days for the members and friends of the church which had grown from the work that D.L. Moody started so long before. For years the congregation had met for worship and testimony in the building erected through the efforts of Moody and his helpers at the corner of LaSalle Street and Chicago Avenue. After the attendance outgrew that building, it was sold to the Moody Bible Institute and the congregation moved to the site of the present great church, where a wooden tabernacle was erected that served for some ten years. In the early days of the ministry of Dr. P.W. Philpott plans were considered for putting up a permanent and worthy structure in place of the temporary one which was fast becoming sadly depreciated. Finally a Building Committee was elected, plans were drawn, the work began, and at last was finished, and so, just twenty years ago, this magnificent building, costing $1,000,000 and seating 4,040 people, was thrown open and formally dedicated. At that time it was half paid for. In the next eighteen years every dollar of indebtedness was cleared off. Dr. Philpott remained with the church until the end of 1929. After an interim of some months, H.A. Ironside, who had conducted Bible Conferences in the church on several occasions, accepted a unanimous call to become pastor and became officially such in March 1930.
From The Moody Church News of November 1925, we clip the following account of the dedication services. Many who then participated are now in the glory. Others remain to carry on the testimony:
“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* 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 well was demonstrated by the fact that an enormous crowd was thickly seated in the spacious auditorium without the slightest confusion. Every one of the 4,040 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 sunlight 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 of 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 and 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.”
Through all the years since The Moody Memorial Church has been a great gospel lighthouse, sending out the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Often the auditorium proves too small for the crowds desiring to attend special services, and even though several smaller rooms, accommodating some 1,500 more are linked up with the public address system, oftentimes thousands have had to be turned away. It is a remarkable proof that the old Gospel has lost none of its ancient power. More than 100 foreign missionaries and some 30 home missionaries, all members of The Moody Church are witnessing in this and many other lands and most of these are supported in whole or in part by the church.
Truly “the memory of the just is blessed.” God has honored the testimony of D.L. Moody because of the way he honored Christ.
It is noteworthy that in Chicago, the city where he labored so long and faithfully, are The Moody Church and the great Moody Bible Institute to carry on his work and perpetuate his memory.
*Editor’s Note: “The Moody Memorial Church” is the name of the building in which resides the sanctuary and ambulatory. The incorporated name of the church is “The Moody Church.”
Milestones of The Moody Church: https://www.moodymedia.org/about-us/milestones/
Senior Pastors of The Moody Church: https://www.moodymedia.org/about-us/pastors/