Out here in the North Central States where the city populations are small and the conference incomes are meager, we must use a smaller set-up than that used in many of our other conferences. However, we try to make these tabernacles as modern and attractive as possible. It is a satisfaction to know that we can have something representative on a small scale, yet adapted to the field in which we are located.
We have been using the dome-shaped, streamlined tabernacle for five campaigns, both in Iowa and North Dakota, and find it the most attractive structure we have ever used. This type of building is new to most people in our part of the country, and has good drawing power. One man asked us to take a contract to construct a building just like it for him in another part of the city. People come long distances to see the "new streamlined chapel."
The building shown in the picture is the one we are now using. It is 30' x 72', made in the form of a semicircle. The ribs are made of four I" N 4" boards bolted to 2" x 6" foundation stringers, which are in turn bolted to 4" x 4" posts driven about three feet into the ground. Once the form for the ribs is made, four or five men can build enough ribs for a very large building in a day. The rest of the work is simple.
This building seats 300 people, and before the war cost $475, plus much labor which was donated. In order to use the building this winter, we will spend another $too for insulation and other material to make it warm. No conference need go bankrupt under that kind of program. We filled the building to capacity during the week, and twice every Sunday night, in a city where we had only twenty-six members when we first entered.
Our system of lighting the platform end of the building has drawn many favorable comments. The accompanying cut of the interior will give some idea of the platform even though the colors are not discernible. Behind the picture screen there are twenty-eight lights of four different colors mixed evenly on both sides. The top row of lights reflects against a painted wallboard nailed to the building itself. The next piece of wallboard is out from the first piece far enough to set the bulbs between the two boards, and the bulbs are far enough below the top edge of the second board so that they cannot be seen from any place on the floor of the auditorium. There are four such rows of lights, the last row being only about twenty inches from the screen.
In this way the lights do not interfere with the pictures on the screen. These lights are never turned out during the service. While the people are coming in to the strains of the organ music, small wall lights are used in addition to these colored lights. This combination makes a dignified and impressive scene. The music director turns on the main lights as he enters the platform to begin the song service.
The entrance to the building is lighted by several neon tubes which follow certain curves on the building. Around the fifteen-foot canopy over the entrance is a band of neon; another twelve-foot piece is curved over the words, "The Radio Chapel ;" two bands appear on each side of the two circular boards which help to hold up the canopy, and a complete circle of white shows under the canopy. These tubes are of rose, white, and blue, thus giving a patriotic effect which is very attractive. The circular tubes on this type of building have a much better effect than neon letters, which are used on almost every other building.
The baptistery is behind the curtain, just behind the speaker's desk and exactly between the two sections of colored lights. During baptisms all lights, except the colored, are turned out. Those who have seen this service say it is one of the most beautiful and impressive they have beheld. From the picture one can see the glow of the lights against the boards, just below the top edge of the six-foot partition which extends all the way across the building.
No one hesitates to bring friends to such a meeting place. Many businessmen have told us that their city has never seen anything like it. People from all walks of life have been attracted to our tabernacle. The building can be used over and over again, and can be moved at very little cost. It certainly serves its purpose, and our churches are proud to have the gospel preached in such a building in their town.