The baptistry we use in the McComas-Turner auditorium is portable, and is so constructed as to be easily moved to another location where it can be installed again.
As you will notice in the diagram of the auditorium, the tank is set in the elevated choir loft, in and level with the last or third row of stairs. Each choir row is four feet wide. The tank, which is made of heavy tin, is four feet wide, nine feet long, and four feet deep.
The background-4 x 10 x 7 feet—is also portable. It is a boxlike structure made of plywood, beautifully decorated at the back with a painting which makes the service appear as though it were being conducted in the open. Mountains, trees, and rocks are all in natural color, and a real waterfall, which has been installed, is put into use during the service. The interior of the baptistry scene is lighted with soft amber lights, which give a good effect to the different colors. By looking at the picture, you can visualize its construction. (See page 26.)
We used to have difficulty in heating the water in our temporary baptistries, but we believe that the heating problem is solved with our present baptistry. From Montgomery Ward and Company, we purchased a large hand weed-burner,* which is lighted and set in a large pipe about fourteen inches in diameter and four feet long. This pipe is closed at the bottom, and is suspended in the water. It has a hook on the side which fastens on the edge of the tank in such a manner as to allow the pipe to extend under the water to within two or three inches of the bottom of the tank, while its top remains above water. Some kind of iron or rock weight is needed in the pipe to hold it down in the water.
In this large pipe we have placed a partition which reaches only part way down, and the torch is placed on either side of this partition. This gives the flames a chance to circulate as they blow against the inside of the pipe, and in turn, the hot pipe heats the water. The partition also keeps the flame of the torch from going out. Under this arrangement, we are able to heat the baptistry in the coldest weather here in the Northwest. The cost of the gasoline used in heating water for one baptism is about one dollar.
As you notice by the diagram, there is a well-lighted tunnel hallway, eight feet square, which one enters before going through the double doors into the main room. The floor plan of the auditorium is constructed so that the audience has a clear view of the speaker, the choir, and also any pictures which might be shown. Portable wooden benches are placed according to the diagram.
Thick burlap, covering the entire main room of the auditorium and the hallway, is placed over five or six inches of sawdust to make a clean, soft carpet that is fastened down with laths tacked to the base of the walls.
Natural-color burlap curtains are hung at the French windows, and the background of the platform and choir loft is covered with dark green draperies, which are hung across the back and behind the baptistry scene. The burnt grain of the wood in the walls and ceiling on the interior of the auditorium gives a rich effect.
* Something like a blowtorch. Used by farmers to destroy weeds, to disinfect, and to sterilize. It throws a powerful, smokeless flame of intense heat.