Wartime Church Building

A look at a little Wayside Chapel.

By WILLIAM WALLACE ELLIS, District Superintendent, Alpena, Michigan

The little Wayside Chapel, which we recently completed and dedicated in Monroe, Michigan, is a building twenty-four feet wide and sixty-five feet long (somewhat similar in dimensions to the Mosaic sanctuary). The side walls (exterior) are about thirteen and one-half feet high. The outside is finished in white, with royal blue shutters, flower boxes, and roof. The brick work is all in varicolored red.

Inside, the walls are light-cream plaster, with natural oak floors, white-enameled woodwork, and colonial, polished-brass lighting fixtures. Tapestries, draperies, and carpets are bur­gundy. The leather seats and upholstered backs are in blue. There is a small school­room, complete with blackboard and closet space in the rear of the building, with a separate side entrance.

There are a number of facts about this build­ing which we think are noteworthy:

1. First, it was built by a preacher, with volunteer help of both men and women in the congregation. The preacher was not a car­penter, but when he did not know what to do next, he got on his knees and asked Jesus, the Carpenter, what to do.

2. Although it is valued at $15,000 (esti­mated on the cost of labor and new materials, if hired and bought), and although insured for $10,000, it cost but $6,000, including the lot (located on the most prominent intersec­tion of the city) and all the equipment, as well as the building.

3. It is constructed almost entirely of old salvage materials. The only new materials used were the paint, plaster, stained glass, foundation, lighting fixtures, and oak flooring. When refused priority for a new building, we bought an old hotel and salvaged the materials. Finding we needed no priority to spend up to $1,000 a year to erect this building, we obtained city permission and went to work. The nails, metal eave troughs, plumbing, wiring, metal roofing materials for the steeple, etc., came to us in answer to prayer, and all were bought without any priority.

More than thirty bouquets and baskets of flow­ers were sent by various firms and people on the day of dedication. This shows how the city and community appreciated the accomplishment of the project. The following item, written by a Catho­lic editor, appeared in the Monroe Daily News a week after the dedication of the church. In his column called "The Observer" he said :

"It has been a long time since 'The Observer' has heard so many favorable comments on an addition to the community as he has heard on the new Wayside Chapel on East Elm. This little church was built, as were several in Monroe, by the effort and craftsmanship of its members. But its builders had an eye for beauty as well as service, and their work, they may be glad to know, has pleased a great many people. The example might well serve as an inspiration to other congregations."—June 24, 1944.

Every business house and office in the city was visited by the ladies of the church, who presented them with a copy of Seventh-day Adventists; Their Belief and Work, which contained a: special insert showing the church and giving the hours of worship. Although no public solicitation was made, many of the merchants gave the ladies free­will offerings, and one president of a manufactur­ing concern made a contribution of more than $200.

In such times as these we look upon this church as a miracle of God's providence. Businessmen tell us that it is the most beautiful church in the city, which has a population of about 24,000 now, owing to war industries. Conference officials call it Michigan's most beautiful small church. It was built and paid for in eighteen months' time, and shows what can be accomplished if a congregation wants a church home enough to work for it.

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By WILLIAM WALLACE ELLIS, District Superintendent, Alpena, Michigan

February 1945

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