In the history of public evangelism as carried on by this movement, there has never been any question as to the vital importance of an attractive, comfortable, well-located meeting place in calling out the people.
Here in the West our experience has been that suitable meeting places are often difficult to find. This has handicapped us in entering certain centers with our message publicly. The tent has been employed with some success, but in many areas, weather conditions make the tent impractical, except for the summer months, which here are not the best months for meetings anyway. Then, too, the tent generally is associated with a type of revivalism that does not appeal to the more conservative class of people.
The portable tabernacle seems to offer the most in meeting this problem, although city regulations in some places present difficulties here too. The Idaho Conference has experimented with satisfaction with a metal building with a false front. Our building is manufactured by the Butler Company in Richmond, California. It is 40' x 60', gabled roof style with four windows on each side. This is not a Quonset hut. The steel framing goes up quickly with the aid of a tractor power lift, and is secured with bolts. The sheeting—aluminum or galvanized steel as desired—is bolted on quickly on the sides. The roof is the biggest task, but four men can place it in about a week. This building was delivered, set up with the false front as pictured, ready to begin services, for about $3,500.
Our series here in La Grande, Oregon (population 10,000), ran nine months with more than a hundred evening meetings. If one were to estimate rent for a hall this size at ten dollars a night, the building would be almost a. third paid on rent costs saved, to say nothing of the conveniences for our program.
We carried on through all the winter months, and even on the coldest nights we were able to keep the building comfortable with a homemade wood-burning stove, made of two oil drums.
The portability of this building, after the original move, has not yet been demonstrated, but it seems clear that the only problem we may encounter will be in dismantling the roof. Even if a few sheets of aluminum have to be replaced, it would not cause more expense than the new roofing necessary for each move with the wooden type of tabernacle. We believe that after three or four moves, this building will make an excellent warehouse, and that will last years with no upkeep expense. We have had a number of offers to sell the building to men who would set it up as a machine shop or use it for a gymnasium.
The attractive, modern-design front, with a lighted, moveable-letter sign, has been a matter of favorable comment. A group of ministers of another denomination, passing through en route to a convention., stopped to make draw ings of it for presentation to their people. We believe the tabernacle has helped immeasurably in promoting good will for the cause here.