For the 1,325 members of the White Memorial church, the dedication of their new church on Sabbath, September 29, was a real milestone. Thus was finally brought to fruition the long-recognized need of the College of Medical Evangelists of the Los Angeles campus for suitable facilities for public health evangelism and formal religious instruction. For the past thirteen years the needs of this rapidly expanding church had been inadequately served by Paulson Hall plus various decentralized quarters.
On October 27 the new $65,000 Schubert Memorial Great Estey organ in the sanctuary was formally dedicated with an evening concert by a celebrated European musician, Karl Richter. With the aid of a public-address system this concert was carried to Olivet Chapel and the educational unit.
Long before the architect began his work, Pastor Arthur Bietz and his associates began planning how this new building might serve the church's threefold program of worship, evangelism, and education. Accordingly the total church facility is made up of three major sections, namely, the sanctuary seating 2,250, Olivet Chapel with seats for 260, and the educational unit with a total seating capacity of 990. This latter unit includes the children's divisions of the Sabbath school, committee rooms, et cetera.
To give a glimpse of how these dedicated facilities are currently being used, here is an outline of scheduled activities for a given week:
Sunday—Ministerial staff meeting in the morning; adult educational classes at 6:00 P.M. (these are a part of the evangelistic program and constitute a number of Bible study groups that meet prior to the evening meeting); Religion in Life at 8:00 P.M., the regular weekly evangelistic meeting.
Tuesday—Classes in evangelism for the conference ministry and staff, taught at present by Pastor Walter Schubert of the General Conference Ministerial Association in connection with his evangelistic program in the Los Angeles area.
Wednesday—Various standing committees of the church at 6:00 P.M.; the weekly worship and study hour at 7:50; prayer bands following.
Thursday—Classes in evangelism by Pastor Schubert.
Friday—Truth by Youth, a weekly evening series of meetings geared for young people, conducted by CME students.
Sabbath—Regular Sabbath school and worship services in the morning.
In addition to these regularly scheduled activities, the Dorcas Circle meets weekly in its own rooms, women's clubs meet monthly, and special arrangements are provided for weddings. During the Sabbath morning services parents who wish to do so may leave their infants in the nursery under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Special built-in features in the church include a spacious rostrum and choir area in the sanctuary, which will permit panoramic television coverage. The baptistry is immediately above the choir area and is curtained from view when not in use. Behind large glass panels at the rear is a mothers' room on one side and a room with multiple outlets for tape recording on the other. A choir room, a ministers' study, and a baptismal room are adjacent to the front of the sanctuary. Offices for the pastor, his secretary, the treasurer, and the home missionary secretary are off the foyer on the second floor.
A staff of ten is assigned to the church, including a Bible instructor and two young ministers in training. To effect the administrative and staff responsibilities and to implement the program in evangelism, church management and colony teams were formed. The management teams are each composed of not more than three members, and cover such areas as home missionary, counseling, public relations, finance, and others. Each colony team is responsible for a given area or territory of the city to which it is to devote its time in door-to-door literature evangelism and other means of personal missionary work from week to week.
Statistically speaking, the new White Memorial church was built and furnished at a total cost of $862,000, of which the church membership gave $382,000, this while still maintaining their usual mission and church expense offerings during the more than two years in which the church was being built. It is constructed of steel-reinforced concrete, and has a total floor area of 49,000 square feet. Rising 70 feet above the floor of the sanctuary is a concrete dome measuring 107 feet in diameter. Outside and in front of the sanctuary, the carillon tower soars a number of feet above the dome. Each of the ten classrooms in the educational unit is furnished with a new Shoninger piano. A Conn electric organ serves Olivet Chapel.