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About The McCook tribune. (McCook, Neb.) 1886-1936 | View Entire Issue (May 18, 1900)
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By REV. CHARLES M. SHELDON , 1s'
Author of "In His Steps : What Would Jesus Dof" "Malcom * < >
Kirk , " "Bobert Hardy's Seven Days , " Etc.
4 * 1890 , bji The Advance Publtslitna G > .
rupted .jneaped to his feet and exclaimed -
"As I was saying , for my part if
Brother Strong wishes to Indulge In
this eccentric action he will not have
the sanction of my vote In the matter ,
It certainly Is an entirely unheard of
and uncalled for proposition. "
"Mr. Strong has no doubt a generous
motive in this proposed action , " said a
third member of the board , "but the
church certainly will not approve any
such step as the giving up of the par1
sonage. He exaggerates the need of
such a sacrifice. 1 think we ought to
reason him out of the idea. "
"We. called Mr. Strong to the pastor-
ate of Calvary church , " said another ,
"and it seems to me he came under the
conditions granted in our call. For
the church to allow such an absurd
thing as the giving up of the parsonage
to this proposed outside work would be
a very unwise move. "
"Yes , and more than that , " said the
first speaker , "I want to say very
frankly that 1 am growing tired of the
way things have gone since Mr. Strong
came to us. What business has Calj
vary church with all these outside
matters , these labor troubles and un-
employed men and all the other mat1
ters that have been made the subject
of preaching lately ? 1 want a minister
who looks after his own parish. Mr.
Strong does not call on his own people.
He has not been inside ray house but
once since he came to Milton. Breth
ren , there is a growing feeling of dis
content over this matter. "
There was a short pause , and then
one of the members said :
"Surely if Mr. Strong feels dissatis
fied with his surroundings in the par
sonage or feels as if his work lay in
another direction he is at liberty to
choose another parish. But he is the
finest pulpit minister we ever had , and
no one doubts his entire sincerity. He
is a remarkable man in many re
"Yes , but sincerity may be a very
awkward thing carried too far. And
in this matter of the parsonage I don't
see how the trustees can allow it. Why ,
what would the other churches think
of it ? Calvary church cannot allow
anything of the kind for the sake of its
reputation. But I would like to hear
Mr. Winter's opinion. He has not spo
The rest turned to the mill owner ,
who , as chairman of the board , usual
ly had much to say and was regarded
as a shrewd and careful business ad
viser. In the excitement of the occa
sion and discussion the usual formali
ties of a regular board meeting had
Mr. Winter was evidently embarrass
ed. He had listened to the discussion
of the minister with his head bent
down and his thoughts in a whirl of
emotion both for and against the pas
tor. His naturally inclined business
habits contended against the proposi
tion to give up the parsonage. His
feelings of gratitude to the minister for
his personal help the uiglit of the at
tack by the mob rose up to defend him.
There was with it all an undercurrent
of self administered rebuke that the
pastor had set the whole church an ex
ample of usefulness. He wondered
how many of the members would vol
untarily give up half their incomes
for the good of humanity. He wonder
ed in a confused way how much he
would giv up himself. Philip's ser
mon had made a real impression on
"There is one point we have not dis
cussed yet , " he said at last , "and that
is Mr. Strong's offer of half his sal
ary to carry on the work of a chil
dren's refuge or something of that
"How can we accept such an offer ?
Calvary church has always believed in
paying its minister a good salary and
paying it promptly , and we want our
minister to live decently and be able
to appear as he should among the best
people , " replied the nervous little man
who had been first to speak.
"Still , we cannot deny that it is a
very generous thing for Mr. Strong
to do. He certainly is entitled to cred
it for his unselfish proposal. No one
can charge him with being worldly
minded , " said Mr. Winter , feeling a
new interest in the subject as he found
himself defending the minister.
"Are you in favor of allowing him
to do what he proposes in the matter
of the parsonage ? " asked another.
"I don't see that we can hinder Mr.
Strong from living anywhere he
pleases if he wants to. The church
cannot compel him to live in the par
"No , but it can choose not to have
such a minister ! " exclaimed the first
speaker again excitedly , "and I for one
am most decidedly opposed to the
whole thing. I do not see how the
church can allow it and maintain its
"Do you think the church is ready to
tell Mr. Strong that his services are
not wanted any longer ? " asked Mr.
" 1 am , for one of the members , and 1
know others who feel as 1 do if mat
ters go on in this way much longer. 1
tell you , Brother Winter , Calvary
church is very near a crisis. Look at
the Goldens and the Malverns and the
Albergs. They are all leaving us , and
the plain reason is the nature of the
Brother ] WlnferT that 'never has the
pulpit I of Calvary church heard such
preaching j on people's private affairs. " .
i Mr. Winter colored and replied angri
ly 1 : "What has that to do with this
present i matter ? If the minister wants
(1 to live In a simpler style , I don't see
| what business we have to stop it. As
to t the disposition of the parsonage ,
that Is a matter of business which
rests with the church to arrange. "
' The nervous. Irritable little man who
had 1 spoken oftencst rose to his feet
and exclaimed : "You can count me out
of all this , then. I wash my hands of
, the 1 whole affair. " And he went out of
the room , leaving the rest of the board
somewhat surprised at his sudden de
, They remained about a quarter of an
hour 1 longer discussing the matter , and
| finally i , at Mr. Winter's suggestion , a
committee was appointed to go and see
the 1 minister the next evening and see
if i he could not be persuaded to modify
[ or change his proposition made in the
j i morning i sermon. The rest of the trus
tees I insisted that Mr. Winter himself
! f should act as chairman of the commit-
i tee 1 , and after some remonstrance he
j finally 1 , with great reluctance , agreed
to 1 do so.
So Philip next evening , as he sat In
his study mapping out the week's
work and wondering a little what the
church would do in the face of his pro
posal , received the committee , welcom
ing them in his bright , hearty man
ner. He had been notified on Sunday
evening of the approaching confer
ence. The committee consisted of Mr.
Winter and two other members of the
Mr. Winter opened the conversation
with considerable embarrassment and
an evident reluctance for his share in
"Mr. Strong , we have come , as you
are aware , to talk over your proposi
tion of yesterday morning concerning
the parsonage. It was a great surprise
to us all. "
Philip smiled a little. "Mrs. Strong
says I act too much on impulse and
do not prepare people enough for my
statements. But one of the greatest
men I ever knew used to say that an
impulse was a good thing to obey In
stantly if there was no doubt of Its be
ing a right one. "
"Ajid do you consider this proposed
move of yours a right one , Mr.
Strong ? " asked Mr. Winter.
"I do , " replied Philip , with quiet em
phasis. "I do not regret making it ,
and I believe it is my duty to abide by
my original decision. "
"Do you mean that you intend actu
ally to move out of this parsonage ? "
asked one of the other members of the
"Yes. " Philip said it so quietly and
yet so decidedly that the men were si
lent a moment. Then Mr. Winter
"Mr. Strong , this matter is likely to
cause trouble in the church , and we
might as well understand It frankly.
The trustees believe that as the par
sonage belongs to the church proper
ty and was built for the minister he
ought to live in it The church will
not understand your desire to move
"Do you understand it , Mr. Win
ter ? " Philip put the question point
"No , I don't know that I do whol
ly. " Mr. Winter colored and replied
in a hesitating manner.
"I gave my reasons yesterday morn
ing. I do not know that I can make
them plainer. The truth is I cannot
go on preaching to my people about
living on a simpler basis while I con
tinue to live in surroundings that on
the face of them contradict my own
convictions. In other words , I am
living beyond my necessities here. I
have lived all my life surrounded by
the luxuries of civilization. If now I
desire to give these benefits to those
who have never enjoyed them or to
know from nearer contact something
of the bitter struggle of the poor , why
should I be hindered from putting
that desire into practical form ? "
"The question is , Mr. Strong , " said
one of the other trustees , "whether this
is the best way to get at it We do
not question your sincerity nor doubt
"You can count me out of all this , then. "
your honesty , but will your leaving
the parsonage and living in a less expensive -
pensive house on half your present salary -
ary help your church work or reach
more people and save more souls ? "
"I am glad you put it that way , " ex-
. PK-1- > _ r" " r1n.JnrnirL"- the
speaker. "That Is jusiTtT" Will 'my
proposed move result In bringing the
church and the minister into closer and
more vital relations with the people
most In need of spiritual and physical
uplifting ? Out of the depths of my
nature I believe It will. The chasm
between the church and the people In
these days must be bridged by the spir
it of sacrifice in material things. It Is
In vain for us to preach spiritual truths
unless we live physical truths. What
the world Is looking for today are ob
ject lessons in self denial on the part
of Christian people. "
For a moment no one spoke. Then
Mr. Winter said :
"About your proposal that this house
be turned Into a refuge or home for
homeless children. Mr. Strong , do you
consider that idea practicable ? Is it
business ? Is it possible ? "
"I believe it is. very decidedly. The
number of homeless and vagrant chil
dren at present in Milton would aston
ish you. This house could be put Into
beautiful shape as n detention house
until homes could be found for the
children In Christian families. "
"It would take a great deal of money
to manage it. "
"Yes , " replied Philip , with a sadness
which had its cause deep within him.
"it would cost something. But can the
world be saved cheaply ? Does not
every soui saved cost an immense sum ,
if not of money at least of an equiva
lent ? Is It possible for us to get at
the heart of the great social problem
without feeling the need of using all
our powers to solve it rightly ? "
Mr. Winter shook his head. lie did
not understand the minister. His ac
tion and his words were both foreign
to the mill owner's regular business
habits of thought and performance.
"What will you do , Mr. Strong , if
the church refuses to listen to this pro
posed plan of yours ? "
"I suppose , " answered Philip after
a little pause , "the church will not ob
ject to my living in another house at
my own charges ? "
"They have no right to compel you
to live here. " Mr. Winter turned to
the other members of the committee.
"I said so at our previous meeting.
Gentlemen , am I not right in that ? "
"It Is not a question of our com
pelling Mr. Strong to live here , " said
one of the others. "It is a question of
the church's expecting him to do so.
It is the parsonage and the church
home for the minister. In my opinion
It will cause trouble if Mr. Strong
moves out. People will not understand
"That is my belief , too , Mr. Strong , "
said Mr. Winter. "It would be better
for you to modify or change or , better
still , to abandon this plan. It will not
be understood and will cause trouble. "
"Suppose the church should rent the
parsonage then,1' suggested Philip. "It
would then be getting a revenue from
the property. That , with the thousand
dollars on my salary , could be wisely
and generously used to relieve much
suffering in Milton this winter. The
church could easily rent the house. "
That was true , as the parsonage
stood on one of the most desirable
parts of B street and would command
"Then you persist In this plan of
yours , do you , Mr. Strong ? " asked the
third member of the committee , who
had for the most part been silent.
"Yes ; I consider that under the cir
cumstances , local and universal , It is
my duty. Where I propose to go is a
house which I can get for $8 a month.
It is near the tenement district and not
so far from the church and this neigh
borhood that I need be isolated too
much from my church family. "
Mr. Winter looked serious and per
plexed. The other trustees looked dis
satisfied. It was evident they regard
ed the whole thing with disfavor.
Mr. Winter rose abruptly. He could
not avoid a feeling of anger in spite of
his obligation to the minister. He also
had a vivid recollection of his former
interview with the pastor in that
studj * . And yet he struggled with the
vague resistance against the feeling
that Philip was proposing to do a thing
that could result in only one way of
suffering for himself. With all the rest
went a suppressed but conscious emo
tion of wonder that a man would of
his own free will give up a luxurious
home for the sake of any one.
"The matter of reduction of salary ,
Mr. Strong , will have to come before
the church. The trustees cannot vote
to accept your proposal. I am very
much mistaken if the members of Cal
vary church will not oppose the reduc
tion. You can see how it would place
us in an unfavorable light. "
"Not necessarily , Mr. Winter , " said
Philip eagerly. "If the church will
simply regard it as my own great de
sire and as one of the ways by which
we may help forward our work in Mil
ton , I am sure we need have no fear
of being put in a false light. The
church does not propose this reduc
tion. It comes from me and in a time
of peculiar emergency , both financial
and social. It is a thing which has
been done several times by other min
"That may be. Still , I am positive
Calvary church will regard it as un
necessary and will oppose it. "
"It will not make any difference
practically , " replied Philip , with a
smile. "I can easily dispose of a thou
sand dollars where it is needed by oth
ers more than by me. But I would
prefer that the church would actually
pay out the money to them rather than
Mr. Winter and the other trustees
looked at Philip in wonder , and with a
few words of farewell they left the
The following week Calvary church
held a meeting. It was one of the
stormiest meetings ever held by the
members. In that meeting Mr. Win
ter again , to the surprise of nearly
all , advised caution and defended the
minister's action up to a certain point
The result was.a condition-of svaitinc
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