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About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 16, 1897)
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lag for it a building. There were then,
he says, not over 200 people in the city.
Meanwhile the seminary building had
burned. There was no jtlace of public
LINCOLN AT DIRTII.
Among our nrcnlres is a long letter
of Mr. Utile, dated March, 1SCS, solicit
ing funds from eastern friends. In this
letter we have an Interesting ncount of
Lincoln ns it then was, and an outlook
on Its future. He writes: "We are the
most western of the live Congregational
churches In southern Nebraska. (Now
there are u hundred beyond us south of
the Platte.) "We are," ne goes on to say,
"In the capital of the state, which though
only six months old. give? signs of vig
orous life. 1ess tlian one-half tho city
lots have been sold for $39,000. The foun
dations of a state liouse. IfiOxTO feet, have
been laid. The building is to be com
pleted this year. Dwellings, shois and
stores tre rapidly rising. One newspa
per receives a lucrative iwitronage, and
two others are projected. The immediate
future Is most promising. Attracted by
the healthy climate and rich soil, farmers
are rapidly opening up the surrounding
country. Just without the city limits
on the west are salt springs, apparently
Inexnaustlble, -which of themselves must
creiite n illage. The site of the city Is
a natural center for railroads. The Mid
land Pacific Itallroad company will soon
commence a road from Nebraska City
to le extended to Fort Kearney and form
a. link in one of the great lines to the
Pacific coast. A railroad Is also contem
plated from Omaha to Fort Riley. This
will eventually le a part of a through
line from Lake Superior to New Mexico.
Other roads will follow In due time.
"By act of the legislature the university
has been established here. These facts
warrant the belief that Lincoln will be
come the political, literary and religious
center of the state. Its Influence will be
immense, affecting not only the present
but future generations. That this influ
ence should bless and not curse, as it
flows out and on. is infinitely important.
You will admit that the foundations of
this commonwealth cannot be firmly laid
unless those Institutions which have
made the east what it Is shall have been
first established." He then speaks of the
place of the Congregational church and
polity tn national history, and of the
special need of this church for its "ef
ftNitive. and aggressive work" of a place
of public worship. He concludes: "Such
a building, erected now, will accomplish
Inconceivable good. A place where
Christians, previously strangers, will be
come acquainted, an attraction to the
young and wandering, who now. In
crowded hotel or boarding houses, or In
saloons, seek but And not a substitute
for home. It will give stability to so
ciety; It -will draw to us a class of per
sons whose presence is most desirable,
and will strongly tend to secure from the
outset what we 50 much desire to see,
a religious and Intellectual community."
THE FIRST CHURCH.
The church building was erected In 1SS
and finished and furnished in 1SC9 sim
ple but su2iantlal and capable or seat
ing IS people. It cost $2.77S.Su. This was.
I think, the first permanent building
dedicated to the worship of God in our
city. Soon after this church was built,
on February 13. 1SG9. the legislature, to
encourage Immigration and building, of
fered three lots to denominations which
should rect an edlflce within the next
two years. As a consequence there was
a hastening to organize churches, far
leyond the immediate needs of the city,
and to put up some sort of u building
to secure the offered ground. Whatever
ultimate good came of this arrangement,
at the time it divided Christian
forces, and laid heavier burdens on the
early settlers. It was In many cases a
struggle for life with the churches, and
n question of the "survival of the fittost."
Following the completion of the building
in ISO. the church was able to pledge
onlv $201 for the pastor's salary, of which
only $132 had been. raised at the close of
the year. The remaining meagre support
was contributed by the Congregational
home missionary society. Such a condi
tion of things makes short pastorates.
The minuter having exhausted his own
resources and those of his friends, must
leave. Mr. Little resigned In 1ST0. the
church, then numbering thlrty-rour mem
Rev. L. R. Flfield. a man of scholarlr
tastes. and well educated, as all youi
ministers have been. ook up the work
and Tielped to bear its burdens for two
years more, adding twenty-three to its
membership: but owing to deaths and re
movals, he left it the same in numbers
as he found It.
His successor. Rev. S. R. Dimmock,
was a man of unusual oratorical gifts.
lie attracted a large congregation. The
church blldlng was enlarged, in what
seemed the easiest, but has since turned
out the most expensive way for Ne
braskans to raise money, borrowing it
and mortgaging the future. Fifty were
added to the church in Mr. Dimmock s
pastorate, Yet there was instant
going ana coming so tju-"'-- -- -new
western town-ind peculiarly, so I
thmko? Lincoln in past day. 60 when
er two and a half years the minister
was compelled to resign on -" ""
poor health, there were but Miy-0"
mes on the roll, of "whom only about
forty were resident and a?lr, "WMle on
the other side was a debt of t.(w.
thNinfyears had passed "
canlzation of -the church, and what was
fherT o "how for all the efforts made?
A great deal more surely then than
appeared on the surface. It is a serious
thought that the foundations of so many
enterprises have often to be laid be-
nea th the surface, on the unrequited toll,
the sacrifices, the very blood and bones
it may be, of the brave pioneer. It was
so the pilgrim fathers gave themselves
for the building of this nation.
Few, If any. of the early settlers of this
region, who dared so mucli, have escaed
bankruptcy. The ctty of Lincoln, that Is
to be. with Us hundred thousand i.ople,
and prosierous business, years hence,
probably will not find a large number of
those wlio have been so generous and
far-sighted In Its upbuilding occupying
places of wealth and iower. nut such
stern facts should not dishearten or
cause to say: "It was all a mistake. I
"have labored In vain." Out of such seem
ing failures the best things of this world
come. One generation lalors and Is laid
nslde, only that others may enter into
the fruits of their labors. mltted to send four of our Sunday school
The pioneer church builder breaks up teachers into foreign missionary service,
the hard ground, plants the good seed, Then In 1!3, having Increased to 225 mem
waters it -with his tears, grieving be- hers, came the talk of a new building,
cause it does not take better root, then It was not seen at first how the $10.00
passes on without seeing the harvest.
There were many who prophesied
that Lincoln had seen Its best days.
"It was overgrown." "What was there
"here to support a town of S.000 people?"
"Then the gras-shoppers year after year!"
"When the subject for the next evening
meeting was announced as "What has
ttie Iionl Put the Congregational church
here for?' one of those Jeremiah s al-
ways to be found among God s pronhe s.
whispered to his neighbor: "To be
burned." though he himself was one of
the old martyr sort to stay by and be
burned with it.
Few and discouraged as the Christian
workers were twenty-one years ago, they
had done better than they knew. They
had stood for the church as an essential
institution in the new community. They
had mantalned public worship for years.
They gave comfort and help to strangers
constantly coming and going. They had
permanently gathered a handful of choice
members, rich in love and good works.
Their trials liad melted and fused them.
Their seeming failures had taught them
self denial and dependence upon God.
The church was dear to them all. They
were ready to do all they could for it.
They gave themselves and their personal
service. They were ready to go to the
prayer meeting to pray ana praise, anu
to the business meeting. If it was only to
lewall their poverty.
They were not afraid of hard work.
REV. LEWIS GREGORY.
Any sensible minister might consider It a
ntl&mi t ta lni4tAj1 4t 1irh fl f1flf.
ThA w Knlantl village nastor. with all
his pleasant surroundings, could scarcely operation of pastor and people are so
hope to do more than maintain what was mingled and interwoven that all alike
already so well established. He knew may rejoice. Each can say of the ag
more than one capable minister waiting ffregate result: "In all this I shared and
and anxious to take his p'.ace. Here on was permitted to do my little part,
the frontier was a call that appealed THE CHURCH RECORDS,
to his missionary spirit. The place was Tne financrial and statistical records of
vacant. The need was urgent- Here was llie earjv years are so meagre that it is
the chance of building up from the foun- impossible t0 make a complete summary,
dation a new work, with plenty of room. iurjnK the last twenty-one years there
Though he might accomplish but little Js a record Gf $110,G35.S2 contributed to
even that ilttle would be a distinct gain ward our own church expenses. In the
lo the Masters cause, ana uoa seemeu
to say "come."
FEW ARE LEFT.
Of the members who extended such a
hearty welcome to the new pastor twenty-one
years ago, most have passed on.
Only eleven remain, ana wun mrai a lew
other helpers, some since uniting with
the chun. and others who in all ex-
cent the Christian name have served the
clurch. outside saints, whom the pastor
has always hoped and still longs to see
taking Ssa among the recognized
rnwrilwr of this church.
It was agreed aTthe outset that the
Congregational homo missionary society
would contribute $300 a year towards the
mhdLsurrPOssW for three
to year. So every one took hold for a
VLJ, i" . ll, ii .. ik. h.
. i To "th .;umrlse of all
ran to move, io ine surprise 01 itu
jo me u4.. m -..
when the year closed the first thousand
dollars of indebtedness was removeu.
The people were so much encouraged
that the? voted to accept no more help
frv?m the mi!onarv oc!etv.
viwtteriS sXlf they could
do that, the balance of debt might wait
another year, a good sister rose up in
meeting to protest, saying "they could
pay tho minister and the debt too." She
offered to put her name at the top of the
subscription paper. So the minister was
overruled and the good work went for-
ward until Mny 2, ISO!, when the last note
of indebtedness was burned, and the
church again stood even with the world,
it was still a little church, and poor,
with only 130 members, but full of the
strength and courage which comes of
duties faithfully performed.
Their debts cancelled, the people could
not rest, but set to work at once to thor
oughly renovate the house of worship,
which was painted, frescoed, re
heated and furnished with its
first new carpet. Five years more
passed, during which there was
a slow but steady increase In member-
ship and benevolence, and we were per-
necessary could be ecHred. Rut past
experience made the church hopeful, and
finally the limit to which the trustees
should be allowed to go was fixed at $12,
IkiO. Yet somehow $2i.C83.G3 was raised for
this purpose In the next three years.
The church was all paid for except $3,000.
The ladle.-, contributions Included in the
e sum furnMied the church. The
generous Indhldual gift of our beautiful
completed the enterprise,
, M e n moment ,,
h privileges of worship we
privileges of worship we have here
enjoyed: then let the mind go reverently
back thirty years to the very beginning.
Has not God been a kind Father, a boun
tiful benefactor, a helper tried and true?
Is there not much for everyone to be
Not the least among reasons for grati
tude is the fact that the church, in Its
,..", ,. ., rt r..mitr.' n
Je ;,own lnto tn wnlch aiways
marks the beginning of degeneration.
Early in 1SS7, not through any spirit of
discord or division, hut out of the enter
prise of growth and service, a new
church was planned. The pastor's vaca
tion was given to getting meetings under
ay. The young peoples socmiy 01
Tchrirtlan endeavor helped. Theresult
was that in October the organization of
Plymouth church, our oldest and beloved
daughter to whose prosperity this church
was permitted to contribute seventy-five
0f jts choicest members.
Two years following. In 1SS9. it was
the privilege of pastor and people Jo as
sist in the gathering of another church,
and to contribute a large part of the
money needed for a liouse of worship
among our German Congregational
friends in this city, who have ever since
gone on their way rejoicing. Nothing of
equal cost which this church has done,
has brought more comfort, or been of
Again in 1S-0 we were able to send out
another colony of forty-five members to
form the Vine street church, which has
also been greatly favored, and has a
bright future before It.
In ISC we were jiermltted to contrib
ute fome material old and a few mem
bers to the Butler avenue church, which
Is already more than fulfilling the hopes
of those who di-slred to see religious
s-ervlces established In a neighborhood
remote from other churches. And finally
for the past six months we
have been furnishing a room In our
own building for some Swedish brethren
who are enjoying a "precious ingathering
and are ready to erect their own build
ing, as soon as the frost is out the
ground. To their church also I trust we
will be able to contribute some of the
Into these, and all the events which
indlcato tho life and progress of the
church-4he work of God and the co
iamQ period $22,S2S.C1 was given In be-
nevolences. The total number received
to membership has been 1,031, of whom
Wl liave united during the present
pastorate. Three hundred and thirty-two
on confession of faith: C09 by letter. Of
the total number received 4 have been
t t u,i ci l.nsv "H.-vjI Tha ttrAGAnt
uismustu, anu uac u .- i--"
membership is -JT2. The number exceeded
C0 at one time the present year. Th rty-
live absentees have recently been induced
to take letters, and there are enough
others who should do so to make our
"1 working force about 0. There I-.
abundant opportunity to fill the absent
Places with a living membership before
the year closes. It Is to this blessed
ma y laHy be, rtn. altitude J
uoa s many mercies 111 me it .
nromnt to this. It Is the great lesson we
ought to learn from the disappointment
------ , . - 0W,. n
ci man , ,-. .. ,- - '"r L'"
w iji..b . -. "' X", , "'
during the last few years. Out of them
all the church has been safely brought
to give comfort and strength and char-
acter with spiritual blessings, which are
not like uncertain riches, liable to take
wings and fly away.
In twenty-one years a pastor has the
privilege of associating with three gen
erations among fc. people. There are the
pioneers, when ne came In middle life,
who bore the ark of the covenant in the
tabernacle days; the "heroes and founders
of our .ion, whose wisdom and prayers
follow the minister as an Inspiration,
whom one by one he Is permitted to fol
low far down Into the dark valley, to
learn how quiet and serene Is the aged
Christian's death. A few left are merci
fully spared to the church to enjoy the
fruits of then- labors, their heads whit
ening, their steps becoming infirm, their
active church life nearly ovfr; yet In
patient sympathy, and zeal, setting an
example and exerting an in
fluence, which makes their last
days a blessing and a benediction
Then there are young people of twenty
years ago whom the pas;or was permitted
to lead Into the Christian life and to wel
come Into the church at whose marriage
he officiated whose joy he shared in tho
birth of the first born, whom he sought
to comfort in tiielr first great
sorrow: whom he helped to enlist In
Chr's.Ian service; whose growth In char
acter and business ability has gone on
before his eyes until they now stand In
the very fore front of the battle of lire,
the officers and pillars of the church,
holding the moral, political and intellec
tual Interests of the community In their
keeping, steady and sober, and strong, tho
men and women today, grown up from
the boys and girls of yesterday.
Then come the children, God bless them
all. How fast they are coming on. It
seems but a few days since they were
brought as little Infants to be baptized,
and 'here they are fast crowding to the
front In home and school. They stand
upon the threshold, looking out upon the
larger life beyond. They all love the
church, and If parents and pastor are
wise, they would first eater the great
world through the church doors; there to
learn the lessons and receive the training
of mind and heart which will make them,
years hence our joy and stay. Christ
and His church already needs them all.
A LONG PASTORATE.
Surely there are some advantages In
a long pastorate. It preserves the his
toric associations and traditions of the
church especially In a new place where so
many changes are going on.
It gives the minister a sure position as
a man and citizen In the larger life of the
community; he becomes better acquainted
with the people and they with him. He
knows the needs of town and state. This
advantage ought to make him a wiser
counsellor, a better pastor.
There Is an inspiration too for growth
and work if he (the minister) would keep
abreast of the t.mes. He can see and
teach the unfolding of Gcd's kind provi
dences, making good and evil, bitter and
sweet as .he years go on, all work.ng to
gether for the upbuilding of character an.l
the ultimate advance of Caret's kingdom.
There Is another side to the picture
which Is Itss assuring. There Is the luck
of the new face and ;he new voice, and
the new way of putt.ng things, which
seems to make the trick more attractive
and always leads people to expect great
things of the new min ster.
Then there are the fa lings and mistakes
which time clearly reveals and the preju
dices formed not easy to forget from
wh.ch It would often seem easier to es
cape by running away than by trying to
live ..hem down.
Besides it is absolutely impossible that
any minister should long continue to
be the lira: choice of all The question
arises would it not be bet.er that he should
pass on after a little stay and g.ve all In
turn the opportunity to hear the gospel In
their owa favori.e tongue? It is hard
sometimes to know what Is the best for
the church and Christ's cause.
I can readily see how much of the vir
tues of charity and forbearance some
must be called to exercise In the continu
ance of a long pastcrate. Yet even this
may not prove an unmixed evil. There Is
great virtue in leara'ng to agree to dis
agree. The strongest a.tachments are
those that are slowly formed out of
a mutual respect, and the forgetting of
A LOVING BLESSING.
Now, friends, K is in my heart to say :n
words as few and simple and as true as
I can possibly utter, how much I love you
all; and how pleasantly you have made
the years go by; and how thankful I am
to God for what he has enabled pastor and
Ieople to do. The future we cannot
know except tha: so far as our duty and
purposes are concerned it should be more
given in serving Him, who has proved
such a kind father, such an ever present
helper such a merciful and all sufficient
And now brethren I commend you to
God and to the word of His grace, which
Is able to build you up, and to give you
an Inheri.ance among all them which are
sanctified. I have coveted no man's sil
ver or gold or apparel. Yea. ye yourselves
know that these hands have ministered
unto my necesslt'cs. and to them that
were with me. I have showed you all
things, how that so laboring ye ought to
support the weak and to remember the
words of the Lord Jesus how He said
"It is more blessed to give than to re
he kneeled down and prayed with them
celve. And when Paul had thus spoken
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