The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, January 16, 1897, Page 4, Image 5

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

InB for It a building. There were then,
he nay, not over 200 ieop!e In the city.
Meanwhile the seminary building liail
burned. There wan no place of public
Lincoln at birth.
Anions our nrcnlivs Is a long letter
of Mr. Little's, dated Marcli, 1SG8, .solicit
ing funds from eastern friends. In this
letter we have an Interesting ncount of
Lincoln as it then wax. and an outlook
on Its future. He writes: "We are the
most western of tlie live Congregational
churches In southern Nebraka. (Now
there are a hundred beyond us south of
the IMatte.) "We are," ne Roes on to say,
"In the capital of the state, which though
only six months old. Rives signs of vig
orous life. 1ess than one-half the city
lots have been sold for $39,000. The foun
dations of a state liouse, Ifi0x70 feet, have
been laid. The building Is to le com
pleted this year. Dwellings, shops and
stores are rapidly rising. One newspa
per receives a lucrative jvatronage, and
two others are projected. The Immediate
future Is most promising. Attracted by
the healthy climate and rich soil, farmers
ore rapidly owning up the surrounding
country. Just without the city limits
on the west are salt springs, apparently
Inexhaustible, -which of themselves must
civate a village. The. site of the city Is
u natural center for railroads. The Mid
land Pacific Itallroad company will soon
commence a road from Nebraska City
to be extended to Fort Kearney and form
a link In one of Die great lines to the
Pacific coast. A railroad Is also contem
plated from Omaha to Fort Itiley. This
will eventually Iks a part of a through
line from Lake Superior to New Mexico.
Other roads nil! 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
Hows out and on. is infinitely important.
You will admit that the foundations of
this commonwealth cannot be llrmly laid
unless those Institutions which have
made tho east what It Is shall have been
llrst established." He then speaks of the
place of the Congregational church and
polity in national history, and of tho
special need of this church for its "ef
fective, 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 hotels or boarding houses, or in
saloons, seek but find not a substitute
for home. It will give stability to so
ciety: It will dmw to us a class of per
sons whose presence is most desirable,
and will strongly tend to secure from the
outset what we so much desire to see,
a religious and Intellectual community."
The. church building was erected In 1S0S
and finished and furnlihed in ISO-simple
but substantial and capable of seat
ing 123 people. It cost J2.77S.Sfi. 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. ISO, the legislature, to
encourage Immigration and building, of
fered three lots to denominations which
should erect an edifice within the next
two years. As a consequence there was
a hastening to organize churches, far
ieyond the immediate needs of the city,
and to put up some sort of a 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
a question of the "survival of the fittest."
Following the completion of the building
In 1SC9. the church was able to pledge
only $201 for the pastor's salary, of which
onlv $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 minister having exhausted his own
resources and those of his friends, must
leave. Mr. Little resigned In 1S70. the
church, then numbering thirty-four mem-
Rev. L. B. Flfleld. a man of scholarlr
tastes, and well educated, as all youi
ministers have been, took up the -work
and helped to bear its burdens for two
vears 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.
He attracted a large congregation. The
church bildlng 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 J"
going and coming so characteristic of a
new western town-and peculiarly, so I
think of Lincoln in past days. So when
X- two and a half years the minister
was compelled to resign on acoua to
poor health, there were but 0""'
James on the roll, of whom only abou
forty -were resident and a?vfe- e on
the other side was a debt of $2,000.
Nine years had passed since the or
conization of the church, and -what was
ere o show 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-
nca 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 till
region, who dared so much, have escaped
bankruptcy. The ctty of Lincoln, that Is
to be, with Its hundred thousand eople,
and prosperous business, years hence,
probably will not find a large number of
those who have been so generous and
far-sighted In Its unbuilding occupying
places of -wealth and power. Rut 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 labors and Is laid
aside, only that others may enter into
the fruits of their labors.
The pioneer church builder breaks up
the hard ground, plants the good seed.
waters It -with his tears, grieving be-
cause it does not take better root, then
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 grasshoppers year after year!"
"When tho subject for the next evening
meeting was announced as "What has
the Ird Put the Congregational church
here for? one of those Jeremiah s al-
u'firj t La fTitirwl nmnm Clan i lironrieis.
whispered to his neighbor: "To le
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 lietter 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 Bare comfort and help to strangers
W11.74444441J wt.a.nt, . r,w..r "-v
permanently gathered a handful of choice
memlers. rich in love and good works.
Their trials had 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, nnu
to the business meeting. If it was only to
liewall their poverty.
They were not afraid of hard work.
Any sensible minister might consider It a
privilege to be Invited to such a field.
Tho New England village pastor, with all
his pleasant surroundings, could scarcely
. ?.-j " .1 i... i -!,.,. ,,-..,
ttKs ha
already so well established. He knew may rejoice. Each n ra of the ag
more than one capable minister waiting Bregate result: "In all this I shared and
and anxious to take his place. 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 fmancjai ana statistical records of
vacant. The need was urgent- Here was tne eary years are so meagre that It Is
the chance of building up from the foun- impossible to make a complete summary,
dation a new work, with plenty of room. DUrinR tne jast twenty-one years there
Though he might accomplish but little Js a record 0f $no,G3G.H2 contributed to
even that little would be a distinct gain ward oar own cnurCh expenses. In the
to the Master's cause, and God seemed saine $32,s2S.Gl was given In be
to say "come." nevolences. The total number received
FEW ARE LEFT. to membership has been 1,034, of whom
Of the members who extended such a Wl ave " l,"rin et ?!??"!
hearty welcome to the new pastor twen- pastorate. Three hundred and th rt-to
ty-one vears ago. most have passed on. on confession of faith C b letter. Of
Only eleven remain, and with them a few the total numbe r ..''f.f"
other helpers, some since uniting with dismissed, and JC have died. The present
the chun. and others who in all ex- membership is 472. The number exceeded
cept the Christian name have served the 39 at one time the present year. Th rty-
church. outside saints, whom the pastor five absentees have recently been Induced
has always hoped and still longs to see to take letters, and there are enouRh
taking their stand among the recognized others who should do so to make our
mmr. of this church r"'11 working force ahout 4CO. mere .
It wa" agreed a? the outset that the abundant opportunity to fill the absent
cJnstffhame missionary society places with a living mbersh P before
would contribute $300 a year towards the the year closes. It Is to this ble.-sed
mtntetert "upiMrtpoaslblr for three work of winning men nn.l women and
years! wlle the chureh undertook to de- children to Christ that I hope this year
crease Its debt by that amount from year may specially be iu Gratitude to
to vear So every one took hold for a God's many mercies in the past should
flna'l effort Andlo! the stone really be- prompt to this. It Is the SWitB.
gan to move. To the surprise of all ought to learn from the dteplntnient
when the year closed the first thousand cf many personal hope-and. ambit on; s in
dollars of indebtedness was removed, the trying school of God s Provence
The people were so much encouraged during the last few years Out of them
that thev voted to .iceept no more help all the church has been safe IjT brouBht-
fn, th miodonarv odety. to give comfort and strength and char-
TOien 11 mSr S If they could acter with spiritual blessings, which are
do that, the balance of debt might wait
another year, a good sister rose up In
meeting to protest, saying "they could
pay the 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 May 2, 1S7S, 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 1.7) members, but full of the
strength and courage which comes of
duties faithfully iierfonned.
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
seated 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 ier-
nil t ted to send four of our Sunday school
teachers Into foreign missionary service.
Then In 113, having Increased to 223 mem-
bers, came the talk of a new building.
It was not seen at first how the $10,0")
necessary could be secured. Hut past
experience made the church hopeful, and
finally the limit to which the trustees
should be allowed to go was fixed at $12.
(mO. Yet somehow $24.CS3.C3 was raised for
this purpose in the next three years.
The church was all paid for except $3,000.
The ladles' contributions Included in the
above sum furnished the church. The
generous Individual gift of our beautiful
completed the enterprise,
j Uj, ,e a momellt t(
.. ... . - .
to consider
the 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 loun
tlful benefactor, a helper tried and true?
Is there not much for everyone to i6
thankful for?
Not the least among reasons for grati
tude is the fact that the church, in its
pleasant home, was not permitted to set
tle down Into the ease which always
k fhe beffnnin5 of degeneration.
Early In 1SS7, not through any spirit of
discord or division, but out of the enter
prise of growth and service, a new'
church was planned. The iastor's vaca
tion was given to getting meetings under
way. The young peoples society ot
('christian endeavor helped. Theresult
,,wls tnat jn October the organization of
pjymouth church, our oldest and beloved
daughter to whose prosperity this church
was permitted to contribute seventy-live
0f ta choicest members.
Two years following, in 1SS9, It was
the privilege of pastor and people to as
sist in the gathering of another churcn,
and to contribute a large part of the
money needed for a house ot 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 Drought more comfort, or been of
greater service.
Again in ISO we were able to send out
another colony of forty-tive members to
form the Vine street church, -which has
also leen greatly' favored, and has a
bright future before it.
In 1S3 we were permitted to contrib
ute some material old and a few mem
bers to the Butler avenue church, which
Is already more than fulfilling the hopes
of those who desired to see religious
services established In a neighborhood
remote from other churches. And finally
for the past six months we
have teen furnishing a room in our
own building Tor 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
foundation stones.
Into these, and all the events which
indlcato tho life and progress of the
church the work of God and the co
operation of nastor and teonle are so
minded and interwoven that all alike
not like uncertain riches, liable to tako
wings and fly away.
In twenty-one years a pastor has tha
privilege of associating with three gen
erations among y.'A 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 Zton, 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 their labors, their heads whit
ening, their steps becoming Infirm, their
active church life nearly ovr.r; 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 pastor 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 the
birth of the first born, whom he sought
to comfort in tlielr first great
sorrow: whom he helped to enlist In
Chr's;Ian service; whose growth in char
.icter and business ability ha Bone on
before his eyes until they now stand In
the very fore front of the battle of life,
the officers and pillars of the church,
holding the moral, political and in.ellec
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 enter 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 .tlready needs them all.
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 (:he minister) would keep
abreast of the times. He can see and
teach the unfolding of G;d's kind provi
dences, making good and evil, bitter and
sweet as 4he years go on, all working to
gether for the upbuilding of character an.l
the ultimate advance of Cnrlst's kingdom.
There Is another side to the picture
which Is Its. assuring. There Is the luck
of the new face and ;he new voice, and
the new way of things, which
seems to make the trick more attractive
and always leads people to expect great
things of the new mln ster.
Then there are the fa lings and mistakes
which time clearly reveals and the preju
dices formed not easy to forget from
which It would often seem easier to es
cape by running away than by trying to
live ihem down.
Besides It is absolutely impossible that
any minister should long continue to
be the firs; choice of all The question
arises would It not be that he should
pass on after a little stay and give all In
turn the opportunity to hear the gospel In
their own 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 con.inu
ance of a long pastcrate. Yet even this
may not prove an unmixed evil. There is
great virtue In learning to agree to dis
agree. The strongest a.tachments are
those that are slowly formed out of
a mutual respect, and the forgetting of
petty disagreements.
Now, friends. It 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
Ieope 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 Inherl.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 necessities, and to them that
were wl.h 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
agawgr nemvmmn.