Dedication of New Unitarian Church in Atlanta – 1915

Department of Religious Education
William Lawrance, Secretary

The dedication of the new church at Atlanta, Ga., which took place on the 7th of November, was an event of unusual interest.  In its short eventful history the Atlanta church has built and dedicated in turn three such houses of worship.  Changes in membership and the trend of business in the city, which has crowded homes more and more into the suburbs, have made these transitions necessary.  Until the recent past the devoted few who were loyal to the cause struggled through a period of depression which came to a happy issue in the sale of the church then occupied and the prospects of anew home for their church activities.  By a fortunate combination of circumstances, a desirable location,  admirably high skill in architecture and building were secured.  The people determined that, whatever else might be, the new church must be beautiful to look upon and of such structure and finish as to make it directly conductive to a spirit of worship.  In these respects they have been remarkably successful, the result being a church which will rank among the most beautiful small churches the writer has ever had the privilege of seeing.

Dedication Day (November 7) was filled with glorious sunshine.  The secretary of this Department, having been with the Atlanta people for a succession of days in their darker hours, was called upon to lead them in their service of rejoicing.  After speaking to each of the two sections of the Sunday school, he preached the dedication sermon.  In the service he was assisted by the pastor of the church, Rev. J. Wade Conkling, by President Edward T. Ware of Atlanta University, and by Rev. George L. Chaney, the first pastor in Atlanta.  The church was filled to the doors with an expectant congregation.  A choir of nine trained voices led the inspiringly music, and an admirable service of dedication, compiled by Dr. Conkling, was read by the minister and the people.  At the close of the service, as announced in the printed order of the day, there occurred a brief ceremony of the most impressive character.  A window in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Chaney had been placed in the front of the church.  As both those in whose honor the window was thus given were present at this service, it seemed fitting that this feature of the building should have its special dedication.  Dr. Conkling led Dr. and Mrs. Chaney to the window, offered a most fitting prayer, and from that position pronounced the benediction.

The exercises of the dedication continued through several succeeding days.  On Sunday evening and again on Tuesday evening the secretary of this department preached.  On Monday evening a reception was given to Dr. and Mrs. Chaney, at which Dr. Chaney made one of his inimitable addresses, Mr. Lawrance following briefly.  On Tuesday afternoon the infant daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Conkling was consecrated, the service being performed by Mr. Lawrance.

The presence of Dr. and Mrs. Chaney at these services of dedication was most highly appreciated.  Their early association with the church and city, their genial natures, ripened through many years of thought and labor, and their unabated zeal for the cause, made them the center of affectionate attention.  Dr. Chaney’s able address on “Southern Peacemakers I have Known” was repeated, by request for the benefit of a larger circle of hearers, and his tender and witty remarks at the reception of Monday night was one of notable incidents of the feast of dedication.

The Atlanta people feel that the have more than a fighting chance for success.  Indication point, indeed, to a satisfactory outcome for all their anxieties and labors.

Source:  The Christian Register found in Google Books, Vol. 94, No. 47,  November 15, 1915, Page: 18 (1126)

Posted in Christian Register, Other Documents, Unitarian Church of Atlanta

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