Rev. Chaney’s Farewell Sermon on Atlanta (Nov 3, 1890)

The Atlanta Constitution Mon, Nov 3, 1890 · Page 6
The Atlanta Constitution
Mon, Nov 3, 1890 Page 6

Preaches His Farewell Sermon to His Churchmen

An Able and Impressive Sermon – He Will Be Missed in Atlanta and in His Church. Will Go to Birmingham.

In bidding adieu to the congregation of the Church of Our Father yesterday, Dr. George L. Chaney preached a sermon that was interesting and able throughout and telling in its effect.

Since he has been associated with this church as pastor, Mr. Chaney has won the admiration and reverential respect of every one who came to know him well, and it was a large crowd of friends and fellow-churchmen that gathered yesterday to hear his sermon, sorry that it was his last Sunday in the cozy little temple to the living Jehovah where his influence had sway so long.

Everybody is sorry that Mr. Chaney has decided to leave Atlanta, and nowhere is this regret more genuine or more keenly felt than among the members of his church.

An Impressive Sermon

After the choir had sung several beautiful hymns and the preliminary service was gone through with, Mr.Chaney began his sermon by reading the following text, appropriate enough in his bearing on the occasion – II Corinthians, chapter XIII and verse 11: “Finally. brethren, farewell. Be perfect. Be of good comfort, be of one mind: live in peace. And the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

“When Paul wrote these words to his church at Corinth,” said Dr. Chaney, “he was not at the point of leaving them. He was already far away. He was at Philippi in the far north; but so present was he in heart and mind with his dearly loved people in Corinth that he ended his letter to them with a farewell as impressive and affectionate as if he were really taking leave of them in person.

“What miracle workers letters are! They annihilate space. They are the wishing cap of fairy mythology. A man has only to put it on and forthwith he is in the presence of his friends, though they may be miles away. Paul was with his church in Corinth when he was writing to them, and they were with him when they read his letters.

“Sometimes I think friends meet more safely in their written correspondence than when they speak face to face,” and from this point Chaney argued that written sermons were safer and more substantial than extemporaneous verbal ones. He then took up the message of  Paul to the Corinthians set forth in the text and used it most appropriately in the description of the partings and greetings of this life. How full of warm affection and of friendly advice that message was!

“Be of good comfort. Do not be discouraged. The way may be long, but so is eternity. Time asks no more of you than gradual progress in the right direction to do a little better and be a little better day after day. Nobody can be wise and virtuous by proxy.  We must live and learn ourselves. Only in the midst of it all there is comfort in the sympathy and good will of our friends. And that is what Paul offered his church when he wrote, ‘Be of good cheer.'”

And then Dr. Chaney urged the necessity of being of one mind, giving an indication of the unbounded comfort and happiness to be derived from such a course.

“The people already enrolled in this church with their friends and sometimes fellow-worshipers are capable of doing any good thing they may chance to undertake in this city. Already, as a church or individuals, we have had a hand in many of the most useful and humane enterprises started here, during the last decade. The Industrial Home, the Woman’s Exchange, the Home for the Friendless, the Artisans’ Institute which led the way for the School of Technology, the young men’s library, and the projected reform school for youthful criminals are some of the public benefits we have sought to promote. It is a great grief to me that the last two seriously needed agencies are still inert.

<Archivist Note:  In a letter to the editor on November 4, 1890, Rev. Chaney clarifies which two endeavors were inert. The Society for the Presentation of Cruelty to Dumb Animals and the Reform School were two sleeping agencies which I referred to.”>

“Take them up, some of you, and carry them on to successful operation. God will bless the church which makes the poor her care.”

Mr. Chaney then proceeded at length to urge the Christian fidelity of all members of his congregation to their own church.

In closing his sermon Dr. Chaney said: “And the God of love and peace shall be with you. Heaven grant it. In building this church we have named it the Church of Our Father for him who went about doing good. <Archivist Note: See letter to the editor regarding this statement.>

“I know not how others may feel, but as for me I had rather be in a life boat bottomed with truth than in a large ship of the line scuttled by falsehood. I make no apologies for the comparative littleness of the church to which I belong.  In what age of the world was truth ever in the majority?  If you continue to live by the faith of your creed, then surely will the God of love and peace be with you.”

Mr. Chaney will be missed in Atlanta, as well as in his church circles.

He leaves Atlanta – Thursday for Birmingham, where he will remain several days. He will preach in that city next Sunday.  As yet he is unsettled in his mind as to where he will locate permanently.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) · Mon, Nov 3, 1890 · Page 6
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