Holyoke Church Enlargement

by Laurel | May 14th, 2010

Grace Church

Grace Church

May 13, 1906

Growth Calls for Increased Facilities.

Grace Congregational church, which may properly be called the leading institutional church of the Connecticut Valley, is soon to receive material enlargement and equipment for its growing work, as is shown by the architects drawing on this page. Due note has already been made in detail of the plans and how the capacity of the church is thus to be increased. The question what Grace church will do with these added facilities will be one that those who have given and those who have interest in the really remarkable work accomplished by it in the church life of Holyoke will equally desire to have answered. The church people had plans at one time that looked to the purchase of adjoining property from the Holyoke boys club, but a price not being attainable that seemed reasonable to the church officials, the plan to develop upon its present lot was evolved and so satisfactorily that all concerned have no regrets over the change of plan.

It was only a decade ago that the church first started its work. There have been but three pastors in this period: Rev. A. W. Remington, Rev. F. P. Reinhold and Rev. Edward B. Robinson., the latter the present pastor. In the beginning 50 was considered a good audience; today four times that amount of seating capacity is insufficient at the illustrated sermons and special Sunday-evening meetings, of which much is being made under the present administration. The new additions will provide for a seating capacity of 300, which it is believed will be ample for some time to come, and in addition bu opening other rooms a total seating capacity of 400 will be obtained. The new plans will therefore provide first of all for a taking care of the larger audiences which have come to gather, and which at times have presented the picture of 100 or more standing up the evening through.

The second important advantage for which the new plans will make fuller provision is the church unit. Years ago the Christian endeavor society was their church unit, but today the larger Sunday school classes are social units, and for them wise administrators are planning and making provision in as large a measure as possible. These units, or classes, run from 13 to sometimes 40 or 50 members, in larger churches in excess of this number, each had its weekday meeting night, its place in the Sunday school plan, its social life and from time to times takes its active charge of various church services and lines of work. Each such unit is to be provided with a room of its own, some 14 such rooms being planned, and for the most part each will be used exclusively by the class unit. Devotional life is fostered by such rooms and the class spirit cultivated. The new plans therefore took toward the strengthening of this important tendency of today.

The institutional church work calls also for more space for gymnastic work and for the work of the various “clubs” which like the class work of which mention is made, are a growing phase of the institutional church work today. There will be more space available for social work, for gymnastic work, for club work. Better and better work is being done each year in these lines of endeavor by the Mount Holyoke college students who have under their charge much of the work of this kind. The increased facilities will encourage both pupils and teachers and allow of greater growth as well. The cost of the proposed improvements will be about $12,000, and the larger part of this has been raised it is hoped that tomorrow an announcement may be made that the full abound has been subscribed. The plans are by William Ranger, son of Caspar Ranger, and the work will also be done by the Rangers. Grace church people have always been fortunate in that Holyoke men of sound business ability and generously disposed toward the church and parish have been willing to volunteer their services. Many might be mentioned, as Joseph A. Skinner, formerly superintendent, who now has a class and who has always been one of the leading supporters of the work; and Edward N. White, the superintendent of the Sunday school, another indefatigable worker and supporter. Mrs. Eliza Smith, who included Grace church among her recent large gifts to various good causes, should be remembered as on highly interested in the work; F. B. Towne and many others who have given freely of their time and money for the advancement of the work of the church should also be remembered.

From The Springfield Republican.

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