Wilmette Baptist Parish Holds Dedication [Part 1]
Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 18 Apr 1924, Souvenir Section, p. 12, 13, 14

Full Text

Wilmette Baptist Parish Holds Dedication. Churchmen to Be Here for Week of Observances [heading]

Inaugurate Program of Services Easter Sunday at 11 A.M.

Editor's Note: The week beginning with Easter Sunday and terminating on Sunday, April 27, will be replete with activity in the parish of the Wilmette Baptist church. In addition to the Easter observances, the members and friends of the church will participate in a season of festivity attendant upon the dedication of the church and the new Austin organ, and celebration of the formal entry into the beautiful main auditorium of the edifice. "Wilmette Life" has been fortunate in securing interesting information relating to the church, its history and the work of the various departments, sketches of individuals who have been and still are active in its life, a detailed description of the new Austin organ--one of the finest on the north shore--and other facts that should be of interest to every person directly or indirectly connected with church affairs. This wealth of information is set forth herewith in a special Souvenir Dedication section. [italics]


During the winter of 1912 and 1913 a small group of Baptist leaders began to survey the Wilmette Community and discovered that there were a great many who desired the organization of a Baptist church. Prayer meetings were held for many weeks with the result that on April 6, 1913, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon at the Woman's Club the Wilmette Baptist church was organized with 62 constituent members. The founders of the church were , P.R. Finlay, John D. Greig, Charles L. Major, Edwin Phelps, Oscar Schmidt and Alpheus E. White. On November 24, 1913, a call was extended to Rev. B. Frank Taber of Battle Creek, Michigan, whose pastorate began January 18, 1914. During Mr. Taber's pastorate of more than three years, a beautiful church site was purchased, the membership doubled, and plans for a complete Church Plant adopted. Mr. Taber resigned on February 27, 1917 to accept the call of the First Baptist Church of Washington, Pennsylvania.

On April 22, 1917 the present pastorate began. The period of our country's participation in the Great War was one of little growth. For the first two years of the pastorate, Mr. Stifler was giving either half or full-time service to the Y.M.C.A. at the Great Lakes Naval Training station and at the University of Michigan.

A new era in the history of the church began at the Annual meeting on June 17, 1919, at which the members raised in cash and pledges $22,000 as a nucleus for their Building fund. The church enjoyed a splendid growth during that year, and on March 26, 1920, at a complimentary banquet, tendered by the Building committee, an additional $80,000 was raised, payable for the most part over a period of five years. Work on the excavation was begun in June of that year, following a ceremony held on May 9, at 12:30 o'clock at which Mr. David Nelson, one of the charter members of the church, turned the first spade of ground on the new site. On Sunday, December 12, 1920, the cornerstone was laid by F. R. Finlay [sic], one of the founders of the church who had served as chairman of the Board of Deacons and treasurer of the Building fund. The entire shell of the unit was constructed during 1921, almost entirely by local contractors, and in the autumn of that year the church moved in, using the ground floor quarters for its entire program. During the year 1923, the project was permanently financed and last fall, work on the completion of the building and the installation of the organ was begun.

The unit now being dedicated is the first of two units which the church has had in mind to erect. The other unit, work on which will probably begin within two years, will be erected to the north and east of the present unit and will be designed for purposes of religious education, recreation, and living quarters for the caretaker.


A Building committee was appointed in 1913, on which the following men have served: Charles L. Major, chairman, C. J. Blaylock, W. M. Burns, T. A. Copeland, P. R. Finlay, H. C. Heaton, W. C. Matthews, Edwin Phelps, Benjamin Richards, Walter E. Shoemaker, and C. E. Thompson. Mr. Major, who is the manager of the Chicago House of the American Baptist Publication Society, has been from the start, the chairman of the committee. One of the committee's first actions was to choose as their architect, one of the charter members of the church, Howard Bowen, who has been well-known in Wilmette for many years in his profession. Br. [Mr.] Bowen has not only been the architect for the church, but has also served as general contractor through all the building operations.

The church is of English Gothic Chapel style, built of Illinois Rubble Limestone, with brown and white trim and a red tile roof. The windows are of amber cathedral glass. The auditorium is finished in natural sand float plaster with Flemish oak beams and paneling, and with pews to match. The hangings and carpets carry out the color-scheme of taupe and mulberry and the light-fixtures of a semi-indirect construction are finished in rusty iron and equipped with amber cathedral glass. The ground floor features a large assembly room constructed without pillars and trimmed in stippled buff and ivory wood-work. This room has been used for two years and a half for Sunday school and church worship purposes, but was designed principally for social activities and as a dining room. To the west of the assembly room is one of the most complete church kitchens to be found anywhere. Its equipment includes the very latest design of steam table, gas range, coffee urns, electric dish-washer and working and serving tables and benches.

A stage equipment is also provided on the ground floor and the church office is located in the southwest corner. The office is completely equipped and has a direct outside entrance at the front of the church.

The boiler room is located to the north of the present unit and is a part of the basement of the second unit which was constructed at this time to accomodate the heating plant. In addition to the boilers, a steam coal ventilating system has been installed for keeping either cool or warm fresh air in both the Assembly room and the auditorium above.

The pastor's study is located above the east vestibule with a private stairway, and has been accounted by church experts as one of the best located and appointed pastor's studies to be found anywhere.


The Wilmette Baptist church will dedicate the completed building beginning April 20. On the morning of that day the new auditorium will be used for the first time for the annual Easter service at the church. The program on Sunday morning, April 20, will be as follows:


Beginners Department--Children's Hall, South Room.

Primary Department--Children's Hall, North Room.

Intermediate Department--Assembly Room.

Senior Department--Assembly Room

Adult Department--Assembly Room


The Organ Prelude, Easter Song...Candlyn

Doxology and Invocation

Congregation standing.

The Hymn of Easter Praise, Number 126

Congregation seated.

The Responsive Scripture Reading, Selection 39

Congregation standing.

The Gloria

Anthem,"King of Kings" [?] Simper

The Scripture Lesson

The Ministry of Prayer

The offertory, "Berceuse"...Dickinson

Tenor solo, "Hosanna"...Granier. A. C. Youngberg.

The Sermon, "Loyalty to Christ" Mr. Stifler

The Baptismal Hymn Number 242

Congregation seated

The Prayer of Dedication of the Baptistry.

The ordinance

Anthem "As It Began To Dawn"..Bochan

The Benediction

The Organ Postlude "Grand Chorus"...Guilmant


On Sunday afternoon at 5:30, the Senior Young People's society will have as their guests in the new auditorium of the church the young people of the other churches. At this service Mrs. Mildred Fash Chritzman will sing, and the address will be given by W. J. Kitchen, a member of the church, and a student at Union Theological Seminary at New York, and under appointment to take up Foreign Mission work at Canton Christian College, Canton, China.

At 8:15 o'clock after the close of the Sunday Evening Club services, a service in dedication of the New Communion Set will be held and the Lord's Supper served. Rev. Benjamin Otto will give the Dedicatory Address.

On Monday morning, April 21, the Chicago Baptist Ministers' conference will be entertained for their regular Monday morning meeting which will commence at 11 o'clock. The address will be given by Prof. William D. Schermerhorn of Garrett Biblical Instutute. At 12:30 o'clock the women of the church will tender to the members of the conference a luncheon, which will be followed by a tour of inspection of the building. Tuesday evening has been chosen for the Neighborhood Night Meeting at which all the friends of the church from the community are invited to come. It will be an informal social occasion at which there will be greetings from the pastors of the other churches and an opportunity to inspect the property will be given. Light refreshments will be served.


On Thursday evening, April 24, the church will be dedicated to the World Program of the Kingdom. Rev. J. M. Stifler, D.D. pastor of the First Baptist Church of Evanston and brother of the pastor of the Wilmette church will preside at this meeting, which will partake principally of the Ordination service of Mr. W. J. Kitchen to the Christian Ministry. The program of this service is as follows:

Rev. James Madison Stiffler, D. D., presiding.

Organ Prelude, "Beside the Sea" Schubert

Call to Worship

Congregation standing

Hymn of Praise, Number 78

Dedicatory Address

The Ceremony of Ordination to the Christian Ministry of Wilmer J. Kitchen

The Ordination Hymn, Number 205

The Scripture

Anthem, "Gloria from Twelfth Mass"...Mozart

Sermon...Rev. Frank Leonard Anderson, D.D.

President International Baptist Seminary, East Orange, New Jersey

Ordaining Prayer...Rev. Julius Rohrbach, D.D.

The Charge to the Candidate...Rev. Jacob Heinrichs, D.D.

The Charge to the Church...Rev. Henry Clay Miller

The Closing Hymn, Number 214

Congregation standing

The Benediction...Rev. W. J. Kitchen

The Organ Postlude, "Allegro Appasionata"...Guilmant

Media Type:
Item Types:
Souvenir section included in 18 Apr 1924 Wilmette Life

Date of Publication:
18 Apr 1924
Personal Name(s):
Abernethy, William ; Anderson, Frank ; Bowen, Howard ; Bush, Harvey ; Chritzman, Mildred ; Copeland, T. A ; Heaton, Herman ; Heinrichs, Jacob ; Kitchen, Wilmer ; Blaylock, C. J. ; Burns, W. M. ; Finlay, Peter ; Greig, John ; Kitchen, Wilmer ; Major, Charles ; Matthews, W. C. ; Miller, Henry ; Nelson, David ; Otto, Benjamin ; Phelps, Edwin ; Richards, Benjamin ; Rohrbach, Julilus ; Schermerhorn, William ; Schmidt, Oscar ; Segsworth, Beatrice ; Shoemaker, Walter ; Stifler, Francis ; Stifler, James ; Taber, B. Frank ; Thompson, Charles ; White, Alpheus ; Youngberg, Arthur
Corporate Name(s):
Wilmette Baptist Church
Local identifier:
From the collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.0806081373207 Longitude: -87.7041503675842
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Wilmette Public Library
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1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930

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Wilmette Baptist Parish Holds Dedication [Part 1]