The Hood River News-Letter, Hood River, OR., April 6, 1907, page 1


     The Baptist church on the hill is progressing very nicely indeed. These good people will dedicate their church one week from tomorrow, if all plans work out. A visit to that building showed the house enclosed with the exception of five or six windows to put in. The structure is one of the most convenient and commodious we have seen in a long time. It is 56x64 overall and is divided first into a large auditorium with two suites of rooms on either side.
     The auditorium is 31x44 feet separated by folding doors from a room on either side 16x28. Back of these rooms and in the extreme southwest and southeast corners of the building are two other rooms 16 feet square. Joining these on the south end of the building and back of the pulpit and baptistry are two dressing rooms for candidates for immersion, these rooms being 6x8 feet square.
     The building is being put up in the most workmanlike manner and finished with hard coat adamantine plaster. The seating will be done in the building manufactured from prepared material. There is a belfry on the northwest corner large enough for the largest sized bell commonly used in such edifices. The baptistry is immediately behind the pulpit and is so constructed that the candidate cannot be seen until the ceremony proper begins, when they can be seen only as they enter and leave the water. Instead of being entirely below the pulpit platform it is built upon it and is 3 feet, 3 inches wide by 8 feet long exclusive of steps leading into it. This will be kept behind portiers, which will be removed only at such times as immersions take place.
     The most beautiful thing about that house is a large colored glass window in the front or north end of the building. There are none finer anywhere. It represents a scene in Palestine of a field, a way side, the thorns and rocks of the parable of the sower and over the figure of the sower are the words "A sewer went forth to sow." Beneath the feet of the figure are the words "In memory of Rev. J.B. Spight, organizer and first pastor of this church."
     It is a fitting tribute to the memory of the grand, good man, one who earnestly and prayerfully sowed the seed, but was called away by the Master, that others might reap where he had sown, and right richly will they find the harvest, as the indications are at present that they will soon have the finest in this city, entirely free from debt, a live, thrifty, congregation of earnest, faithful believers, a prosperous and interesting Sunday school, all the work of which was begun and carried on by Mr. Spight until he became too ill to attend to it, and has been fostered and encouraged largely by Mrs. Spight since that time, and Mrs. Spight with some assistance from the two brothers of Mr. Spight, presents this beautiful window to ever keep his memory green in the place where he loved and labored during his last days upon the earth.
     Other windows will be placed beside this one to finish the lighting of the front of the building, one of these we understand will be given by J.M. Wood, another by J.M. Wright and still another by Rev. McKee, the present pastor of the church.
     The work of construction is being pushed as rapidly as possible and it is hoped that all be in readiness for dedication on the 14th of April when Dr. Brougher, of Portland, will address the people in the morning and Rev. C.A. Woody in the evening.
     Our Baptist brethren are very highly commended for their earnest zeal, their self-sacrificing, their energy, their determination. We must certainly wish them the richest blessings of the Master both here and hereafter as a reward for their faithfulness, and their example should be a spur upon others who are not so enterprising, who apparently think more up their own pleasures than they do of the service of God for the salvation of their fellows.

The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., April 18, 1907, page 1
This article included a photograph of the church building, and a portrait of Rev. C.H. McKee

Over 300 People In Attendance
Dr. Brougher Preaches Sermon -- $1,052 Raised - Building Free From Debt - Mayor Speaks

     The completion and dedication of the new Baptist church on last Sunday marks a new era in the religious life and activities at Hood River. The Baptist church effected its organization October 30, 1904, with 12 charter members, namely: Geo. F. Coe and wife, F.A. Coe, Mrs. J.K. Carson, T.F. Johnson and wife, G.E. Bowerman and wife, James Hubbard, J.M. Melton and wife, and Mrs. J.M. Wright. The present membership consists of 45 active members. The church organized a Sunday school on January 1, 1905, with 44 members and now sustains an enrollment of approximately 120. The organization has a very active Ladies' Aid society with Mrs. T.F. Johnson as president, Mrs. J.B. Spight as secretary and Mrs. J.M. Wood as treasurer.
     At the beginning the society was handicapped in not having a suitable place in which to conduct its services. The organization moved from hall to hall and place to place. Upon one occasion the building in which they held temporary quarters was burned to the ground. For a time they followed the example of the Israelites and tabernacled in a tent, and for a period they gathered their forces together under the open canopy of heaven to worship and adore their God. Truly this was a loyal and faithful people.
     The present magnificent church structure was embryonic in the mind and heart of Rev. J.B. Spight, one of God's noblemen, who served for the term of two years as the pastor of this society, and who was still their shepherd, when the great head of the church said to him, "Well done thou good and faithful servant," and the spirit said to the flesh, "It is enough" and then his noble soul winged its way to the abode of the redeemed.
     Faithful and loyal layman took up the work where their leader had laid it down and with that help and co-operation of the Rev. C.H. McKee, who was sent to be their pastor, they carried the work to its consummation and success. Rev. McKee, the present pastor, is a man of splendid heart and life, a man of excellent ability and attainment, and much credit is due him for the sagacious efforts in completing the temple of God.
     The building has been well built. The workman have not slighted their work. The structure was built for utility, but in their plans they have made it a temple of beauty as well. It is a church that is most convenient and commodious. The structure is 56x64 feet overall. The auditorium is 31x44 feet with an apartment of 16x28 feet on either side separated by folding doors. In the extreme southeast and southwest are two other rooms each 16 feet square, and between them are two dressing rooms for candidates for baptism, each 6x8 feet square. Immediately at the rear of the pulpit is the baptistry. The seats are made of prepared spruce and extend through the center of the main auditorium. The belfry is located on the northwest corner and is built from the ground. The three transoms over the pulpit are made of cathedral glass, the center bearing the figure of the Holy Bible with the inscription "Mother's Bible." The object of the profoundest interest connected with the structure is the beautiful cathedral glass memorial window, placed in the north end of the building and measuring 8x12 feet, 6 inches. The window represents "The Sower" going forth to sow. The figure is nearly life size. At the top is the inscription, "A sower went forth to sow." Beneath the feet of the figure are the words "In memory of Rev. J.B. Spight, organizer and first pastor of this church." This beautiful and appropriate memorial is the gift of Mrs. Spight and the two brothers of Mr. Spight. On the other side of this window is another of cathedral glass and like pattern, one the gift of J.M. Wood, the other the gift of J.M. Wright. Rev. McKee gave the center transom window over the pulpit and the church the vestibule windows in honor of the Rev. McKee, the present pastor. The church was dedicated on Sunday morning April 4, 1907. The recess at the rear of the pulpit was beautifully decorated with Oregon grape, calla lillies and geraniums with a spray of wild flowers beneath. At the right of the pulpit were palms and calla lillies. Rev. Dr. Woody had charge of the services. After singing the doxology Rev. McKee offered the morning invocation, which was followed with the hymn, "Come Thou Almighty King," led by the choir from the Calvery Baptist church of The Dalles, which was composed of the following members: Soprano, Lulu Hill, Marion Glover and Mrs. T.F. Johnson; Alto, Grace Hill and Ethel Ruerak; tenor, C.L. Wood; Bass, Roy Hill and Mr. Greenly. After the singing of the hymn Dr. J. Whitcomb Brougher was introduced and read a scripture lesson from the 16 chapter of Luke, embodying the parable of the unjust steward. Chas. H. Hart, manager of the Pacific Baptist, then favored the audience with a splendid vocal solo entitled "Immanuel." This was followed with a prayer by Dr. Woody. The choir then sang the beautiful hymn, "Lead Me Gently Home," which was followed by singing the "Coronation."
     Dr. Brougher preached the dedicatory sermon talking as a basis the parable of the unjust steward, as found in the 16 chapter of Luke. The speaker prefaced his sermon with the words of greeting and congratulations on account of the splendid achievements of the citizens and church membership in fitting and offering such a beautiful and commodious temple for dedication.
     In the presentation of his subject great emphasis was placed on the thoughts that the mission of the church in a community was not to minister to itself, but to minister to the entire community. Every problem that you need to face finds a complete solution in the life and teachings of Christ. The speaker then asked the question, "Why do we live" this he answered by saying, "We all live for a purpose. Our mind and body was given for a purpose. The great mission of human existence is to minister to the needs of our fellow man." He dwelt at length on the thought of selfishness, stating that a selfish person could not be a happy person; because the spirit of avarice robbed the soul of its power to enjoy the things of life. Continuing he said, "The soul is the most sensitive object in the world. We are making a daily record upon it. Every thought and act leaves its impressions, and we must face that record again in eternity." Cut out sin and you may do anything to which the soul aspires. What are you doing with your money? You cannot purchase heaven with it, but you can lay it up in character, by using it to honor and glorify your creator. The way in which you make and use your money you will make your character. The man who sets his heart upon gold becomes a miser and loses the power to enjoy it. The way to make friends is to become a servant for Christ, and live for the betterment of the race. What you give in time, talent and money for others, you will find stored up in the character of men and women. God can transform cash into character. The loneliest hour of your life will be when you come to life's end and have no one to welcome you on the eternal short because you kept your time, talent and money to yourself. "The speaker stated that the denominational lines were being obliterated and that he hailed the time when the Christian forces of our land would get together and destroy the evil influence that destroy life and character.
     The sermon was a masterpiece of thought and eloquence. At the conclusion a subscription was asked for. Dr. Brougher announced that they would like to raise about $600, and in a few minutes they raised nearly $900. The subscriptions and collections for the entire day amounts to $1050.62. After the offering had been taken Dr. Brougher said, "I have never seen people respond more cheerfully. I have raised money in many places, but the magnanimity manifested here this morning surpasses anything I have ever seen. I will return to Portland this evening and tell my great congregation in the White Temple of the success of this magnificent enterprise.
     In closing Dr. Woody offered a prayer of dedication, and at its conclusion that the vast audience united in singing the doxology, and were dismissed with the benediction by Dr. Brougher.
     At 3 o'clock p.m. there was a song service led by The Dalles choir. At 3:30 the pastors of the various city churches, together with the mayor, united with the Baptist brethren in a fellowship meeting. The meeting was opened with a vocal solo, entitled "Only a Sinner Saved by Grace," by Chas. H. Hart, followed by an invocation by Rev. W.A. Wood. Mayor L.N. Blowers then delivered the following address:
     Mr. Moderator and Friends:
     Upon the invitation of your pastor, Mr. McKee, I appear here today as the representative of our city to join with you in a fellowship meeting in this beautiful new church, which was dedicated this morning to the service of God, and which I earnestly believe will be an instrument for the uplifting and bettering of this community.
     Our martyred president, McKinley, just before being shot down at Buffalo, said that "expositions were the milestones of national progress." I think no thoughtful person will deny that churches are the mile stones of civilization and that where a church is found there will civilization also be found. The Baptist church might without impropriety be called the American church. Its early history is interwoven with, and is to a considerable extent, the early history of the first settlements on American soil and its principles are essentially America.
     The doctrine of entire separation of church and state, of religious liberty, and that no person is bound to assist in maintaining a worship against his own consent, was first preached by Roger Williams, who was the first Baptist in America. That heroic soul who preached his honest convictions had the courage to live by or die for them -- having been banished from Massachusetts for daring to give utterance to these liberal views, now generally endorsed by all thinking and patriotic people -- he, one cold wintry night, kissed his wife and little ones goodby and traveled on foot to what is now Rhode Island and established a settlement which, in the acknowledgment of God's goodness, he named Providence, and from this humble beginning sprang the great, powerful church of today.
     In 1770 there were about 75 Baptist churches in America, but at this time there are about 500,00 churches and 4,000,000 members, the church having kept pace with the growth of the country.
     My friends, I congratulate you on the possession of this imposing and comfortable edifice, and express the sincere hope that it will always be a place where the poorest and humblest man or woman may come freely and feel themselves at home. In many churches such conditions do not exist. Many churches are used simply as club rooms for fashionably attired women for the purpose of displaying the latest styles in hats and millinery. It should never be forgotten that the disciples and followers of Christ came from those who, poor in purse and the possessions of this world, where rich in character and faith.
     It seems to me that there is a deplorable tendency among many of the modern churches to forget that our Savior was himself a meek and lowly man who denounced the Pharisees and others of that type.
     The question is a very simple common one today, "Why do not men attend church." It seems to made a very simple question and one easily answered. Men, no matter how imperfect they may themselves be, admire and respect sincerity and moral courage. They consider the worship of God too sacred a matter to be engaged in perfunctorily as a fashionable function. Present day conditions do not require anyone to die for their religious convictions, but every professed Christian is expected to live for, and by those professions. When a larger percentage of church members (which term does not necessarily mean Christians) live up every day and every hour in the day to the principle laid down by our Savior there will be more men found in churches. What one may do or say a few hours each Sunday is not what makes the Christian but our acts in everyday life on the streets and in the busy mart of trade are what show the metal of what we are made. "By their fruits shall you know them" is as true today as when uttered centuries ago by that inspired teacher of far Galilee. I do not mean to say that all churches are merely "fashionable club rooms." Some of our most devoted Christians are the good, faithful mothers and wives who attend service while the men are at home busily engaged in reading the daily papers in an urgent desire to learn whether Portland's base ball club won the game yesterday or whether wheat is up or down. Their course is, in my opinion, about as reprehensible as that of some silly society women, who have done a great deal of injure and discredit churches by trying to make divine worship a fashionable function. I trust that this church, which represents so much earnest effort and sacrifice on the part of its dearly beloved and universally respected founder, Rev. Spight, and those associated with him, will truly be a haven, a home for all sincerely seeking to follow the precepts of the lowly Nazarene.
     I am in hearty sympathy with any church, be it Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist or Roman Catholic, that earnestly and sincerely strives to raise humanity to higher levels and to make mankind better.
     Many young men think it betrays a weakness to attend church; but it is true that "the bravest are the tenderest" and that the strong man must bear as well as dare." No man is weaker for being humane, tender and kind to the least of God's creatures, and he will not be taught to be otherwise in a church.
     This particular church is another mile stone in the advancement of our city. Few would have predicted ten or even five years ago that such an edifice would ever adorn the heights overlooking the lordly Columbia. Fifteen years ago there was not a church building within the present limits of this town; now we have a six that would be a credit to any town, and other denominations, now meeting in public halls, are contemplating building. Hood River can justly be proud of its churches and good members. Like Hood River apples, there may be others "just as good" but none better.
     This was followed with a selection by The Dalles choir. Rev. J.L. Hershner spoke words of greeting and commendation in behalf of the Congregational church. Rev. J.A. Baldridge brought greetings from the Unitarian church. Rev. J.W. Sprecher spoke in behalf of the United Brethren church and Rev. W.A. Wood represented the Christian Church.
     The union the in the evening was preceded by a song service in charge of Chas. H. Hart, who rendered several splendid solos. Dr. C.A. Woody read for a scripture lesson, Rom. 1, after which Rev. W.C. Evans offered prayer, followed by an able sermon by Dr. Woody from the text Rom. 1-16. "For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel for it is the Power of God Unto Salvation", taking for his subject the gospel. The speaker stated that the gospel makes for the welfare of men, and defined the term to mean: Good News and the entire message of all the other apostles gathered into one word. The constituent elements of the gospel were defined as the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of men, the saving power of Christ and the immortality of the soul.
     Dr. Woody said: "Paul's viewpoint of the gospel was not that of an ordinary man. He viewed the gospel from the standpoint of a historian, philosopher, jurist, educator, statesman and churchman, but greater than all, his viewpoint was one of experience." The sermon was one of thought and power. Rev. McKee offered the concluding prayer and benediction.
     The new church begins its new era with the following officary: Pastor, Rev. C.H. McKee; Trustees, J.M. Wood, Geo. F. Coe and T.F. Johnson; Building committee, J.M. Wright and F.G. Coe; Finance committee, Rev. C.H. McKee, Geo. F. Coe, and M.M. Hill and T.F. Johnson; Sunday school superintendent, F.G. Coe; Assistant superintendent, John M. Wood; Sunday school teachers, J.M. Wood, Mrs. J.M. Wood, Geo. F. Coe, Mrs. G.F. Coe, Mrs. T.F. Johnson, Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Lillie Dark; Church treasurer, J.M. Wood; Clerk, F.G. Coe.
     The church as completed cost approximately $3500.

The Hood River News-Letter, Hood River, OR., April 20, 1907, page 1
Includes photographs


     The day for which the Baptists have been working for the past two years, for which they have been praying and watching and working has come, and there is not a happier, more grateful lot of people in Hood River today than the congregation of the Baptist church on the hill.
     The folding doors at the church were thrown open making one large room of the entire floor and more than 500 people were present. The seating capacity of the church was not sufficient to hold all the people and some stood during a part of the exercises.
     The pulpit and altar were beautifully decorated with Oregon grape, ferns, palms and other potted plants. The exercises were very appropriate and well rendered, indicative of the thankfulness and happiness of the people in the enjoyment of their new church home.
     The sermon was a most excellent one from the text, "Come, give an account of your stewardship." The speaker Dr. J. Whitcomb Brougher praised the good people of the Baptist church for their faithfulness in the conduct of their stewardship. The beautiful house they had constructed will stand for many years as a testimony of their self sacrificing earnestness, and the beautiful window with the sower going forth to sow would ever stand as a witness testifying to the loving and faithful service of the first pastor of the church, who had gone to his reward, Rev. J.B. Spight, and so long as the people met there and looked upon that window would they remember his services with thankfulness.
     Dr. Brougher was in his happiest mood despite the affliction of tonsillitis from which he was still suffering to some extent. He was pleased with the new church building, with the members of the church who had shown themselves so energetic and progressive, and with the people of Hood River who had so generously assisted the church in the erection of their beautiful edifice, and naturally the people were pleased with his address and glad to listen to him.
     We have not the space to dwell longer upon the sermon than to call attention to the speaker's remarks regarding the laying up of treasures. His views on this subject were in consonance with the plain teachings of the Christ. If we lay up our treasures here on earth, here will our hearts be, here will we center our affections and our souls will reach no loftier heights than the mountains of our own country; while on the other hand if we lay up our treasures in heaven our hearts will be there, our lives will be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may be accounted worthy of citizenship in the Kingdom of God, and we may be enabled to dwell forever on the everlasting hills through the righteousness of Christ.
     The way he showed to lay up the treasures in heaven was to give of our substance to the up building of Christ's kingdom here on Earth. If we had not to the money we had time, and time for the Lord properly used, was as acceptable as the coin of the realm. He emphasized personal works for Christ. While some might not be able to go and preach the gospel from the pulpit, they might do so through the mouth of one whom they had led to Christ. He urged the members of the church to be ever faithful in their use of their new building, liberal in the payment of money for the spread of the gospel and earnest in their work of winning souls to Christ.
     The good doctor's native mother wit never forsake him during the entire address and it was but for very brief periods, when some of especially solemn thought was presented forcibly to his hearers, that their faces were not wreathed in smiles, and they seemed the happiest when giving to clear the church from debt. Dr. Brougher is certainly a king among solicitors. His happy way of putting the subject of giving, his manner of asking for certain specific amounts, and his faculty for over running the amount contributed largely to the success of the meeting. The most sanguine hardly expected to secure the $600 required to make the church clear of debt, but such was the sentiment of the helpfulness and the sense of need of the work on the hill that in less than a half hour there was raised about $1000 in pledges and coin.
     Dr. Brougher, in thanking the people for their generosity and good fellowship, paid a fine tribute to them saying: "I have been in many places soliciting in this way for the church, in many localities where they were much more richly endowed with this world's goods than you here in Hood River, but in all my experience, and this may go in print, I have never met with people who responded so cheerfully and generously." Rev. Woody offered the dedicatory prayer and congregation sang the Doxology and the benediction was pronounced by Dr. Brougher.
     The above cut is a portrait of Rev. C.E. McKee, to whose able management and perseverance is due the wonderful success of the organization and the work of construction of this beautiful edifice.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer