Friday, May 11, 2018

Jacksonville Community Church Rehabilitation Project 1944-1946

The Rehabilitation Project
[As in the Dedication Souvenir Program]

Every pastor, since Floyd Morris and his faithful crew of laymen repaired and re-dedicated the “new basement” and hearth room with a little money and a lot of work, has wanted “to do something” about the condition of Jacksonville Church. But the job, once you looked at it, seemed endless. If you fixed the roof, what would you do with the chimney? If you tore out the chimney, what would happen to the heating plant and what would you do with the inside scars? It looked overwhelming.

Then two things happened in the summer of 1944. Arthur Moody was sent to Trumansburg and Jacksonville, some say “for just such a time as this.” He felt, as many of the “faithful” did, about the condition of the church building. After spending a morning alone in the church, thoughtfully and carefully going over the entire plant, he felt he had “assurance” that “something” could be done about it. So the next Sunday, July 9, a notice appeared in the Sunday Bulletin. “The Minister is looking for someone with $1,000 to challenge the church and community to match or double that gift to make the church a fitting expression of Christian faith."

The second “impetus” given was in a church school board meeting at the home of Alice Hopkins. Starting with the needs of the departments of the “Church School” housed in the damp and musty basement rooms. The discussion crystallized in the appointment of a “housing committee” to confer with the trustees on the matter of repairs. At the instigation of Alice Hopkins this committee met during the minister’s vacation, then met with the trustees and evolved a plan to “start somewhere” and do that job well. Just “one step” at a time with an “over-all” plan in view. The “League Room” was settled on as the first project. The first objective was raising $500.

The Young Adult Fellowship, organized during the pastorate of Chas. Tryon, took on this task. August 26 a meeting was held with some dozen YAF members and the minister at the Fred and Winnie Baker camp. The theme was “ways and means.” A plan was make, put in operation, $500 was raised and the work on the League Room was begun in September in charge of Leslie Hovencamp with Harland Knight as chairman of operations. It was completed and rededicated in November at a cost of about $410.

In the meantime, the “Crusade for Christ” was put on. Jacksonville was given a quote of $625 and was one of the first churches in the district to go over with a subscription of $678. Several persons felt the encouragement of this to think in terms of larger projects for the church.

January 7, 1945, the Official Board declared 1945 “Anniversary Year,” because the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of the church in Jacksonville came that year. Likewise, several other anniversaries.

February 12, ten officials with the minister met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harland Knight to discuss possible further repairs on the church. On February 15 a series of weekly letters of “information” began to go out to some 200 families. With Sunday, February 18, the minister began a series of sermons preparatory to a “move ahead.”

February 19 was an important evening in Jacksonville Church history. Twenty-two officials met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Delos Crumb. They decided to raise $5,000 at least to repair the church inside and out. This work was to be made a community “Memorial” to the Youth in Service from Jacksonville community. March 12 the finance committee met at the home of the Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Moody to discuss final details of raising the fund with a goal of $5,500. The campaign was called, “The Crusade of the Cross.”

March 18, ninety-two people were present at the sun service and began to “lift that cross” with $1,200 subscribed. March 25, $750 more was subscribed, and when church was over April 1, $2,650 had been written in the “Book of Golden Memories.”

The “Anniversary Year” had two objectives: 1) Fill the church by Easter, and 2) Fix the church this year. The church was filled Easter and the project began to “fix” the church April 1. April 13 Professor Walter Long of Auburn was retained as consulting architect.

The building committee under leadership of Harland Knight tackled an almost impossible job. Material was scarce, labor was scarcer. Winifred Baker, chair of the finance committee was taken sick, so Graham took over.

August 12 was celebrated as “Progress Sunday.” The work on the outside had been completed and the sum had mounted to $5,675. Rev. Floyd Morris, former pastor, was the speaker.

Then “post-war conditions” caused a series of delays. Many unexpected necessities for the building increased costs. The day of dedication was postponed from December 16, 1945 to March 31, 1946. Meanwhile, two $1,000 legacies had been left the church, “for just this time.” Another $1,000 was subscribed by the membership and friends. An unestimated number of hours of donated labor by many different people in addition has made possible final consummation of the work.

Architect, Professor Walter Long of Auburn; Contractors Van and Mac, Auburn; Heating, Herbert Haight, Trumansburg; Painting, Leslie Hovencamp, Jacksonville; Electrician, Chas Drummond, Jacksonville; Organ, Frederick Betts, Moravia.

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