DEADICATION (Sunday, November 25, 1900)

The New Congregational Chuch Dedicated Sunday Morning.

The Entire Debt Pledged Previous to Dedication.

Some Historical Items Concerning the Society.

The first historical infomration concerning the Congregational church society of Alden is borne on a b it of faded paper in the hand0witing of Deacon Jesse Rogers. It indicates that the first meeting for the prupose of organizing the society was held in January 1866. From this beginning a regular soceity was organized July 4, of the same yar. The following named persons received letters of dismissal from the Congregational church of Iowa Falls and became the original members of the new body: Fabian Beard, Jesse Rogers, Seymour Stratton, Martha A. Stratton, Loren Burnham, J.R. Colt, Eliza M. Colt. Therom Kellogg, Lorinda Kellogg, Maria Sperry, Sarah C. Silvernail, D.A. Beard, Fanny E. Utley, Mary J. Catlin, Margaret J. Sherrard, Alice ______, Elisabeth Beard, G.C. Wood, Electa Wood, Henrietta Treat, Hannah Kemp, Ellen M. Rogers, Anna H. Neill, Adelia Neill.

The building now owned by Wm. Keating and occupied as a residence by the C. Russell famly, was at that time the public school building of our town and became the first home of the new religious body. On July 4, 1866, the corner stone of the edifice that has remained the home of the society until the present summer was laid with simple but impressive ceremonies. In the fall of 1867 the building was dedicated, the dedicatory sermon being preached by Rev. Graves, pastor of the Congregational church at Iowa Falls. The building as it then stood cost $3,002.29. Of this amound $1216.68 was raised in Alden. The sum of $1746.75 came from abroad, a large part of it thru the personal solicitation of Mr. Rogers who spent the summer of 1866 in the east for that prupose. Among the large contribtors are found the names of Thos. K. Beecher, for a long time pastor of the Congregational church in Elmira, New York, who gave $100, and the Honorable Horace Fairbanks of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who gave $350.

Thus were laid the beginnnings, organic and architectural, of the meeting of Sunday morning, November 25, 1900, which saw the dedication of an enlarged and modern sructure, built at a cost of $4900.00.

The dedicatory sermon by Rev. T.O. Douglas, of Grinnell was listened to by an audience filling the auditoruim of the building ot its fullest capacity. Dealing largely with the visible, tangible and material benefits that accure to a community in return for its investments in religious and educational institutions, the speaker showed that nothing was too good, too beautiful or too elaborate to be set aside for the services of the Lord it is is done with the whole heart, not grudgingly. It will always seem to the members o fthe audience as it the debt of $1900 which rested on the church a the beginning of the service and was lifted before the close was taken off by magic. The large pledges were few but as the smaller numbers were reached the responses were so prompt as to render it necessary to stop from time to time in order for the church clerk to keep the minutes properly. Not only to the five charter members of the society who were privilged to be present, but to the entire audience the final works, "We the people of this church and congregation, now consecrating ourselves anew, dedicate this entire building in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen," were full of impressive ______ and hope. Now only had the structure been ereced without a discordant note in the music of its making but was now placed in commission free from debt or stain.

The exact figure, showing the condition of the church building fund as read by Mr. Douglas, will not be out of place here:

Total expenditure to date,. . . . .$4852.69
Needed for completion . . . . . .       25.00
Cost, total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4877.99
Total cash receipts from sub-
scriptions, sale of old lumber,
transcer of parsonage pro-
perty, sale of dirt, etc.$2920.91
Unpaid subscriptions      67.50 $2988.41
             Balance                       $1889.58

The amount pleged (sic) and paid in cash during the day was $1964.88, or $75.30 more than called for. It will not come amiss, however, to have a few dollars in excess of the present known needs. Subscriptions may be paid at any time during the coming twelve months to Treasurer L.B. Rogers.

The evening service was largely devoted to reminiscenses of early days. Rev. Lyman, who began his work in Alden in September, 1891 and who has been longer with the church than any other pastor by several years, gave a careful reviw of its early history, gathered from the records, and sustance of which is printed at the head of this article. Mr. Lyman also, in a manner deeply approved and seconded by the audience, expressed the gratitude of the church to those, well known, who had been foremost in the project of the new building.

Rev. E. Robbins, pastor of the Congregational church at Iowa Falls, were present and expressed the congratulations of their people and of themselves.

Rev. H.H. Robbins, now treasurer of Iowa College at Grinnell, who was paster of the Alden church from 1874 to 1877 gave a vivid and interesting account of the pleasant days when fresh from the theological seminary, he came to make his home among us and win a place in the hearts of the people which time and distance have never effaced. Mr. Robbins was a buoyant, masterful, grey-headed boy twenty-three years ago and has remained the same in all respects except that he has found it necessary to change his vocation because of an affection of the throat which does not permit continuous public speaking.

The people of Alden and vicinity can afford to anticipate that the new shurch, joining on, as it does, to the old one, will prove itself a symbol of a united and continuous existence, reaching from the small and earnestly deligent beginnings of the life that is to the larger and better realization of the life to come. It is a structure all may be proud of, not alone for its artistic beasuty but because, with this, it combines evidence that the days of smaller things are not despised, but held in high regard.