Ensign Hugh J. Adams
Central Presbyterian Church
"First Service in New Church Home. Central Presbyterian Congregation Dedicates Building on Sandusky Street. First Sermon by Dr. Gregg. Large Crowd Attends Service and Listens to Discourse by Eminent Clergyman. The Pittsburg Dispatch, 21 March 1904.
After being without a church home for nearly a year, the congregation of the Central Presbyterian Church, Allegheny, established at the outbreak of the Civil War, was yesterday housed in its new building, Sandusky and North Diamond streets. The handsome new building, which is built after the English gothic style of architecture, was too small to hold all who tried to gain admittance, many being drawn there to hear Rev. Dr. David Gregg, the new President of the Western Theological Seminary, who preached the dedicatory sermon.
The church was prettily decorated with palms and flowers, and a special musical programme was rendered by the choir, assisted by Miss Barber, vocalist, and Miss Messmer, violinist. With Dr. Gregg in the pulpit at the morning service were Rev. S. B. McCormick, a former pastor, who delivered the dedicatory prayer, and Rev. George W. Chalfant, who offered the opening prayer.
Dr. Gregg took for a topic, "The Things of This Church That Make for Optimism." He said in part:
Dr. Gregg's Sermon.
We gather this morning, as your friends and neighbors, to congratulate you upon your noble and finished work. For you this is a day of fulfillment and completion. Another era of church life has been closed, and closed with honor. The occasion calls for more than congratulations; it calls for an expression of hope and confidence. We expect a new era in this church. We expect a fuller life and greater results.
In setting into the light the things that should make you optimistic as a church I mention that your material equipment is superb. By that I mean your church edifice and all it contains. It is well built and located in the very center of a large and reachable population. The building itself is eloquent; it is the visible embodiment of somebody's faith and provision and hard work, and as such it talks to the public day and night. Every stone and timber in it is a thought, or a purpose, or an expense, or a purchase, or a sacrifice. Each window is a page of the bible in color. Beauty is a wondrous power, and the church ought to consecrate it, as God loves beauty and is pleased by it. But these gospel windows are not merely things of beauty--they are church history. They are sacred memorials inscribed with names which belong to those who have labored here, and who have built their personalities and lives into the strength and grandeur of this church.
The second thing which makes for optimism is the constituency of your church. It is a family church--a church of Christian homes. The life of the home comes out and organizes itself in the spirit and laws that govern the church, the social circle and the commercial world.
The third thing which makes for optimism is the grand creed of your church. We Presbyterians are not afraid to believe something and believe it with all our might.
A Beautiful Edifice.
Following Dr. Gregg's sermon, the pastor of the church, Rev. J. Platt Allison, with the congregation, read the formal dedicatory service of the Presbyterian Church.
It was fitting that a platform meeting held in the afternoon was presided over by Rev. H. D. Lindsay, pastor of the North Presbyterian Church, which was the first offshoot of the Central Church. Short addresses were made by Rev. Drs. McGill, Eaton, Spahr, Woodburn, Thorp, Turkle and others. At the evening service the sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. S. B. McCormick.
The new church, which supplants the old structure which formerly stood at Anderson and Lacock streets, is built according to the most modern plans. The first floor contains the main auditorium, the Sunday school room, pastor's study and choir room. Above the Sunday school room, in the tower, is the trustees' room and a woman's parlor. In the basement are a kitchen and dining room.
Since the old church was torn down last fall the congregation has worshiped in Carnegie Music Hall. The plans for the new church were adopted last April and work commenced in May.