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A UNIQUE FIGURE DOING A UNIQUE THING
IN THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Bv Wade C. Smith, Campaign Manager Presbyterian Progressive Program Till-: KKIMtKSKNTATIVK >1. K. < HI Kt ll. SOI I II. WASIIIMilOV, I>. <\ Hiwlcil ill a cost of $400,000. Shall not Southern I'icshjicriiins him1 a worthy ??< I j tif<* in the nation's capital? Some history recently emu-ted in a populous st 1 1 < I fashionable section of Washington. I). ( '. lent Is force iu i lie saying thai "Truth is stranger than fiction."' Can the reader visual i/.e a scene made up of unusual elements like this: n group of striking plasierers. suddenly diverted from their war-time demands on the I". S. (iovernment for sjd .00 an hour, now work ing with might and skill upon the walls of a church, without charge, having cement mixed and brought to t hem by the Church officers, the pastor himself in overalls carrying a hod? < '<111 you picture these disgruntled strikers mer rily plying their trowels on a cln.rcli wall, anon pausing to receive a sandwich and clip of coffee from the gentle liaiul of a Woman's Auxiliary worker.' (';iii you h 'lieve that a little church, crowded beyond it> seating limits, yet without funds for building could >ucee?s fully resort t<? siich means to enlarge its borders and increase its capacity for service transforming its very elements of disorder into a constructive force of life and Christian fellowship? Well, reader, you will have to crank up your imagination 1o follow this story, for it is de cidedly out of the ordinary. This young man. Uev. Andrew Bird, the Pas tor of the Onirch of the Pilgrims, is a rare mixlure of conquering faith and grace. Trans hi ted into business terms it would be ex pressed as unmitigated nerve and energy. Animated by the vision of a great communion magnificently witnessing in our National Cap ital to the power of our glorilied Saviour, this man for ten years, through perhaps every known disappoint incut in church building, made doubly difficult by the well-nigh suffo cating indifference of local surroundings, has battled with a persistence and heroism that would challenge the support of people far more cold blooded t ha n Southern I'resbyterians who, by the way, are not half so cold blooded as they arc in some ignorant quarters cracked up to he. They are just Scotch enough to want a bit of argument. For Mr. Hi I'd and his little group of associated workers it has been a "long, long trail awiud ing. and a long, long night of, not weeping, but working;" but they are emerging into the clearing and there is dawning the day of success and reward of faith. Tin* tiling which gripped the hearts of .Mr. Bird ami his associates ten years ago was the appalling need of a great city gone mad with diversions and rendered spiritually uncon scious I iy the transient character of its busi ness, professional and social life. It was the matter of saving a drugged society ami rous ing it to the consciousness of both its spiritual danger and its opportunity. Mote than liO.OOO young women and young men occupy ing government positions, thousands of army ami navy men, thousands of professional men temporarily located at the National Capital, all are released from the usual restraint of home influences. It was a case of detached spiritual life, in dangerous suspense and sub ject to every attractive device of the forces of evil to ensnare lonesome beings seeking diversion in leisure hours. Tin- idea was conceived tliat the Church wa? a divinely ordained agency lor r?>ii<-li i utr out a kindly 1 1 <1 1 1 < 1 of helpfulness and spiritual health to drift in*; lives. ? 1 r?i ?r *ri 1 1 their an chors through t rcaeherous seas. Vision is usually followed by seemingly insurmounta ble difHcully. Tin* vision of tin* Church of tlif Pilgrims was no exemption, The I it 1 1?* band was simply financially unable to enter upon its broadly conceived task. It is a sur prising faet that there is less money available in Washington eity lor a distinctly religious ea use than in the average small town. And In re it was that the resourcefulness of .Mr. liird showed itself in siieli a remarkable way that we are obliged to b 'Sieve (bid has been deli nitely guiding. Imagine some little elinreh building that you have seen by the roadside trying to eope with the fasrinat ing life of a gay and crowded eity. There were about one hundred seats. Half as many more were squeezed in. The limit was reached on one level. The men of the Church were called to meet at the church one night. A load of lumber had been de livered that afternoon. After a few weeks there was a home-made gallery, and closer fel lowship. Now the limit was readied verti cally as well as horizontally. I >nt the brick walls; fall down before faith. 1 1 i <r 1 1 School boys were interested t :? contribute muscle, contractors loaned picks and shovels. An unknown man contributed two old frame buildings. A municipal strci 1 gang loaned crowbars and picks for a few days. A mem ber of the Church brought his auto truck. The old buildings were wrecked, transported and erected into an addition to the church. To gain permission to erect this frame structure within the lire limits. .Mr. liird had to promise to tear il down at any time, with thirty days notice from the city, and that he would cover it with three coats of cement and pchhlcdash. The promise was made iu faith that the notice to demolish would not come, and it has not yet, in two and one half years. Also in the faith that somehow the outside plastering and pebbledash could be done. Hut workers had reached the limit of their (Continued on page !?"?.) I'llKSFAT HOME OF "THE CHURCH OF Till-: lMI/CRIMS," WASH I NC?TON", I). < On a beautiful lot admirably located, blocks west of IMipont Circle, but will pitifully inadequate facilities.