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Newspaper Page Text
MAKING A CHURCH MAKE GOOD
BY LIVY RICHARD.
The man in the picture is a man
I'd like to know Paul Moore Stray
er, a minister who-is doing things.
A decade ago he landed in Roches
ter, N. Y., to be pastor of a group of
well-to-do Presbyterians in a swell
church on the swellest avenue. They
were folks who mostly went to
church SundayB out of custom and
because its, soft music and subdued
light were restf uL
They grmow because it is a vital
place, a changing station and a work-
house. They fill the pews. ' And
think of it! strangers are really wel-
" come even if they're not dolled up.
Strayer refused to be a restricted
minister; to spend his time visiting.
He insisted (tactfully, of course) that
his job was to know life and lend a
hand where it was needed most
Hence he worked with the labor
unions, got himself elected fraternal
delegate and marched in their pa
rades. Then he rounded up a series of
"People's Sunday Evening" meetings
in a down-town theater and preached
religion with a punch in it, but with
out any frills one-syllabled religion
that the folks could understand.
The "P. S. E." had an advisory
committee of uplifters, doctors, "agi
tators" and others, who helped' to
make the programs. Discussion was
free, fearless but fair; and when the
folks on the platform had finished
saying their say the folks in the front
One night the topic was what to do
with the slums there, were pictures
of overcrowding and bad housing in a
city which had boasted it would not
have a slum. ".The New Jerusalem;
Here and' Now" was the way the
meeting" was headlined.
Well, this started something; and
Rochester got a model building code
and an impetus to its enforcement.
Another time there was line-up
for and against the saloon, with free
speech on both sides--and -hundreds
couldn't get in. One night's study of
unemployment, with a real hobo's re
cital of experiences, led to a general
overhauling of the city philanthro
pies. Strayer preaches Sunday mornings
to his regular nock, now more than
doubled; but they're pretty well train
ed. It is these evening meetings with
the men and women who have no
church home, who aren't sure the
church offers any good" to them,
which he considers his real ministry.
His swell church now has a parish
house which is a hive of social work,
the greater part. unselfish; and its
budget, once so hard to raise, though
now thrice what it was, comes easy,
for even the rich are interested in a
religion which does things.
Strayer says It's nonsense tb talk
about scrapping the church.
"It has a valuable plant and a
wealth of fine tradition. Don't sacri
fice these; jump In and save it."
Rubber tiling laid 18 years ago in
the large entrance hall Of a Liverpool
steamship office is reported to be still
in gpod" condition,-although the stone
threshold has. worn away and been