Friday, December 06, 2013
To keep pace with the growing population, members who lived west of Spring Street were asked to withdraw and build West End Methodist at Brookstown Avenue and West Fourth Street. The building was completed in 1913.
Great revivals were the direct cause of growth in the church from year to year. The music program thrived as well. "During the whole history of West End Church, complete harmony has existed in the choir, and this has been owing to the gracious good sense and Christian tact of those who have presided as Director and Organist, and to all members of the choir who have served the church so faithfully." (Bumgarner, 30)
Both West End and Centenary were involved in missions, particularly giving extensive assistance to a deaconess working with factory workers. They also supported a missionary in China and one in Korea. In addition, children from The Children's Home walked the mile from The Home to Sunday School and church. Dr. William R. Edwards, who was Superintendent of The Children's Home and was a former resident there, remembered that the children raced to the church, hoping to get a window seat in the balcony so they could watch the streetcars go by.
The phenomenal growth of the West End Church, together with the continued great strength of "Old Centenary," brought both churches to another time of strategic decision. The West End congregation had far outgrown its buildings and had no land on which to expand. Centenary had great need for educational facilities and was becoming more and more cramped by businesses. So...
In October, 1927, both churches, Centenary (1,092 members) and West End (1,166 members), unanimously approved the merger. The contract for the nearly $1,000,000 was awarded on October 17, 1929. It was just twelve days later, on October 29, that the stock market crashed! Leaders of the church took the burden of debt in the depression years until the congregation could repay them. When the first service was held in the new sanctuary on September 20, 1931, around 2,000 people crowded into the new sanctuary, and many more wouldn't fit!