TO BE A CITY CHURCH. ~ New First Congregational Gives Welcome to Strangers.

March 15, 1908

New First Congregational Gives
Welcome to Strangers.
Dr. Alexander Lewis

"It is not right that we should become self-sufficient in our growh and numbers, consequently forgetting our duty to the stranger within our gates."

The Rev. Alexander Lewis spoke these words two weeks ago when the first services were held in the parish house of hte First Congregational church at Independence boulevard and Highland avenue. So doing, he silenced the criticism which of late has been the portion of churches; namely, that the stranger is not welcome.

Nor is there any reason why the congregation should not be proud of its new home Th main building is not yet completed and for several months services will be held in the parish house, which fronts Highland avenue. This wing seats 1,000, while the chruch proper will accommodate 500 more than this. West of the church the parsonage will be built. th entire propety will then represent an expenditure of nearly $165,000.

The New First Congregational Church
The parish house clearly indicates the purpose of the congreagation to make the in stitution a city and downtown church, rather than one which dreaws its embership from any one section of the city In the basement there is to be a small gymnasium for the use of boys and girls, with shower baths, lockers and a bowling alley. The complete plant will provide a large dining room, kitchen and all other conveniences of a large downtown church.

Dr. Lewis said recently, in speaking of the new institution and its plans:

"The neighborhood church cannot help but succeed, while the city church, such as the new First is to be, must force success. There is a place and work for one church of each denomination inthe heart of ansas City. The lesson of New York is repeated. One by one the downtown churches were abandoned, but a later reaction set in and large churchs are now maintained downtown."

For years the First Congregational had its edifice at Eleventh and McGee streets. That property was sold some time ago While the Highland avenue site seems some distance from downtown, it is only twelve minutes' walk or five minutes' ride from Grand avenue. It will not be many years before Highland avenue will be considered downtown. It is then that the big downtown church will be called upon to do its real work for the life of a great city.