The beautiful new church of the Norwood Methodist people, at the junction of Walpole and Washington streets, was formally dedicated last Sunday afternoon and the edifice was filled. The interior of the church is a gem. The main audience room is octagonal in form, and the finishing of walls and ceilings inventively in wood, with the wainscoting set in beautiful and symmetrical panels. A pretty little design is carved on each pew, and the pews are constructed in such a manner that there are, practically speaking, no poor seats in the house. The pulpit platform is large and commodious and in the entire interior there is a general appearance of light, openness and cheerfulness.


This feeling is intensified by the windows, which are of stained glass in light and cheerful tints. The front one is a temperance window, donated by Hon. Henry H. Faxon of Quincy, and distinguished by total abstinence texts and mottoes. It is a large and very handsome affair. Another notable window is given by former pastors of the church, and several memorial windows have been contributed by individuals.


The Methodist church movement began here in 1877, under Bev. J. L. Hannaford. Ten years later, when Rev. Joshua Gill was pastor, the little chapel on Day street was built. For a time this seemed adequate, but the growth of the town and of the congregation changed things. In 1899 the new building project was first considered. Preliminary steps for securing a favorably located lot were taken while Rev. G. A. Wilson was pastor, but the real work of pushing forward the new church movement began under Rev. H. C. Wright, one of the most business-like and energetic clergymen who ever came to Norwood. His indefatigable labors secured the lot on Walpole and Washington streets, and through his efforts about half the money for the building was raised. Ground was broken in the summer of 1900. About this time Rev. Mr. Wright, to the great regret of many in the church and throughout the community, resigned his pastorate to take up another and larger line of Christian work in Ohio. In October, 1900, Rev. Mr. Seaton took up the broken threads of the work and carried it through.


Through the generosity of a Norwood citizen, Mr. George F. Willett, a large sum towards the completion of the church was obtained and a great impetus given to the raising of the necessary funds.


Rev. John Lawrence Seaton, the present pastor, has labored faithfully and diligently. Like Mr. Wright, he is a Westerner, with a Westerner’s activity and enthusiasm. Mr. Seaton is a native of Iowa and spent his youth in Nebraska and Dakota. He is a graduate of Epworth Seminary, Upper Iowa University and Boston University theological school. Before coming here he had travelled extensively in Europe and had been acting pastor of the Morgan Chapel institutional church, Boston.


All the Protestant churches in town participated in the services last Sunday. The opening prayer was offered by Rev. W. B. Eddy of the Universalist church, the opening hymn read by Rev. G. W. Nead of the Baptist church, and the Old Testament Scriptures read by Rev. E. C. Ewing of the Congregational church. New Testament selections were read by Rev. Wesley Wiggin, a former pastor, and the prayer before the sermon was offered by Rev. H. C.Wright, who seemed deeply touched by the whole occasion. Rev. C. W. Rishell of Boston University then delivered the dedication sermon, a plain, practical and optimistic discourse on the theme, “God is Love.” Rev. Dr. Rishell’s idea was that happiness is more common in the world than misery, and that even the President’s critical condition may be a part of God’s plan for good. Dr. Rishell answered in a general way many of the complaints of socialists, anarchists and the discontented, and his sermon was remarkable for calm and solid good sense and its hopeful spirit.


Hon. F. O. Winslow of Norwood delivered one of his characteristically fine addresses, paying compliments to the pioneer Methodist minister of town, a man with an artificial hand, who used to come here, to Father Tucker and to Father Tucker’s daughter, the late Mrs. Fogg, on whose land the present building is erected. Mr. Winslow said that some years ago he used to meet on the train a young man who said he was getting his education at the Boston University. Some years later the young man came to him and asked him for the hand of his daughter. This young man had felt that a gift to the Methodist church in Norwood was a payment in part of the debt of gratitude which he owed to Boston University.


Rev. Dr. W. T. Penin, presiding elder of this district, then asked for five dollar subscriptions, and considerable money was raised towards paying for the carpet and a small floating debt. Rev. Dr. Ferrin then conducted the formal service of dedication according to the ritual, bringing to a cloee an occasion that was in every way pleasant and successful.

(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)

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