Skip to main content
GROUNDBREAKING AT THE
NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965
THE PROTESTANT CENTER
coriNSO RED B V
PR OTEST AN T CONCL OF THE CTY OF NEW YO,
« KNECHTLE CMA.RMAN. BOARD OF D.RECTOPS
,R. DAN M POTTER EXECUTIVE DIPECTOP
E W. HOWELl CO GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Participants at the Protestant Center groundbreaking ceremon-
ies are: Emilio B. Knechtle, chairman of the Steering Com-
mittee; Robert Moses, Fair president; Rev. Dr. Arthur L.
Kinsolving, president of the Protestant Council.
FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF PRAYERS AND
REMARKS GIVEN BY PROTESTANT CENTER
AND WORLD'S FAIR OFFICIALS AT THE PROT-
ESTANT CENTER GROUNDBREAKING CEREMO-
NIES, NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR, SUNDAY,
NOVEMBER 11, 1962.
Invocation — The Rev. Dr. Wilmer C. Fields, Public
Relations Secretary, Southern Baptist Convention.
Holy Father in heaven, we have gathered here to
launch a project to exalt Thy name. Conscious of our
human frailties and our fragmentary vision of Thy will
and way, we acknowledge bur dependence on Thee in this
enterprise also. We are aware that "Except the Lord build
a house, they labor in vain who build it." Therefore we
would invoke divine blessings on this Protestant Center.
May this be none other than a house of God.
Bless, we pray, the leaders who have planned it, the
workmen who shall construct it, those who shall direct
it, the church bodies which shall use it, and the multitudes
who shall visit it.
Cause to prosper this work of Thy servants, that it too
may be an instrument of Thy praise ; that Thy kingdom
may come in the hearts of men; that Thy will may be
done on earth as it is done in heaven. We pray that a
structure may rise on this site in the spirit of that fore-
runner of our Lord who could say, "He must increase, I
must decrease." In that high and holy task we have assem-
bled at this significant place this Lord's Day.
We reaffirm our desire that the edifice which now
begins to materialize here shall contribute to man's under-
standing of the things of God. We seek Thy direction
each step of the way. In these turbulent and tumultuous
times may this creation of steel and stone be an effective
witness to Thy love for all mankind, to Thy redemptive
plans, and to the one unfailing light of the world, Thy
Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In His name we pray. Amen.
Welcome — The Rev. Dr. Arthur L. Kinsolving, Presi-
dent, The Protestant Council of the City of New York.
On behalf of the officers and leaders of the Protestant
Council we appreciate your presence at this gathering,
your interest in the project.
In the perspective of American history this occasion
fairly bulges with rich significance — to proclaim the
Protestant witness to religious liberty, and toleration, to
the dignity and worth of the individual and his immediate
access to God, to the independence of religion from the
support of the state, to the role of religion in the initiative
and enterprise of men in a free society and also in their
responsibilities as the vigilant guardians of the rights of
man. All this constitutes a great part of our American
heritage and our message of hope to an anxious world
Whatever its glories in the past, the Protestant witness
to the Divine revelation in Christ, the Light of the world,
is yet more significant in the age now unfolding.
I 1962 N«w York World'j Foir 1964-1965 CorporolJon
We acknowledge with gratitude the World's Fair Cor-
poration's generosity in granting this favorable location
and ample space. It is our part to do our utmost to support
and fulfill the project, to make it worthy of the opportu-
nity to extend its creative message to the millions who
will come to the Fair from all over the world.
Greetings — The Rev. Dr. Philip A. Johnson, Execu-
tive Secretary, Division of Public Relations, National
Long before "protest" meant to object or to complain,
it meant to bear witness or to declare. We denominations
who are planning to exhibit in The Protestant Center are
here to protest — to bear witness that the Christian faith
belongs at the very heart and center of life.
As we stand today amidst this chaos of construction we
affirm our faith in a Creator-God who, out of primeval
chaos brought into being a universe of order and beauty,
a universe of infinite complexity and of infinite potential.
As we today break ground for a building whose tower
will hold high a cross, we affirm our faith in Jesus Christ in
whose earthly life we see the intersection of God's im-
measurable love with man's profoundest needs.
As we, only a few hundreds, stand today where millions
upon millions of people will go streaming by — men
divided by race and creed, by caste and color, by nation
and by station — we affirm our faith in the Spirit of God
who unceasingly calls men into unity; not the unity of
mere geographical proximity, whether on the Fairgrounds
or on this shrinking globe, but unity in the deepest sense,
arising out of a faith in One God and issuing in recon-
ciliation and brotherhood among men.
We believe that in the chatter and clatter, the blare and
the glare of a great exposition, the visitor will be glad to
find a place of peace; in the jumble of sights and sounds
a place where he can — if he wishes — find the key to
We believe that where the magnificent achievements
of man on this planet are displayed, the picture is truer
and more honest when the Giver of life and the Shaper
of man's hand and mind is honored.
We believe that where man dares to project his dreams
into the promising precarious future, He who is Lord of
the future, Judge of the nations, and the only Redeemer
of the world must be proclaimed.
Greetings — The Rev. Dr. J. Quinter Miller, Assistant
General Secretary, National Council of the Churches
of Christ in the U.S.A.
This Protestant Center, at the New York World's Fair,
1964-1965, will be a manifestation of the Christian Faith
which has made this country great. This Christian Faith
is precious to the churches constituent to the National
Council whose greetings I now extend. The building de-
sign and the reception center will, we hope, symbolize the
trust and dependence upon God which all people who
visit the Fair sorely need.
Certain divisions of the National Council will furnish,
through exhibits, examples of their world encircling
ministry to human need — through Christian education,
through Church World Service, through the development
of hospitals, through supplies of food and clothing and
the resettlement of refugees.
The marvelous progress in the realm of science, the
arts, music and technology, and the wonders the New
York World's Fair will portray, could be misunderstood
unless those who come here are reminded of the source
and author of these blessings — of life and liberty and
happiness. The Protestant and Orthodox millions, coop-
erating through their National Council of Churches repre-
sent a community of Faith in man's future and destiny.
It is our prayer that God will bless this Protestant Center
to the end that all who visit and work here will be drawn
Godward in thought and deed ; and that the love of God
and neighbor may be nourished in everything The Prot-
estant Center will exemplify.
Thus the personality of this Center may serve as a
beacon light, radiating to all who attend the New York
World's Fair, the inexhaustible power of the Christian
Greetings — The Rev. Gerald B. Smith, Assistant to
the President and Director of Public Relations, The
Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Someone has said that only those who can see the
invisible can do the impossible. Standing upon this vacant
and barren site today, we pay tribute to those who have
already taken a long step forward in faith and expectation.
We speak of those who months ago stood here and
were able to envision in the mind's eye a colorful, com-
pleted structure which is soon to take shape.
We speak of those who had more than a dream — those
whose concept of an effective evangelical witness at the
World's Fair caused them to press forward with faith and
enthusiasm. Their prayers and their plans have brought
us all to this hour of groundbreaking for The Center
which is to house, in dignified and noble fashion, many
exhibits of what has been accomplished among all men
everywhere through the love and grace and power of the
It is more than just a trite expression to remind our-
selves that when the world is at its worst, Christian men
and women must be at their best. The society of man's
making in which we live contributes daily to dread and
fear and unrest. Could there be any more fitting or more
opportune time to join hands and hearts in our testimony
that we have found a life-changing power through the
glad acceptance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ? In this
time when nearby neighbors and faraway nations seem
to note only the gathering darkness, let us be alert to
every opportunity in which we may faithfully reflect the
true Light of the World, "which lighteth every man that
cometh into the world."
Challenge — Mr. Emilio B. Knechtle, Chairman. Board
of Directors, The Protesant Council of the City of New
The World's Fair offers the Christian Church the
unique opportunity of exposing eighty million people,
coming from all the nations of the world, to the central
The Protestant Center at the Fair occupies a 76416 sq. ft. site. An open, elliptical-shaped forecourt, eighty feet wide and 160
feet long, surrounded by thirty-four columns dedicated to the pioneers in the Protestant movement. The Protestant Center is
being sponsored by the Protestant Council of the City of Netv York.
Designers: Henry W. Stone, architect, New York City; Emil Kempa and Robert E. Schwartz, associate architects, New York City; Ben Schlanger,
consulting audio-visual architect, New York City; Paul M. Friedberg, landscape architect, New York City.
Builder: E. W. Howell Company, New York City: Babylon. New York: New Canaan, Connecticut.
message of Christianity.
The Christian religion asserts that nearly 2,000 years
ago God, whose vast and complex wisdom science is daily
uncovering, sent forth His Son to visit this small planet
of ours in Person. This is the most important event in the
whole human history.
Through the life, and death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ, God has made peace with man. This is the heart
and center of the Christian faith, this is the Gospel or
Good News which those who had witnessed this extra-
ordinary event went out to tell the world.
This, we suggest, should be the message of our Church
at the World's Fair.
What could be more exciting than to know that the
very feet of God have walked this earth of ours, that His
authentic voice has spoken to men like ourselves? It is on
this issue that men have to make up their minds and adjust
The Good News may have to be rescued from the en-
crustations of tradition, the confines of caution, and the
dullness of familiarity, but it is still there.
The historic fact remains, and we in 1964, with a con-
ception of God infinitely greater than that of any previous
generation, may have to short-circuit the centuries and
let this startling truth break over us afresh.
Jesus said : "I am the light of the world ; he who follows
Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of
This truth must be presented by us in the twentieth
century with the same life and enthusiasm as it was done
by the men and women belonging to the Church of the
This is our vision. We need your ideas, your time, your
financial support to bring it to pass.
Welcome — The Hon. Robert Moses, President, New
York World's Fair 1964-1965.
Dr. Kinsolving and Friends: It was our hope at the
inception of Fair that, following the example set by John
D. Rockefeller, Jr. and William Church Osborn in the
1939-1940 Fair, there might be at Flushing Meadow in
1964 and 1965, and perhaps afterward, a Temple of
Religion in which all believers in God could have a share
and to which each would bring a unique contribution.
In planning the 1964-1965 World's Fair we found
plenty of goodwill to achieve the same end, but in the
face of so many insistent demands in the several churches,
the time was too short and the financial and technical
difficulties too great. Therefore it was finally agreed that
each denomination would proceed separately, but that all
would be in one section of the Fair and would work in
complete harmony. I may add, and not facetiously, that
with the apparent retirement of the communists behind
the Iron Curtain, we have more space available for our
own ideologies and into this space the Saints Have Come
I am delighted to welcome the beginning of work on
the Protestant Center with its displays, reception center,
chapel, children's center, music garden, tower and illu-
By way of reassurance, I should add that while we shall
have plenty of fun, entertainment and amusement at the
Fair, it will not be of the vulgar catchpenny variety which
is supposed to be the main attraction at fairs and exposi-
tions. We can assure you that you will have no offensive-
Finally let me thank your leaders again for your deci-
sion to join us in an enterprise which will feature Ameri-
can idealism and enterprise, enhance our prestige here
and abroad and, help us lift up the banners of universal
brotherhood and world peace.
Prayer of Dedication — The Rev. Dr. Samuel H.
Sweeney, Pastor Emeritus, St. Mark's Methodist
Almighty and everlasting God Who art ever exalted
yet always nigh, grant that we may worthily offer unto
Thee this ground upon which we stand to be made holy
wich sacred aspiration and divine purpose as a place upon
which to build The Protestant Center for the World's
Fair, where Thy glory shall be made manifest among us.
Pour into our hearts the courage, resolve and determina-
tion so necessary, if we are to be partners with Thee in
lifting high the Cross of Christ for teeming millions to
As Thou didst break the bread beside the sea to feed
the multitude, may we, in breaking this ground, point the
way to the light in the face of Jesus Christ Who is the
Light of the world, that our spiritual darkness may be
dispelled, and our hunger satisfied.
Let Thy blessing be upon us as we dedicate ourselves
to this project.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Benediction — Brother Bud Stumbaugh, Minister,
Queens Church of Christ, Flushing.
Our Father which art in heaven, because Thou hast been
so good to us and hast blest us bountifully with Thy mercy
and grace, we are almost ashamed to ask other favors of
Thee. But because we depend on Thy strength and Thy
care, we are asking one more blessing from Thy loving
hand. Even above all that has already been said, oh Father,
we pray that Thou wouldst guide each individual here,
and mold all of us and develop the potential for good in
each of us in accordance with Thy will. Help us to submit
to Thy precepts and teachings in all that we do so that our
main purpose in life will be to glorify Thee and hold up
Christ's doctrines to light the world. May all that has
transpired here today that is in accord with Thy will come
to pass, and anything that does not please Thee, we pray,
defeat us in this. Finally, protect us as we leave here ; keep
us in the hollow of Thy hand; help us always to obey;
save us; is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Special music at the groundbreaking ceremonies by the
Salvation Army Hempstead Citadel Band. Refreshments,
courtesy the Salvation Army Queens County Mobile Canteen.
Appearing with the model of the Protestant Center at the Fair are:
Rev. Dr. Arthur Kinsolving; Emilio B. Knechtle; Rev. Dr. Dan M.
Potter; Rev. Dr. J. Quinter Miller; Rev. Dr. Wilmer C. Fields.
pns«M«s e, (5sS) IMM Sum StMl
C ....... -.—.._ .~.»,o~—
NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965 CORPORATION
Flushing 52, N. Y. Tel. 21 2-WF 4-1964
ROBERT MOSES, President
THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee
WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President
CHARLES POLETTI, Wee President, International Affairs and Exhibits
STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations
WILLIAM A. BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
ERWIN Win, Comptroller
MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section
GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section
ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretary of the Corporation and
Assistant to the President
WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer
THE PROTESTANT CENTER AT THE FAIR
THE PROTESTANT COUNCIL
REV. ARTHUR LEE KINSOLVING, D.D., President
EMILIO B. KNECHTLE, Chairman of the Board
DR. DAN M. POTTER, Executive Director
WORLD'S FAIR PROTESTANT CENTER BOARD
DR. JOHN SUTHERLAND BONNELL, Co-Choirmon
EMILIO B. KNECHTLE, Co-ChoiVmon
ROBERT L. COE, Chairman, Committee on Organizations
STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTESTANT CENTER
EMILIO B. KNECHTLE, Chairman
REV. JAMES C. MOORE, Vice Chairman
J. MARSHALL MILLER, Program Director