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History of the First Friends 

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First Friends Church 

Brown Street 
Between Washington and Adams Streets ". 

Knightstown, Indiana - 


1876 — 1911 


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First Friends Church 

Brown Street 
Between Washington and Adams Streets 

Knightstown, Indiana 

1876 1911 

Allen County Public Library 

900 Webster Street 

PO Box 2270 

Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270 

" Henceforth I call you not servants; for the 
servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I 
have called you friends; for all things that I have 
heard of my Father I have made known unto 
you." — St. John, loth chapter, loth verse. 


Brown Street, between Washington and Adams Streets 

Furnished in modern style with art glass windows, 

lighted with electric lights, and heated 

by furnace 

''Wherefore I give you to understand, that no 
man speaking by the spirit of God calleth Jesus 
accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the 
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 1st Corinthians, 
12th chapter, 3rd verse. 


ESTHER COOK, [laughter of Jess.' and Abigail Stafford Cook, was horu 
ami reared near Greensboro. Indiana. Sin- conies of a long line of 
Quaker ancestry, and had a birthright in Duck Creek Monthly Meeting, 
Spiceland Quarterly Meeting of Friends, 

Hit education was obtained in the common schools of Henry i 'ounty. 
high school of New Castle and Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. 

She was recorded a minister by New Castle Monthly Meeting in 1800. 
andfor twenty years she has faithfully labored in evangelistic work within 
the limits of Indiana, Western and Wilmington Yearly Meetings. 

By appointment of Indiana, Yearly Meeting she utti nded the opening 
of Puget Sound Quarterly Meeting, opened and held atSeattle, Washing- 
ton, September, 10th to 12th. 1M07. A second visit to this held was in re- 
sponse to a call from the Evangelistic and Church Extension Boards of 
the Five Years Meeting and Indiana Yearly Meeting. This service covered 
a period of eleven months in the. states of Washington, Oregon and Cal- 

She served many years on the Bible Institute Board of Indiana. West- 
em and Wilmington Yearly Meetings, and is a member of the Peace 
Committee of Indiana Yearly Meeting. 

She accepted a call to the pastorate of Knightstowu Meeting I Ictober 
j:;. rain 

of Knightstown Meeting 1876 

The Knightstown Preparative Meeting of Friends was 
opener! tth month 20th, l s 7i'>. with tf! charter members, whose 
names :ur as follows: 

Dr. Wilson Hobbs David VV. Douglas 

Zalinda Lynch Hobbs Lydia M. Douglas 

Orville W . Hobbs Ithamer VV. Stuart 

Mary Z. (Hobbs) Davis Margaret Stuart 

Walton ('. Hobbs Lama A. (Stuart) Morrison 

Charles M. Hobbs John E. Keys 

Fannie B. Hobbs Sophia L. Keys 

Robert VV. Hobbs Harry K. Keys 

Harry L. Hobbs .fames Beeman 

Mary B. Charles William Penn Beeman 

Elizabeth Deem Margaret I. (Beeman) Haines 

Benajah Parker Km \\ Stratton 

Deborah Ann Parker Lemuel Murray 

All. 'ii T. Kirk Abignl 1 >. Murray 

Lucinda E. Kirk Taey Shoemaker 

Anna M. (Kirk) Sample Albert W. Aiken 

Catherine Morrison (irace I >. (Tatner) Aiken 

William (i. Edwards Caleb M. Pelle 

Willn, in Kearns Maria Pelle 

Elizabeth Kearns Frank II. Pelle 

Rebecca .f. ( Kearns) Mid ki if Walter Pelle 

Nathan I" ( 'ofh'n Loui-a Pelle 

.lennie I 'orfin Mary Frederick 

" One Lord, one faith, one baptism." 

"One <n>i] and Father of all. who is above all. 

and through all, and in you all." 1 Ephesians, Uh 

chapter, 5th and * > 1 1 1 verses. 


"Ye are my Friends if ye do the things which I command 


"We believe in God the Father: we believe in (iod the Son 
11 ii I in God the Holy Spirit: everlasting three in One." 


Forgiveness of sins and the impartation of spiritual life 
through faith in the atonement on the Cross by our Lord and 
Saviour, Jesus Christ. Baptism with the Holy Spirit. Direct 
communion of the believer with the Father, through the Sim by 

the Spirit. 

History of Knightstown Meeting of Friends 
For the Past Thirty-Five Years 

The name of Dr. Wilson Hobbs is closely identified with 
the early history of the Friends Church in Knightstown, Ind. 
He moved here in Julv. 1873. lie soon became convinced that 
there was enough of that faith to act as a nucleus around which 
to fashion a church. Early in the winter of 1873, shortly before 
the holidays, hecalleda meeting in his office. There were pres- 
ent at this meeting:- Dr. Wilson Hobbs, Mary B. Charles. Itha- 
uaer W. Stuart, Margaret Stuart, William G. Edwards, Catherine 
Morrison. Allen T. Kirk. Lucinda E. Kirk and John E. Keys, 
to talk over the advisability of establishing a Friends meeting in 
Knightstown. We feltDr. Hobbs was led by the Spirit. We read- 
ily and cheerfully united our forces and for a few times met in his 
office for prayer and guidance. We found that other Christian de- 
nominations were interested in us and our mission and granted 
us the use of their churches for worship a few times. 

We were united in asking Haysville Monthly Meeting for 
an indulged meeting, which was granted, and a room was im- 
mediately rented in the Reeves block early in ls74, now known 
as the < r. A. R. Hall. Friends met on the first day of the week at 
3:15 p. m.. also on Fourth day evening at 7 p. m. for worship. 
William It Edwards was appointed Elder and was recognized as 
the head of the meeting. Dr. Wilson Hobbs, ZalindaL. Hobbs, 
Catherine Morrison, Ithamer W. Stuart and Margaret Stuart also 
sat with him at the head of the meeting. All this number and 
also all our Hist elders and overseers. Clerk. Assistant Clerk 
and the Treasurer have since been called home to receive their 
reward. Their zeal and loyalty to Christ and the church, as 
we look back upon their lives, was simply grand. Yet all 

was clothed in such simple acts of kindness, their good advice 

and words of enc -agment given here and there, and when 

duty railed them they seemed (to us) to go without effort. None 
but they know of the pleading with God for light and leading. 
The burdens laid upon their hearts for others, were quietly and 

dutifully perfori 1 and God blessed ihetn. Then' are people 

here today, living in the light of God's love and blessings, who 
owe much to those faithful Friends for their good advice and 
wise counsel and sweet persuasion, whose memory we honor to- 
day. Let us take unto ourselves the great lessons from their 
lives and characters, and put them into practical use here in our 
church and community, and thereby be truer friends and purer 
Christians, doing with our might what our hands rind to do in 
the uplifting and building of our church, that it may grow 
and become a shining light for God, and all that comes within 
her doors may find the sweet peace and rest that belongeth to 

the | pie of God. Let us be ready as they were when we 

hear the Waster say, "It is enough: come up higher." 

Only fourteen of the charter members of this meeting are 
now living, un far as we know. Eight of this number reside in 

Km- a few months we were strengthened by the ministry of 
Mar\ 11- Rogers. Later David W. Douglas of Maine came and 
remained with us until after the erection of the church building, 
proving helpful, both spiritually and temporally. A committee 
was appointed consisting of Dr. Wilson Hobbs. John K. Keys 
and William G. Edwards, to locate and secure a lot on which to 
erect a church building. The lot wtis bought and the present 
church was built iluring the summer and fall of l.s7."i. John I. 
Morrison and I larvey Burt were added to the building committee. 

John E. Keys is now tl il.v living member of the committee 

that built this house 

An extract was received at the Kaysville Monthly Meeting 
Hrd month ".fith, isTi;, from the Spiceland Quarterly Meeting 

informing it that they united in granting tl stablishmenl ot a 

preparative meeting at Knightstown. as requested by Raysville 


Monthly Meeting and directed that the meeting be opened at the 
time for holding the meeting for worship and preparative meet- 
ing in 4th month 20th, I S76, at 7 p. m.. which was at our regular 
prayer meeting on .">th day evening. This is the date of our 
organization and according to the monthly meeting record we 
are to be known as the "Knightstown Meeting of Friends."' 

The quarterly meeting appointed Seth Stafford. Caleb John- 
son. .Tabes II. Henly. Jane Ratcliff. Mary Saint. Retina White, 
Francis W. Thomas, Rebecca Hiatt. Jason Williams. Re- 
becca Thomas and Mary H. Rogers to act in conjunction 
with a like committee appointed by Raysville Monthly Meeting 
to attend the opening, namely. William Haughton. Isaac Park- 
er. Charles S. Hubbard, and Joseph Pritchard. They also 
proposed the names of Ithanier W. Stuart. Nathan T. Coffin. 
Lucinda E. Kirk and Elizabeth Kearns for overseers, with whom 
the monthly meeting united, held 4th month. L'l'nd. 1876. and 
they were accordingly appointed to that station, with William 
(i. Edwards as clerk. Jennie Coffin, assistant, and Allen T. Kirk 
as treasurer of the preparative meeting. At this time we had a 
membership of 4ti. twelve of whom were under l'1 years of age. 
We all were members of Raysville Monthly Meeting prior to 
the establishment of Knightstown Preparative Meeting. 3.") years 
ago. At the opening of our preparative meeting the time for 
worship was changed for holding our First day meeting from 
:j : 1 o p. in. to Li):3u a. m. Our First day evening meeting was 
first held llih month. 1 > 7 7 . This is not a recorded meeting. 

In 4th month 23rd, 1 87*1. our church was dedicated by the 
late David B. Updegraff. assisted by John Henry Douglas and 
David W. Douglas. At the monthly meeting held 5th month 
2<)th, 1*77. a committee was appointed to revise the list of elder-. 
They appointed William <i. Edwards and Margaret Stuart as 
elders for Knightstown Preparative Meeting. These were our 
lii st elder.-. 

The curly members of this meeting have passed through 
some very dark and trying times. After our meeting house 
was dedicated there was a shrinkage on our subscription list 

I ! 

onaecount of the panic of 1876, causing an indebtedness on the 
church building. Ithamer VV. Stuart and Lemuel Murray. 
members of this iiu'etint;-, borrowed the money from the 
bank for the full amount of this indebtedness at 11 per 
cent interest. Our meeting, to make them secure, deeded them 
the church property. Our membership at that time was poor 
and few in number and not able to pay the interest which hail 
accumulated until the total amount of interest and principal was 
fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Stuart and Mr. Murray became 
uneasy. Then a Catholic priest came to them and offered to buy 
our church building. It seemed to them this was the only way 
to pay off the note in the bank. This was a gloomy hour for 
the Knightstown meeting, when the clouds were so dark ami 
heavy that we could scarcely believe they had a silver lining. 
Sometimes we think" the present generation would sink under 
■inch burdens. Rut (-rod in His infinite love and because of our 
faith, turned the clouds into brightest sunshine, and the church 
grew in srrace and in knowledge of the Master, and today we 
stand a^ it were, shoulder to shoulder with the churches of our 

Raysville Monthly Meeting held 1st i th 27th, 1H77, gave 

our meeting the first ray of hope, by authorizing Isaac Parker 
and Samuel Pritchard. trustees of Raysville Monthly Meeting, 
to sell the old "Elm Grove" meeting house and grounds, "as 
that meeting had been laid down by the sanction of the quarterly 
meeting," and the monthly meetinjr proposed to use the proceeds 
toward relieving the indebtedness incurred by Friends of Knights- 
town in building their meeting house, which is within the limits 
of Raysville Monthly Meeting. 

At Kaysville Monthly Meeting, held llthmonth 24th, 1S77. 
the trustees reported that they had -old the Elm drove meet- 
in" house for two hundred and fifty dollars and appropriated 
the funds a- directed. 

John E. Keys asked for thirty days time to see if the rest 
of the money could be raised. He visited White Water Quart- 
erly Meeting held at Richmond. Indiana, ami met with some cu- 

couragement. also at Walnut Ridge and Carthage meetings, 
thereby cutting down the indebtedness to nearly nine bundled 
dollars. He also visited our own quarterly meeting at Spiceland 
on Seventh day. where be made astatement of our financial diff- 
iculties. Amos M. Kenworthy, then of W'estfield, Ind., arose and 
said. "Let the meeting proceed with the business. I will pay 
off the indebtedness of Knightstown meeting myself. Xo Cath- 
olic priest can buy the Knightstown Friends Church, for there 
is a place in Knightstown for a Friends meeting." ( >n the fol- 
lowing 2nd day Amos M. Kenworthy came to Knightstown and 
arranged with the bank and Lemuel Murray and Ithamer W. 
Stuart to pay off the remainder of the indebtedness, which then 
amounted to a little over nine hundred dollars. Amos returned 
to Hamilton County, sold his home, and came back and paid off 
the debt on our church. By unanimious consent of the mem- 
bers of our meeting, we deeded Amos all of the ground lying 
east of the church building, with the exception of two feet. 
This was all our meeting had to give in return for his generous 
gift to ii-. We feel on r eh u reh ( iwes a debt of gratitude to Amos 
M. Kenworthy that we never can repay, for he made darkness 
iighl before us and crooked things straight. The Lord, in a 
miraculous way, provided the mean- for Amos to build him a 
cottage home on the ground our meeting gave him. He served 
for a time as our pa-tor. New hope and life came to the little 
Knightstown meeting under hi- ministry, assisted by his Christ- 
ian wife. Fhebe II. Kenworthy. During the revival of 1NS1. held 
by him. there were .".o person* were added to our membership. A 
real spiritual uplift came to us all. 

Amy Fulghum. who was much beloved, accepted a call to 
serve as our pastor during 1>M. She held a revival early in 
the year of 1XNH, assisted by Knima S. fiarritson. This revival 
was much noted tor the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I luring 
tin- revi\ al f>7 members were added t r church at the month- 
ly meeting held 2nd month L'Tth. lJjM>. In all. ill members 
were added to Knightstown meeting during that year. Emma 
S. ( iarrit-on remained here and assisted Amy Fulghum in the 


pastoral work of our meeting until ">th month or' 1887. 

Joseph 0. Binford, beloved by nil mir membership, came 
on call to serve as our pastor, 1st month, 181)3. He soon 
opened a series of revival meetings, assisted by John Penning- 
ton. Thirty-three members were added to thismeeting. During 
the same year seventy-five members were added to our church. 
These have been the three marked periods of revivals in the his- 
tory of our Knigrhtstown meeting of Friends, when ( rod's Spirit 
came upon the church with such wonderful power. Many who 
have joined our meeting during these three noted revivals are 
active members and doing much good for the upbuilding of the 
Kingdom of (rod. while many of this number are now on the 
other shore, whose memory we still revere for their untiring 
efforts to assist in building; up the cause of Christ. 

While our el 'h has riot increased so much in numbers 

during .my revival or year since the above dates, yet there has 
been a steady growth, both spiritually and temporally. <>ur 
meeting has been blessed with excellent ministers from its earl- 
iest organization to the present tunc. While some have not, 
been as successful as others ingathering into the church yet 

they have sown g 1 seed and others have done the reaping, yet 

all have done the best they could ami none have been failures, 
and many of these pastors whose wise counsel and pastoral care 
will never be forgotten. 

Samuel C. Mills i- the only minister who died while pastor 
of this meeting. His work" among us was satisfactory. 

The names of al I ministers who have served as pastors of 
Ivnightstown meeting areas follows: Mary 11. Rogers. David 
\V. Douglas. Henry Merrill, Amos M. Kemvorthy. Seth C. Rees, 
Amy ruilghum. Emma S. (iarritson. Alfred Brown. Joseph I ). 
Binford. Samuel C. Mills. Minnie Bassett. Morton C. 1'earson. 
Elbert Russell. Oscar Moon, S. Adelbert Wood. Levi T. Pen- 
nington. Frank B. Rhodes anil Esther Cook, our present pastor, 

beloved by us all and who is dome' much g I for the upbuild- 

ing of the cause of ( Ihrist. 

I )ur Bible School was first organized in the spring of ls74 
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have joined our n 
act ive members a 
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on call to serve ' t, ' I is ys . _ 

opened a series of /D. ~ r t /fl) > 

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Elbert Russell 

ninjjton, Fran! 

beloved by us .*,, ....... . .. 

inj> of the cause of ( Ihrist . 

i lur Bible School was first organized in the spring of l s 74 








uf Knightstown Monthly Meetinsrin 5th month 25th. 1895, which 


pastoral work of 01 - — '- •* 

Joseph < ). Bin 

on call to serve 

opened a series of 

ton. Thirty-three n 

. -.- 

the ->ame year seve 

These have been th 

came upon the chu 

have joined i Mir mi _,_ _ ■ . _ _ 

active members uni 
Kingdom <>t' ( rod. 
other shore, whos 
efforts to assist in 

While our el 
durinsj any revival 

been a steady grov . ;_ _ 

meeting has been I 

iest organization t 

been as successful 

they have sown go 

all have done the b - - 

and many of I hese 

will never l>r forgi . . . ' : 

Samuel C. Mil 
of this meet i 1 1 <i' 1 

The names of 
Knightstown meet 
\V. Douglas. Hem 

Amy Fulghum, El • 

Binford. Samuel < ' ._. . 

Elbert Russell, <> 
nington, Frank 11. 
beloved I iy us all ;i 
ing of the cause of 

( inr Bible Sch, Mil was first organized in the spring of 1<ST4 

in the G. A. K. Hall, while we were .vet an indulged meeting, 
with William G. Edwards as superintendent. There were two 
classes organized, with Mary Z. Hobbs Davis and John E. Keys 
as teachers. Attendance, 21. The monthly meeting record 
shows that in 9th month 23rd. 1876, we had an average of about 
one hundred scholars. 

Our Young People's Christian Endeavor was organized in 
4th month 10th, 188'.). with a membership of 25. 

The Junior and Intermediate C. E. Society was organized 
11th month 6th, 1892, with 15 members. 

Our Home and Foreign Missionary Societies are well organ- 
ized and doing excellent work. 

Our Ladies Aid Society was organized August, 1907, with 
a membership of 38. Since then they have earned more than 
8600.00. They have recarpeted and repapered the church and 
put in new "art glass" windows, and paid S25 each year to the 
pastoral fund, also assisted the church financially otherwise, and 
n<iw have nearly $50 in the treasury. Their work is highly ap- 
preciated by the entire membership. 

Our church has always been blessed with a well organized 
and efficient choir. The faithfulness of our young people is 
praiseworthy and appreciated by the entire meeting. 

During the first twenty-five years of the organization of 
Knightstown meeting we have lost by death fifty nine members. 
During the past ten years our loss by death is 56 members, 
making a total loss of 115 who have died while members of this 
meeting, since the organization thirty-rive years ago. Many of 
this number's memory will ever be sweet for their beautiful 
lives and Christian influence. We now have a membership of 


Raysville Monthly Meeting of Friends was opened and held 
at Raysville meeting house. Henry County. Indiana, on the 25th 
day of 4th month, 1857, agreeably to an extract from Spi. 'eland 
Quarterly Meeting of Friends held 3rd month 14th. 1857. 

The name of Raysville Monthly Meeting was changed to that 
of Knightstown Monthly Meeting in 5th month 25th. 1895, which 


is now held at Knights town 'ad of Raysville as formally. It is 
held on the lili Seventh day of each month anil consists of five 
different particular or local business meetings, namely: — Rays- 
ville. Grant, Knightstown, Wilkinson and Shirley. The name 
of Knightstown Preparative Meeting (under the new discipline) 
was changed to that of Local Business Meeting in t*4r-m<-n+th. 
23*d^3. JX •£" luir, XX- (9 Of, 

Knightstown Monthly Meeting of Friends is tributary to 
Spiceland Quarertly Meeting which was organized in 3rd month, 
1*40. which was held at Spiceland, Indiana. 

Spiceland Quarterly Meeting istributary to Indiana Yearly 
Meeting which is held at Richmond. Indiana, and was organized 
in 9th month. 1820. This is the largest Yearly Meeting of 
Friends in the world. 

Let us all lie faithful unto the end of life's journey and 
God will give ns a crown of life. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Si >rin \ L Keys. 
Recorder of Knightstown Meeting of Friends. 
> t f/, month SSnf, 1011. 

P. S. — The above history was prepared and read by Sophia 
L. Keys at the service of the :!.">th anniversary in commemora- 
tion of the organization of Knightstown Meeting of Friends. 
Fourth month 23rd, L911. 

Seth Stafford was present at this meeting and said he want- 
ed to put his seal to the truth fulness of this history. — S. L. K. 


1876— RETROSPECT— 1911 


Upon this anniversary date 
We gather here to celebrate. 
In simple yet appropriate way. 
The church's dedication day. 
We're all agreed with one consent 
That this should be a triad event: 
A time with joyous hearts to raise 
Our grateful voices in His praise. 
Who planted here a fruitful vine 
And blesses every fruitful sign. 


To all who here their presence lend 
The hand of welcome we extend. 
And trust that all may truly sip 
The nectar of sweet fellowship. 


Reviewing now with joy and tears 
The lapse of five and thirty years 
Of earnest toil, there comes a sense 
Of overruling Providence. 
His hand that set His people free 
And led them through the raging sea. 
That rescued them from sore distress 
And led them through the wilderness, 
Has made His people at this place 

The object of His sovereign grace. 
Fits Spirit prompted those who toiled 
With purpose that could not be foiled, 
To found a Friends church here to be 
A light in this community. 
No pillared cloud marked out the way, 
But Faith said, "Trust Him and obey. 
Let His wise purpose be fulfilled 
By all who will arise and build. 
And barriers vanished one by one 
Like mists before the rising- sun. 


All honor to those faith-tilled Friends 

The fragrance of whose influence lends 

A sweetness to thexe passing hours 

Like air perfumed by unseen flowers. 

'Twas their work to originate. 

< )ur duty to perpetuate 

The lilessings to a future age 

Of this our "goodly heritage." 

For their work's sake we truly deem 

Them worthy of our high esteem. 

This huilding represents the price 

Of many a willing sacrifice; 

Of toil by day and prayers by night. 

And rare gifts like the ''widow's mite," 

Which loyalty and /»'•< reveal. 

As larger gifts may greed conceal. 

Long may it stand an evidence 

Of faith's enduring recompense. 

It is not strange that times like these 
Should call for sacred reveries. 


And memory see before it cast 

A panorama of the past. 

Across the landscape of the years 

Like flying clouds each scene appears. 

Then vanishes e'en while we muse 

As one would shift dissolving views. 

How many pastors here have stood. 

And sought to do their people good, 

As shepherds faithful vigil keep 

In caring for each straying sheep. 

With living water from the rock 

They've watered here the thirsty flock. 

And often with the living bread. 

The multitudes have here been fed. 

As round this altar we have knelt 

His Spirit's presence we have felt. 

His matchless mercies multiplied 

To sinful hearts were not denied. 

But here they've found their doubts and fears 

Dissolved by penitential tears. 

And Christ from guilt has given release 

Its token — His abiding peace. 

And shown how His unmeasured grace 

Clasps the whole world in its embrace. 


Like discords in some sweet refrain 
Life has its pleasure marred by pain. 
While here we mingle and reflect 
Upon a pleasing retrospect. 
A sadness steals into our hearts 
As night comes when the day departs. 
How many with us here have met 
Whose faces we can ne'er forget. 
The thought of friends whom we have known, 
Ami dear ones fondly claimed our mrn. 

Recalls our pangs of deepest grief. 
For which earth has no sure relief, 
When on our ears from other shores 
We hear the dip of splashing oars. 
When loved ones drop their house of clay 
And from our grasp just slip away. 
Here 'round the caskets flower-bedecked— 
Our last sweet tokens of respect — 
We've thought of death's great mystery 
Anil mingled tears of sympathy. 
But hope has looked beyond the tomb 
And faith dispelled its deepest gloom. 


Like streams that from a fountain run 
The church's work is never dune. 
Remembrance of the former things 
A holy inspiration brings, 
To make this church by faith sublime 
A light-house on the shores of time. 
He. who our purpose understands 
Dwells not in temples made with hands. 
But seeks to make each heart by grace 
Fit temple for His dwelling place. 
And asks each one to pay the price 
Of new and living sacrifice. 
That this may be in a living way 
A true church dedication rfny. 




JAN 98