Vance Memorial Dedicated, Sunday, June 27, 1897
Church at Leatherwood Dedicated Sunday Afternoon.
THE IMPRESSIVE CEREMONIES
Were Witnessed by a Large Congregation of Suburban Residents and Many From the City—The Sermon was by Dr. Skilling, and the Dedication Proper was by Rev. Dr. D. A. Cunningham of the First Presbyterian Church, of this City.
One of the most notable events occurring in local church circles for many years was the dedication of Vance Memorial Chapel, at Altenheim, yesterday afternoon. The dedication services occupied a large share of the afternoon and were attended by a large and fashionable throng of people.
A considerable portion of those present are members of the First Presbyterian church, with which so many of the new congregation were affiliated. All the Presbyterian clergymen of the city were present, besides Rev. Laverty Grier, of Elm Grove, and Rev. D. M. Skilling, of Allegheny. Around the pulpit and in all places admitting of it, there was a tasteful distribution of flowers and choice conservatory plants.
The beautiful edifice has been greatly admired since it assumed finished proportions, and the desire to get within its walls was an incentive to the many who were present yesterday. The motors carried out from the city crowds of people, and the long line of carriages outside the church, bore witness to the number of people thus conveyed. The services began at 2 o'clock and concluded about 4 o'clock.
The church occupies a prominent location. It is situated at the junction of the Bethany and National pikes, and adjoins the motor tracks, and is a prominent object of view to a large portion of Pleasant Valley, now reveling in its June loveliness. The delightful weather yesterday had the effect of bringing to "the scene all the glory or fashionable costumes, and the occasion to even a casual observer was fraught with especial significance.
A description of the Vance Memorial Chapel appeared in the Intelligencer some time ago. Words fail to fittingly describe the structure, and those yesterday viewing it for the first time were lost in admiration. The edifice has no superior for beauty of design and elegance of finish, taking its size into consideration. It is built of Cleveland stone, with Spanish tile roof, and Romanesque in design. The auditorium is octagon in shape, with arches on each of the eight sides. The interior decorations are beautiful and in the best-taste. The whole is a standing monument to the munificence of Mr. J. N. Vance.
The peal of the chimes from the tower yesterday at 2 o'clock, signalized the opening of the services. The rich tones of the bells awoke the Sabbath sir, heralding the announcement that a new place of worship had arisen. The chimes were rung twenty minutes later, concluding with the ringing of the church bells, the tones of which were interspersed by the notes of the chimes.
They were rung by Mr. Joseph L. Rhees, organist of the First Presbyterian church. Before the sound of the bells had died away the seating capacity of the church was insufficient for all who sought entrance, and hundreds were forced to remain outside.
The services opened with the organ prelude. "Easter March." played by Mr. Joseph L. Rhees.
A solo, "The Better Land," followed, by Miss E. Grace Updegraff, who sang in her usual finished style.
The Invocation was delivered by Rev. Laverty Grier, the venerable clergyman of Elm Grove, who made a very earnest prayer.
The voluntary, "The Strain Upraise," was sung by the special choir, composed of Miss E. Grace Updegraff, soprano, Mrs. Peebles Tatum, contralto, Mr. H. W. Hughes, basso.
Rev. Joseph Speers, of the Second Presbyterian church, officiated in the scriptural reading, after which Mr. H. W. Hughes sang "I am the Way."
The congregation united in singing the hymn, “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken.”
The sermon was delivered by Rev. D. M. Skilling of the Central Presbyterian church, of Allegheny, who had a very eloquent and scholarly discourse.
The church was then dedicated by Rev. D. A. Cunningham. D. D., LL. D., of the First Presbyterian church, concluding the dedication with prayer.
Miss Updegraff contributed another pleasing solo, "Leave Me Not Now."
The congregation then rose and sang "Come Jesus, from the Sapphire Throne," concluding with the doxology.
The benediction was pronounced by Rev. R. R. Bigger, of the Third Presbyterian church.
The congregation, which was formed last week, now numbers nearly fifty members by letter. This number will likely be increased in a short time, as there are others ready to be taken into the congregation. No regular pastor will be chosen for some time, the pulpit being filled by invitation each Sabbath, of the board of trustees. The officers of the church are:
Elders—Dr. E. W. Alexander, J. V. Braden.
Deacons—Joseph F. Paull, William M. Hutchisson.
Trustees—J. N. Vance, Morgan L. Ott, William P. Heiskell, George W. Woods, George Wise, Robert Dalzell.