1906-1949 Continued

During the past year the membership of the three churches had been about 231 and they had been able to pay the preacher $640 as well as support missions and contribute to funds for church extension.  In each quarter, as money was given, Young’s Chapel exceeded the other churches.  So, the membership was growing and their dedication to their faith was strong.

With a growing membership, a larger church building was needed.  The last wedding to be held in the first church was Miss Bessie Hobbs and Fred Redford on February 20, 1907.   On October 18, 1906, the members of Young’s Chapel voted to build a new church.  Subscriptions for gifts for the church were started during the pastorate of the Reverend J. B. Swinney in 1907.  A subscription petition read as follows:  Realizing the need of a new church building at Young’s Chapel, I hereby agree to pay on or before March 1, 1907, the amount opposite my name.  Said amount to be used as the said church may direct, but only for the erection of a new building upon the half acre upon a part of which the said church now stands.  It is understood that unless sufficient amount is subscribed to assure the erection and completion of a modern building, my subscription is not to be paid.

Two copies of this petition were made, and C. L. Whitehouse and Emmett S. Atkinson collected enough to assure the erection and completion of a modern building seating 125 persons.  They received cash, pledges of money, and pledges of work to the amount of $3,266.65. 
Showing the success of Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Atkinson, and other members of the church, the Building Committee’s books of January 26, 1909, showed the building cost $3,236.65 and $30.00 was  yet to be collected.  This second structure, begun in 1907, was completed in 1908.  The new church was dedicated on July 9, 1908.  The membership had increased from 49 to 84.
In 1907, Mrs. Henry Cassell, lovingly called “Aunt Jennie” by everyone, organized the Cradle Roll.   The first wedding to be held in this new church was that of Mr. and Mrs. Hal Thurston.  The first funeral in the new church was that of Mrs. Josiah Gregg Hobbs. 

The Epworth League organized in this church in 1922 with Mrs. John Cook, Katherine Johnson Whitehouse and Eva Johnson Anderson as officers.  The Epworth League of northern and southern Methodism had taken shape in 1889 and 1890.  Methodism’s Epworth League’s purpose was to promote “piety and loyalty to our church among the young people, their education in the Bible and Christian literature and in the missionary work of the church.”

A Ladies’ Bible Class of Young’s Chapel was organized March 20, 1924, with Mrs. J. E. Snoddy, President; Mrs. Fred Redford, Social Committee Chairman; Mrs. Emma Bull, Membership Chairman; and Mrs. C. L. Whitehouse, Treasurer.

As the Depression of the 1930’s deepened there was little money available for repairs or expansion.  Almost every American lost ground during this time and churches shared in this loss.  The membership in the mid-30’s stood at 176 and the preacher was paid $1200 a year.  The Women’s Missionary Society had five circles that met monthly. They raised money by serving food at neighborhood auction sales, by having numerous ice cream suppers at which homemade cake and ice cream were sold, putting on county fairs and bazaars, and cooking the traditional Thanksgiving dinners.  When the church found itself badly in need of a furnace, The Missionary Society raised most of the money to pay for the new gas furnace.  A directory and handbook were printed every year with the help of the advertisements given by local and some Kansas City and Independence businessmen.  This type of book was sponsored by the Women’s Society for several years.  It was a source of needed revenue for the church, as well as providing information for the church members.  By the late 1930’s the membership had increased to 220. 

The church which served the Blue Ridge and Raytown area for seventy-four years as Young’s Chapel, adopted a new name, Blue Ridge Boulevard Methodist, in December 1933 under the pastorate of N. A. Goode who served his second appointment 1933-1935.

The first Vacation Bible School was held May 22 to June 22, 1939, for forty-eight students and thirteen workers.  The expense of this first school was $10.95.  The teachers were Mrs. Virginia Clevenger, Mrs. Mary Brown, Mrs. Katherine Whitehouse, Mrs. Beulah Wall, and the Reverend George E. Hargis, who was pastor from 1936-1940.

At the General Conference of All Methodist Churches held in 1939 in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Municipal Auditorium, the Methodist Episcopal Church-South, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Protestant Church merged to come into the union of the Methodist Church.   This united three great sister communions which had divided during the Civil War.

When the Methodist Churches formed one church, the Ladies Aid Society and the Missionary Society became The Woman’s Society of Christian Service.   They were officially organized October 8, 1940, in Kansas City, Missouri.  The organization was formed as part of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, but had its own Mission studies, as well as financial and fellowship programs.

Just as the country was beginning to come out of the depression, it was struck with an even bigger enemy to fight.  With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the lives of everyone were changed for many years to come.  Young men went off to war, women went to work in all kinds of industries, and children took part in scrap drives for paper, rubber, tin foil, and even grease.  Everyone struggled with ration stamps to buy food, coffee, shoes, and   gasoline.  By the end of the war, gasoline was being rationed at 2 gallons a week for the average driver. Getting to church became a real challenge.  Victory gardens sprang up in everyone’s backyard.  In March of 1944, the Kansas City School Board voted to let married women teach due to the shortage of teachers.

Blue Ridge Boulevard Methodist Church did its part to support those in need during this difficult time.  A newsletter from the church was sent to servicemen so that they would know what was happening on the home front, provide them with an uplifting message of moral support, and let them know they were in the thoughts and prayers of everyone. The faith of the members was tested but remained strong through the hard times and the losses of war. In 1943, nearly $3,000 was spent in church redecorating.  Plaster board was put on in the auditorium and knotty pine was used in the basement.  Charles Jones and S. P. Ellison, members of the church, did much of this work.  A beautiful new communion table and pulpit was made by Edwin Hinkley.  Money for the materials was raised by the Wesley Fellowship Class.  Mr. Hinkley’s work was given as a gift in honor of those who served in the armed forces from the church.  The Hinkley’s had three sons serving overseas during the war.

Minutes of the Board meeting for 1944-45, show that the church continued to support mission projects, do what repairs were needed on the church and parsonage, and raise the pastor’s salary by $5.00 a week to bring his annual income to $1820.   Reverends Wilbur Wilson and Clell Phipps served the church during the war years.

By the fall of 1946, Blue Ridge Methodist had set a goal for the next year–1 new building, 200 in church school, 10 new teachers, $250 for benevolences, every member a giver, and a filled church every Sunday.  Chapel Chimes, the newsletter of the church, reported on September 22, 1949, that “an indoor rest room before cold weather is the intention of the Official Board.”  A committee was at work, and it seemed that the rest room would be located on the south side of the church.  One class asked permission to meet in the furnace room due to overcrowding.  It seemed obvious that more space was needed.  Reverend George E. Ryder served as minister from 1947 to 1949 and the Reverend Ted Akers from 1949 to 1957.