Billy Graham Center
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[Report on the first and only year of Graham's pastorate from the September
1944 newsletter of the Village Church. Click on the icons below to see the actual
pages of the newsletter.]
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RALLY MARKS SUCCESSFUL
Torrey Johnson to Bring
One of the most intimate friends and one of the greatest boosters of The Village
Church is Rev. Torrey Johnson of the Midwest Bible Church. Not only is he pastor
of one of Chicago’s largest congregations but he is director of the largest
Youth for Christ movement in America. It is to a large extent, due to the encouragement
of this dynamic radio preacher, that The Village Church and its program for reaching
lost men, has progressed. It was this young man who voluntarily gave to us his
popular radio program “Songs in the Night.” We are indeed grateful
to him and his loyal staff for their help and encouragement. And it is a great
privilege to have him as our speaker for the Radio Rally.
Backed up by the prayers of the mere handful of members (some 75 in all) and a
faith which sought glory only for Him, The Village Church since Rev. Graham’s
arrival in July of 1943 has experienced amazing results . . . results which seem
fantastic, yet true. The many steps of faith which have been taken during the
past year could not have been realized except for the prayerful and financial
support of the members and friends of The Village Church. Small in physical si
at present . . . a mere basement structure, the top of which will be added when
war restrictions are removed . . . The Village Church is now known to literally
millions as a place where the simple, fundamental Gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s
plan for salvation are ably presented in song and in the spoken word of Pastor
“Songs in the Night,” a three quarter hour program on Sunday evenings
was undertaken on January 1. Line charges had to be, met . . . also the bills
for time which arrive weekly. However the Lord has met the need . . . many times
to the exact dollar. In the matter of talent, some of America’s leading
and best known singers have been heard from week to week: Beverly Shea, who liked
Western Springs so well that he and Mrs. Shea bought a home in this village; The
Village Carollers; and others such as Ponzi Pennington, John Mostert, Martha Cowan,
Helen McAlerny Barth, Winifred Larson, Ambassador Quartet, Anne King Blocker,
J. Stratton Shufeldt, Cecil Thomas and several more have appeared whose talents
have been dedicated to the singing of His praises.
The monthly publication “Songs in the Night” is another new venture
to acquaint listeners with the activities of The Village Church. This paper presents
news of coming events, inspirational articles, messages by Pastor Graham, letters
from listeners and the oft quoted truisms of “De Deacon Sez.”
The church auditorium has been completely renovated and modernized. A new composition
flooring has been laid. A pipe organ as well as a Hammond organ has been installed
all during the past year. These items seemed impossible to obtain in wartime.
Nevertheless the Lord previously in a marvelous way.
A missionary program was launched and two of its members Maxine Bates in Nigeria,
Africa and Helen Prestidge Howard in Ecuador, South America receive their full
support from The Village Church. Partial support is provided for several other
missionaries in other fields throughout the world.
A new door was opened through the means of radio when station WMBI offered its
facilities to broadcast the Sunday morning services of The Village Church during
the months of March and April. Much blessing came to listeners as was evidenced
by the many letters which were received.
The Sunday School has tripled its enrollment since Pastor Graham’s arrival.
The Child Evangelism class which meets every Wednesday afternoon after school
during the fall, winter and spring months is said to be the largest in the entire
Chicago area. A Boys Brigade also functions and some 40 boys meet every week under
competent, Christian leadership for games, military drill, talks, handicraft and
other activities of interest to real boys.
The West Suburban Men’s Fellowship was started and you’ll read about
the amazing growth of this organization in another column of this issue of “Songs
in the Night” [see below for this article] Christians in the area have been
thrilled and brought closer to their Master as a result of Rev. Graham’s
ministry. Many souls have been won . . . attendance is growing and the Lord is
blessing in a marvelous way.
And for the future, God has plans and will continue to answer prayer. A book store
is contemplated where Christian literature, stationery and gifts will be sold;
a new structure over the present one to meet the urgent needs for larger and more
adequate facilities; a new radio program over powerful stations in the South;
a new realization of the need for Christ in this area and among the audience reached
by the radio, pulpit and written word . . . are some of the things which The Village
Church and its friends can realize through Him and for His honor.
[another article on the same page]
FOR MEN ONLY
Just an idea a year ago in the minds of three men . . . today, the most-looked-forward-to
monthly event in the lives of several hundred; the West Suburban Men’s Fellowship
is another undertaking which God has marvelously blessed. So successful has been
this project, that men from other localities have come to see and have returned
thrilled with the possibilities of starting similar organizations in their own
communities. Several such groups are now operating and more are scheduled to begin.
The West Suburban Men’s Fellowship meets at approximately monthly intervals
at The Old Spinning Wheel one of the best known eating places in the Middle West
and located on Odgen Avenue at the western boundary of Western Springs. I)inner
is served in the atmosphere of early America and many lasting friendships among
the men in the area have been formed as a result of these meetings. Group singing
is directed by Beverly Shea, who also has sung a number of solos. The Ambassador
Quartet, Don Hustad, Hugh Seffens, Cecil Thomas, Reuel Johnson and other musical
talent have appeared from time to time. Phil Foxwell, eminent Christian magician
has also entertained and mystified the men. Efforts are made to bring the nations
most outstanding speakers to the Fellowship. This has been successsful [sic] as
such speakers as Dr. Edman, president of Wheaton College, James E. Bennet, New
York attorney, Dr. Walter Maier of radio’s famed Lutheran Hour, Dr. Bob
Jones Jr., acting president of Bob Jones College and Vaughn Shoemaker, chief cartoonist
for the Chicago Daily News and Pulitzer prize winner, have brought inspiring and
thought-provoking messages at the meetings of the past year
The 1944-45 season will be inaugurated on Tuesday evening, September 26, when
James E. Bennet will return to address the West Suburban Men’s Fellowship.
Mr. Bennet is well known from coast to coast as the successful attorney in the
famous suit against the Bible which made the front pages of newspapers throughout
the country several years ago. He is an outstanding speaker, sparkling with wit.
Dinner will be served at seven in the same location as last season. Tickets can
be obtained at $1.90 each from The Village Church.
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Last Revised: June 1, 2010
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