The Homelike Little Church

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, April 26, 1914: Went to Sunday School this morning. Called on a friend this afternoon.1914-03-45-a

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Almost every Sunday Grandma went to church at the Baptist Church in McEwensville. The church building is long gone—and I have no idea what it looked like.

But the March, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal had an article about “the homelike little church.” Maybe the McEwensville Baptist Church was somewhat similar to the church in the drawings.

The interior was planned to make it as comfortable and homelike as possible.

1914-03-45-b

1914-03-45-e

1914-03-45-d

 

22 Responses

  1. This resonates a lot with me as Sunday School was very much part of my grandmother’s (and mother’s) experience.

  2. Our older Baptist churches not so different to the one featured, but we have one locally, no longer meeting as a church, but conserved as a heritage centre that is close to 200 years. It’s most striking feature is that it does have a pulpit that is at such a height that older folk used to make comments about the preachers being closer to heaven on a Sunday than they would ever get, that is old fashioned ‘Black Country’ humour .. Providence Baptist Church actually produced celebrity preachers and bible scholars in its day.😀

  3. Our church (still standing, but has been added on to almost to the point of the original part not being recognizable) had Sunday School rooms adjacent to the sanctuary.

    • The small church that I went to when I was a child had Sunday School classes for children in the basement. The adult classes met in the sanctuary.

  4. This is an interesting church plan–I’d like to know the rational behind it. So many churches are designed either to be awe-inspiring or very plain, for philosophical reasons–this is very different!

    • I never thought about it until you mentioned it, but, you’re right, churches do have very different beliefs that how fancy the building should be.

  5. What a pretty little church!
    Diana xo

  6. Yes, this is very different in ‘tone’ from any church I have ever seen, of any denomination, in the UK. Did such ‘homeliness’ become more usual at the time in the American Baptist Church?

    • I think that rural small churches probably were more interested in creating homelike atmospheres than more urban ones. It may have been common for Baptist churches to have this style.

  7. I’m sorry the church is gone. My grandparents church (and mine) still stands. I think the Knights of Columbus are there now. No longer a church, but it looks the same on the outside and it’s nice to be able to see it.

  8. The design looks easy to add onto if needed, maybe it was a very practical design.

  9. It is a home-like church which reminds me of how many old churches have been converted in to homes in recent times.

  10. I find the older churches so appealing … My church today is fairly boxy in style but inside it is so comfortable. Too bad most Sunday School spaces are located in the basement. Jane

    • I agree! I think that in some cases,basement Sunday School rooms were added when furnaces were installed in country churches. My father used to talk about how the church members dug the basement of the church I attended as a child when they got rid of the coal/wood stove and put in a furnace in the early 1950s. And, I have an aunt who tells a similar story about her father helping dig the basement of a different church.

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