Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Old School: Reverend Austin Pardue

Austin Purdue became Gethsemane's eighth rector in August of 1931, on the very brink of some of Gethsemane's darkest economic hours. The budget dropped several thousand dollars each year of his tenure. Yet the church's woes seemed to become the congregants' opportunity to help one another. Rather than ask for money, the Every Member Canvas asked what it could do to help each parishioner. The Boy Scouts gave up their night in the hall to a neighborhood organization, and the organist practiced under a tent to save on heating.

Yet Pardue continued to draw large crowds on Sundays, and the sheer numbers of membership kept the church fiscally afloat- along with many anonymous donations. And Gethsemane continued to reach into the religious and social spheres of downtown Minneapolis. The church opened freely to social service work. More, Pardue opened the hall to every imaginable activity, lest the young linger unemployed in the streets: classes, sports, and musical gatherings, with all heat and electricity at the church's expense.

After this, and after the addition of accoustones in the church for the hearing impaired, just as the church seemed once again on the right economic track, Pardue resigned in March of 1938.


Monica said...

Thanks for the Gethsemane history. In many areas of our society (families, communities, churches, etc.) there are so many of our stories and so much of our history that we've lost touch with. This effects our understanding of our identity and relationships (of many kinds). In my opinion, this is an issue of spiritual relevance, and your information makes a positive contribution.

Curious Monk said...

Thanks! I'm not naturally a historically minded person, but I'm glad to be in this case. And I agree with you completely.