1945 - 1970
THE POST-WAR YEARS
In 1945 Dr Sprunt came. He had told our session not to call him unless our congregation wanted to have Wednesday night prayer meetings. The next year we got our first DCE. The following year we dedicated the Mtn View Chapel, the former Brick Store Mission, at a new lot. It later went on to become an independent church. World peace was shattered again in 1950 when North Korean Communist troops invaded South Korea. Once again our sons went off to war. When Dr Sprunt left us in 1951 we were most fortunate to have Dr Manfred G. Gutzke as interim pastor until we finally got Dr Sam Wiley in Oct 51.
1952 was the year we celebrated our 60th anniversary and supported the Billy Graham Crusade in Chattanooga. In 1953 we had made it through the Korean Conflict with no lost sons. A major building expansion program took place spanning the years 1954-56. That is when we built the Fellowship Hall wing and the expanded sanctuary section under the leadership of Robert L Maclellan and Donald Munson. We are deeply grateful to this generation for having the commitment to build such a beautiful structure on such a scale that we are still within the footprint of their plan. It has served our congregation so well.
On our 65th anniversary in 1957 Mom Smartt wrote, "Our hope is that, in the years to come, more and more of our young people will feel the call to full time service in the church." At that time, three of our members had become Presbyterian ministers: three as ministers in other denominations, and one as a short-term missionary nurse in Mexico. Like so many of her prayers, that one has been answered.
The next year we hosted a world missions conference and steadily became a more mission-minded church, but we also continued a heritage of service projects under Dannie West, carried on by Liza Goree. In 1960 Alice Joiner began a 25 year term as volunteer librarian, following Susan Irvine's almost 20 years.
In 1963 we lost our pastor and DCE and George Long finally was called in 1964, the same year that Covenant College came, buying the old Lookout Mountain Hotel property. With it came the Reformed Presbyterian Church which met at first in the student lounge at the college, then later at the old Chateau Supper Club building, which then burned. In 1971 they built the existing RP church next to the college campus.
We completed the second phase of our expansion program from 1965-68, when we built the narthex, chapel and annex, which formed the cloistered courtyard, again under the leadership of Bob Maclellan and Don Munson. We immediately began the second morning worship service in the new chapel during the summer months and dedicated the completed set of stained glass windows.
In 1969 Lansing Hamilton initiated the Greenhouse, now known as the Mothers Day Out program, as a ministry to young parents. Marian Smartt was promoted for acting to full time DCE.
These were the building years of our church, but they were also an era of major erosion in the role of church in our culture. Churches in America were losing their influence, or perhaps their relevance. The post war society was enjoying peace and prosperity. Parents were realizing the great American dream and the chance to provide their children those things they themselves had missed growing up in depression or war.
But their children were enjoying freedom without the lessons of adversity, and young people found less and less need for God.
Even before the explosive student protests against America's involvement in Vietnam, Time magazine had published a cover which riveted the country's attention: "Is God Dead?" Christians began to wonder how it was that the church suddenly found itself on the defensive.
Looking back over the church's first seventy-seven years one is forced to consider whether we see a true corollary to the Campbell years. Do the post-war years in America, and even in our church, not suggest that the "best" of times can also be - for the church - the worst of times? What confronted Rev George Long in the late sixties was all too common across our land: a growing rejection of the Word, inside the church. Our pastor resolved that he would continue to preach faithfully the truth from scripture, no matter what the consequences, leaving in God's hands the future of his ministry. By 1970, the spiritual slide that seems to have started after World War II had been building for twenty-five years. In 1970 God seems to have finally rescued His church and rewarded Dr. Long's faithfulness when we called our first associate pastor.
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