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Within a month, residents of the river Houses near Dunster Street will be shaken from their Sunday morning slumbers with still another church-bell. It will ring from the 180 foot tower of a new Lutheran church, the first in this area, that is under construction at the corner of Winthrop and Dunster Streets.
Besides an altar, the church will have student lounges and a kitchen for the use of College men. Supper forums, of the type now held in Phillips Brooks House, will be transferred to the church. In the past, those forums have featured talks by prominent speakers on subjects from socialized medicine to the significance of Luther.
Cambridge Lutherans have wanted a church and meeting house as far back as 1928. Although the land had been purchased, the depression, war, and other financial difficulties delayed the groundbreaking. Donations kept coming in, however, and last spring, the old apartment house building was torn down to make way for its successor. Services had been held in this building up till then. During the interlude, architectural plans were considered. Originally, members of the resident planning committee had wanted a traditional New England colonial church, but M.I.T. Lutherans persuaded them to adopt a less conventional building with modern lines.
The plans, drawn up by Arland Dirlan of Boston, incorporate large windows, blood wood, and a circular stairway in the parish house. A student center, located behind the main chapel, provides meeting rooms, offices, and a comfortable lounge. The basement contains a large recreation room complete with a stage. Pastor Edmond D. Steimle, who will be head of the Lutheran congregation, hopes the facilities will attract students of all sects to the church.
The church cost $225,000 to build. Finishing touches such as paint and minor carpentry work will be done by Lutheran students and other volunteers in their spare time.
Pastor Steimle, who was an English major at Princeton, said the church's development had been greatly influenced by students. "We wanted them to take part in our activities, so we asked them their preferences. As a result, the new church will not only comfort the soul, but the body as well."
The new church is the first local church to use modern architecture. The exact location of the new house of worship is behind the Indoor Athletic Building, on Winthrop Street.
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