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Institutional Church

Gymnasiums, libraries, handcraft centers, and medical services were all part of the work of an institutional church. A former president of Dartmouth, William J. Tucker, probably developed this description of a church that served the life of the whole man in the inner city each day of the week. Thomas Beecher, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, built the first full-fledged institutional church, in Elmira, New York, with facilities for social services as well as worship. In 1882 William S. Rainsford, with the financial help of his vestryman, J.P. Morgan, developed the Episcopal Church of St. George's on the East Side of New York City into an institutional church. Temple University in Philadelphia grew out of the night school for workers in Russell Conwell's Baptist Temple. Over 150 of these churches united under the leadership of Josiah Strong and William E. Dodge to form the Open and Institutional Church League, which helped to develop the Federal Council of Churches. Many churches as a result give attention to human need in all aspects of life.