by Mrs. David L. Cooper
“Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song; for He hath done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1)
Groundbreaking for New Headquarters
It was a glorious day that will live in the annals of the Biblical Research Society, when the directors, the office staff, and friends assembled at one o'clock. May 25, 1950, for the groundbreaking for the new headquarters.
Dr. Cooper read the Scripture I Corinthians 3:10-15. Mr. Ray A. Myers led in prayer. Then Dr. Cooper gave the friends a vision of the aims and aspirations of the Society. He sounded the warning that we must build upon “no other foundation than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” “In the presence of God,” he said, “I charge our Board and the Society members to see to it in the future that nothing but the true, pure word of God shall go forth from this place.”
“It is our fixed and settled policy,” he further stated, “that only biblical, spiritual, sane, sound, scholarly teaching and exposition of the Word shall go forth from our new headquarters.”
He turned the first shovelful of ground. I turned the second. All of us rejoiced greatly and gave thanks to God. When the ceremonies were ended, the steam shovels began to excavate for the foundation. That same afternoon the first load of lumber was delivered to the lot. What a Joyous occasion this day was.
On August 18, 1950, we again gathered for the laying of the cornerstone. At this ceremony a great many more spectators were present. Dr. Cooper placed the cornerstone into position with the other directors assisting. The inscription on it reads, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The message that is engraved upon this block of stone speaks loudly to all who pass by. It reminds them that there is One who stands and calls: “Come unto me ... I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Matthew 11:28; John 14:6). The words are engraved upon a rock, a substance that one day will crumble an fall into dust, if time should endure that long. But so long as this cornerstone exists, may it be to all who behold it a symbol, a reminder, of Him of whom the Scriptures speak.
In the world-wide growth of the Society's ministry, and in the building of the new quarters, Dr. Cooper was seeing his early dreams and prayers realized. An ancient servant of the Lord, Jabez, prayed; “Oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that thy hand might be with me ...” (I Chronicles 4:10). It is said of him, “And God granted him that which he requested.” Dr. Cooper had prayed long and fervently for an enlarged ministry for the Society. On this day, when the cornerstone of the new headquarters was being laid, it could be said of him, “And God granted that which he requested.” Doubtless, as he looks back over the past and forward into the future, he feels like saying with the Apostle Paul — in the words which have become our life-verse — “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
One rainy Saturday in the middle of November we started moving into the long-waited-for headquarters. It was several days, however, before we were actually operating in the new building. What mingled feelings of joy and confusion all of us had! Moving the Biblical Research Society with its equipment, after being housed for twenty years in the lower flat of our home, and moving the overflow from the rented rooms next door — in the rain, too — was indeed a difficult and exciting experience. Moving from a compact frame house to a large, two-story, concrete block building took a great deal of adjusting of our thinking and feeling, as well as thoughtful arranging of the office equipment.
The rain continued for days, adding to the dampness and coldness of the new building. It was about two weeks before the gas company got around to turning on the gas so that we could use the furnace. We prayed ever so earnestly to our blessed Lord for protection of each of the workers against cold, influenza, and pneumonia. I came over with Dr. Cooper from our home on Berenice Avenue daily at 8:00 A.M. and remained until 6:00 P.M. How we praise and thank God for answered prayer that not one of the staff took cold or had an any illness during those damp, cold weeks. Each one worked with all his might trying to get things arranged and adjusted properly in our new quarters and at the same time keep the regular work going — the correspondence, the keeping of records, and the outflow of books and packages going into the mails daily. I could never describe the joy and peace that God gave to all of us and that tided us over all the difficult places.
During the time that the Lord was sending in funds for the building, we published several hundred thousand copies of the Messianic Series for free distribution. The Lord, through many of our dear friends, graciously sent in the funds for the printing bills, and we praise Him that we were able to pay this bill quickly.
“... A wise man, who built his house upon the rock ... and it fell not: for it was founded upon the rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25)
At 8:00 P.M., December 8, 1950, the new headquarters of the Biblical Research Society were, in a special service, dedicated to the Lord and to the ministry of the Word. A large group of interested friends attended. Every available chair throughout the entire building was occupied. The services were held in the chapel, which seats eighty, and were broadcast throughout the entire building by means of the paging system. Thus those who could not get into the chapel heard the message just as they would have heard it over the radio.
The principal part of the service was broadcast over radio station KGER for forty-five minutes. Mr. Ray A. Myers, treasurer of the Society and also the contractor for the building, led in prayer. The spiritual note which he sounded in his petition inspired us. The three businessmen on the board—Mr. Ray A. Myers, treasurer, the late Mr. Sam Camphouse, secretary, and Mr. V. R. Cowsert — all made appropriate and heart-warming speeches. Following their talks, Dr. Cooper brought a message on the subject “What Hath God Wrought?” He gave a brief exposition of the second oracle of Balaam found in Numbers, chapter 23. After the message, he led in the dedicatory prayer and then explained the various departments of the building, urging everyone to visit each room and to become acquainted with the offices. All who expressed themselves were jubilant because God had provided us with fine new headquarters in which to carry on the work committed to the Biblical Research Society.
As we look back over the months, we see that our being reported to the authorities for breaking the zoning ordinance was meant for harm, yet God meant it for good. He saw that we needed the new headquarters. He saw also that we would have been content to go on as we were, not realizing how greatly our crowded quarters were hindering the expansion of the work, which our larger headquarters have made possible. God, therefore, turned our seemingly impossible situation into a great blessing for the advancement of the ministry entrusted to us, again making all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The new headquarters have proved a very great blessing in the furtherance of the work — not only in facilitating our labors, but also in enabling us to send the books of the Messianic Series to thousands more than we could have reached otherwise.
God meant it unto good —
Sounds as a sweet refrain
Faith's undertone of comfort,
Soothing life's weary strain.
God meant it unto good —
The pressure of His hand
Is felt in every heart-pang
We cannot understand.
God meant it unto good —
What seems a needless sting
Is sent to draw the wounded heart
Closer to Him to cling.
God meant it unto good —
No “second cause” I see,
For 'tis my God appoints each day
And plans my life for me.
“Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:11)
Let me recount how God has vindicated anew to us His Word when the Society and we, personally, were spoken against evilly. He has enabled us to survive the attacks of those who would see the work disrupted and hindered. God has blessed us more abundantly since we have been persecuted than in all the years before. Let me enumerate a few of these blessings. The first is the gift of our beautiful new headquarters and equipment, completely paid for. The second is the payment of the book bill of $26,000 for 125,000 books. The third is the increase of file cases containing names of persons, especially of leaders, who received the books of the Messianic Series. We had only two such file cases when we moved into the new headquarters. One contained letter-size sheets of names of individuals to whom the branches had distributed the books. The other file case contained cards with hundreds of names of leaders who had received three and four or more of the cloth-bound books. Now we have two large file cases with letter-size sheets containing hundreds of thousands of names of those to whom books have been sent by the branches. We have three file cases each containing about 12,000 names of leaders all over the world who have had copies of the cloth-bound books. Two other large file cases have the names of persons in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, and other foreign countries to whom we have sent abridged books of the Messianic Series.
The fourth blessing is the beautiful neon sign which has been erected on the building to proclaim “Biblical Research Society” to all who pass. It is the gift of friends who attend our Sunday services in the chapel.
Fifth is the new folder for the printing department, donated by a prayer partner who now lives in Chicago. We have already folded on it the French edition of Messiah: His Nature and Person, as well as many other booklets and tracts.
Dr. Cooper prayed for years that God would give him a capable, accomplished, scholarly person to help him in his work. The sixth blessing is the answering of this prayer in the summer of 1955. Dr. Olive Wrenchel Parsons, led by the Lord, left her position at the University of Alabama as assistant professor in English to become assistant to Dr. Cooper. God's bringing her to us is one of the most helpful answers to prayer that we have ever had.
And last but not least, of the blessings which I shall enumerate is our many new cabinets, shelves, and desks throughout headquarters, built by Mr. Burl Haynie, one of Dr. Cooper's Bible students, who came from Texas to attend the classes. Observing the great need, he made these additions when he was not occupied with his studies. He has built four large cabinets, a file to hold the cuts of pictures used in the magazine, shelves in the filing room, a bookcase in the office adjoining that of Dr. Cooper to hold his overflow of books, eleven cases on rollers to carry printed sheets from the printing to the assembly room and to hold the booklets during the various phases of assembling. He also built cabinets on two entire walls of our volunteer workroom, which were greatly needed to store back issues of the magazine and supplies of booklets, tracts, etc. He completely redesigned our mailing department, building cupboards, cabinets, shelves, closets, a case of 250 drawers for addressograph plates, and also working area tables. Mr. Haynie donated to the Society this labor of love, amounting to around $2,000, in order to help get the truth distributed to the multitudes in a more efficient way.
Another friend, Albert E. Shepard, who is a Society member, helped pay for the lumber for this work and also built for us without charge a beautiful pulpit, a communion table, a flower stand, two desks, and some lovely cabinets.
We do wish that our friends could visit us and see all these many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us.
“If he shall not lose his reward who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbor, what will not be the reward of those who by putting good books into the hands of those neighbors, open to them the fountains of eternal life?” wrote Thomas á Kempis. What will be the reward of these two servants of God who so faithfully and ably worked on these cabinets week after week until they had alleviated all our need? That God may abundantly bless them both is our constant prayer.
Our hearts rejoice that once again in these and many other answers to prayer we have proved the truth of I John 5:14,15: “And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.