The first church designed by Alden B. Dow was the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1941.  The 275 members approached the architect with the idea that in building their place of worship one should choose the natural and the simple, while also informing him that their meager budget would compel them to do most of the actual construction themselves.  As Mr. Dow recalled, “Grouped around the drafting board, the building committee and I designed the church as it is today, each member contributing his share.”

The simple brick rectangular structure is enlivened by a recessed doorway. Ornamental concrete panels that were designed and cast by members of the church are mounted on the tops of the brick insets.  Above the heavy wooden door pulls are four 4-inch square windows set vertically into each door.

Along both sides of the church, crisply outlined projecting windows have mitered glass corners, providing generous views of outdoor gardens.  Its pitched roof was originally covered with white asbestos shingles to reflect the heat of the summer sun.  Rising prominently above the roof from the back of the building is a brick chimney and music tower.  It is split near the top by a horizontal concrete slab that juts out over sheet metal louvers that cover a loudspeaker.

Simplicity continues on the inside.  The auditorium or nave seats 300 and faces a raised platform or chancel.  Built-in planters flank the platform and the altar on the rear wall.  Lecterns are of naturally-finished light oak, as are all furnishings and wood trim.  The full basement is used for study groups, recreation, dinner gatherings, musical and dramatic productions.

Plans were drawn by Mr. Dow in 1958 for a proposed addition to house new classrooms and offices.  However, the configuration of the church today indicates that his plan was not built.

The building is currently owned by Christ Covenant Church.

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October 27th "After Alden" Lecture and Book Signing, by Marty Merritt | FREE | 1-3pm | United Church of Christ 4100 Chestnut Hill Drive, Midland, MI 48642 Public Tours at The Home and Studio **The blocks are closed for the season as we begin working on a major restoration project on the trellis. We will not be going out on the blocks during public tours until the project is complete.
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