November 3, 1971
Bible Group Prints Underground Paper
By Debra Beachy Kansan Staff Writer
"The Catacombs is written and distributed by individuals who love and praise Jesus. We are a non-affiliated Bible study." So states the Catacombs, an underground Christian newspaper that has found its way to the street of Lawrence and the University of Kansas campus.
The Catacombs was begun by Ed Down, owner of Audio House, a recording studio in Lawrence. He, together with a small nucleus of friends, formed their own group for independent Bible study and began publishing the Catacombs in September. The idea and the need for such a group was born, Down said, when he realized that the church his family attended and organized religion in general were not reaching his twenty and twenty-one-year-old sons.
Every Thursday night, the group gathers in an office on the second floor of Audio House to publish the Catacombs. For three hours, they take turns cranking the handle of a forty-year-old mimeograph machine to produce the 1,350 copies. Friday night, a group of young married couples conduct independent Bible study and Sunday at 2 p.m. worship service is held in the echo chamber of Audio House.
Down does not view himself as the leader of the group and he does not believe the idea of an underground church is new. "We have no head man. Jesus is our drawing power," Down said. "The underground church has existed for almost 2,000 years. I think it is God's way of keeping the Church clean."
Down said that churches in Lawrence have been positive in their response to the group, which is comprised of about 25 college-aged people. "The churches realize the young people aren't coming. We are not trying to replace the church. We are a stepping stone," explained Down.
Members of the group come seeking Christian fellowship and a style of worship that will not "turn them off" as the organized church has done. The members say that no one is the same after joining the group. "I've grown," said one member. "My understanding of life is increasing, my love for life is increasing and I've found a spiritual peace that I didn't possess before I came here.
Down's main concern is reaching the KU campus. "This generation has a new breed of thinking, a new life style and they are beyond the reach of many of the older generation," Down said. They want to fight hypocrisy, but without Jesus they run the risk of getting caught in their own hypocrisy.
Life style, after all, is not important, "What is important is imitating the life of Jesus."