Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: October 1956 Volume 9 Number 2, Pages 31–34

Notes on the history of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berwyn

Margaretta Atkinson

Page 31

This article having to do with the history of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berwyn, has been taken from papers in the Church Archives by permission of the Board of Directors of the Church.

Articles used were:

a. Letter read at an annual meeting of the Church.

b. Letter sent by the Board of Directors to the Department of Archives of the Mother Church - The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, June 6, 1955.

A. Excerpts from the letter read at annual meeting:

On December 3, 1942, a preliminary meeting was held in the Saturday Club building in Wayne and was attended by 38 persons - members of Christian Science Churches - to organize a branch church in Wayne.

The first organization meeting was held at the home of one of our group on December 21, 1942. Those present comprised the "Charter Members". Immediate steps were taken to negotiate a lease with the Saturday Club, which building we intended to use for the purpose of holding our services. This was done and became effective on January 15, 1943. The first service was held on January 17, 1943. We were recognized as a society by the Mother Church (Boston) on March 4, 1943. A reading-room at 105 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, was established.

After this, a request was made to change our status from a Society to a Church. Recognition as First Church of Christ, Scientist, Wayne, Pennsylvania, was granted by the Board of Directors of the Mother Church on March 18, 1943.

The first lecture was given November 26, 1943, in the Radnor High School auditorium with an attendance of over 500.

From the very beginning the members approved a plan to lay aside, in a building fund, 10% of each Sunday's collection. This sum, together with gifts to the building fund, enabled us to purchase a very attractive site on which it was planned to build our Church. Settlement was made February 5, 1947.

Page 32

Saturday Club, Wayne Pa.

In 1944, steps were taken to incorporate the Church. In June 1946 the Master's Report was filed in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for approval of the application of the Articles of Incorporation. It is of great interest to note in the Master's Report the purposes for which the Corporation was being formed, The report states as follows:

"For the purpose of creating, establishing, and maintaining a branch Church of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, for the public worship of God, for the healing of sickness and sin according to the teachings of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures'."

B. Excerpts from a letter sent by the Board of Directors to the Department of Archives of the Mother Church in Boston, Massachusetts, June 6, 1955:

In December 1950 a brief history of this Church, from its inception in January 1943, was sent to your office. It is now our great privilege to report further progressive steps which have been taken since that time.

Page 33

Following the purchase of a lot in Wayne in 1947, the idea of an edifice of our own became a very real possibility; prayerful work was done, meetings held, and plans discussed, all with building as their object.

On April 17, 1953, the Building Committee was made aware of a church edifice for sale in nearby Berwyn, Pennsylvania. It had been serving in recent years as the Chapel of the Baptist Church in the Great Valley. The Building Committee, after carefully analyzing the situation, and receiving the benefit of competent advice from an architect, voted to recommend the purchase of this church building.

Another point needed to be considered carefully. Inasmuch as Berwyn is in an adjoining township, it would be necessary to change the name of the Church if this move were made. Advice of the Department of Branches and Practitioners in Boston was sought on this point. Advice came that if we felt we could better serve those needing Christian Science in a larger area the move would be justified. With this assurance, and on the recommendation of the Building Committee, the membership, in a special meeting, May 27, 1953, voted to authorize the necessary steps to purchase and renovate the chapel in Berwyn. They voted also to sell the lot in Wayne. Steps were instituted, at this time, to change the name to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

Page 34

First Church of Christ Scientist

On July 23, 1953, the Board of Directors approved plans of the Building Committee for renovation, and work was begun. The first service was held in this edifice, as originally planned, on October 4, 1953, and work was completed shortly thereafter. It was with deepest gratitude, for constant guidance and protection and unfailing supply for all needs, that we gave our first lecture in our Church edifice on November 5.

Following closely on our establishment in the new community came the desire to move our Reading Room. A suitable ground floor location was found on Lincoln Highway in Berwyn, with two large attractive windows for display. At a special meeting members authorized the move and, largely through volunteer work by members, new partitions were erected, rooms and exterior painted, and everything made ready to open January 2, 1954.

All the above statements have been quoted. Now the writer, as a newcomer from First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, wishes to express appreciation of the most satisfying result of the renovation of the chapel, and to mention additional features which are convincing evidence of the strength of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berwyn. The entire basement of the church building has been most attractively prepared to house the growing Sunday School, which is even now almost too large for its quarters. A feature extremely valuable to the well-being of the Church is the parking lot, which has been prepared in the open space back of the Church edifice.

To quote again, the last paragraph of the clerk's letter forms a fitting closing statement for this brief "history":

This was truly a year of progress for each member of this Church, and the growth in membership, in attendance at Sunday School, in testimonies of healing, and in the brotherly love expressed, give ample evidence of the truth of Mrs. Eddy's statement on p. 256 of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures': "Progress takes off human shackles."

Editor Note
On Sunday October 7th, 1956, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Berwyn, celebrated the third anniversary of services in the present building, and also its freedom from all indebtedness.


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