1922-1937: The Remarkable Ministry of Dr. Harry W. Kimball
The little plaque on the portrait of Dr. Harry Woods Kimball that hangs in the Linden Room tells anyone who cares to read it that Dr. Kimball served as pastor of our church from 1922 – 1937.
Now for something you may not know.
In his very first year, Dr. Kimball formulated and organized a program called the Comrades of the Way, which was designed to teach and inspire the youth of our church to follow a Christian way of life. Dr. Kimball also worked closely with Mr. Herbert F. Stevenson to revitalize our church’s Sunday School program. With the active support of Dr. Kimball, who both personally taught Sunday school classes and helped recruit teachers, the program grew from 175 students to 480.
Dr. Kimball also supported Dr. Wilde and Miss Mabel P. Friswell’s efforts to establish and promote the congregation’s first youth choir.
Rev. Kimball was also the pastor who oversaw the raising of funds for and building of a new church sanctuary after the existing building was destroyed by fire in 1924.
When the church finances were adversely affected by the Great Depression, Dr. Kimball requested (and was granted) a 10% reduction in his salary. (His second request for another reduction later that same year was refused.)
When he finally resigned in May 1937 after almost 15 years of service, the executive committee of the church accepted the resignation with a vote of appreciation and named Dr. Kimball pastor-emeritus of our church.
Source: The History of the Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts as compiled by Edmund W. Trowbridge, Church Historian, 1957.