The 1953 Capital Campaign


In the process of clearing the ground for the new sanctuary in 1954, a large maple tree had to be chopped down. This cross is made of the wood from that tree. (Photo: Shala Howell)

At the church’s annual meeting in January 1953, the Planning Committee, chaired by Mr. Russell J. Rice, recommended that the church respond to recent increases in membership by adding a new and larger sanctuary and remodeling the existing building into a parish house and church school. The cost of building, furnishing, and equipping the new buildings was estimated to be $300,000.

In April 1953, the church voted to allow work to begin on the new additions once the Planning Committee, now renamed the Building Committee, had raised $100,000 in cash and had an additional $50,000 in pledges.

Fundraising began immediately.

By December 1953, the Building Committee reported that it had raised $74,000 in cash and $80,000 in pledges. The church membership voted to authorize the Committee to begin preparing working plans and specifications for the new building.

Groundbreaking took place in Spring 1954, and the foundations of the new building were poured the following fall.

The church laid the cornerstone for the new church on Sunday, October 17, 1954. During the ceremony, the 1886 and 1924 cornerstones were opened, their contents inspected and replaced.

Source: The History of the Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts as compiled by Edmund W. Trowbridge, Church Historian, 1957.

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