Each Church Acted Individually
At no time was pressure put on any church to dedicate; nor was any church told how contributions should be made. Each undedicated church was free to decide its date of dedication, and the contributing churches to develop their own methods of help. But at all times did Joint Committee members keep before their respective organizations the great purpose—to prove that there could be a field of Christian Science churches that should owe no man anything but the love that saves and heals—churches’ free to pay the, debt of love in continuous healing of all manner of sickness, sorrow, and sin.
In less than a year after the joint activity was started, the field had done so well that the indebtedness was reduced by $50,000. Several of the churches were able to make more advantageous arrangements for financing. Eighth Church began to think of advancing its proposed date of dedication, which had been set for 1946. It promised itself to dedicate in November, 1944, but growing braver, it advanced the date again, setting it definitely for March 12, 1944, although still in debt $42,000 and having only about five months in which to raise this amount.
But its courage was rewarded by a pouring in of funds from God’s infinite supply, so that on March 12, 1944, it had a surplus of $7,000 which it immediately distributed to the undedicated churches. The dedication of Eighth Church distinguished the 50th anniversary of the starting of Christian Science church organization in St. Louis.
Now the debt in the field was reduced to $204,263.
In April, 1944, First Church of Overland, Missouri, still in debt more than $12,000, announced its dedication date to be December 31, 1944. On that date its dedication took place with a surplus of $1500 which it turned over to the three still undedicated churches.
And the debt in the field was reduced to $147,000.
Meanwhile, Fifth Church, which had been heavily burdened for a long period became, by wise management, an example to the field. Previously, it had hoped without help of sister churches to be dedicated in 1953, but in July 1944, still in debt $60,000, it announced its dedication date to be July 1, 1945. On that date it was dedicated with a surplus of $4,150 which it gave to the still undedicated churches.
And the debt in the field was reduced to $97,300.
Second Church, paying for its second edifice, and mindful of the fact that it had been helped by the field in the dedication of its first building some years before, had thought that it could, without help, finish paying for its structure by 1960. Meanwhile, it had been contributing generously, as indeed had each of the undedicated churches, toward the work. But realizing that delay toward the payment of debt was not in accordance with the wise economy of God’s government, and encouraged by the example of others, it decided to break all sense of limitation, and although still in debt $18,000, decided to dedicate on January 27, 1946, thus advancing its original intention by fourteen years.
And again God’s infinite supply flowed in, giving Second Church at its dedication a surplus of $2,000, and this it gave at once to Seventh Church, the last undedicated church in the field.
And the debt in the field was reduced to $55,000.
Seventh Church for years had been in much the same situation as Fifth Church and the more recently constructed Eighth Church. Before the joint dedication activity began to function, unmindful of conditions when the original indebtedness was incurred, some in the field had been more inclined to criticize their burdened sister churches for original extravagance than they were to help lift the burden. But now under the inspiration of this activity all the churches of the field were working together and had partaken of the spirit of him who “loved and healed mankind.” (Hymn No. 30) So all turned, in loving thought, to the help of Seventh Church.
At its quarterly meeting in April, 1946, Seventh Church, still in debt $50,000, had the courage to set its dedication date for approximately seven months later, November 24, 1946.
Rapid reduction of this indebtedness took place and two weeks before the date set for its dedication Seventh Church notified the churches of the field that sufficient funds had been received. Surplus funds were sent to First Church, Ferguson, Mo., which had grown from a society during the activity.