Message From the Pastor
In 1913 Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated the 28th president of the United States. That year the US Post Office began parcel post delivery; the 16th amendment was passed and with it federal income tax levied; and the National Women's Party formed, the women's suffrage movement taking root. It was in 1913 the Woolworth Building skyscraper opened in New York City; Charlie Chaplin began his film career; and the first prize was inserted into a Cracker Jack box. With the horrors of the Civil War fading and the start of World War I still four years away, 1913 was a year filled with optimism and growth. As the new president prophetically stated, "Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together."
This exuberant spirit filled the town of Belmont as well. Founded in 1859, its population grew with an influx of artists, educators, physicians and scientists. Large estates and farms were parceled out and smaller homes developed, the completion of the Cambridge subway system increasing accessibility to the area greatly. With 200 students enrolled in the new school on Payson Road, the town was thriving. Why make the cumbersome trek to Boston or Cambridge to go to church? some residents wondered. Even the commute to Plymouth Congregational Church, then located on lower Common Street, seemed unnecessarily long with so few automobiles on the roads.
And so Payson Park Church was born. On March 23, 1913, the new congregation sang its first hymns and offered its first prayers, the Rev. Dr. Samuel C. Bushnell leading 160 people in Christian worship. Three weeks later, thirty-five children attended the first session of Sunday School, a house-to-house canvas helping the congregation to swell. By 1915 the first portion of the building was complete, the words, "Love Never Faileth" prominently etched above the doors.
It is with such unfailing love we celebrate the past one hundred years. Recognizing the determination of those founding families, we carry this church forward. From our worship services and educational programs to the many service projects and community groups we support and house, this place is a testament to God's presence in the world. Join us on the third of November as we celebrate such undying love. Come sing and pray as we give thanks to God and our ancestors for this place of blessing and hope. The world is ever changing. But with Christ our purpose remains true. We are vessels of grace, carriers of God's light and goodness in a world that is often filled with darkness. Happy Birthday Payson Park Church! Happy Birthday to you!
With love and gratitude from the Rev. Dr. Lael Atkinson