First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bridgeport (1958)

June 21st, 2015 Posted in Bridgeport, Churches, Colonial Revival

First Church of Christ, Scientist

The early history of Christian Science in Bridgeport is described in The Christian Science Journal (Vol. 37, No. 1, April 1919):

On Sunday morning, April 4, 1897, ten people interested in Christian Science met at a private house to hold the first Christian Science service in Bridgeport. At the testimony meeting the following Friday evening, April 9, fourteen were present. For two years the Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings were held in residences. In 1899 the organization was strengthened by the coming of a teacher and practitioner.

In May, 1899, a Christian Science Society was formed and a room in the Court Exchange Building was engaged and suitably furnished to be used for church services and also for a reading room. The reading room was kept open every day and also Friday evenings. The first service held in the Court Exchange Building was a Wednesday evening testimony meeting, June 7, 1899; and the society was encouraged by an attendance of twenty-four at the service the following Sunday. In December of that year the society was dissolved, and First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was organized and incorporated.

[. . .] As the church grew in numbers and in contributions, it was ready again to move to larger quarters, and the Froebel Kindergarten, at 871 Lafayette Street, cordially opened its doors. In 1902 the church rented the kindergarten rooms for the Sunday services, and in 1906, as the property was on the market, it was thought best to buy it. Reading rooms were furnished and finally a new auditorium was added to the rear of the building.

[. . .] In the spring of 1917 it seemed wise to take another forward step and remodel the church building in order to double the seating capacity. Architects from New York were engaged, and at an expense of approximately thirteen thousand dollars, the building has been strengthened and remodeled. The interior of the auditorium has been enlarged and beautified, pews added, and an organ installed. Various other changes have been wrought which make the building and its surroundings an appropriate place for Christian Science services. [. . .] The dedication service was held on September 15, 1918.

A new church, designed by Robert C. N. Monahan of Monahan, Meikle & Johnson, was built in 1958 at the corner of North and Clinton Avenues in Bridgeport. Because Christian Science churches can only be dedicated when freed of all mortgage indebtedness, the church was dedicated over five years later, on June 14, 1964. Today the building is home to a different church, the Holy Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ.

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