The history of First Church of Christ, Scientist here in Philadelphia dates back to the early years of the 20th century. After its preliminary years of organizing, First Church of Christ Scientist, Philadelphia held its initial services in June 1910 in a large new edifice at 4012 Walnut Street. The building was designed by Carriere and Hastings. One year later, dedicatory services were held.
Very soon, with a growing membership, members saw the need for branches in other sections of Philadelphia, and members began to withdraw to organize other branch churches. In October 1919, twenty-six members (including one teacher of Christian Science and seven Journal-listed practitioners) withdrew from First Church in order to form Fifth Church in Center City. Fifth Church flourished and in January 1930 purchased Christ Church (Episcopal) Chapel at 1915 Pine Street. The Chapel had officially opened on June 9, 1877, as an outreach of Christ Church at Second and Market Streets. Philadelphia architect, James Peacock Sims (1849-1882), designed the church. The organ, made by Hook and Hastings of Boston, was installed when the church was sold to Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist. The thirteen original memorial windows, some of them by Tiffany, were removed when the church was sold to Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist. After modifications to the structure, Fifth Church held its first service in the new location on May 25, 1930.
In the mid to latter part of the 20th century, as suburbs grew and the demographics of the City changed, so did the memberships of the churches. By the early 1990’s both First and Fifth church branches had been prayerfully looking to their respective futures, studying their missions, and relationships to the community. Each was facing challenging problems that required action. First Church was considering the sale of its distinguished edifice at 4012 Walnut Street, which had become too large for the members. Both churches were seeing annual operating expenses exceeding income in greater amounts than endowment income could supply indefinitely. Both branches were exploring options independently.
In January 1995, an informal group of nine representatives from each branch met to share their future visions. The similar views and sense of harmony >