Changes and Challenges in the
1909-1916 THE CHURCH BUILDING IS MODERNIZED
In 1909 the Rev. Dr. Paul Hickok was called as Metropolitan’s fourth minister.
Dr. Chester gave the Charge to the Congregation and during Dr. Hickok’s ministry the Congregation:
Enlarged the space for the choir and redecorated the sanctuary;
Replaced the Latrobe furnaces with steam heat and upgraded electric lighting;
Conducted the funeral service for the Rev. Dr. Chester on October 7, 1910; and
Started an annual “every member canvass” to establish the budget. Each member received boxed, numbered and dated offering envelopes; and the “pew rents were discontinued. Congress, in 1916, exempted all church-owned residences for clergy from taxation.
1917—1937 WORLD WAR I AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION
The Rev. Dr. Freeley Rohrer was called as the Church’s fifth minister in 1917. The terms of call included a salary of $2,500, use of the manse, and one-half of his moving expenses. During his ministry the Congregation:
Re-papered the manse and installs electricity; Invests Church funds in Liberty Bonds in 1917;
Closed the Church in 1918 pursuant to government order because of the flu epidemic;
Installed new pews and floors, repainted and repaired windows at a cost of $40,000;
Curtailed operating expenses for music, pulpit supply, bulletins and telephones in 1928 because of lack of funds; Postponed additional Church building improvements because of the expense involved; Excavated the chapel basement to make a recreation room; and Moved the bathroom indoors. Rev. Dr. Freeley Roher retired in 1937 after 20 years of service.
1938—1944 The END OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE WAR YEARS
The Rev. J. Lowrey Fendrich was called as the Church’s 6th minister in January 1938. During his ministry the Congregation:
began a radio ministry; saw a substantial increase in attendance and membership; and established an organization called “The Institute of Applied Religion and Psychology”
1944-1945 TROUBLING TIMES
The Rev. Dr. Lee J. Ferry was called as the Church’s seventh minister in November 1944. He resigned effective September 1945 to take a position on the Administrative Staff of the Presbyterian Church,USA, as chair of the committee on Post War Planning and Reconstruction.
1946—1954 MERGER DISCUSSIONS WITH EASTERN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Rev. James Fahl was called as the Church’s eighth minister in 1946. During his ministry the Congregation:
Ran a deficit each year until 1948;
Discussed merging with Eastern Presbyterian congregation; Appointed a joint committee to do an exhaustive study of the two Congregations which were about six blocks apart; Received the committee report and sends it to Presbytery for their consideration; Approved a Presbytery proposal that a tribunal be appointed to decide which property should be kept and which sold; Voted in July 1954 in favor of the merger; Agreed that the combined congregations would again be titled “Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church;” and Adopted the Presbytery tribunal recommendation that the Metropolitan Church building be kept and the Eastern Presbyterian Church property be sold.
The Rev. Fahl resigned in 1954 to facilitate the combined Congregations calling a new minister.
The Rev. Donald Keith, former pastor of the Eastern Presbyterian Church installed as the interim pastor of the combined congregations.
1955—1962 THE MERGING OF THE TWO CONGREGATIONS
In 1955 the Rev. Dr. Lewis Hutton was called as the first pastor of the merged congregations now called the Capitol Hill Congregation. During his ministry the Congregation:
Laid a new cornerstone in April 1956 with Supreme Court Justice Tom Clarke as speaker;
Sold Eastern property and spent $160,00 in proceeds to remodel the Metropolitan Church building; Borrowed $45,000 from Worldwide Hungarian Federation to finish remodeling the sanctuary; Purchased and installed the present Schlicker organ in 1958;
Elected and installed the first women elders; and,
Established a day nursery.
In 1962, the Rev. Dr. Hutton resigned.