By Shirley Lindahl
Edited by Jerry Rutherford
Reverend Widney, had been hired earlier to develop the Sunday School program in the four housing projects in Kirkland Heights area. One session was held at 9:30 am at Collins School and another session at Stewart Heights at 10:30 AM each Sunday. About 100 children attended each. It was difficult to find enough teachers. (The church had received a grant of $150 per month from the War Emergency Committee of the Congregational Churches of the Seattle Council to hire Rev. Widney.)
A junior choir and a Mother's Club had been started. Rev. Widney was going to try to hold a Sunday evening church service at Stewart Heights.
As 1944 began the membership of the church was at an all-time high of 347. The treasury had a healthy balance on hand of $775. However the church clerk, Myrtle Sholty, felt something was lacking so she added the following statement to the annual report. "No report made any mention of any visitation to the sick and aged. Much more space was given to enumerating the number in attendance ... the amount of money taken in and the many physical improvements made about the church than to the spiritual growth of its members." While the budget shows the minister's salary was raised to $3000 it also indicated an outward concern as the benevolences were raised to $1000. For the first time the choir director was paid $3 per week and the organist $2 per week. It seemed additional space would be necessary soon so a new building fund was started. Complaints had been heard about the lack of cover at the entry doors so porch roofs were built as a shelter from the weather.
New officers serving in 1944 were John Gates (Pam Owens father), Ralph Haycox, Paul Frank, Mrs. S. J. Curtis, Robert Clark (owner of a funeral home in the building which housed the Unitarian Church--the 1922 building recently moved to the bottom of Market Street--It will become the home of the Kirkland Historical Society). The financial secretary was Arnold Sievers who held the office for many years. (His wife is Vi Sievers who just celebrated her 90th birthday)
Attendance was high on Easter as the treasurer reported $185 in the loose offering. Forty new members joined during 1944. During the Lenten season there were many baptisms. Some familiar names include Pamela Gates (Owens, now) and Donna Hjorth (Margaret Kennedy's daughter).
A vacation Church School was held at both the church and the housing projects. Tom
Simmons reported on the need for Sunday School teachers and the long list of reasons
he had heard why people could not do it. "If you want to hear some real excuses, try
being a Sunday School Superintendent for a while," he remarked.