Fifield Jr., James W
James W Fifield Jr - American - Cleric Typed Letter Signed, 12/15/1943 - 7 1/2 x 10 signed in blk ink from his personal stationery with a two-fold overall, very fine condition.
Dr. James W. Fifield Jr., a tall, lanky, self-assured young minister, arrived in Los Angeles, in 1935, he started flicking the lights back on again. The world wide economic depression of 1929-1940 hit hard the savings of the American middle class. At the Congregational Church in Los Angeles, California many members felt obliged to cancel or at least cut their previous pledges to the building fund. Shortly before leaving for the cloistered halls of the seminary.
Time Magazine reported the dramatic burning of the mortgage for the First Church in 1942, it declared that an aging, defeated Dr. Patton had spent his time going from room to room in the Sixth and Hoover Street church just turning off the lights to save money. Dr. Fifield insisted on a church with the lights on. When so many felt discouraged, defeated, burdened, or frustrated, there was Fifield at the light switch. His has been a ministry of the Lighted Window, a career with floodlights piercing the darkness. He transformed Christianity into a popular, accepted and revitalized faith.
Dr. Fifield was thirty-five years old when he came to Los Angeles. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1899, the third family inn a fanily of four boys and two girls. He received his early schooling in Kansas City, Missouri, where his father was a minister of the First Congregation Church. His college education at Oberlin, Ohio, was interrupted by the first World World where he served in the United States Infantry. Returning , he completed his college work and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1921. In 1922 he receive his Master of Arts Degree from the University of Chicago and in 1924 a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1924.
He was called to the East Congregational church, in Grand Rapids Michigan, where he served for eleven years. Durning his leadership the Church grew to one of significant proportions. He receive nation-wide prominence as a church leader. In 1934, he was given an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Upon coming to Los Angeles in 1935, he under took what was considered one of the most difficult church situations in America. There was a membership of approximately one thousand and a debt of three-quarters of a million dollars.
Dr. Fifield undertook the task in the midst of the depression years, in less than eight years the Church was completely out of debt and had become, with nearly 5,000 members and 21,000 parishioners, the largest Congregational Church in the World.