From Moore Memorial to
Westminster 1934-1940

W. Murdoch MacLeod became the pastor of Moore Memorial in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression. Under his leadership a campaign was launched in 1935 to raise funds for building a new church in the Richland section of the city. Remarkably, $66,000 was raised within two months and a plot was purchased on Harding Road. The congregation voted to name the new church “Westminster”; ground was broken in 1937; and the first service was held in the new building in  1939. A house nearby was rented to serve temporarily for the Sunday school. Sadly, Murdock MacLeod died of a heart attack the following year at the age of 43.

The Building Committee carefully planned their campaign and then presented it to the members through this booklet.

A 1936 map of West Nashville shows the location of the new church in the “unchurched neighborhood.”

Property on Harding Road was purchased for $24,000 for the new church.

Members of the building committee gathered on the day of the groundbreaking.

Sam K. Harwell, Jr., chairman of the Building Committee, Dr. James I. Vance, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Henry Goodpasture, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Dr. W. M. MacLeod, pastor of Moore Memorial, participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies.

The children of Henry and Virginia Goodpasture and Sam and Josephine Harwell posed on the day of the groundbreaking.

Evalina Harwell (Andrews), daughter of Sam and Josephine Harwell, sealed the copper box containing congregation records in the cornerstone of Westminster Church as her father and Murdoch MacLeod watch on April 17, 1938.

The wedding of Lily Pierce Cornelius and John William Stone was the first wedding in the new sanctuary.

This photo by Tennessean photographer, Ed Clark, was taken as the steeple of Moore Memorial was torn down.

The newspaper reported on the Vesper Services at which the cornerstone was laid.

Richard & John Thorpe, Sam Knox Harwell, III, Ann McClure Harwell, Carolyn Briggs Harwell, Robert Harwell and Thomas Frist, Jr., were the first babies baptized at Westminster. They were baptized on September 17, 1939.

Architect Edwin Keeble’s design for Westminster with clear glass windows reflected the reform theology of the congregation and their interest in focusing on their responsibility outside the church.