It was in the late summer of 1946 that I moved to the New Jersey Conference, with headquarters in the capital city of Trenton. Prior to my arrival my predecessor, M. G. Conger, and the conference committee felt deep concern for a more representative and commodious church and school location. Thus I became acquainted with J. Lee Neil and the new church project that was then under way to the point where the foundation had been poured.
A choice corner location had been acquired in a wholesome and new section, just off South Broad Street, from which point the church is now visible to a constant stream of traffic. A splendid house, now the parsonage, had been moved from the church location to a place adjacent to the church building.
Rarely have I seen a minister able to enlist the wholehearted support of his membership as did Elder Neil. Mickelwright and Mountford, distinguished architects, prepared and supervised the plans for just a "token of appreciation," and Mr. Mountford, who referred to the job as his "pet," spent more time on the project than would have been called for had he been paid the full fee, which is usually 5 percent of the total cost of a building. The pastor's faith in the project prompted a church-member contractor, Brother Harry Bentley, to give his full time and services for more than a year.
Elder Neil saved a considerable amount of money by obtaining donated materials and volunteer labor. In fact, business concerns gladly made their contributions and definitely felt they were participants in the erection of a memorial to the Lord. The entire city and environment read in the newspapers concerning "The Church That Everybody Is Building," which was the slogan used. It has been truly an evangelistic center in a certain sense, even prior to its completion, owing to the favorable publicity that resulted to the cause.
When a building is constructed under what Elder Neil calls the "prayer-and-perspiration" plan, it frequently takes longer to complete operations. But there is a compensating advantage for this seeming disadvantage—the building can usually be dedicated free of debt as soon as it is completed, and the membership can turn their attention to other missionary activities.
Of course, the inspiration of Brother Neil's example did not end in Trenton. Other men caught the spirit and saw similar possibilities in their respective locations. Worthy examples are such churches recently completed in Newark, Salem, Westwood, Plainfield, and others that could be mentioned. Surely this is the day of God's power, and it would seem possible, from this experience, to claim His miraculous intervention in planning and working to erect suitable memorials to His glory.