After 67+ years of ministry, Elmwood Chapel held its last service on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Church staff members say the decision came after many months of prayer and fasting. In a Facebook post, leadership for the evangelical non-denominational place of worship said, “We are grateful for the countless lives that were impacted and the ministry God has allowed us to participate in over the years.”
Starting Easter Sunday (April 21) at 42 Elmwood Road, Milestone Church, which has a location in Natick, will launch Milestone Wellesley. Between now and Easter, the property is being cleaned and prepared for this new Wellesley church.
Milestone identifies as a life-giving Bible-based Christian church with big plans to start ten new churches in the next ten years.
Elmwood Christian Preschool, which operates out of three classrooms and a playground located on church grounds, going forward will be affiliated with Milestone Wellesley and will not experience any suspension in service. Starting in Fall 2019 the preschool will offer a transitional kindergarten program in addition to their programs for children from ages 2.9.
Wellesley’s changing religious landscape
In 2017 Christ United Methodist Church at 2 Brook St., faced with decreasing membership, ceased worship services, with many of its members choosing to go over to a church in Needham. After a short period of no religious activity in the Christ United sanctuary, a new church took over the space and the house of worship is now known as Metrowest Baptist Church. Pastor Dave Melton and his wife Kim Melton have lived in Wellesley for more than fifteen years and raised their four sons in town.
Back in 2015 St. Paul School, affiliated with St. Paul Catholic Church at 502 Washington Street, was shuttered, upsetting families who had plenty to say about what they called an abrupt and unexpected decision. St. John School in Wellesley Hills ended up absorbing many of the displaced preK – grade 8 students into its program.
Also in 2015, St. James the Great church on route 9 was razed to make way for the Wellesley Sports Center. The Catholic church’s parishioners held vigils for 7-plus years before ending the stay in 2012 as the archdiocese sold off its property to the town of Wellesley. St. James was one of many churches the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston started shuttering in the early part of the century so that it could pay costs associated with its many sexual abuse cases. The Town of Wellesley purchased the property for $3.8 million.