But once again, it was a war that changed the shape of life. World War I made it hard to find a minister, and from 1922 to 1951 a succession of part-time supply pastors led the church. The membership dwindled until the church closed entirely in 1951.
But the Holy Spirit was not done with Poolesville Presbyterian Church. In 1956 the church was reopened with 5 members under the leadership of Rev. Fred McCorkle. The congregation grew in works, but the membership grew only modestly and never beyond the 50 member mark. The succession of pastors began again with Rev. Tim Lee, and then Rev. Bert Moore in 1967.
Rev. Bert Moore recorded this story: "After more than five years struggling with a tight budget in my little rural 58 member church, I was beginning to think that nothing short of an outright miracle was going to change the situation. The people, by and large were dedicated enough. I felt, and still feel, the mission emphasis here has been in the shape of Christ. Yet, when it came to budget time, there was never enough money and all the mission service work with students, the poor, in housing, the emergency 'Overnite House' facilities, church school, failed to yield response that translated into enough dollars to balance the budget.
"The Lord must have been watching the frustration of our small but dedicated leadership, for in the fall of 1972 there began the unfolding of a unique string of events to which our mission oriented people were able to respond."
Jack and Judy Speer had wanted a baby for many years and there was much joy when Judy became pregnant. She was out of town in Cincinnati, five months pregnant, when she went into labor. The baby was born prematurely, only 2 lbs 4 ounces. The doctors said the baby had one chance in 300 to survive. The Speers immediately called Rev. Moore and he formed a prayer chain so that someone was praying for the baby every hour on the hour. But after a few days the baby still wasn't doing well. Rev. Moore headed to Cincinnati on a Saturday morning, Dec. 2, and was at the hospital nine hours later.
Rev. Moore wrote: "I remember feeling a calmness, aware of the support from the congregation back in Poolesville. But I can't describe the helplessness of watching the baby's breathing stop twice before me -- once while I had my hand in the incubator touching his little hand. All I can say is that I was looking to God for everything."
Of course, he had to return home and, as it always does, Advent unfolded. The father, Jack Speer, also had to return to work while his wife and baby stayed in the hospital far away. Back at work, Jack had trouble concentrating, understandably. Being a new Christian, he decided to buy a Bible that would be easy to read, so he chose "The Living Bible," which is a paraphrase. He decided that the baby needed a name, and he thought maybe he would choose something from the Bible. Someone suggested he use a concordance to find a name, but the only concordance in print was for the King James Bible.
As Jack told his minister this over dinner, an idea was born: why not create a concordance for The Living Bible? This would do two things. It would contribute to greater understanding of the Bible, and it would be a valuable mission that could benefit the church financially.
Rev. Moore wrote: "Because of this gift of a baby, there is a book; because of this book there is new hope here now in Poolesville Presbyterian Church. Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Praise be to the Lord, the Giver of Life!"
PS The baby, Martin Fuller Speer, lived and was healthy.