Park Street Church Celebrates Its Bicentennial
"Brimstone" corner marks its 200th anniversary on February 27, 2009. This historic church on Boston's Freedom Trail has played an important role in American history. Special events to celebrate the bicentennial will be sponsored by the church throughout 2009 and into 2010.
On February 27, 1809, 26 locals signed a charter to found the church. The original building was completed in eight months, from April to December. Since that time, Park Street Church has maintained a strong tradition of evangelical teaching and social reform with far-reaching effects both in Boston and around the world.
This is the site of many notable events and “firsts.” William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first antislavery speech from the pulpit. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” was performed by children on the church steps for the first time in 1831. Many groups formed here, including The Handel and Hayden Society of Boston (1815), the American Temperance Society, the Animal Rescue League, and the Boston chapter of the NAACP.
In celebration of its bicentennial year and in anticipation of an exciting future, Park Street Church will be hosting a series of special events. Guest speakers—famous Christians sharing their faith journeys—will speak at the church on a monthly basis. Exhibits will display items from the church’s archives. Symposiums are being arranged to encourage intellectual discussion in the arena of faith; topics include “Faith and Science,” “Problems of Suffering,” and others. Reunions will be held, as well as activities for children and families.
In addition, a book by Dr. Garth Rosell about the history and identity of the church was recently published. The church is also looking forward to the release of a half-hour film highlighting themes of its legacy that shape its present life.
Thomas Menino has issued a proclamation from the Mayor’s office designating February 27, 2009 as “The Park Street Church Bicentennial Day,” and the governor has issued a citation honoring the anniversary. The church encourages Bostonians to join in celebrating this landmark date for a Boston landmark.