May 12, 1669 was the first gathering of Old South. In the 350 years since, we've taken bold stances and pursued justice and mercy. The church of Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams, of Phillis Wheatley and the Boston Tea Party, we continue to make history in the 21st century. And we think that deserves some celebration!
As such, we declare Old South’s 350th as a Year of Jubilee. In Judaism and Christianity, the Year of Jubilee occurred every 50 years and was a special year for penitence and transformation. The Year itself created a unique environment for daring acts of ethical imagination, such as liberation of prisoners and slaves, debt forgiveness, redistribution of land, and relief to the poor. We will be marking this momentous occasion in a variety of ways over the course of the year - read on to learn more.
A number of our committees and task forces are working on projects in honor of our 350th annivesary. They include:
TELLING THE STORY: This year wee have mounted an image-filled timeline in the lobby that highlights the 12 generations of Old South members. We’re also writing our very own encyclopedia, titled “Concise Encyclopedia: Theological, Historical & Whimsical of Old South Church in Boston”. We're looking for volunteers to do research and write entries; click here for more information. Finally, speakers will enlighten us on topics of particular relevance to Old South.
TURNING FAITH INTO ACTION:
A devotional—Weekly Expressions of Faith—written by Old South members and clergy will inspire throughout the year. In addition to a print edition, we've created an online version, which you can read by clicking here. Kindness Counts Campaign: As we live our faith, we will promote and document Acts of Kindness throughout 2019. Old Southers of all ages can participate in a visual tracking of acts small and large. Click here to learn about our "Kindness Counts" Campaign. We are establishing special opportunities for service through Snowden International School and through urban mission actions. Click here to learn about our partnership with Snowden.
May 12, 2019 marked 350 years to the day that Old South Church was founded. To celebrate the occasion, we had a special worship service, held a ceremony, and threw a huge, family-friendly party! The schedule of events for the day included:
11:00am Festive Anniversary Worship Service and presentation of the Open Door Award to Rev. Traci Blackmon. Click here to watch the live stream.
12:30pm Ceremony: Heraldic trumpets, dignitaries, an interfaith blessing. Click here to watch the live stream. 1:00pm 350th Birthday Party: Cupcakes & ice cream, magician, games, reenactors, and dance music by Keytar Bear & DJAB Entertainment
2:30pm Finale: Pealing of the Tower Bell.
MassLive: From the Boston Tea Party to gay marriage, Old South Church’s 350-year history is steeped in liberal dissent
Boston Magazine: On its 350th Birthday, 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Boston’s Old South Church
WGBH: Boston's Old South Church Turns 350
Boston Globe: Old South Church Celebrates its 350th Anniversary
Boston Herald: Photos from Old South Church's 350th Anniversary
Broadcasting of Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches outside & in sanctuary January 15th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (his 90th birthday) Launch of new website Completion of the Crawford Library
Meeting House Sunday
Presentation by Historian Francis Bremer on Sunday, June 2nd. His lecture, entitled, “Living in a City on a Hill," addresses civility, settling disputes, and caring for others, during the early years of the colony. Pride Morning Worship (Saturday, June 8th): We presented the Open Door Award to the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, and Rev. Quinn Caldwell preached.
CELEBRATE! SUNDAY (May 12th)
During Youth Sunday (May 19th), the Faith in Action Committee will present projects centered around practicing kindness, including a special project for children.
Installation of Memorial Tree in Columbarium with 72 leaves for our members who were enslaved or of African descent who, so far as we know, were buried in unmarked graves
A season of Confession & Repentance: This Lent, in worship and education, we undertake a season of reckoning concerning matters that haunt the world and for which white Christianity bears much shame and blame: white supremacy, patriarchy, exceptionalism, and climate change. Together we ponder the question posed by our sacred texts: whether economic power and disparities can be disrupted for the sake of God’s creation, its creatures and peoples. Annual Meeting Sunday (March 3rd): presentation of Anniversary Year events and activities
Painting of Tower entryway, narthex ceiling and elevator lobby in preparation for exhibits Displaying posters of Old South African American children in celebration of Black History Month Presentation on Phillis Wheatley by biographer Richard Kigel (Sunday, February 24 at 12:30 p.m.)