Alive on a Friday Night

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Park Street Church  Alive with Activity on Friday Nights

Park Street Church Alive with Activity on Friday Nights

A church meeting on a Friday night?! Most mainline congregations in this country fight just to keep people in the pews at the regularly scheduled “church time” of Sunday morning. But why would any church in its right mind schedule a gathering on Friday night when most Americans are thinking about pizza and a movie? Because the right mind for the Church is the mind of Christ who fills all time and existence with Himself, just as the famous Church on Park Street in Boston has done with a time slot usually reserved for worldly indulgence. Continue reading

Tea Time in Boston

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Today marks the 240th anniversary of what has come to be known as the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773. We had the good fortune of taking our home school to the new living history museum that has been built in Boston Harbor to commemorate the historic event (free to all on this historic day). The old museum was closed in 2001 and later suffered a fire in 2007. But the new living history museum that has been built in its place is better than ever before. Continue reading

Winter Hibernation

Interesting how the tour guide season follows the same season as baseball. Just as the World Series concludes, and the off season begins, so too,  the tour guiding season for 2013 goes into winter hibernation.

Thanks to all of my friends and colleagues who helped us launch the first official season for Boston Pilgrim Tours. Please pray for us, as we study and plan to return in the spring with even more faith-based offerings for our dear city of Boston.

Overcoming Faith-a-Phobia

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There is one great tendency that has stood out for me over the years of my pilgrimage as a transplanted Midwesterner and adopted Bostonian. It is this northeastern fear of things related to faith and religion. I have been trying for years to nail down the origins of this quintessential New England trait, and it stumps me what to make of it.

Of course, Boston Pilgrim Tours exists to alleviate this unnatural pathology in all of its various forms. We are doing well as a city with a plethora of tours dedicated to culture, history, and even architecture. But we stop short when it comes to belief. I have been on many a tour of churches, mosques, or synagogues in which the house of worship is treated as a kind of museum piece to be dusted off and admired purely for its historical place. Never a hint of living, breathing faith. Those on the tour who might be aware of a particular denomination along with its proclivities of practice and confession share their knowledge to the group almost apologetically, as a private fetish of which they ought to be ashamed or at least not overindulgent. Continue reading

Happy 383rd Birthday, Boston!

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Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Went with my young pilgrims today on a Founders Trail Tour in honor of Boston’s Charter Day, the day when 383 years ago, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony named the city of Boston, Dorchester and Watertown and proclaimed Boston as the capital of the Commonwealth.

Why have you never heard of such a holiday, while July 4th and our more local Patriot’s Day are well known and loved? The answer is that it was only recently declared by the Governor of the Commonwealth to be a holiday in 2001. Continue reading

Giving Group Tours

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IMG_0968I don’t usually like giving tours to large groups, but today we led a fairly successful Faith-based Freedom Trail tour of downtown Boston with a group of 11, and my first child guest! Okay, so it was my oldest daughter who went (age 8), but I was still impressed that she found it all interesting.

The group was from my own Orthodox Christian parish, and enough Russians were present to insist on walking the entire way. Usually to get to the section of the tour in New Boston (Back Bay) and behold the crown jewel, Trinity Boston, I take my guests on the subway. But this time, every one of these hearty souls wanted to walk the full length of the Common and Public Garden.

It was a real treat for me as the tour guide since we were able to pass by the new location of the First Church in Boston, a place not usually visited on the standard Faith-based Freedom Trail. Let me customize a group tour for you! I love the special challenge of a church group like the one I hosted today.

Sneak Peak: Botolph of Boston Tour

St. Botolph of Boston icon written by Zoya Shcheglov Photo by Peter VanDemark

St. Botolph of Boston Icon at Holy Epiphany Church, Roslindale by the hand of Zoya Shcheglov, Photo by Peter VanDemark

Now that the company is over a month old and I have run the flagship tour (Boston’s Religious Freedom Trail) a dozen times, I am busy expanding our repertoire with many other types of faith-based options. The one I am most excited about currently is in honor of the heavenly patron of our company, St. Botolph of Boston. You may remember that I linked to a short sketch of his life for the very first post on the blog.

The Botolph of Boston Tour will be a day-long driving tour around the metro Boston area highlighting various places where the saint has made his presence known. I am greatly indebted to an old Roman Catholic reporter’s book entitled Botolph of Boston. In it, the author identifies many such places in Boston, MA with black and white photographs that I am attempting to capture all in full color images.

I have begun to collect my own pictures to advertise the tour which I share with you below in a short slide show as a kind of sneak peak into the future tour. Continue to watch this blog for the formal announcement of the Botolph of Boston Tour, brought to you by Boston Pilgrim Tours!

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Two Tours Down and Several Scheduled

IMG_0579First two tours down and several lined up for the rest of the summer. I have been in contact with a lot of my friends and making many new ones along the way. Please be in touch with me and let me know what your preferences are. We love to customize at Boston Pilgrim Tours. Already, at the end of this month, I am in the midst of planning a specialized tour of select sites that contain original icons of our company’s patron, St. Botolph. This is just one sample of the variety I hope someday to offer with the help of the right contacts and faithful research. With God’s help, we will put religion and faith back on the map as a way of talking about or seeing the beautiful city of Boston!

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