Eliot’s First Sermon to the Natives of Massachusetts

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October 28, 2014
Commemoration of the 368th anniversary of John Eliot’s first sermon to the native tribes of Massachusetts in his nascent ability to speak their language October 28, 1646.

As the opening of our tour season this year came near the date of John Eliot’s repose, so the close of this season of summer tours falls on the anniversary of Eliot’s first sermon in the native Algonquian language of the tribes of Massachusetts. I am proud to live near the site of that first sermon at Nonantum (“Rejoicing”), now a village of Newton. No celebration I know of was planned for this great, but forgotten memorial, so we memorialize it here with the hopes that someday Boston Pilgrim Tours may move beyond the downtown walking tour for John Eliot and develop a road trip that encompasses where he spent most of his life: in the wilderness, among his native flock of praying Indians. Continue reading

Making New Contacts

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IMG_0052Showed a friend of mine around Boston today. We may be making some new partnerships through many of the contacts that he has, so watch this space for updates when something becomes official. With God’s help, it may bring this tour company to a new level of participation and development, especially in the realm of doing tours specific to certain Christian traditions.

Hopefully we may have something to report by the end of the month, but until then, only a month and a half left until our outdoor tours go into winter hibernation, so book with us today!

Great FREE Tours of Boston Celebrating Boston’s Birthday

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Want to give a shout out to the Partnership of the Historic Bostons and their yearly events around the anniversary of the founding of Boston, MA, otherwise known as Charter Day, every September 7. Go to their website and RSVP for some of these great tours yourself.

I went last year myself, and found it very inspiring. Our city is very good about remembering its past in the American Revolution. But we need to be equally vigilant in remembering the Pilgrim Fathers, for better or for worse, in their equally important struggle for spiritual and political freedom.

New Look for an Old Tour

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IMG_0055Did the Faith-based Freedom Trail today with a brand new look. Dropped the wig because Puritans overall hate long hair. Still puzzled as to why Eliot appears in all pictures with long hair. It is definitely not a wig, as he is on record as hating those. My theory is that his long, natural reddish brown hair is in solidarity with the native peoples of Massachusetts. At any rate, my costume is more general 17th century Pilgrim/Puritan. It came off well to be wearing a uniform, even when I was not portraying Eliot. I’ll definitely do it again. Continue reading

Puritans and Saints

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June 13/30, Feast of St. Botolph (Old Style)
Abbot and Confessor, of Ikanhoe, England (+680)
Patron saint of all Travelers,
Boston, England (founded 654)
Boston, Massachusetts (founded 1630) and Patron of Boston Pilgrim Tours (formerly Boltolph’s Town Tours, founded 2013, one year ago TODAY)

Happy First Birthday to this blog and Boston Pilgrim Tours! On this one year anniversary of Boston’s only (as far as I know) faith-based tour company, I would like to post a few words about the Puritan’s attitude towards sanctity in general and saints in particular. This is based on the curious fact which I am sure to mention in our founding tour that Boston is the only city in New England that contains the name of a saint, making that saint, Botolph, her default patron (Boston is an elided form of “Botolph’s Town”). I say default and not conscious patron because of the Puritan’s attitude toward sanctity and saints. Continue reading

Eliot’s Apostolic Labors

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I have been reading an excellent secondary source which recounts the life of John Eliot, apostle to the Indians, especially his apostolic labors in beginning the town of Natick, MA from a group of Praying Indian converts living in Nonantum. Nonantum and Natick by Sarah Sprague Jacobs partakes of the unfortunate triumphalism of the nineteenth century, seeing only what we gave to the native peoples of this land and not what we gained from them, but otherwise gives an inspiring account of Eliot’s heroism and bravery in the face of amazing obstacles.

Here is just a taste of Jacob’s account which resounds with later American history when the Gospel was also brought to the people by traveling preachers called circuit riders, who braved similar circumstances to fulfill the call of the Lord to preach. Continue reading

New England’s Pentecost

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June 7, 2014, Eve of the Feast of Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church

meetinghouseA few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of visiting the site of John Eliot’s first and oldest mission to the native Massachusett/Algonquian people of eastern New England: the first Meetinghouse of the Praying Indians of Natick, MA. Across the street from the meetinghouse, in a tiny, but lovely little brick structure lives the Bacon Free Library, and inside the library is a precious relic from New England’s religious heritage: a second edition original of John Eliot’s Bible translation into the language of the native people of Massachusetts! It sounds a bit odd from what we know of the subsequent history and relationship between the English Puritans (along with later settlers) and the Native Americans that there was a translation made of the whole Bible into a language only spoken by a relatively small section of humanity. When I spoke to the President of the Natick Historical Society, that is what she marveled at the most: Where did Eliot get such advanced ideas of toleration and outreach to such a disadvantaged and foreign people? The miracle of Pentecost is a direct answer to this most profound question: Continue reading

Remembering on Memorial Day

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Meeting a small group downtown today for our flagship tour, the Faith-based Freedom Trail. This is giving a shout out to all of America’s veterans and men and women currently in uniform on this Memorial Day.

I have very fond memories of Memorial Day parades in my small hometown in the Midwest. Now that I live in the city where it all began, I am deeply humbled and grateful for the sacrifice of all our founding fathers and those who continue to sacrifice to ensure our liberties.

America’s freedom and independence from one of the greatest and most intimidating empires in the world is a powerful and inspiring story to tell. And we here at Boston Pilgrim Tours remain committed to telling the often overlooked role that faith has played in that story.

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