Great weather and lots of interest in John Eliot brought the girls and I downtown for a tour with a group that consisted of actors from Song on the Wind, an original musical about the life of John Eliot. A good time was had by all as we testified to Boston’s almost 400 year old heritage and helped many passers-by overcome modern New England’s faith-a-phobia.
So honored this past fall to host a family whose little girl especially desired a history tour of downtown Boston. One of my best crowds ever, we had participants as young as four and as old as 70. Make it your New Year’s resolution to book a tour for your next Birthday party. Look in the comments section of the tour to see what the mother had to say about the experience. Happy New Year, everyone!
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
Did 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
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
A 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