First Baptist can be very pleased and proud about being at the center of this special program marking the anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington.
We were the destination for a group of marchers who set out from a commemoration at the Peace Garden in downtown Boston, and walked the 7 miles to Newton Centre, led by a group of mothers who had lost children to violence in the city. On the lawn of our church the marchers were met with music and food, and some speakers (including Greg Barrett who spoke at FBCN last year). Not to mention the surprise appearance of Pete Seeger, who mingled with the crowd. This was followed by a program at 7:00 in our sanctuary, featuring a series of powerful speakers, including Susanah Heschel, and outstanding music, with the Love Tones and Pete Seeger.
This event marked a new level of connection for us with City Missionary Society and Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (co-sponsors whose leaders were prominent participants all day, and were deeply appreciative of our participation), as well as the establishment and deepening of new relations (as with the Love Tones, the Boston mothers of violence victims, new Newton resident Susannah Heschel....) which can be part of future initiatives.
I'm so grateful to those inside and outside our congregation who made this happen. Sarah Mausner, who has become a wonderful part of our community, was the guiding genius who labored long and diligently to bring this all together. Eunice Wilson, Amy Feldman and Rachel Carpentier made enormous contributions. I can't adequately list all the others,from our congregation who marched, helped out with logistics or helped host all or part of the afternoon and evening events at FBCN---but the list includes Chris and Linda Duncombe, Dick Ransom, Anita Roberts, Amberle and Andy Edwards, Jeffrey Lian, Isaac Seelam, Delinse Jean, Donna Vello, Greg Mobley, Lynn Witty, Bob Close, David Ryley, Sylvia Passley Harris, Maria Mak, Melissa Heim, Sze-kar Wan, Ann Grantham, Meta Moy and Martha Wright (these last three were part of a League of Women Voters group who contributed to the outstanding food for the event).
Contributions ranged from Linda Duncombe and Anita Roberts singing on the lawn with the Boston Minstrel Company, to Donna' Vello providing sheets for Pete Seeger to nap on in in the Everts Room, to Bob Close's heroic shepherding of the building through such heavy use! And I particularly thank Sean for his leadership as host of the evening program, his energy through the long day, and his special connection with our musical guests (above all his great hosting of Pete Seeger). The Baptist Social Union is also deserved of a hearty thank you for generously providing the necessary seed funding to make it happen.
The whole thing was quite a day for First Baptist and gives us a great boost heading into this fall.
S. Mark Heim
Moderator, FBC in Newton
Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology
Andover Newton Theological School