We spent part of the day on Boston’s North Shore. We walked through Halibut Point State Park in Rockport and had lunch at the Seaside Grill in Gloucester.
Category Archives: Massachusetts
Massachusetts is beginning a four-phased approach to reopening the Commonwealth. Places of worship are included in the first phase. There are three documents that spell out what churches need to do in order to function within the rules.
- Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards For Places of Worship and Religious Services To Address COVID-19
- Places of Worship Protocols Summary
- Places of Worship Checklist
The leaders of First Central Bible Church will be meeting to work through the guidelines and determine when we will start holding in-person services again. This is certainly an answer to prayer and a cause for praise.
On Saturday, Carol and I were driving around the area and found ourselves at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. We decided to search for the Haystack Prayer Meeting Memorial, which was the site of the birth of American Foreign Missions.
The Haystack Prayer Meeting, held in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in August 1806, is viewed by many scholars as the seminal event for the development of American Protestant missions in the subsequent decades and century.
Williams College students Samuel Mills, James Richards, Francis LeBaron Robbins, Harvey Loomis, and Byram Green, met in the summer of 1806 in a grove of trees near the Hoosic River, in what was then known as Sloan’s Meadow, and debated the theology of missionary service. Their meeting was interrupted by a thunderstorm and the students took shelter under a haystack until the sky cleared. “The brevity of the shower, the strangeness of the place of refuge, and the peculiarity of their topic of prayer and conference all took hold of their imaginations and their memories.”
In 1808 the Haystack Prayer group and other Williams students began a group called “The Brethren.” This group was organized to “effect, in the persons of its members, a mission to” those who were not Christians. In 1812, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (created in 1810) sent its first missionaries to the non-Christian world, to India.
Samuel Mills was most influential among the Haystack group to direct the modern mission movement. He played a role in the founding of the American Bible Society and the United Foreign Missionary Society.
Through the work of Byram Green, in 1867 a monument was erected in Mission Park in Williamstown, Massachusetts to honor the five men involved in the Haystack prayer meeting. In 1906 a centennial gathering took place in Mission Park at Williams College in celebration of the earlier prayer meeting. In the summer of 2006, contemporary missioners celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Haystack prayer meeting.
The 1806 meeting was the first documented by Americans to begin foreign missionary work. In addition, this meeting has been seen to have led to the formation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The ABCFM gave students an opportunity to go abroad and spread the teachings of Christianity.
The late Christian Herter was the Governor of Massachusetts from 1953 to 1956. He served as the United States Secretary of State from 1959 to 1961. On one occasion, the governor was seeking a second term in office and was on the campaign trail. His busy schedule had taken him through many cities with numerous stops. Throughout the day he had eaten very little and was eagerly awaiting a fundraising barbecue at a church in the evening.
When Herter finally arrived at the fundraiser, he was famished. The smell of fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy wafting through the air made him salivate. He went through the long line and anticipated a wonderful meal. The governor took his plate, silverware, and napkin and awaited the delicious food to be placed on his plate.
As he went through the line, an elderly woman placed a single piece of chicken on his plate. The hungry governor paused and asked the woman, “Ma’am, may I please have another piece of chicken? I have been on the campaign trail all day and have not had much to eat. I’m famished. Would you please give me a second piece of chicken?” The woman replied, “Nope, everyone gets one piece of chicken.” Herter was somewhat surprised and miffed at her response. In desperation and frustration the governor asked her, “Ma’am, do you know who I am? I am the governor of this state!” The elderly lady replied, “And do you know who I am? I am the lady in charge of the chicken and everyone gets one piece! Now move along!”
(NOTE: I found this in several places on the internet and referenced in several books. I don’t know the original source. I used it as an opening illustration in my sermon on 1 Peter 2:13-17)
On Monday, Carol and I headed for the North Shore to have lunch in Rockport at the Blue Lobster Grille. It was a beautiful day.
Back in November and while I was still in Mary’s Meadow rehab center, I applied for a temporary disability placard. Since I needed a walker to get around, we figured it would be helpful to park closer to stores, doctor’s offices, etc.
Following the guidelines for MassDOT RMV (Massachusetts Department of Transportation Registry of Motor Vehicles), I mailed in my application dated 11/20/17. When I didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks, I called on December 8 to check on the status. I was told that the processing time is two months. Since I applied the end of November, I should hear something in February. If I wanted to present it in person at the Boston RMV office (90 miles away), I could receive it that day. Figuring I would no longer need it by the time it arrived, I gave up and forgot all about it.
On Wednesday, I received a letter dated January 26, 2018 from the Medical Records Division of the RMV asking me to surrender my driver’s license because I had a medical condition making it unsafe for me to drive. (They took two months to process my application, but wanted me to return my driver’s license in ten days.)
I immediately called their office to find out what this was all about. I was told that the doctor who signed my initial application checked the box saying that I was medically unqualified to drive. I tried to explain that that was three months ago and things had changed. Unfortunately, I was talking with a rather defensive, argumentative agent. She told me I needed a note from a doctor stating my condition had improved. I tried to explain that the doctor who signed the form was the attending physician at the rehab center and I had no contact with him. She reiterated that rules are rules and I needed a note from a doctor. It could not merely say I was ok to drive. It had to acknowledge my previous condition and that it had improved.
After hanging up, I called New England Orthopedic Surgeons, the doctors who performed my surgery, and asked if they could write a letter for me. They did so gladly and I picked it up this afternoon. The note was short and to the point saying I had been cleared to drive. It may not be the verbiage the RMV wanted, but hopefully it will satisfy their red tape quotient.
Unfortunately, I spent most of the night distracted and worrying about what would happen if … So I asked a handful of friends and family to pray it would be resolved quickly. And praise God, it was!