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The Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts is an active Conservative Congregational Church at the corner of Tremont Street and Park Street. The church is currently pastored by Gordon P. Hugenberger.
Park Street Church is a historic stop on the Freedom Trail. It was founded in 1809 by twenty-six local people, mostly former members of the Old South Meeting House. The cornerstone of the church was laid on May 1 and construction was completed by the end of the year, under the guidance of Peter Banner (architect), Benajah Young (chief mason) and Solomon Willards (woodcarver). Banner took inspiration from several early pattern books, and his design is reminiscent of a London church by Christopher Wren. Park Street church’s steeple rises to 217 feet, and remains a landmark visible from several Boston neighborhoods. The steeple is seen as the terminus of both Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street, two of Boston’s radial avenues. The church is adjacent to the historic Granary Burying Ground.
The church quickly became known as “Brimstone Corner”, though whether this was for the storage of gunpowder during the War of 1812 or for the fiery sermons delivered from the corner balcony overlooking Boston Common is not entirely clear.
Park Street Church has a strong tradition of missions, evangelical doctrine, and application of Scripture to social issues. In 1816 Park Street Church joined with Old South Church to form the City Mission Society, a social service society to serve Boston’s urban poor. On July 4, 1829, William Lloyd Garrison delivered his Address to the Colonization Society at Park Street, making his first major public statement against slavery. The church also hosted the debut of America by Samuel Francis Smith on July 4, 1831. Benjamin E. Bates, an industrialist who founded Bates College in Maine was a Sunday school teacher and active member of Park Street in the mid-nineteenth century. Gleason Archer, a prominent inerrantist theologian and son of Suffolk University founder Gleason Archer, Sr., was the pastor of Park Street from 1945 to 1948.
After almost 200 years, the church is still engaged in current social issues. For example, Park Street Church helped launch a private high school in Hyde Park in 2002 to help address the educational needs of inner-city Boston (more than 70% of its students are on scholarship and more than 50% are minorities); it supports ministries for the homeless, such as Boston Rescue Mission; it partners with Daybreak Pregnancy Resource Center and A Woman’s Concern to assist women facing unplanned pregnancy; it provides free English classes for international students and immigrants; and it provides support for those who want it in their struggle with same-sex attraction through a ministry called Alive in Christ, an affiliate of Exodus International and an advocate of reparative therapy. Although the church has taken no official position on the issue of same-sex marriage, senior minister Gordon Hugenberger has publicly expressed his understanding of the Bible’s teaching on the morality of homosexual practice and signed a joint statement that was published by a broad group of religious leaders in The Boston Globe in support of an amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Today, Park Street is a thriving congregation. Thousands of worshippers join together at one of the four services held each Sunday and participate in the dozens of ministries and missions and outreach programs the church hosts. Park Street is an international congregation, with members from more than 60 countries. The church attracts many regular worshippers from among the undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at Boston-area universities.
- ^ Park Street Church history and architecture from the Park Street Church website
- ^ Patricia Wen (2005-10-28). “‘Ex-gay’ ministry reaches out to Hub”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2006-11-08.
- ^ Hugenberger, Gordon (2004-06-15). “Questions and Answers on Issues Related to Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage”. Park Street Church. Retrieved on 2006-10-11.
- ^ “Leaders and Members of Over 3000 Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Issue Joint Statement in Support of Constitutional Amendment Initiative”. The Boston Globe (2004-07-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-11.