Mass.) Benevolent Fraternity of Churches (Boston.

Annual report of the Central Board of the Benevolent ..., Volumes 1-14 online

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Online LibraryMass.) Benevolent Fraternity of Churches (BostonAnnual report of the Central Board of the Benevolent ..., Volumes 1-14 → online text (page 9 of 28)
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Rev. S. K. LoTHROP, Ebenezer Dale,

George W. Boitd, Thaddeus Nichols,

Richard Sullivait.

Rev. Fraitgis Parkman, William Palfret,
Thomas £. Lillie, John B. Hammett,

Beza Lincoln.

• NetD SotttJ.

Eev. Alexander Touno, Franklin Greene,
George Whittemors, William T. Andrews,

Joseph Cotton.

Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood, Jonathan Chapman,
Hbnrt B. Rogers, Rev. Dr. Tuckerman,

Aaron Baldwin.




Wttitxal Atveet*

Rev £. S. Ganitett, Gkorgk S. Hili.akd,

Thomas Tarbsi<l, Jonathan Phii«lips»

Samuki« Grkelb.

ReT. John Pikrpont, John J. Mat,

Hemrt Smith, Samuei« Mat,

Henrt Bass.

Sbelftli Gongregatfonal*

Rev. Samuel Barrett, Benjamin Stevens,

Elijah Cobb, Lewis G. Prat,

George H. Kuhn.

Stttclase &txttt*

Rev. George Riplet, George Callbni>ek,

Calvin W. Clark, Isaac Williams,

Abner Bourns.


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The smiles of Providence have conlinned to rest upon
the great charity we have in charge, and the Executive
Committee, in presenting their Sixth Annual Report, feel
that they have just cause to congratulate the Benevolent
Fraternity of Churches, and the religious, societies, whose
organ and instrument it is, both on the prosperous con-
dition of its affairs, as a charitable institution, and on the
high moral influence it is exerting on the character and
destinies of our beloved city.

The past year may be regarded, perhaps, as the most
eventful that has occurred since the organization of the
Fraternity. These events have not, at least all of them
have not in their first aspects, been of a gladdening and
favorable character ; but in their ultimate issues, we trust,
they will all contribute to the advancement of our cause,
gire it a firmer establishment in the confidence and affec-
tions of the community, and serve to extend and perpet*
uate its influence.

The Committee would briefly review the leading inci-
dents of the past year, alluding first, however, to one who


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is worthy of being first mentioned on this occasion. It
is well known that for the last two or three years, the
health of Dr. Tuckerman has not permitted him to take
an active part in the labors and duties of the Ministry at
Large. His interest in it, however, has been undimin-
ished, and the young men, his associates and co-adjutora
in the work, have always enjoyed his sympathy and coun-
sel, and had the benefit of his large experience and prac-
tical wisdom. Of these, however, they are at present
deprived. During the last summer and autumn his health
failed so much, that with the advice of his physician, he
sailed for Cuba some months since, in the hope that a
change of scene and a warmer climate might have a
favorable effect. Letters have been received several
times since his arrival ; but the last accounts are unfavor-
able. A visit to the interior of the island had had an in-
jurious effect. Hope is entertained that he may return,
restored to a measure of health. The issue is in 1^
hands, who knoweth what is best for his servants.

On entering upon the duties of the past year, the Com-
mittee felt that one of their chief objects of solicitude and
effort to procure the residue of the>funds, re-
quisite to meet the contracts, which had been made for
the erection of Suffolk Street Chapel. In this work, they
were soon cheered by the donation of a thousand dollars
received through the hands of Richard S. Fay, Esq., made
in the spirit of that charity, commended by our Savior,
which seeks to " let not the lefl hand know what the right
hand doeth." The name of this benefactor of the Fra-
ternity was withheld. But he is known of God, and has
a better reward than ttie strongest expressions of our
gratitude,-^ the approbation of his o^n heart. The con^


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ditions of the gift were, that an equal sura, in addition to
the sum already subscribed, should be procured by the
Committee by further subscriptions. Through the efforts,
principally of Mr. H. B. Rogers, whose wise counsels and
efficient labors in this cause entitle him to the grateful re-
gard of every friend of the Ministry at Large, the Com-
mittee succeeded in meeting these conditions, and in
securing thereby the addition of two thousand dollars to
the funds for the erection of Suffolk Street Chapel. The
corner stone of tfeis Chapel was laid with appropriate
religious services on the 23d of May. The last public
service performed by Dr. Tuckerman was to offer the
prayer on that occasion.

Early in July, the Committee received a communica-
tion from Rev. F. T. Gray, the purport of which was,
that the state of his health required that he should have
some assistance in his duties, and that the field of labor
and usefulness, connected with the Pitts Street Chapel,
was wide enough to occupy the time and task the energies
of two devoted and faithful ministers. In this opinion
the Committee fully concurred. At this time Mr. R. C.
Waterston was about finishing his preparatory studies at
Cambridge. He was already partially engaged in this
ministry, coming into the city every Sabbath, and de-
voting as much time to it as his other occupations would
permit. The Committee deemed it of the utmost im-
portance to secure his undivided strength and attention to
this work. They therefore invited him to enter the Min-
istry at Large, as colleague with Rev. P. T. Gray, at Pitta
Street Chapel, and in common with our whole commu-;
nity , were highly gratified when that invitation was ac*
ciepted. Mr. Waterston entered upon his duties imme-


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diately upon leaving Cambridge, about the middle of
July, with the understanding that his ordination was to
be deferred till the autumn. The Committee contemplated
this result with great satisfaction. They anticipated long
years of united labor on the part of these faithful servants
of Christ. They felt that the efficiency of each would be
promoted and increased by that union, that new and
better modes of operation and influence might arise from
it, and that, through their associated exertions, the Pitts
Street Chapel and the field of labor €|>nnected with it
would present a manifestation of this Ministry, that would.
Cfonvince the doubting and gratify the utmost wishes of
its friends.

These anticipations, so far as the associated labors of
these two gentlemen were concerned, were not destined
to be fulfilled. A disappointment, as severe as it was un-
expected, awaited them ; and one, who, since the with-
drawal of Dr. Tuckerman from active duty, had been
regarded as the right arm of the Ministry at Large, was
to be transferred to another sphere of service. In Octo-
|)ery Mr. Gray received an invitation to become colleague
Pastor with Rev. Mr. Dean, over the society in Bulfinch
Street. This invitation, after mature deliberation, he
felt it to be his duty to accept, and accordingly resigned
his situation as one of the Ministers of this Fraternity.
His connection with us ceased on the last Sunday in
November, His services in this cause, his zeal, fidelity,
success, his readiness to spend and be spent in promoting
it« are too well known to make it necessary for us to re-
count or set them forth. They have brought their reward
iot the approbation of his own heart, and a high place in
tl^e grateful affections of many other hearts, and especially


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and above ail in the good they have effected. Jn the de-
cision to leave us, he unquestionably acted from a pure
sense of duty and a sincere desire to be useful, firom a
conviction that the hand of Providence had opened the.
door of another vineyard, and invited him to enter and
labor therein > and while we regret his loss, it is but jus*
tice to award to him the public testimony of our gratitude
and the^ expression of our cordial wish, that the blessing
of Almighty God may ever rest upon his person and ac-
company his labors.

The loss of Mr. Gray from the Ministry at Large would
have been a very serious evil, had he lefl his place at Pitts
Street Chapel entirely vacant. Fortunately this was not
the case. Mr. Waterston, having been already four months
associated with him, had become fi^iliar with the duties
of the situation, had secure^a place in the affections and
confidence of the worshippers at the Chapel, and made
himself widely acquainted with the moral condition and
wants of many for whose benefit that Chapel was erected.
He was ordained on the day on which Mr. Gray's resig-
nation took effect, and has sin<?e then been prosecuting
his ministry with fidelity and success. In iiis Semi-annual
Report^ made to the Executive Committee a few days
since, he says,

** From the time that the various duties have devolved
upon me, there have been three services every Sab-
bath, the Chapel having been at all times well filled, and
generally crowded. The seats have been again assigned,
and the children who were formerly placed in the rear of
the Church, are now seated with their parents. On the
first Sunday of each month, the body pews are reserved
for Uie children, and all Uie services are appr<^riate.tQ


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them. At other times the services are conducted as is
usual in our churches. During the winter a meeting has
been held each Friday evening. In January, I com-
menced a course of lectures on the Geography of Pales-
tine, which continued to the present month. The lec-
tures were well attended, and some who had not been in
the habit of attending meeting on the Sabbath, became
interested in these lectures, and have since attended the
Chapel, r have lately commenced a course of lectures
to Young Men, and it has been a source of the greatest
satisfaction to see so many eager listeners in the vigor
of youth and manhood. We have also had prayer meet-
ings on every Tuesday evening at private houses, which
have been, to both old and young, a source of great plea-
sure and profit, and w)iich have, beyond a doubt, con-
tributed greatly to awaken a 0irit of piety."

Afler speaking of the Sunday School, which has an
average attendance of three hundred and twenty scholars
and fifty teachers ; of the Sewing School, in which, during
the winter, over a hundred girls have been taught the use
of the needle, by ladies who voluntarily meet for the pur-
pose; of the Franklin Association, whose lectures and de-
bates are held every Wednesday evening ; of the Library,
numbering over five hundred volumes, belonging to the
Chapel, and accessible to all who attend it ; and of visiting,"
as one of the most important parts of this ministry, he says ;
•* There is yet another subject upon which I would speak.
In order that the light of the Gospel may penetrate the
lowest depths of our community, that the message of truth
may be delivered'wherever there is a soul to hear, I pro-
pose, if I can find convenient rooms in private dwellings,
to hold^ as often as consistent with other duties, religious


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evening meetings, when we may call in those who are
sank in vice and who never attend the house of God."
He closes his Report with observing, that *' there has been
through the past season, much sickness and want, and the
labors of this ministry would have been painful in the ex-
treme, if temporal as. well as spiritual relief could not
have been afforded. 1 would, therefore, express my de^
sense of obligation to all those who have placed in my
hands the means of relief, and would state that my account
of receipts and expenditures may be examined at any time
by those who have thus manifested their kindness. All
who, in this way, aid the Minister at Large in his labors,
give a substantial token of their confidence, and enable
him to do immeasurably more good in his pastoral
walks. I will only add," he concludes, ''much, very
much remains to be done. A great work is before us«
May God bless our labors, and crown them ,with suc-

The Committee present these extracts from Mr. Water-
ston's Report, as gratifying exhibitions of the spirit, in
which he is laboring, and of the condition of the minis-
try under his charge,.

The condition and prospects of the mission prosecuted
by Rev. J. T. Sargent in the southern section of the city,
are no less gratifying. As we have stated, to make pro-
vision for the payment of the Chapel, building in this
quarter of the city, was early and constantly an object of
solicitude and effort to the Committee. Various plans to .
increase, during the autumn, the amount of subscriptions,
proved unsuccessful, owing to the pecuniary embarrass-
ment which pressed upon the community. The Report
of the Treasurer^ in January, indicated that over and .


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above the amount then subscribed and paid, about $3,500
would be required to meet the contracts for the erection
of the Chapel, and to furnish it suitably for public wor-
ship. To attempt to raise this sum by further subscrip-
tions, had proved fruitless. In this state of things,
at the suggestion of some members of the Fraternity,
who were also members of the Society for Promoting
Christianity in India, a vote was passed at the duarterly
Meeting, in January, authorizing the Executive Com-
mittee, to apply to this Society for an appropriation of its
funds, in favor of the Fraternity ; it being understood thai
there was no longer any prospect of a useful or success-
ful application of them, to the direct purpose in behalf of
which they had been subscribed, and that the question,
•* what appropriation should be made of them V* had been
matter of discussion in the Society,

In accordance with this vote, the Committee immedi-
ately addressed a communication to the Society for Pro-. '
moting Christianity in India, setting forth the condition
of the pecuniary«'affairs of the Fraternity, and asking an
apprq>riation of the funds of that Society in its favor, as
an Institution, similar in its spirit and character to the
purpose for which those funds were originally subscribed,
and tending indirectly to accomplish it. This communi-
cation was laid before a meeting of the Society, regularly
called, and, afler full discussion, and mature deliberation,
it was voted to comply with the request it contained, and
the funds of the Society for Promoting Christianity in
India, were accordingly transferred to us, and are now in
the hands of our Treasurer.

This may justly be regarded as the most important
event that has occurred in the history of the Fraternity.


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It secures it, we think, a permanent establishment, as one
4>f the Institutions of our city. It enables us to take im-
mediate possession of Suffolk Street Chapel, free from all
incumbrance, and the residue of the funds, together with
what is expected to be realised from the sale of Friend
Street Chapel, will be so nearly sufficient to pay off the
debt on Pitts Street Chapel, that we may confidently
hope, at no very distant day, to possess that Chapd,
also, free from all incumbrance. With these two Chapels
rdieved from all pecuniary claims upon them, the Com-
mittee feel that the Fraternity is placed in a most favora-
ble position. Its annual expenses can be easily met by
the annual contributions from the branches. It has two
permanent centres, from which, by the addition of one or
more ministers to each of these Chapels, it can extend the
sphere of its operations so as to embrace nearly all of the
city. Our warmest gratitude is due to the members of
the Society for the Promotion of Christianity in India, for
the benefit they have thus conferred upon us, and we feel
confident that every succeeding year will bear testimony
to them, that they have made a wise and judicious appro-
priation of their money. Indeed, it seems difficult to find,
among our various Institutions and Charities, any one
whose character and object are in more exact accordance
with the purpose, for which the funds of the Society for
Promoting Christianity were originaHy subscribed, than
the Benevolent Fraternity of« Churches. That was a
missionary purpose. Such is the purpose of the Frater-
nity. That was to dii^use christian truth, and christian
influences and privileges, among those who do not enjoy
them. The Fraternity seeks to do the same ; and if,
through the enlarged means thus conferred upoii it, it cab


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- succeed, if it cm succeed in making this city thoroughly
christian in all the influences within, and all the influen-
ces that go forth from it, through commercial relations and
intercourse, may it not be believed that more will thus be
done ultimately, even for the diffusion of Christianity in In-
dia, than could have been done by the direct expenditure
of this money in that country 1"^ The Committee cannot
but feel confident, that the members of the Society for Pro-
moting Christianity in India, will ever have the approba-
tion of their own hearts, and of this community, in the
decision they have made.

Immediately on being secure of the means to pay for
it, the Committee pressed forward, as fast as possible,
the finishing and furnishing of the Chapel in Suffolk
Street. It was dedicated by appropriate religious services
on Wednesday the 5th of February. This Chapel is lar-
ger every way than the one in Pitts Street, though corres-
ponding to it, in its internal plan. On the lower floor is a
spacious Vestry, or Sunday School Room, 50^ feet by
48. Adjoining this, are two commodious rooms. Id feet
by 24, communicating with each other by sliding doors.
Above them is the Chapel, 68 feet by 50J^, containing 88
pews on the lower floor, and 6 in the gallery for singers.
The arrangements of the Chapel are, in ev^ry way, com-
modious and appropriate. Through the personal efforts
of Mr. Sargent, means were raised to furnish the Chapel
with an organ aud JIampfh A communion service was
presented by J. M Fesenden. A communion table, of
mahogany, was presented by Wm. Fiske and others, and a
neat and valuable clock, the gift of an individual^ un-
derstood to be a member of the New North Society, but
whose name is not known, was put op on the gallery in


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the Chapel. The Committee would thus publicly ac-
knowledge these gifls. The dedication and opening of the
Chapel have excited much interest in that quarter of the

In his Semi-Annual Report, presented a few days since -
to the Executive Committee, Mr. Sargent says. —

** Since the dedication of Suffolk Street Chapel, the
success of the means you employ there, has far surpassed
my expectations.— It is already about as well filled lis
most of our churches, and I receive several apj^ications
for seats, (on an average three or four,) every week. We
have three Sabbath services, all of which are well attend-
ed. The number of families was doubled within the first
fortnight. The number of slips on the lower floor, is 88.
These are occupied, at present, by 1 12 families, in regular
attendance every Sabbath. Of these 1 12 families, 86
are too poor to go elsewhere. Twenty-six might support
the expense of other churches, and of these twenty-six, 1
believe about ten or twelve own pews in other churches.
If it be asked why these families are admitted? I ask,trAy
notf so long as there is room, after all the poorer families
are accommodated, so long as they have no other place of
worship sufficiently accessible, and so long as they con-
tribute, as they do, for the support of the Chapel and its
interests, in various ways? These families, let it be re-
membered, are residents on this side of the Roxbury line,
who formerly* attended worship on the other side, but are
desirous of transferring their relations to the nearest place
of worship in the city. They are allowed, for the preseot.
to do so, on the express condition that they give some-
thing, in proportion to their ability, for the support of re-
ligion, as they would elsewhere, and, also, on condition


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. that tbey give place, whenever their seats are wanted by
others. With both these conditions, they readily comply.
The primary objects of the Chapel are never lost sight of.
I give it distinctly to be understood, that the Chapel is for
the poor, and that, if at this moment, there were poor families
enough in that neighborhood to fill such a Chapel, or who
wanted to come, none others would be admitted. Many of
the families, (which attend on these conditions) are small,
consisting of not more than two, or perhaps three, indi-
viduals, so that, in many cases, two families occupy a

**The principljB," Mr. Sargent continues in his Re-
port, *^ on which I proceeded in the disposition of seats,
was to see first, all the poor families in that neighbor-
hood, to see them all well accommodated, to keep a
standing advertisement ever since at the Chapel door, re-
questing all other families of the poor, who come into that
vicinity, or wish connexion with the Chapel, to send me
their names and they shall be well provided for. Thus,
the understanding is that other families, not strictly of this
class, will recede as those come in, or claim their places,
and the Chapel become more and more distinctively a CIuh
pel for the poor.

" There is no ground, as it seems to me, for the fear some-
times expressed, that these other families will exclude the
poor. It cannot be, if the minister is faithful to the
main purpose of these Chapels, or if the poor are faithful
to the privileges offered them.

** But, after all, is there not a great deal of misconcep-
tion as to who is, and who is not poor among the wor-
shippers in our free Chapels ? We judge too much by ex-
ternal and equivocal signs. A very common remark of


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the Stranger who enters our Chapels, is, — * Why, these
people are not all poor, are they?' 'They look very
respectably,' &c. Now what does such a stranger ex-
pect to see ? One would think that he expected to see a
congregation all dressed in rags. He forgets that pride
of i^pearance is as strong with the poor as the rich.
He forgets that the greatest exertions are made by them,
to appear well and respectably clad on the Sabbath, and
that often the dress which he points out, as indicating in
the wearer a prosperous condition, was bestowed in charity.
Their dress on that day is no fair indication of their condi-
tion at home, or of their worldly resources. But even allow-
ing it was, allowing that all who qppear * well off,' as the
phrase is, really are so, what then ? Are the poor to be
penned up and made to feel that none others can be
allowed, or are willing to come among them ? Surely
not. The only decent plea, on which other families can
be excluded, is, * There is no room for you.' So long
as there is room which others do not want, so IcMig as
they have no other place where they can go, and so long
as they pay for the privilege of worshipping at 'our Cha*
pel, let them come."

" But does not the admission of such families operate in
some other way, it may be asked, to the exclusion of the
poor 1 Not at all, that I can perceive. In no case, to
my knowledge, is a single poor family thereby deprived
of the place they wish, or of inclination to occupy it. On
the contrary, the more they see of a disposition in others
to mingle wi^h them in the sanctuary, the more readily
will they avail of the connection. A very common im-
pression among the poor is, that the rich will neither ad-
mit them to their churches, nor come to their chapelsi

- Digitized



and that the object of the Chapel is to deepen the line of

Online LibraryMass.) Benevolent Fraternity of Churches (BostonAnnual report of the Central Board of the Benevolent ..., Volumes 1-14 → online text (page 9 of 28)