Park Street History

We hereby covenant and engage ... to give up ourselves unto the Lord ... to unite together into one body for the public worship of God, and the mutual edification one of another in the fellowship of the Lord Jesus: exhorting, reproving, comforting and watching over each other, for mutual edification; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of ... our Savior JESUS ...” (from the Park Street Church Articles of Faith and Government, adopted on Feb. 23, 1809)

  • 1809
  • 1814
  • 1829
  • 1831
  • 1849
  • 1944
  • 2009

1809

Our Beginnings

With these words, twenty-six charter members covenanted together to form Park Street Church. In a time of increasing apostasy from the gospel and rising Unitarianism in New England, a small group of devoted Christians, primarily from Old South Church, formed a “Religious Improvement Society” in 1804 to hold weekly prayer meetings and lectures. Though they faced opposition from all sides, the group continued to meet for six years, founding Park Street Church in February of 1809. This small group acted in faith that God would use their efforts to accomplish no small task. And he did. By April of 1809, our location in the center of town was chosen to serve as a beacon of the hope we have in Christ. By 1810, the small congregation had grown and raised over $100,000 to complete the construction of our current meetinghouse.

  • Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper
  • Old Granary Building

1814

Boston in the Early Days

Park Street Church was the tallest building in the city from the time it was built until 1867. Before the water surrounding Boston was filled in to create Back Bay and other neighborhoods, someone arriving by water could see the steeple from all directions.

1829

William Lloyd Garrison's Antislavery Address

  • William Lloyd Garrison
Garrison's Four Propositions, Introduced at Park Street Church:

1. Above all others, slaves in America deserve “the prayers, and sympathies, and charities of the American people.”

2. Non-slave-holding states are “constitutionally involved in the guilt of slavery,” and are obligated “to assist in its overthrow.”

3. There is no valid legal or religious justification for the preservation of slavery.

4. The “colored population” of America should be freed, given an education, and accepted as equal citizens with whites.

1831

"America"

On July 4, 1831, Park Street Church sunday school children performed America (My Country 'Tis of Thee) for the very first time. The tune—which you might recognize also as God Save the Queen—was adapted by Park Street organist, Lowell Mason, to fit the lyrics penned by Samuel Francis Smith. Listen here to the congregation of Park Street Church sing this hymn.

1849

"The War System of the Commonwealth of Nations"

1848 was a violent year in Europe. Tens of thousands of people were killed in pursuit of political revolutions. In 1849, Charles Sumner, a fervent abolitionist and future US senator, gave an impassioned speech at the 20th anniversary meeting of the American Peace Society. He argued that nations going to war to solve disagreements was as absurd as cities going to battle over a dispute, and that a governing body should adjudicate differences between nations the same way the US Supreme Court settles conflicts between states.

The full text of The War System of the Commonwealth of Nations is available on google books.

1944

World Relief

70 years ago Park Street Church in Boston decided that during Lent they were collectively going to fast from one meal per week and give the money they saved forgoing that meal to the churches “War Relief Fund”. This fund was designed to help churches in Europe rebuild after World War II. Eventually the War Relief Fund became World Relief. This short video created by World Relief highlights Park Street Church's involvement in its creation.

2009

Park Street Bicentennial

Park Street Church on Boston's Freedom Trail, has quietly & not so quietly shaped US evangelicalism for 200 years. This is a trailer for a 29 minute documentary that celebrates eight generations of urban Christians serving their city, because of their varied experiences of God.

To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Hath Done

Freedom Trail Hours

We are open Tuesdays through Saturdays in July and August, as well as year-round on Sundays.