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"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] 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.
Peter Banner, an Englishman residing in Boston, served as the architect; Benajah Young became the chief mason and Solomon Willards, the woodcarver. Work on the building began in mid-April, starting with the dimantling of the Old Granary Building of 1728 in which the sails for the U.S.S. Constitution were sewn.
The church's cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1809, and the building was completed by the end of that year. The beautiful steeple, rising 217 feet, included a bell and incorporated a design based on the style of Christopher Wren of England. For many years it would be the first landmark travelers saw when approaching Boston.
Within a few years of construction, the location of Park Street Church became known as "Brimstone Corner" because powder for the War of 1812 was stored in a crypt in the basement. Over the years, Park Street Church has been a leader in missions, evangelical doctrine and the application of the gospel to social issues (check back to see a timeline of events in Park Street Church history).
Today we share the same convictions as those who have gone before us - not simply because we are privileged to meet in an historic church building - but because of our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through our union with Christ, we are united to our predecessors and to one another. With the founders of our church, our covenant is to "give up ourselves unto the Lord ... looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of ... our Savior JESUS ..."