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Through Waters Deep – Tour of Boston, Part 2

Tour of Boston 2The city of Boston is fascinating—chockfull of history and color. While best known for its key role in the American Revolution, the city also played a role in World War II, with busy shipyards and naval bases—and more! The city’s reputation for revolutionary foment seemed a great backdrop for Through Waters Deep, set in the tumult of 1941, as isolationists and interventionists argued the correct course for the nation’s future, and as rumors of sabotage and espionage ran rampant.

I’ve been blessed to visit Boston a number of times. In July 2014, I made a research trip and took lots of pictures to help me visualize the story. We’ll follow the Freedom Trail, established in the 1950s to connect Boston’s multiple historical sites. Follow as we visit:

Boston Common and the Public Garden

Paul Revere House and Old North Church

Charlestown and USS Constitution

Charlestown Navy Yard

Old State House, Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market

Today we visit Park Street Church. When writing Through Waters Deep, I chose Park Street as the church my hero and heroine would attend, due to its long history in Boston and its role in the birth of the evangelical movement in the early 1940s. In July 2014, I was able to attend a Sunday service at Park Street and take pictures (before the service started).

Park Street Church, Boston, MA (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Park Street Church, Boston, MA (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

In 1809, Park Street Church was founded to support traditional Christian teachings in a time when Unitarianism was growing in strength in New England. Taking a strong stand for biblical teaching, the founders faced much opposition. From the beginning, the church believed in the cornerstones of missions, evangelism, Christian education, involvement in social issues, and biblical teaching. To this day, the church keeps the same Statement of Faith adopted in 1809.

The entrance to Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

The entrance to Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Brimstone Corner: Park Street Church, Boston (Moody Press) presents the history of this church up to 1968, showing cycles of stagnation, intense external opposition, and stirring revival—while refusing to budge from the fundamentals—an uplifting account of how God can use even one small church to have an impact on the world.

Historical marker at Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Historical marker at Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Park Street Church has a long string of historical firsts. From 1810-1867, Park Street was the tallest building in Boston, until surpassed by Church of the Covenant. In 1819, Park Street sent the first team of missionaries to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). In 1829, William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, gave his first abolitionist speech at Park Street. And the patriotic song America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee) was first performed on July 4, 1831 at Park Street.

Foyer of Park Street Church in Boston. Two circular staircases lead to the sanctuary upstairs. The doorway leads to meeting rooms and classrooms. (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Foyer of Park Street Church in Boston. Two circular staircases lead to the sanctuary upstairs. The doorway leads to meeting rooms and classrooms. (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Stairs at Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Stairs at Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

From 1936-1969, Dr. Harold J. Ockenga served as pastor of Park Street. In the first part of the twentieth century, the rise of secularism in mainline churches led to the rise of fundamentalism, with its call to separate from the culture. In response, Ockenga and others gave rise to the modern evangelical movement, which kept fundamentalism’s stand for theological truth, while rejecting its trend toward isolation from culture. In 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals was formed, with Ockenga as president.

Sanctuary of Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Sanctuary of Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

On May 30, 1943, Dr. Ockenga began an outdoor evangelical ministry on Boston Common. At the first service, 3500 servicemen and civilians enjoyed music and teaching, and many came to Christ. The services continued through that summer and the next, until opponents caused the city to cancel the permit. Not to be silenced, Ockenga continued conducting the services from the church steps, and later from the “Mayflower Pulpit” on the side of the church—across the street from Boston Common.

View of the gallery and organ in Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

View of the gallery and organ in Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

For Lent in 1944, the congregation of Park Street Church decided to forego one meal a week and to donate the money saved to a new War Relief Fund, designed to help the churches of Europe rebuild after the war. The idea swept the nation to other churches, and on Easter morning $600,000 was collected. In 1950, the War Relief Commission was renamed World Relief, which remains active to this day. In another landmark for Park Street, Billy Graham began his first transcontinental crusade at the church in 1949.

The gallery to the rear of the sanctuary, where the choir sings, Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

The gallery to the rear of the sanctuary, where the choir sings, Park Street Church, Boston (Photo: Sarah Sundin, July 2014)

Sources:

Park Street Church website: http://www.parkstreet.org/

Englizian, H. Crosby. Brimstone Corner: Part Street Church, Boston. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Street_Church

120 responses to “Through Waters Deep – Tour of Boston, Part 2”

  1. Sue says:

    The pictures of the church will make the story really come alive! It makes books so much more interesting when they are about real places that we can see and visit. Thanks for taking the time to discover all these pictures and research the history of Park Street Church!

  2. Sarah, you are helping me plan my next vacation with the Boston posts.

  3. Betti says:

    I am loving the opportunity to learn more about Boston! I would love to win this book 🙂

  4. […] below (US & Canada only please), the video post, or any of the upcoming Tour of Boston posts (Part 2, Part 3), which will show the sites featured in the novel. You can earn a maximum of four entries […]

  5. […] below (US & Canada only please), and/or on any of the upcoming Tour of Boston posts (Part 1, Part 2), which will show the sites featured in the novel. You can earn a maximum of four entries by […]

  6. Lis K says:

    Thanks for the very interesting info about the church and its contribution to the evangelical movement. What a legacy.

  7. Sue says:

    I am so glad you are sharing this piece of history with us, especially the story of a church standing firm.

  8. Pam Burke says:

    Awesome pictures and post! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Kathryn Voss says:

    Thanks for posting the pictures. I always find it interesting to see actual locations in books. It does help make the story more real!

  10. Emmy says:

    Your books are so amazing. I get lost in every single one. I can’t believe how even more palpable the pictures make the story!

  11. Beverly Bowere says:

    Love all this History….Boston is beautiful to tour…Great job..
    .

  12. Becki Molitor says:

    We didn’t visit this church when we were in Boston! Thanks for the insider look :-).

  13. Jodie says:

    Thanks for the history lesson! That church has a neat history!!

  14. Britney Adams says:

    There is so much history and beauty in Boston! Thank you for sharing, Sarah!!

  15. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Please continue to add me to the giveaway.

  16. Sherry Arni says:

    I fell in love with Boston when I was a little girl reading about the Revolutionary War, hearing my grandmother’s stories, and even more when our son was at Harvard. I so want to go back!

  17. Sharon Hula says:

    Thank you so much for the look inside this historic church — both literally and thru the eyes of history. I love all your writings.

  18. Suzanne Blackburn says:

    The pictures brought back memories from my visit a few years ago. Would love to go back.

  19. sharon Miller says:

    Park Street church in Boston is such a beautiful church! So glad to hear they are still evangelical. Enjoying your tour of Boston and would love, love, love to win Through Waters Deep.

  20. Ellen Gray says:

    Wow! I’ve never been to Boston but this makes me want to visit! can’t wait to read the book.

  21. Joan Arning says:

    I’m planning a trip to Boston so this was especially interesting!

  22. Stella Gustafson says:

    Beautiful church and history of the church

  23. brian robinette says:

    historical places and their histories and stories behind a book makes it come to life more.

  24. Catherine says:

    Really enjoyed reading about the history of this church. Looking forward to ready the book.

  25. bn100 says:

    some interesting places to visit

  26. What lovely pictures of the church! I’ve only been to Boston once, and would like to go again, even though the pace overwhelmed me!

  27. Pam K. says:

    Thank you for the photos and history of Park Street Church. I enjoy having a bit of background for the book. I’m looking forward to reading Through Waters Deep since I’ve enjoyed your other books.

  28. Samantha T says:

    Thanks for the tour and giveaway!

  29. Thank you for sharing some wonderful photos and the bits of history for this area.

  30. Julie Goltermann says:

    Thank you so much for the tour and information about Park Street Church. I did not know any of this, and really enjoyed learning about it.

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      I learned all this while researching the story. In previous trips to Boston, I’d passed up Park Street because it wasn’t “old.” 🙂 I missed out.

  31. Jennifer Hibdon says:

    Thanx for the historical tour. That was very enlightening. It is particularly special that the historical beliefs are still adhered to. I’m enjoying all this background to the book.

  32. Tammy Cordery says:

    I love going to Boston. I went so many times with my family. I never get tired of going there. Great post. I can’t wait go to the places that you have on your posts.

  33. Debora Wilder says:

    This is a beautiful church. I love reading all the history of it that you included in this post.

  34. Lisa Harness says:

    Great pictures. I love that you give the history of the different places. Will make the book come alive!

  35. Rachel says:

    So excited to read your next book. I would love to visit Boston, love this post. Every time I read your books it’s like living in the 40s, I have to break out my Artie Shaw and Swing records when I read. Can’t wait to read Through Waters Deep!

  36. kim amundsen says:

    Thanks for sharing the pics.

  37. Samantha B says:

    Beautiful church and I great history behind it! So inspiring 🙂

  38. Brittany Keating says:

    Wow…Park Street Church is beautiful. I’m more excited to read the book now:) thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  39. Shelia Hall says:

    great photos! Love to win your book!

  40. Denise Glisson says:

    Oh Sarah, that Church is so beautiful on the outside and that stairway inside, Wow! So wonderful to hear the “beginnings” of a Church and how much was started and done through the strong Faith of the Pastor and the members (body of Christ).

  41. Marsha Bernabe says:

    Thank you! I enjoy all of the history.

  42. Rebecca Maney says:

    I love your attention to historical detail and the information about Boston’s Park Street Church is just one example. Would love to win a copy of this must-be-outstanding-book!

  43. Linda Stuck says:

    I coordinate our monthly Book Chat at our church and I definitely see potential for a delightful discussion with this one, wow! Many of the ladies are retired educators AND devour historical fiction. Definitely an addition to our church library. Thank you for the “tour”.

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      Thanks, Linda! I love book clubs! Discussion questions are included in the back of the book, and I love doing chats with clubs via Skype or speakerphone. Let me know if your group chooses the book.

  44. Kathy Davis says:

    It’s cool that you took your own pictures of these sites. It makes me feel like I’m there with you observing history.

  45. Nancy M says:

    Thanks for sharing about the church and the history behind it. Very interesting!

  46. Sarah, What a difference God’s people can make when we work together. For my last novel, I kept finding connections to a small church in Omaha, Trinity. Wonderful to hear about Park Street Church!

  47. Danielle Hull says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this! And for the giveaway 🙂

  48. WendyBrz says:

    Sarah, as always your research is so thorough – I learn something almost daily from your facebook posts. Thanks for raising the bar for historical fiction novelists!

  49. Cindy Blazek says:

    Thadnk you again.

  50. Cindy Blazek says:

    I meant thank you.

  51. Kelly Goshorn says:

    Loved seeing the inside of Park St. Church. Hubby and I were there in June and couldn’t go inside due renovation. Can’t wait to read your book! Sounds wonderful!

  52. Debbie K says:

    I really enjoy your books. The characters and locations come alive for me. Thanks for writing. 🙂

  53. Nicole says:

    Never been to Boston but would love to go. Please enter me in, I would love to win the book 🙂

  54. […] Boston’s multiple historical sites. Earlier we explored Boston Common and the Public Garden and Park Street Church. Later this week we’ll explore Charlestown and the USS Constitution, and the Charlestown Navy […]

  55. Caryl Kane says:

    Thank you for this FABULOUS tour of Boston! 🙂

  56. Kendra Whittle says:

    I didn’t know about the role Boston played in WWII! Fascinating!

    Would love to win the book!

  57. Jenny Allbritain says:

    I love how much time and research you put into each novel. It truly is a craftsmanship! And each one has its own unique geographical setting and attention to historical detail. Such a treat to read!

  58. Linda S says:

    I would love to hear that organ there and sing in the choir.

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      I loved singing to the organ that Sunday! I go to a typical California rock & roll, praise song, lyrics on the screen type of church. So singing hymns from a hymnal to an organ was divine!

  59. Katie says:

    That’s amazing that Billy Graham began his first transcontinental crusade there! There are so many incredible historic moments in our nation’s cities that have gone unrecognized, especially when it comes to seeing the work of God.

  60. Trixi O. says:

    I enjoyed the beautiful pictures of the church, thanks for sharing!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  61. Deana Dougherty says:

    Thank you for sharing about the church. Enjoyed it.

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