Guest / Limited Access /

Boston's Park Street Church looks like just another stop on the city's historic Freedom Trail. Tracing the landmarks of the Revolutionary War, Park Street stands between Boston Common and the Granary Burial Ground where the Founding Fathers John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams lie. The nearly 200-year-old church is noted for its 217-foot steeple and for having stored gunpowder in a basement crypt during the War of 1812.

But inside, Park Street is no museum. Nearly half the congregation is made of university students, often from Harvard and M.I.T., and nearly three-quarters of the church is single. Many attended Park Street's Christmas Eve service where they heard a sermon on the meaning of Christmas in response to the city's decision to rename the evergreen standing in the Common a "holiday tree."

Park Street defies the myth that Boston and the rest of New England have shed their religious heritage for a secular society. It also defies the institutional hold that the Catholic church has on America's most Catholic city. In fact, evangelical Christianity is thriving in Boston. During the past 30 years, church growth, fueled by evangelical university groups and immigrant communities, has dramatically outpaced population growth. At the same time, mainline denominations have dwindled and the abuse scandal in the Catholic church has forced the closing of dozens of parishes. Evangelical leaders expect this "quiet revival" not only to continue, but to blossom into another Great Awakening.

Campus revivals

Not since the 17th century has there been so many evangelicals at Harvard University, religious historian and Harvard campus minister Peter J. Gomes told The Boston Globe, in 2003. As Harvard and other elite colleges opened their ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Wrong Kind of Christian
Subscriber Access Only The Wrong Kind of Christian
I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong.
TrendingJames MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
James MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
Megachurch pastor confesses board slandered three elders as 'false messengers' last year.
Editor's PickDo Christian Schools Produce Good Citizens? The Evidence Says Yes.
Do Christian Schools Produce Good Citizens? The Evidence Says Yes.
Christian private school graduates are just as engaged in their communities as their public school peers—if not more.
Comments
Christianity Today
Boston's Quiet Revival
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.