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The Town & the City: Lowell before and after The Civil War

Originally created to be a digital archive for Lowell documents from 1826 to 1861, this website has grown to cover many periods and events in Lowell's history.

Ministry at Large in Lowell

"a large intertwined work of religion, education and charity"

The sign to the left of the door reads "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy."
The one on the right reads "Come drink of the waters of life freely."

The Living Faith Church, 150 Middlesex Street (May 2013)


THE efforts which are made for the moral and religious improvement of Cities, constitute one of the bright features of the present age. Among these efforts the agency of a "Ministry at large" has been tried, and with encouraging success. Such a Ministry has been established in Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, as also in London, Liverpool, and Bristol, England. Its object is, as its name implies, to bring all those under Christian influences who are not connected with any existing religious society. Its instrument for doing this is a Minister, set apart exclusively for this service, supported by a stated salary to be paid by others than those for whom he is to labor, whose duty it shall be to visit those who are under the care of no religious Teacher, to address them in tones of Christian kindness, to give them sympathy and counsel, to encourage them to attend public worship at places  where  their  religious partialities may lead  them, or if they have no preference for other churches, to invite them and their children to his Chapel, that the latter may be gathered into a Sunday School, and that the former may attend  upon preaching specially adapted to their condition and wants.

For several years a conviction has been entertained that Lowell is a place where such a Ministry is needed.  It is believed that there are hundreds of persons in this city who rarely attend public worship, and are the objects of no particular pastoral care.  Some, in straitened circumstances, find it difficult to pay for seats in our churches.  Others move to the city entire strangers to all, and without any special interest in any religious Society, soon acquire the habit of neglecting to visit the house of God. Beside these, there are the unbelieving who stand aloof, the thoughtless who have gone out of the way, and the indifferent who care for none of these things.  We see in our streets, every Sunday, adults and children, who do not spend the holy Sabbath in a manner which they themselves will prefer, w hen they have heard the voice, and have been the objects of the attention, of a kind Christian Friend.
Under the influence of these considerations it has been decided to establish a Ministry at large in Lowell. The Rev. Crawford Nightingale has been appointed to this office, and the Hamilton Hall on Middlesex Street has been secured as his Chapel. A Sunday School will here be established which will be held every Sunday, and regular public worship will be there conducted which will be free to all who choose to attend. To that Chapel all who are not now connected with other churches are affectionately and urgently invited, with the assurance that they shall find Christian counsel, sympathy and kindness, " without money, and without price."

The following principles are here set forth as those by which it is i n tended that this Ministry shall be conducted.
1.   It shall not interfere with any existing religious society whatever.
2.    Its design is not to promote the interests of any party or sect, but to carry Christian influences to those who are not reached by them in the present condition of society.
3.    The preaching at this Chapel shall not be of a Sectarian nor of a Controversial character, but shall enforce the Christianity which is common to all sects - the Christianity of love to God and love to man.
4.    The Pulpit of this Chapel shall be open to exchanges with all Ministers who may be willing to give this expression of Christian sympathy and fellowship.
5.    The Minister at large shall devote h is whole time to visiting and preaching; he shall aid and assist in the distribution of the charities to the disposal of which he may be invited; he shall see that the children who are the proper subjects of his care attend schools, both those of the week day and of Sundays; he shall be ready to give ad vice which will promote temperance, industry, economy, and a provident management of worldly affairs; and, above all, shall labor to make all whom he may influence, to be good citizens, lovers of good ness and of its only perfect example on earth, Jesus the Savior, and of the great and good· God, our common Father in Heaven.

These are the principles on which we would base this Ministry at large. We would establish it as a permanent Institution of Charity and Religion. We hope that it may not be without its deep and salutary influence in forming the character of our youthful and beloved city. Conscious ourselves of pure motives we would invite the co-operation and kind wishes of our fellow Christians of all denominations. For our undertaking we would ask their prayers, and would ourselves implore the blessing of Almighty God.

LOWELL, SEPTEMBER I, 1844.                            

    HENRY  A.  MILES,        }    
JOHN CLARK,                }
 DAVID    DANA,              } 
 JAMES   G.  CARNEY,    }
                            HAZEN ELLIOTT,            }           Managers


Horatio Wood

Reverend Horatio Wood (1807 - 1891)