10 October 2011

Friends on Longfellow Park

This post is for Aunt Ewan, Uncle Todd, and Aunt Allison.

In 1956 an LDS church building was dedicated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a very special building, and the prophet of the Church at the time, President David O. McKay, came out to Boston to dedicate it himself. He requested that one of the musical numbers be performed by great soprano soloist Ewan Harbrecht Mitton. I wasn't there, obviously, but I'm sure both the music and the dedication were lovely.

Roughly forty years after the dedication, Todd and Allison moved to Cambridge for graduate school at MIT. They met in the building President McKay dedicated and Aunt Ewan sang in.

Two years ago, the Longfellow Park chapel burned down because of a fire that started in the attic. Nearby congregations took care of the different LDS wards while they were without a building; they spent some time meeting in the Episcopal Divinity School around the corner. The Quaker church across the lawn also helped.

Source found here.

This June, the Longfellow Park chapel's reconstruction was completed and it was rededicated by President Henry B. Eyring. Aunt Ewan's granddaughter Val sang at the dedication, wearing a dress Ewan used to wear. Sadly, I was out of town that weekend and unable to attend the dedication. I felt like I'd missed out on a special connection that my family has to this place and this building.

Source found here.
Yesterday, the wards that meet in the Longfellow Park chapel had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the Quaker church across the lawn. Our wards combined for testimony meeting, then three members of the Quaker congregation came to teach Sunday School and answer questions about their faith. They did a lovely job. However, my favorite part was the exchange lesson: I was asked to go to the Quaker church along with a guy in the ward and talk to them about our church and beliefs. We taught what was referred to as "Mormonism 101" for twenty-five minutes and then answered questions for another twenty. After all the meetings were completed, the two churches met on the lawn in between for food and tours of each building.

I don't know why out of the many people they could have chosen to teach the Quakers I was asked to do so. But I'd like to think a part of it was so that I could be just as emotionally connected to the Longfellow Park chapel as Todd, Allison, and Aunt Ewan.


  1. That is so cool Allie--I wish I could have been there! I love Quakers!

  2. That is way awesome! Wow! I bet you did awesome!!! I can't believe how your family is connected.

  3. What a unique experience! I love hearing about the congregations joining together, and learning about each others beliefs. And how awesome that you kept the family connection by being asked to teached the Sunday School class to the Quakers.

  4. What a great, memorable experience for you, Allie. I am glad that you have written it down - one of those special family historical writings. And what an honorable opportunity for you to share with the Quaker congregation - I am sure they went away with a much better understanding and knowledge of the church from having you there.