First Church Boston members Barbara Martin and Margaret Moody added their voices to a Beyond Plastics Greater Boston event, Stop the Tsunami of Plastic Pollution, on a hot July 20 day. The program included a rally at the State House followed by a ’take back your plastic’ action at Trader Joe’s corporate headquarters. The day ended at South Station with Anne-Katrin Spiess’s “Death By Plastic”, a poignant street theater event.
Protesting Plastic Pollution
50th Anniversary Celebration of Church Rebuilding
April 30 – May 1, 2022First Church in Boston celebrated the 50th anniversary of its boldly modern, rebuilt structure April 30 – May 1, 2022A devastating fire in 1968 burned the century-old church to ash, except for the Gothic façade and bell tower. The congregation chose to rebuild, commissioning Paul Rudolph to create a design that gave versatility to the spaces of the new church. Today First Church Boston has the distinction of being the oldest church in Boston (1630) with the newest building (1972).A weekend of free events celebrated the rebuilding. The Festival Concert on April 30 was inspiring and joyful. The Architectural Panel May 1 brought together esteemed architects and architectural historians to talk about Paul Rudolph and First Church Boston’s design. Guided tours of the church were offered April 30 and May 1
Festival Concert: “Remembrance, Reflection, and Rebirth”*
April 30, 2022
This inspiring program was a journey through music, narration, and dramatic slide projections as it made emotional commentary on the pivotal historical events of the First Church in Boston, and included a pre-concert reception.
The program included:
- John Rutter’s Gloria featuring choir, brass octet, tympani and organ
- Adolphus Hailstork’s Seven Songs of the Rubaiyat for unaccompanied choir
- Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise for cello and piano
- And works by First Church composers Larry Thomas Bell and Leo Collins
*This concert is presented in part with grants from the Music Pension Trust Fund and the Collins Memorial Fund.
Tours of the Church
Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1, 2022
Hour long guided tours explored the compelling spaces Paul Rudolph designed for First Church—from the outside amphitheater to the highest balcony of the sanctuary. Guides highlighted how the architect’s design responded to the congregation’s goals. They shared quotations from archived letters in which Rudolph explains his thinking on the use of the ruins, the importance of light, and the value of rooms without square corners!
Sunday, May 1, 2022
The sermon ‘Risen from the Ashes’ by Rev. Edmund Robinson told the story of how the congregation decided to rebuild the church and why they chose a controversial modern design. Special musical selections were included for the occasion.
Architectural Panel: Paul Rudolph and First Church in Boston
Sunday, May 1, 2022
There was a lively, well-attended panel discussion about the work of Paul Rudolph and his groundbreaking building for First Church. The program included an interview with Robert Campbell, the architectural critic for the Boston Globe, by artist and author Justin Beal.
- Kelvin Dickinson, President of the Paul Rudolph Institute for Modern Architecture
- Alice Friedman, Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art at Wellesley College
- Eric Höweler, Co-founder of Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP and Associate Professor in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design
- Timothy Rohan, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Architectural History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and author of The Architecture of Paul Rudolph (Yale University Press, 2014).
Congrats to the First Church Boston Choral Ensemble
Congratulations to the First Church Boston Choral Ensemble, who were featured on the new Amidon Music website. Gigi Mitchell-Velasco’s special interpretation and Rev. Edmund Robinson’s sensitive reading of Peter Amidon’s “Corinthians 13” caught their attention. > Just listen…