A LIGHT TO THE CITY by J. Leslie Dunstan


Email this review


This is the history of the one hundred fifty years of the Boston City Missionary Society. First incorporated as ""The Boston Society For the Moral and Religious Instruction of the Poor,"" the Society came into being through the conviction on the part of a few earnest Bostonians, laymen for the most part, who had been involved in the beginnings of the first foreign missionary society, and who began to ask whether God was not claiming their concern for the poor and needing people who were immediately at hand. Visiting five hundred homes in the city, then of some forty thousand inhabitants, they were appalled to find that over one-fourth of these had no Bible. The first work of the Society took the form of Sunday Schools, and of charity schools for children of the poor otherwise denied any education at all. The needs of seamen, with whom the city was crowded, next came to attention. Other problems flooded in on the tide of new immigrants, many of them Catholic; and freed Negroes. Indeed, the whole story is the not unfamiliar one of a religiously inspired venture unable to keep up or make effectual its work in the rapidly expanding social milieu. Today the Society faces the problem of finding a new rationale for its continuance. Instructive reading for those concerned with the churches' relevance to urban life, as well as for the more general reader of American history. The writing is clear, well-paced, and well-supported in argument.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1966
Publisher: Beacon