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Saints Are Us

Anne Hutchinson – Prophetic Witness to Freedom of Religious Thought

160204_saintsAlthough an exact date of her birth cannot be determined, Anne Hutchinson’s baptism is recorded on July 20, 1591, in Alford, Lincolnshire, England. She was the daughter of an English clergyman. From an early age she was taught to study and use good reasoning. In 1634 she and her husband immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was an able nurse for many women in Boston. She started house study groups of scripture and spirituality which grew to large events.

The local clergy and magistrates took note of these happenings. Her teachings stood in strong contrast to the clergy and magistrates, as the Colony was controlled by these men. Her philosophy stressed the importance of the individual relationship with God, rather than reliance on the established church.

In 1637 she was tried and banished from the colony. Her family and some of her followers moved to Portsmouth, Rhode Island. More controversy brewed, and after the death of her husband in 1642, she and her family moved again, this time to live in Pelham Bay, New York, among the more liberal settlement of the Dutch. In 1643 a band of indigenous Weckquaesgecks attacked the settlement. She and all but one of her children were killed.

The Episcopal Church commemorates her life and work on February 5th, when she is remembered as an early champion of religious liberty in this nation and as prophet of individual freedom of fellowship with God. The Hutchinson River and the adjacent parkway honor the woman who settled and died there over three centuries ago. As a young boy in New York City, I remember motor car trips on the Hutchinson River Parkway.

See you next week,
I am your bro. John, O.C.P.

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