On October 12th, a group of students and staff from Northeastern Baptist College embarked on the first-ever BENEATH trip (Believers Exploring New England’s Awesome Theological History), visiting sites in and around Bennington which are significant to the history of Christianity in New England.
Piling into their vehicles at the Hogue library, the group wound their way through the countryside to Massachusetts, to the campus of Williams College and the site of the Haystack Monument. Commemorating the 1806 site where five Williams College students began the American foreign missions movement, the monument continues as a reminder of those men and the countless lives brought to Christ through the work they started. Standing in the shadow of such a great testimony to the furthering of the gospel, the students and staff circled around and prayed that God would move in the Northeast just as He did through those men 210 years earlier.
Following their time of prayer (and after posing for a few pictures), the group returned to Vermont and made their way to North Pownal Congregational Church. There they met pastor Gary Rogers, who told of the history of the church, which has roots back to 1851. He also told about Presidents Garfield and Arthur, both of whom visited and taught Sunday School at the church in the later 1800s. Following the tour and history lesson, the group took the time for a lunch break and shared a time of fellowship (and more than a few maple donuts).
With full stomachs, the students and staff headed off to a few less-than- historical sites. The next destinations were Armstrong’s syrup stand and the Apple Barn, though the trip was delayed by a few—unscheduled—stops to admire and photograph the mountains and trees turning to deep reds and golds.
Once they did arrive at each store—and when they weren’t caught up in shenanigans—the students and staff (mostly students) loaded up on syrup, cheese, and as much cider as they could carry home.
With even fuller stomachs, the group continued on to their final stop, the 1805-built Old First Church in Bennington. The high ceilings, immaculate upkeep, and antique architecture brought awe to student and staff member alike, giving a look into the church world of 200 years ago.
Following a thorough tour of the sanctuary, the group visited the church cemetery, containing the grave of legendary poet Robert Frost.
After taking a solemn walk among the headstones, some of which date into the 1700s, the students and staff finally loaded back up into the vehicles and returned to the library.
All in all, the trip was a great success and a great experience for all who came along. Everyone commented on how they enjoyed the experience, both in seeing the history of Christianity in New England and in spending time with their fellow students and faculty. They, and the rest of the school, can look forward to the next BENEATH trip, coming in April 2017.
Leason (Tripper) Stiles
NEBC Student Writer