Mary Allen West

First, the backstory. For five years, I was the Director of Music/Organist for Central Congregational Church in Galesburg, Illinois. This magnificent building is on the National Register of Historic Places and tours of church are frequent. I hosted many of those tours and learned much about the people who are memorialized by the stained glass…

“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”

Make a stand (idiom) definition – Adopt a firm position about an issue. Hold firm, as in hold the ground against an enemy. -Merriam-Webster In 1858, Dudley Atkins Tyng was a 29-year-old Episcopalian pastor and abolitionist. Not everyone in his Philadelphia church agreed with his straightforward doctrinal preaching and position against slavery and he resigned…

“Called As Partners in Christ’s Service”

There are things in my life that remind me of the people in my life.  It could be a recipe, a style of shoes, a particular color, most anything really.  Often, it is a song. In some of the churches I have served, the pastor selects the hymns to be sung by the congregation.  Pastors,…

“Battle Hymn of the Republic”

John Brown believed he could free the slaves, and in 1859, with a small band of dedicated men, raided the arsenal at Harpers Ferry to gain weapons and supplies to help the effort.  Thirty-six hours after the raid began, most of the men were wounded or killed, and John Brown was captured.  Abolitionist Brown was…