Back

The impact of Moody’s work on the town of Northfield is well stated in the centennial edition of the Greenfield Gazette:

“The building up at Northfield, within the last twelve years, of schools devoted to the Christian education of girls and boys is justly regardless as one of the most enduring results of the fruitful life of the town’s distinguished son, D.L. Moody. It is impossible to view these purely in their local significance, for they belong to the broad world of cultivating and Chrsitianizing influences. They have carried the name of Northfield over the seas and have given to it the association of great and noble usefulness.”

The spiritual legacy of D.L. Moody in Northfield is not unique in New England. It is hard to overestimate the influence of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Events like the Haystack Prayer Meeting served as an impetus for American Protestant missions. Almost anywhere you look in New England, you will see more than history … you will see God’s Spirit at work through His people.

If you are looking to reconnect to the broader legacy of transformation in New England, there is no better place to start than the Moody Center in Northfield. A strikingly beautiful site with a powerful spiritual story, the Moody Center is also part of the American Missionary Heritage Trail.

The American Missionary Heritage Trail takes you through the New England towns that were key points for the genesis of the American missionary movement. The trail includes  Northfield, Amherst, Northampton, Stockbridge, and Williamstown.

Amherst

Approximately 40 minutes from Northfield

Prominent Figures

  • William Smith Clark was an agricultural educator who had a tremendous impact in Japan. In addition to his impact on agricultural and economic practices in Hokkaido, Clark’s proclamation of the gospel resulted in the Sapporo Independent Christian Church, which was one of the early Christian movements following the Meiji Restoration. In 1922, ten signers of Clark’s “Covenant in the Believers of Jesus” successfully raised funds to build the William S. Clark Memorial Church in Sapporo.
  • Mary Scranton is also a notable figure from the Amherst area. Born about 20 minutes from Amherst in Belchertown, MA, Scranton would ultimately become an American missionary to Korea. She was the first missionary sent to Korea by as part of the Women’s Foreign Mission Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Scranton not only proclaimed the gospel, but she also started Korea’s first school for girls.

What to see in Amherst

  • William Smith Clark Memorial in the University of Massachusetts Memorial Gardens

Northampton

Approximately 40 minutes from Northfield

Prominent Figures

  • Northampton is probably one of the more well known sites in Massachusetts due, in part, to Johnathan Edwards. Edwards was a prolific writer and early American preacher whose thought continues to be influential today. Northampton is generally considered to be the epicenter of the First Great Awakening and is strongly associated with the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.
  • David Brainerd was an American missionary who proclaimed the gospel among Native Americans. Having been expelled from Yale in 1742, Brainerd ministered primarily to the tribes in Stockbridge, Delaware, and Susquehanna. Brainerd died in Northampton at the age of 29. Despite his relatively short career, Brainerd was an influential figure for the gospel during the period of the Great Awakening.

What to see in Northampton

  • The First Churches of Northampton
  • St. Valentines Church
  • Bridge Street Cemetery
  • Forbes Library

Stockbridge

Approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes from Northfield

Prominent Figures

  • John Sergeant was an American missionary to the Mahicans, a Native American tribe in Stockbridge, MA. Like many missionaries during this period. Sergeant did not only proclaim the gospel, but helped to establish a school in order to educate those in the local community.

What to see in Stockbridge

  • The Mission House

Williamstown, MA

Approximately 1 hour and 20 min from Northfield

Prominent Figures

  • Samuel J. Mills Jr., was influential in the establishment of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, as well as the United Foreign Missionary Society, and the American Bible Society. Mills was also one of five participants in the Haystack Prayer Meeting of 1806 at Williams College. The Haystack Prayer Meeting is generally considered to be the genesis for the foreign missions movement.

What to see in Williamstown

  • Haystack Monument