What is Witness Grove?
Witness Grove is a memorial honoring twenty-six women whose work advanced the gospel in some manner. Little is known about these women and Moody Center is actively engaged in research to learn more about each of them. What we do know is that Dwight Moody left a rich legacy of women and men who dedicated themselves to doing the work of the gospel…to stand as witnesses. The women commemorated in Witness Grove are a part of that legacy.
The names of the women are:
- Reba Gray
- Katherine S. Beaver
- Marian Clement Tinder
- Charlotte Robertson
- Helen May Smith
- Helen Hughes
- Elizabeth H. Hale
- Rebekah Mills Lovett
- Margaret Galloway
- Katharine Throwbridge Perkins
- Evelyn Bowie
- Anna Harlow Birge
- Margery Nixon MacKenzie
- Margaret Fisher
- Bell C. Fox
- Bertha Harlan
- Dorothy Moen
- Mrs. Henry Uhlmann
- Louise Stockton Andrews
- Eleanor Irwin Carey
- Jane Winchester
- Anna Cooley Brush
- Annabel B. Wood
- Elizabeth N. Drummond
- Mary Hinman Carter
- Julia L. White
While we know the names of the women, we are engaging in additional research to find out more about them and the “missionary trees” that make up Witness Grove.
Why Make Changes to Witness Grove?
To the best of our knowledge, Witness Grove has been replanted at least one time before. The Blue Spruce in Witness Grove are not healthy. There appear to be two primary causes: (1) there appears to be evidence that beetles have damaged the trees and (2) the close proximity of the trees to one another seems to have had some adverse effects on the trees in the center of the grove.
In addition to the state of the trees the sign listing the names of the women is no longer standing, but was found some time ago laying on the ground. Having completed an agreement with Northfield Mount Hermon on July 1st of 2019, Moody Center has been focused on assessing the property over which Moody Center now has stewardship. Our initial concern was the foundation of the Birthplace, which needed substantial repair. With those repairs completed, it is now time to turn our attention to Witness Grove.
What is the vision for Witness Grove?
Our desire is to enhance Witness Grove. As we see more and more people visiting Moody Center, we want the Witness Grove to be a prominent part of the Moody Center experience. That will include some changes to the physical design of Witness Grove, as well as sponsoring research that will help us learn more about the twenty-six women memorialized in Witness Grove.
As such, we will be re-conceptualizing the Witness Grove to allow those who visit Moody Center to have a more immersive experience. The plans for the Witness Grove are still in process and Moody Center will be working with Northfield Mount Hermon School to define the project. Right now, Moody Center has retained a landscape architect to help us design Witness Grove, as well as the rest of the campus.
While none of the plans are final at this point, we do know that we will be planting 26 new trees, as well as installing new signage. We are also considering the installation of a path leading through the Witness Grove with seating in the center where people can reflect on the sacrifice of the twenty-six women, pray for the many Christian missionaries currently on the mission field, and consider how God might be leading them to participate in His mission of making disciples around the world.
In addition to the new trees, Moody Center will be retaining any useable wood from the existing trees. Our intention is to use the wood to create items that will remain on the campus to further commemorate the women of Witness Grove.
What is the process for restoring Witness Grove?
Moody Center has engaged a regional landscape architectural firm (Stephens and Associates) to create plans for the new Witness Grove concept. Moody Center will be announcing several formal de-commissioning events prior to the re-commissioning of the Witness Grove. If you would like to receive updates on Witness Grove, please sign up for Moody Center’s email list.
You can support the restoration of Witness Grove with donations made to our “Enhance & Restore” fund.
If I have questions or information about the Witness Grove, what should I do?
Moody Center will be sharing updates on the Witness Grove project via email. You can sign up for the email list here.
Moody Center would appreciate hearing from anyone who has information about the history of the Witness Grove or any of the women represented by the trees in the Witness Grove. If you have such information, please send an email to [email protected].