Founding Mother: Anne Marbury Hutchinson

anne hutchinson statue

On September 9, 2005, at a ceremony on the State House lawn, celebrating the long-overdue dedication of the statue of Anne Hutchinson, the Church memorial was read: ‘Anne Hutchinson, Received into the Membership of this Church, 1634. Banished from Massachusetts by Decree of Court, 1637. Cast out of First Church in 1638, ‘Of ready Wit and bold Spirit.’ She was a persuasive Advocate of the right of independent Judgment.’ The Senior Minister of the Church, Stephen Kendrick, read the following statement: ‘In its original spirit of nonconformity, and in the history of our theological evolution, the Standing Committee of the First Church in Boston is privileged to take unprecedented action and propose to our congregation to restore Mistress Anne Marbury Hutchinson to the Fellowship of the First Church in Boston.’

On September 11, 2005, at the Open Community Sabbath Gathering, celebrating the City of Boston’s Charter Day, Alexandra Rogers-Pittman, Chair of the Standing Committee of the Church, brought this resolution to the assembled body. It read: “We, the Congregation of the First Church in Boston, welcome Anne Hutchinson back into the Fellowship of this Church, with a deep respect for her personal strength and enduring spiritual insight, and with a heartfelt apology for the anger and harshness inappropriate for a church that has, in over the last three hundred years, displayed a fervent desire to encourage and support religious liberty and spiritual freedom of each soul among us and in our larger community. “Even as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has previously pardoned Anne, it is time for her Church to remove the yoke upon her memory. And we ask, in humility, for pardon ourselves on behalf of this historical and vital congregation which we love. I ask the members of the Society of the First Church in Boston to rise and vote this resolution of the Standing Committee of the Church.”

When the vote was called, the gathering rose as one in confirmation.

Members commented: ‘Excellent idea. Fascinating. How fitting. This is an important issue. I was very pleased. I concur wholeheartedly. I agree that we should welcome her spirit back. I had long felt remorseful when passing by the statue on the State House Lawn. This is a long overdue gesture. I was glad to be counted as voting in favor of this welcoming back into the fellowship of the Church. She is pardoned - and I hope she will pardon us.’


For further reading: "American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans" by Eve LaPlante