This week, Doug Hall from the Emmanuel Gospel Center shares with UniteBoston a reflection following an event he had attended at Lion of Judah in the South End of the city.
Doug and Judy Hall have had a tremendous influence in the body of Christ, here in the Greater Boston area over the past 50 plus years. Doug began leading the Emmanuel Gospel Center, with his wife Judy, in 1964, and is also the current president. He is an adjunct professor with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary as well. Together, they wrote, ‘The Cat and The Toaster,’ and have worked side by side in urban ministry since the early 1960’s.
This past April during an event hosted at Congregation Lion of Judah’s new facility, they were both impacted by the dramatic difference they had witnessed at the site of this new building, at 68 Northhampton Street in the South End.
They reflected on how much had changed in the past 35 years. Once this had been a terrible slum with a violent bar at it’s center, but over the decades a tremendous transformation has taken shape.
Doug shared that they remembered a important evangelistic meeting that was held at this location in 1969. Following that event two significant things transpired:
1. The bar in the center of this slum, ‘Louie’s Lounge’, burned to the ground that very same night.
2. Judy experienced a vision where she saw that this location would be redeemed by significant Christian developments in the days to come.
The redemption did not happened as quickly as they hoped, but over time the spiritual landscape has indeed changed not just in this location but in the city of Boston and surrounding communities.
Doug said that they were encouraged years ago, when an anointed church planter named Juan Vergara came to start a Hispanic church in the South End, together with Ralph Kee and the Conservative Baptist group. The church originally started at EGC’s building, but later moved to Cambridge, under the name Central Baptist (Iglesia Bautista Central). Years later an EGC staff member Eduardo Maynard, challenged this church to acquire some property that had come available on Northampton Street, they did so, with no knowledge that it overlooked the very site of the evangelistic prayer meeting held in 1969. What was once an urban ghetto became the site of a thriving Christian community.
It is significant to note that this all began with a meeting that invited the presence of God, and a vision from God given to a woman who would foresee that in this dark place God would do a redemptive miracle.
Doug shared, “When I think of the restoration we are witnessing today, it appears to be aligned with the scripture found in Luke 3:4-6:”
“ As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
A voice of one calling in the desert,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
Make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
Every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
The rough ways smooth.
And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
Doug said, “This was one of a number of visions that were revealed in dark and desolate places, visions that prophesied God’s redemptive power would indeed be poured out in our city. The Quiet Revival, that represents the move of God happening now just below the surface through church planting and ministries throughout the city, began when Boston was on the verge of economic collapse, and filled with slums. But God has made the rough places smooth. It may be wise for us to pay attention to visions that occur in dark places, because surely through those visions we are seeing God’s redemptive power being displayed today.”
Below, two young woman pray over the city during UniteBoston’s spring evening night of prayer for Boston.
Written by Sheila Donegan