'Haystack Monument' commemorating Christian missions in danger of removal from Massachusetts college [Excerpts]
A monument honoring the formation of the first American missions society may be in jeopardy of removal because some perceive it as offensive to indigenous peoples worldwide, [it is] reported.
Located on the campus of Williams College, established in 1793, the monument is among a list of items being reviewed by a committee for their cultural "appropriateness to modern times and impact on today's campus climate."
According to the news site, this is the second time this year the Committee on Campus Space and Institutional History at Williams has reviewed so-called "controversial works of art" at the institution. Earlier this year, Williams covered up a mural of Native Americans that was deemed by some at the school as "stereotypical and offensive." They later uncovered it and placed a description near it explaining the "context" of the painting.
At question now is the "Haystack Monument" on the campus. Built in 1867, the monument commemorates the formation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions [ABCFM] in 1810.
Just four years before, five students at the college, all New England Congregationalists inspired by the already-occurring Second Great Awakening, decided to launch the missions sending agency after gathering to discuss Particular Baptist William Carey's treatise, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.
While meeting, a thunderstorm broke overhead causing the five to seek shelter under a haystack. They prayed for the formation of a missions sending agency. The "Haystack Prayer Meeting" came to fruition four years later when the ABCFM was formed.
Several of the students were among the first missionaries appointed to India. Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson and his wife were also among the first appointed missionaries. Judson became a Baptist and worked, even while in prison in Burma, to establish a sense of urgency for foreign missions.