Adin Ballou : The Practical Christian

    Reverend Adin Ballou was a social and religious reformer. He was pastor of the Mendon Unitarian
    Universalist Church from 1831 - 1842, and his residence was at 9 Main Street. It was at this
    parsonage that he and other reformers met frequently to discuss social issues and theology. One of
    his goals was to create a community that was based on the practical application of Christianity. He
    hoped that this idealistic utopian town would prosper and become a model for others. Perhaps his
    religious ideals could be summarized by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Come, my friends, 'tis not too late to
    seek a newer world!"

    Reverend Ballou was a practical Christian. He was a proponent of pacifism, nonresistance,
    temperance, and abolitionism. It was his expectation that these virtues should be practiced in everyday
    life. In his society, there would be no violence, no alcohol, and no approval of slavery. It would be a
    community of Christian brotherhood where people would live cooperatively in peace, love, and unity.
    He believed in practicing what he preached.

    The parsonage became a center for planning and theological discourse. Other local reformers like
    Rev. George Stacy and Ebenezer Draper met there to discuss the issues of slavery, war, and alcohol
    and what they believed happened to a person's soul after death. It was there that a new community
    was planned that would be based on Christian values. It was at this house that Ballou's newspaper,"
    The Practical Christian," was first published. Nine Main Street was a focus of religious ideas in the
    1830's.

    Submitting his resignation as the Mendon pastor in March 1842, Rev. Ballou and several of his
    followers moved a short distance to the east, to a land between Mendon and Milford. Their new home
    was a remote farmhouse, in a dale, not far from the Mill River. Under Ballou's leadership, the farm
    grew, and along with some manufacturing, it evolved into a prosperous village. The new Christian
    community had many successes and a few disappointments. It was founded by an idealistic reformer
    who turned his dream into a practical way of life. It was envisioned as a land of hope. It is known as
    Hopedale. Ballou remained in Hopedale for the rest of his life. He died in 1890.


    Richard Grady
    September 13, 2012

          
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The Ballou house - 9 Main Street, Mendon

The Mendon Unitarian Church