Friday, December 9, 2022

Column: Conant’s legacy as a peacemaker lives on | Opinion

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I used to be 11 years previous after we took a visit from my hometown of Portland, Maine, for a shock go to with our cousins who lived on the Cape. Of the various memorable components of the journey, the one one which was deliberate was on the return journey: An evening on the King’s Grant Inn, the place it appeared to my siblings and I like we had stepped right into a world of luxurious — an unheard-of-splurge for our single-parent mom of very modest means. Someplace there’s an image of us three children by the pool, with a parrot on one in every of our arms.

The story goes that my mom was innocently searching for a spot the place we may have lunch the following day, when she noticed an indication in Gloucester for a park. A decades-long quest into genealogical data would start that day, as we have been astounded to seek out our final identify engraved in stone there, the place my “very nice” grandfather Roger Conant arbitrated peace between the irascible Miles Standish and a sure Captain Hewes, each of whom had designs on some close by fishing phases. However occasions which happened later in Conant’s life would type the impetus for these midweek musings.

The corporate of adventurers who had positioned Conant on the helm of this fledgling colony have been disheartened with the yield on their funding, and have been ready to pay pay the settlers for his or her work and even sail them again to England in the event that they so desired. For his half, Conant was equally dissatisfied with their location and had already made inquiries “right into a extra commodious place close to adjoining, on the opposite aspect of a creek, referred to as Naumkeag.” Urged in a letter despatched by Rev. John White to remain the course, with guarantees of provisions, males, and items for commerce, Conant refused to go when most of his firm wished to maneuver to Virginia. But when the corporate of adventurers Conant and the “Previous Planters” represented was purchased out by a rival firm in England, a brand new administration was despatched over with Endicott on the helm, licensed to take over the governance of the colony. Conditions like this weren’t unknown on this period, and so they usually led to bloodshed. But Conant’s prudent management and giftedness at brokering peace once more subtle hostility, and resulted in a cold transition of energy. It was commendable sufficient that White data the previous planters and the newcomers alike determined at a common assembly that it must be immortalized within the identify of their city: It could be referred to as Peace, or Salem, after the Hebrew phrase, Shalom.

As a pastor, I at all times take into consideration peace this time of 12 months. Creation begins with unsuspecting shepherds beholding terrifying glory, but being advised to not worry, as a result of the angels got here saying peace — peace procured by a new child child. Christmas commemorates the occasion of the transcendent God who tells the nations to be nonetheless, taking up flesh and saying the identical phrases to the tumult of terrifying wind and waves.

I take into consideration how desperately we crave peace, and the way dangerous we’re at making it final. Jesus would inform the disciples He got here to provide them peace — not a sophisticated, momentary cessation of hostilities, however lasting, actual peace. The apostle would later say that He Himself is our peace, the One who put aside the ethnic dividing partitions between Jews and Gentiles, that He may “reconcile us each to God in a single physique by the cross, thereby killing the hostility. and he got here and preached peace to you who have been far off, and peace to those that have been close to.” (Ephesians 2:14-17)

And so I consider peace this time of 12 months. I consider the noteworthy occasions that might lead a colony to call their city “peace,” and the merciless irony that ignominious occasions of capricious violence many years later would as an alternative change into its legacy. I consider Jesus within the beatitudes saying “blessed are the peacemakers” (a latest portray by that very same title by Budleigh artist John Washington captures the occasions commemorated at Stage Fort Park). I consider Roger Conant, and the way, relying on the interval through which you reside, peacemaking can have an inverse relationship with legacy-building. But in an period which eulogized the conquerors greater than the peacemakers, I’m grateful that there’s at the very least one notable native exception.

Greater than all this, I’m grateful that the God who was wealthy past all splendor, humbled himself to the top, to convey us lasting peace.

Jonathan Conant joined the employees at First Presbyterian Church, North Shore, in Ipswich in 2018 as an affiliate pastor.

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