Rob Hardy's Sermon from the Northfield First UCC

Rob HardyOkay, we're going to try something new here at We've always tread lightly around the subject of religion, waiting hopefully for the day when everyone came to an agreement on the whole mess.

Unfortunately for that plan, Rob Hardy posted online a superlative sermon that he gave yesterday to the Northfield First United Church of Christ. In it, he ruminates on his spiritual life, God, and England, not necessarily in that order:

It was hard to believe I was actually there, in Westminster Abbey, inhaling the actual dust of a thousand years of English history.

That history was often brutal, bloody, and inglorious. Often, it was a history of blood spilled in the name of religious convictions. There in the abbey, sharing the same magnificent golden and alabaster tomb, were Elizabeth I, who executed her subjects for attending the Latin Mass, and Mary I, who executed her subjects for not attending the Latin Mass.

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Rob's words


I'm glad you didn't "wait(ing) hopefully for the day when everyone came to an agreement on the whole mess." It won't happen in my lifetime, and maybe not even yours, unfortunately.

However, I was lucky enough to be at the UCC Sunday when Rob gave that remarkable sermon and intended to ask him for a copy of it. Thanks so much for mentioning it and leading me to his web site so that I can read it an his other postings.

I hope you've established a new discussion with this initiative.


Not new at all...

What's new for - reporting on sermons - is literally old news in Northfield.


"Charles Augustus Wheaton, became editor of the Northfield Standard newspaper and later the Rice County Journal, long considered one of the first and finest weekly newspapers published in the Midwest in the 1800s. He regularly wrote a column, 'Sunday’s Doings', that reviewed not only the Sunday sermons of local ministers, but also reported on their congregations, including noting the absence of prominent church members. Wheaton was known to have visited up to three local churches on any given Sunday."

Interesting sidenotes:
"When John North suffered financial failure in the Panic of 1857, Wheaton purchased North’s interests in the local flour mill and other properties—an act that may have economically saved the town."

"[In 1867], Wheaton and Charles M. Goodsell each gave a 10 acre plot of land to the fledgling Northfield College (later renamed Carleton College) for the purpose of establishing the college campus just north of the main part of town."

"When Wheaton died in 1882 at the age of 72, the entire town of Northfield closed for his funeral as a sign of respect, a singular act for a man who arguably could be considered a greater, long-term influence on Northfield than its founder."

Wheaton, to my knowledge, has *never* been honored by either Northfield or Carleton College (such as naming a building, street, etc.) -- a sad omission of recognition for a person who had a profound influence on this town.