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    Twenty-five years ago – April 1995 - First Chechen War – Samashki massacre: Russian paramilitary troops begin a
    massacre of at least 250 civilians in Samashki, Chechnya.

    Oklahoma City bombing: 168 people, including 8 Federal Marshals and 19 children, are killed at the Alfred P. Murrah
    Federal Building and 680 wounded by a bomb set off by Timothy McVeigh and one of his accomplices, Terry Nichols.

    Fifty years ago – April 1970 - President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, banning
    cigarette television advertisements in the United States from January 1, 1971.

    The 1970 United States Census begins. There are 203,392,031 United States residents on this day.

    An oxygen tank in the Apollo 13 spacecraft explodes, forcing the crew to abort the mission and return in four days.

    The first Earth Day is celebrated in the U.S.

    The U.S. invades Cambodia to hunt out the Viet Cong; widespread, large antiwar protests occur in the U.S.

    The news items here are from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see below this text box.

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                                                                    Adin Ballou and Restorationism

                                                                                    by Rev. John Hammon  

    Rev. Hammon was the minister of the Hopedale Unitarian Church from 1954 to 1959. The paragraphs below are part of
    a paper he wrote and delivered to the Hopedale Community Historical Society during that time.

    If we are correct in thinking of the Hopedale Community as uniquely a product of Adin Ballou’s aspirations, its motivation
    must be considered within the context of his life-mission. The fact that in later years he became a confirmed spiritualist,
    though never in an institutional sense, undoubtedly had its beginnings in that experience which also inclined him toward
    the ministry as his vocation.

    When he was nineteen years old he had settled down to his responsibilities as the manager of his father’s farm with
    every outward intention of making it his life’s work. What, however, was stirring inside him soon became evident through
    what he has described as a spiritual experience. He had retired one night and fallen asleep. Around midnight he awoke
    in a strange state of agitation and perturbation, and looking out one of the windows of his room he tells of seeing “a
    human face, clad in a white robe.” Gazing upon this without any sense of fear it appeared to him to bear a striking
    resemblance to his brother Cyrus who had died several years before this time. As he watched, the figure approached
    until it stood but a foot or so away; then pointing a finger at Adin’s forehead the apparition spoke, saying, “Adin, God
    commands you to preach the Gospel of Christ to your fellow-man; obey his voice of the blood of their souls will be
    required at your hands.”

    Immobile, yet thrilled withal, the young Ballou saw the phantom recede and vanish. It was a traumatic experience, and
    he often speculated about the mystical illumination which had come to him. “How many times,” he writes, “have I
    wondered at this manifestation and puzzled my rational powers to account for it; to make myself sure whether it was real
    or illusory, objective or subjective, divinely ordained and sent, or mysteriously originated in the wilds of my imagination.”
    The direct consequence of the experience, however, was to make him ponder the implications of the event, for he had
    had no inclination for the ministry; if anything, there was an aversion to it. But he seemed impelled toward that
    profession almost as though the matter were out of his own hands completely. Then one Sunday he shocked the
    congregation of the Christian Connexion in the little Ballou Meeting-House in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Never having
    been one to project himself into the attention of people, or take any part in the exercises because of a natural diffidence,
    as he termed it, he found himself rising to his feet and announcing to the congregation that he, Adin Ballou, would
    preach on the next Sunday. The amazed people, he records, --and I quote— “went their way in different directions and
    trumpeted the strange tidings far and wide on every hand. No alarm of war could have been more eagerly heralded
    abroad through all the surrounding region.”

    Reflecting upon this and upon the life he was to lead after this, his likening it to an “alarm of war” was more appropriate
    than he knew, for surely Adin Ballou was a real warrior for Christianity. Though a convinced pacifist, in a battle of words,
    he was never one to refuse or avoid a challenge, and sometimes when the occasion did not necessarily call for a
    contest, he would find cause for one to be endured. But I do not mean that facetiously, He was a principled man. He was
    willing for people to have their own opinions, but he wanted to be sure that no occasion passed for him to justify his own
    ideas, and in the effort try to win others to his cause. If, then, his arguments might seem to us today tedious, we should
    not forget that polemics were very much the order of the day in his time.

    He was successful in his initial preaching and this encouraged him to extend his efforts along this line. With little formal
    education by our standards now, and with no theological training at all, he began to serve the church at home, to preach
    at various places in the neighborhood, conduct funeral services and attend the religious conferences of the Christian
    Connexion denomination, in which body he was soon certified. It is proper, I think, to remark at this point that despite
    Ballou’s lack of formal training her certainly became one of the most erudite of ministers of his day, able, for example, to
    vie profitably and successfully with no less a learned person than his distant cousin, the famous Hosea Ballou, who
    more than once backed down under the intense attack of Adin. It proves again, as so many times in history, that life
    significantly viewed and books conscientiously read are able to provide all the necessary ingredients to a well-rounded
    education.

    In writing about the ill-fated but ambitious project of the Hopedale Community, Ballou felt that his theology was very
    closely linked with his program – that the two could not be separated. As historians we are not called upon today to
    judge the merits of his religious views. It becomes us to accept them as historical in the sense that they were the
    springboards for his continuing zeal. As what was called a “Destructionist” in his theology, meaning one who believed
    that all sinful souls after death are doomed to ultimate and endless punishment, he was made to consider the claims of
    the so-called “Restorationists,” those who were convinced that God in his mercy and loving-kindness would ultimately
    restore all souls to grace. He was made to consider these claims by the efforts to refute them, but gradually through long
    and serious contemplation and the assistance of Winchester’s book, “Dialogues on Universal Restoration,” he came to
    accept and propagate this faith. It was Universalism, of course, but Ballou over a good many year engaged in a furious
    verbal battle with those of the Universalist persuasion whom he called “Ultra-Universalists.” Their contention was that in
    the afterlife there was no punishment whatsoever, while Ballou never gave up his belief in some sort of future retribution
    although he would agree that ultimately the perfect goodness of God could not permit endless torment. This controversy
    cost him his pulpit in Milford in 1831, for on January 22nd of that year it was, and I quote, “voted to dispense with the
    services of Rev. Adin Ballou as to supplying their pulpit in their meeting-house any more.” In later years, Ballou took
    considerable satisfaction in the swing-back of opinion within the Universalist circles to his point of view.

    To be continued, in May.

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    The Rev. Adin Ballou window at the
    Universalist Church in Milford.

    The first Unitarian Church in Hopedale, replaced
    in 1898 by the current one, shown below.

Hopedale News - April 1920

    Because the libraries are closed, the Hopedale news
    clippings for 25 and 50 years ago aren't available at this
    time. I had already saved all of the Milford Gazette
    Hopedale columns for 1920, but that;s all for now, folks.

From 1970, Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi.

From 1995, Vanessa Williams, Colors of the Wind.