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Northfield, Massachusetts Project

07/12/2015 update

Sage Chapel on the Northfield Campus

    Starting in the month of October, 2006, I have begun a new series of experiences concerning the Northfield campus of the Northfield Mount Hermon School. As you know from this web site, I have had an interest these schools, started by D. L. Moody, for nearly 20 years. There have been many, many experiences that I have had there that have changed my life - and I never went to school at this location.

    Starting in 1988, my life changed extensively because of this school. Mr. Doug Polhemus was the "instigator" of this change, and others have had a great effect, like Mr. Bil Rogers and Nancy Knipe. I have brought many visitors to the campus over the years, and all have marveled at the scenic location of this school. {Photos of school}

    Back in 1988, Mr. Polhemus made it clear that the school wasn't Christian at the time, even though it was founded to be so in 1879, by Dwight L. Moody. The quote that I will always remember from Mr. Polhemus was, "But God still has His hand on this place."

    Rather than going into my experiences for the past decades, I wanted you to know that the Lord has opened a door for this campus to be Christian again! In June 2005, the last classes were held on this campus. The school moved all the students to their Mt. Hermon campus, and wanted to sell the Northfield campus to one person for one price. Knowing that this was an impossible task for me, I certainly didn't pursue it; but God had other plans!

    In the fall of 2006 and again in 2007, I went to Northfield and prayed, as usual, in my question and answer style. I was shocked that I felt that the Holy Spirit was telling me to attempt to open this campus again in the same manner that it was originally intended. But how? I don't have the millions of dollars that are required! The answer was "listen" over and over.

    After returning to Chicago, where I lived from 2005 to 2007, and now again in 2008, I heard the answers to all of my questions. I was excited that He could use me in this massive project. I wanted to notify people in the Northfield Mount Hermon Christian Concerned Fellowship what had transpired. As a result of that contact, I got in contact with another person who had a similar vision for the campus. His name is Chung Ha, and is the Executive Director of the Korean Student Movement in America, based in nearby Amherst, MA. We met in Chicago in the fall of 2006, and I was greatly encouraged by all of the information that he had obtained concerning the Student Volunteer Movement of the 1880's and how some of the missionaries that came from that movement had such a great impact on the nation of Korea.

    In the fall of 2007, it seemed that another snag had risen, and the school is still "for sale." As I stated above, I don't have the millions of dollars that are needed to purchase the whole Northfield campus, but I feel that, if given the opportunity, an arrangement could be reached where buildings are purchased "one at a time."

    On November 1, 2007, I mailed a proposal to the Northfield Mount Hermon school to explain my reasoning for that conclusion. As you will see below, I also put in a suggestion on how to raise some funds that would be needed to begin the first phase. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you have concerning this proposal. Please send e-mail comments to jesusistheanswer777@hotmail.com

   

November 1, 2007

PROPOSAL FOR USE OF THE NORTHFIELD CAMPUS OF THE NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON SCHOOL

INTRODUCTION

This is the third proposal that I have directly or indirectly submitted to the Northfield Mount Hermon Schools [NMH] to change the emphasis of the school toward a more Christian orientation, or added a building that emphasized the Christian heritage of the school. The first was submitted in early 1989 to Mr. Richard P. Unsworth and I received a reply from Jacqueline Smethurst dated February 9, 1990. The second proposal was generally the resubmission of my earlier thoughts to Chung Ha while he was visiting Chicago in November of 2006, which he added to his proposal at the time.

During the weekend of October 19-21, 2007, I received more information from various sources that has caused me to re-evaluate the situation at the Northfield campus and hereby propose making the following changes.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

In the summer of 1875, Dwight Lyman Ryther Moody (The Ryther being dropped in early age), [DLM] was driving his brother, Samuel . . . over one of the mountainous roads near Northfield and saw a man and his daughters who needed assistance. This impressed DLM and the Lord translated this need to the development of the Northfield Seminary for girls in 1879.

Even though DLM had a trust for hymnal royalties from which to apparently draw funds, he started this school in a wing of the DLM homestead on Main Street. . . he was aware that even his large plans had to start small. Buildings were added in an orderly fashion after more and more students and funds arrived, due to his fundraising efforts.

PROGRESSIVE REVELATION

While DLM had big hopes and plans, he knew that the Lord Jesus was and still is the Provider for all work that honors Himself. DLM started the Northfield Seminary, the Mt. Hermon School, the (later named) Moody Bible Institute, the Northfield Bible Training School and the Bible Training Institute of Glasgow, Scotland (now the International Christian College) between 1879 and 1892. None of these educational ventures started with 30+ empty buildings waiting to be filled. They began (at least in Massachusetts) in a farmhouse with extra rooms for the students.

Like DLM in 1875, this proposal starts small, and the potential for big results is dependent on the Lord. I am not restricting myself to any one particular group of people, and, like DLM, welcome people from all nations to participate in this proposal.

I consider the heart of the Northfield campus to be Sage Chapel. Since first opening in 1909, this chapel was the heart of religious activities for nearly a century. My understanding is that the roof has shifted, but I donít know the details on what has to be done to fix the building. I would propose that cost estimates be secured and that the building be used for the fundraising activities that will be needed.

The only other building(s) that is in this initial phase would be the Dolben Library and attached Tracy Student Center Ė for two reasons. The Dolben Library could be used for the initial phases of the Chung Ha "Back to Northfield" missionary museum, which I think is the best aspect of his plan. This would be the ideal location for such a museum. The former bookstore for the campus was located in the basement of the Tracy Student Center, and I will be stating a need for that location below.

Thus, the initial purpose of this proposal would be to begin Christian activities on the campus and be a point where the initial fundraising activities can commence. The ultimate purpose of the campus is still awaiting the Lord Godís revelation; however there seems to be support for a Christian School for missions and the Arts (music, art, dance, theater and history of same) from people that I have spoken to. This would tie in with both Chung Haís proposal and my personal emphasis on the musical arts.

FUNDRAISING

Fundraising of over $25,000,000 appears to be an insurmountable obstacle ó but I believe that the Lord can provide the people and the funds, so long as they are used to bring Him glory.

Like the small beginnings stated above, perhaps the fundraising will sound like "small potatoes" towards this $25,000,000 field, but, in time, I believe that God will provide amazing donors that can help to accomplish a result that the NMH trustees can be satisfied with.

The initial fundraising requires the former bookstore, as I would propose soliciting Christian publishers and the general Christian public to donate Christian material for sale at this location. The publishers (e.g. Moody Press and Tyndale) could provide overstocks that they have in inventory, and the Christian public can donate anything of a Christian nature, in good condition, that could be sold at this location. As donations increase, I wouldnít be surprised to see a whole building full of material Ė which could all be sold with only overhead being deducted. Of course there would be direct mail requests for donations of cash and/or materials for sale at this location. Better items could be sold on eBay.

After Sage Chapel is approved for occupancy again, I would propose a series of musical concerts and well known Christian speakers for additional fundraising events. This could conceivably be held every weekend during the May to November season. The most important part would be advertising in local periodicals and promotion to the numerous Christian churches in the Brattleboro-Keene-to Springfield area. The support of the Northfield Mount Hermon School would be greatly appreciated in this promotional phase.

I believe that one of the major challenges for other people that have proposed uses for the property has been acquiring the funds. Certainly I am no exception, as there is a "catch 22" situation here. It would be extremely difficult to raise funds for such a large project if the Board of Trustees does not approve of the proposal. How can we raise funds if we donít know that the money will be used for the stated purpose? (Would you give $1,000. towards this project if the NMH School hadnít approved of the plan?) I fully realize that the NMH School wants to sell all of the property, but, as stated above, DLM didnít start that way. . . Your approval would have to be based on the "idea" rather than a check for the full amount at once. The payments would be allocated to one building at a time, starting with Sage Chapel, then Dolben Library, then other buildings as the Lord directs. (I would anticipate moving generally from north to south.)

Perhaps my payment method would be unique due to my circumstances. I donít live in Massachusetts at present (but would move to the Northfield area if it is approved), nor do I have a group of officers to start a non-profit corporation. Since that is the case, I would propose that NMH receive all of the funds as they are received. I would do the initial accounting of what is received, and then forward the funds to the Chief Financial Officer of the NMH School for deposit in a special earmarked fund. This would give the school an immediate report on the progress of the proposed purchase.

I personally think that the concerts would be a great fund-raiser, but we would need Sage Chapel to hold the events. I have prepared numerous advertisements for periodicals in the past, and believe that, contrary to general opinion, many hundred people would come to a well-planned fund raising concert in Northfield, MA, so long as it is for a good cause. They did when DLM was here.

SUMMARY - GOAL

 

While I know that many details will have to be provided yet, I want to state if this proposal is eventually agreed upon, I will be placing all of my energies, with Godís help, into the fundraising, then implementation of a Christian school on the Northfield campus.

 

(signed)

Dennis R. Mallory

 

P.S. One comment that I received concerns the fundraising aspect of this proposal. While not stated clearly enough, I would hereby propose renting the former bookstore location for the purpose of opening a bookstore in addition to other Christian merchandise that would be used for an aspect of the fundraising effort. Direct mail would be the other (main) source of fundraising. The first priority is the repair of Sage Chapel, then on to other buildings as mentioned above, and as He directs.