One of the lovelier of many lovely (and a few less than lovely) things about coming to Rhode Island, is being in the state founded by Roger Williams.
I see that it was on this day in 1631 that he arrived in North America, in Boston. Raised Anglican and ordained a priest in the lovely old tradition he converted to Puritanism while still at Cambridge. And with this launched a life long spiritual quest. He is celebrated in the calendar of the American Episcopal Church together with Anne Hutchinson on the 5th of February.
The Wikipedia article on him summarizes Roger Williams as “an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. Williams was arguably the first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the original thirteen colonies.”
I would add that while celebrated as an Episcopalian “saint,” as well as a Puritan and then, for about fifteen minutes, a Baptist, Roger Williams is considered by most religious historians to be a “seeker.” A lovely term for a restless and relentlessly honest spirit.
A prophet of a coming age.
Maybe not yet fully here.
And a person worthy of celebration.