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Historic Christian Monument Marking Launch of US Missions Movement Defaced with 'Hail Satan'

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A monument honoring Christian missionaries that serves as a prayer site for college students attending Williams College was vandalized multiple times with satanic wording.

The Haystack Monument on Williams College campus was dedicated to the five students who began the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, launching a global missions movement in 1806. Those U.S. missionaries would later set out to India, Hawaii, Japan, China, South Africa, and Arabia to share the Gospel.

The 12-foot tall marble monument has stood on the campus since 1867. 

But in early May, the monument was spray-painted red with the phrases "Pagan Rule", "Hail Satan", "Hell is Hot", and other obscenities, according to the college's president.

President Maud Mandel announced in a memo to the campus that on May 13 and May 21 individuals defaced the monument with spray-painted graffiti.

"Given that the Monument memorializes the Christian missionary movement, some people may experience these incidents as attacks on your religion or you personally," she wrote. "You belong here, and I will work for your and everyone's right to a safe community."

Maud announced that the school would increase security but did not find the perpetrators. 

As CBN reported, the College's Society of Alumni put up the monument in 1867 to mark the site of the historic prayer meeting that took place under a haystack where the five students sought shelter during a thunderstorm 60 years earlier. The society renamed the entire area Mission Park because those five students set out to preach the Gospel around the world. 

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"It just goes to show how many things can be born from a small seed," said Rev. Carrie Bail of the First Congregational Church in Williamstown. "But it has reached out into all parts of the world."

Williams College sophomore Shawn Woo told CBN at that time the haystack meeting inspired him to reach the world for Jesus Christ, including those right on campus.

He said, "That emboldens me to be able to speak to my friends and just tell them. And I know that if I have that conviction, have that boldness, reach out to them in the same way that these people did, that God will move and revival can start with me here."

In 2016, the college appointed a committee whose job was to assess works of art that "raise concerns about their inclusivity for members of our community". 

Senior curator of American art at Williams College Museum of Art Kevin Murphy told the College Fix that the Haystack monument was under review. 

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"At the time, Williams had a strong emphasis on Christianity and it was common for graduates to become ministers," Murphy had said. "Now we are an institution with students and faculty from lots of different faiths or no religious belief at all, and no longer have mandatory chapel attendance."

In 2018, the monument was smeared with mud, and three concentric half-circles were carved into the ground between the monument and benches surrounding it, The Williams Record reports.

According to the college's website, the monument honors the students who conceived the idea to begin "an American missionary movement focused on spreading Christianity worldwide."

The monument reads, "The field is the world."

BELOW: Watch Our CBN News Report About the Monument from 2007

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.