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'Retreat in the Lord or Find the Lord': New D.L. Moody Center Offers Place of Spiritual Renewal


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NORTHFIELD, MA – While 19th-century Christian evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody ministered throughout the US and overseas, a big part of his life happened on a picturesque property in Northfield, Massachusetts. Born and raised here, Moody founded the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies and is also buried on the property.

"Many people come from all over the world to see D.L. Moody's grave and to pay homage to the work that God did through him to spread the Gospel around the world," said James Spencer, Ph.D., president of the D.L. Moody Center.

The D.L. Moody Center

One estimate has him reaching around a hundred million people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Emmitt Mitchell began the D.L. Moody Center, to carry on Moody's heritage. 

"The mission of D.L. Moody Center is a simple one – we took the message of D.L. Moody and simply amplify it into this generation," he told CBN News. "It's a message of evangelism, bringing people to Christ."

"How we do that is we work as a convener. This is a great location for pastors, especially in the New England area to come and to gather," he continued.  

The center is comprised of 10 buildings that sit on 230 acres in Western Massachusetts. Leaders say the campus is a destination of spiritual renewal.

"The physical property itself is a place to come without distraction," said Julia Wiggin, general manager of the D.L. Moody Center. "We want folks, Christians, non-Christians, to come here and be able to retreat in the Lord or find the Lord."

"And to be able to have a fulfillment something so special with the Holy Spirit when they are here," she continued.

Challenging and Preparing Christians

The mission here is to bring revival by challenging and preparing Christians to proclaim the Gospel through their words and actions. In addition to offering retreats and meeting places, visitors can also enjoy a self-guided audio prayer walk.

"A lot of believers come, and they walk the prayer walk," Spencer told CBN News. "That prayer walk is really designed to give them an introduction into who D.L. Moody was and what these buildings and the various sites – what their significance was."

"But it also conveys the Gospel at each step," he continued.

Nationally known speakers and musicians also appear at the center, which has hosted 50,000 visitors and guests over the past several years.

The Impact Felt Through Visiting

Boston Baptist College students came here as part of their Great Lives class on D.L. Moody.

"It's incredible to learn about somebody like that and to get to hear and to read about the impact he had," shared Tyler Boggess, a student at Boston Baptist College. "But it's a completely like separate thing and so much more impactful when you get to see it; you get to see the difference he made, the buildings that he built to preach the Word and to give the Gospel to others."

"I've been talking to a friend at work about just different questions that he's had about Christianity, so it just, the class about D.L. Moody, and then learning about him, coming here, just gave me different ideas and just a different perspective on things that I could talk to him about," said Mitchell Crowell, another student. 

"So it was really impactful for me, yeah," he continued.

College president, Rev. David Melton, first came here as a young student himself. 

"I'm ecstatic to see what God is raising up here now because for the first time in my knowledge – so in a generation or two – this is a place where Christians can come and rediscover so much of our roots and be able to reconnect with very mighty times of God's moving, and some of the greatest voices of the Christian faith in the modern era have spoken in this very room where we are right now," he shared.

Making it Hard to 'Ignore God'

Spencer hopes to offer a museum-like experience in the next couple of years.
"We're gonna use the existing buildings that we have, and sort of have a whole campus museum and Gospel experience, so as people walk the property, we want to make it really hard for them to ignore God," he explained.

The D.L. Moody Center also sponsors an annual "Go Dark, Shine Bright" ministry campaign online, which involves a social media fast, prayer and then, sharing one's faith on social media.

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About The Author


Mark Martin currently serves as a reporter and anchor at CBN News, reporting on all kinds of issues, from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East. He traveled to Bahrain and covered stories on the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mark also anchors CBN News Midday on the CBN Newschannel and fills in on the anchor desk for CBN News' Newswatch and The 700 Club. Prior to CBN News, Mark worked at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, Arkansas. There he served as a weekend morning producer, before being promoted to general