Vokits in costume at Plymouth, where her ancestors landed in America.
In a few days,
we will be celebrating Thanksgiving again. For some it is just a time for
family and friends to gather for a big dinner. Usually, at some point I
recall my mother and grandmother reminding me that I am a descendent of
Elder William Brewster.
I also recall that picture I had seen in grade
school of the Pilgrims and Indians sitting around a table outside on the
lakeshore and a man praying for the plentiful harvest they were about to
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this picture does not do
justice to what they went through for almost 20 years prior to that first
Thanksgiving. I never would have learned about that story if we had not
taken a Mayflower Descendant tour of England and Holland where we journeyed
through the hometowns and parishes of the Pilgrims and heard the story from
the English and Dutch.
It is a story that is not even written in our own textbooks.
It is a story of a group of people whose life was a journey of sacrifice,
commitment, courage and a deeper faith than I have ever known, in order to
have the freedom to worship the God they had come to know. It is a story of
how two men, William Brewster and William Bradford, who became the leaders
of the Separatists Movement, had become friends while studying at Cambridge.
They were exposed to the teachings of Luther and Calvin and were influenced
by the Protestant Reformation, which had been going on in Europe. They began
studying the Bible in secret, out of fear of being caught and executed for
opposing the Queen, who was the Supreme head of the Church of England. They
began to realize what she required to be taught and to believe was contrary
to the Bible. As their relationship with God grew, so did their numbers.
They also realized it was too dangerous to stay in England.
Excerpt from the
Muskegon Chronicle. 22 November 2011.