Old South Church Offers Traditional Blessing of the Athletes

One day ahead of the 127th Boston Marathon, Old South Church in Boston – the “Church of the Finish Line,” located at 645 Boylston St. – offered its Marathon Sunday services, which included the traditional Blessing of the Athletes, on April 16.

​Richard E. Spalding, the church’s interim senior minister, presided over two identical religious services, held at 9 and 11 a.m., respectively.

​Like the Marathon itself, this year’s services had added significance, since they marked the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, as Katherine A. Schofield, interim associate minister, noted during her remarks.

​In keeping with tradition, “Highland Cathedral,” a composition written and composed for Scottish games and competition, was performed during both services in recognition of the runners.

​The “Blessing of the Athletes” dates back to 2005 during the first year at Old South Church for Rev. Nancy S. Taylor, past senior minister (and now senior minister emeritus),  who helped established the tradition. Since its inception, the church has offered this benediction to the runners every year except for 2020, when like the Marathon itself, the tradition was sidelined due to the pandemic.

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