This data was last updated on 16 October 2018.
Address: 2 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
History: On the Longfellow Estate in 1956, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Church's first purpose-built meetinghouse in New England. The building was to house a collection of wards - geographically determined congregations- and became known as the Longfellow Park Chapel. In 1974, a congregation not big enough to be considered a ward (called a branch) made up of unmarried university students in the Boston area began meeting in the Longfellow Park Chapel. Over the next 30 years, as more unmarried students and young professionals moved to the Boston area, the branch grew and molded itself into four distinct wards: the Cambridge University Ward, Longfellow Park 1 Ward, Longfellow Park 2 Ward, and the Charles River Ward. Each ward catered to a different age demographic. The Cambridge University Ward, in particular, served single adults ages 18 to 24. During a multi-ward meeting in 2009, a small electrical fire started in the attic of the Longfellow Park Chapel. All attendees of the meeting safely evacuated the building but within minutes the entire chapel was engulfed in flames. Church members watched in horror as the roof of the chapel collapsed in flame and billowy smoke. Firefighters were able to stop the fire, but not before smoke had spread and damaged the rest of the building’s interior. The building was severely damaged and required major renovations. Wards typically housed in the building, including the Cambridge University Ward, were forced to relocate to other meetinghouses across Boston. After extensive renovations, the building reopened in 2011, and the Cambridge University Ward moved back home. In 2016, the leadership of the Cambridge University Ward counseled and determined to change the name to the Mount Auburn Young Single Adult Ward (Mount Auburn YSA Ward). The leadership felt this new name better reflected the changing community, which had now come to include more young professionals than college and university students. In 2018, the Longfellow Park 1st and 2nd Wards were consolidated into one ward, serving young single adults ages 25-30
Description: The Mount Auburn YSA Ward meets in a two-story red brick building adjacent to the Longfellow House, just outside of the heart of Harvard Square. The entrance facade is simple, with white columns sitting below a towering steeple. The two-story interior most notably features a chapel, equipped with an organ and a baby grand piano, with large windows looking out on Longfellow Park. The east wall of the chapel is retractable and can open into a cultural hall also housed in the building. This feature is most frequently used during multi-ward meetings when the chapel pews do not provide enough space for all meeting attendees. The building also houses a fully functioning kitchen and a baptismal font. Other features include classrooms for Sunday School and Bible study, offices for ward leaders, a small library, and an elevator.
Demographics: Though it began as a congregation for single adults of all ages in the Boston area, the Mount Auburn Young Single Adult Ward now consists only of single adults from the ages of 18 to 24. During the academic year, members of the congregation are students at Boston area colleges or universities, recent graduates, or work full time in the area. At the end of the academic year, the congregation’s demographics shift as members leave for vacation and there is an influx of temporary congregants who come to Boston for summer internships and other work experiences.
Activities/Schedule: The Mount Auburn YSA Ward Sunday services are held every week. Services include a sacrament meeting, and a second hour alternating weekly between Sunday School and separated women’s and men’s meetings. Self Reliance courses, teaching personal finance principles and job search, networking, and leadership skills are offered Sundays before or after services. The congregation also holds weekly community building focused activities called Family Home Evening, as well as gospel study courses offered through the Boston Institute of Religion.
Partnerships: No formal partnerships exist between the Mount Auburn YSA Ward and other organizations. However, due to its unique demographic, Latter-day Saint student associations from Boston area colleges and universities are generally comprised of members from the Mount Auburn YSA Ward. The Mount Auburn YSA Ward also shares space with three other Latter-day Saint congregations and the Boston headquarters for the Latter-day Saint Institute of Religion.