The plan was to meet up with fellow clergy and sleep on the floor of the St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The Reverends William Burhans and Judy Arnold, pastors of Winchester's First Congregational Church, were responding to a call from a minister in that part of the country, asking for clergy to join for a day the protest against a major oil company's plan to run a pipeline across the Missouri River near tribal land.
It was early November and they had flown from Boston to Bismarck. They set out on what was supposed to be an hour-long drive.
"After about 45 minutes of driving, we came upon a roadblock with a couple of police cars and a military presence," Burhans said. "They asked us where we were going and politely told us the bridge to Cannon Ball is closed, and to go back around and come into town from the other way. It was a one-hour detour, when we had gotten within 10 minutes of Cannon Ball."
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