Update: Churches Remember was a huge success, attracting about 1,500 people to the six churches involved.
We are pleased to announce what we think wil be a unique Sesquicentennial Event, on March 24, 2012: Churches Remember. Here is the press release.
The National Park Service and the historic churches of Fredericksburg announce “Churches Remember,” a special day-long event on March 24, 2012, that will give visitors access to downtown Fredericksburg’s Civil War-era churches, while each congregation tells its own story in its own way, using music, theater, images, dance, and talks. Historian George Rable of the University of Alabama will give the keynote address for the day at St. George’s Episcopal Church, starting at 10:45am. The day will culminate with a special program,” Voices from the Storm: City of Hospitals,” at Fredericksburg Baptist Church at 7pm.
“Of all the Sesquicentennial programs going on across America this year, this one is, I believe unique,” said John Hennessy, chief historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP. “It gives visitors a chance to visit these historic places and engage in their varied stories. Too, it’s a chance for the congregations to step forward and tell their own story each in their own way.”
In addition to its own story, each church will focus on a unique theme that helps tell the broader story of a community caught amidst war. Visitors will move from church to church (all within easy walking distance of each other), progressing through the town throughout the day. All programs will be within historic sanctuaries. The schedule is as follows:
9:30am – 10:30am Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site)—Sophia Street “Slavery, Exodus, and Freedom” (featuring powerful music)
10:45am – Noon St George’s Episcopal Church–“Religion in the Civil War.” Keynote address by George Rable, author of the book God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War.
1:00pm – 1:45pm Presbyterian Church of Frederick“Church and Community” (featuring theater and old time preaching)
2:00pm – 2:45pm Fredericksburg United Methodist Church–“A Church Divided” (including theater and music)
3:00pm – 4:15pm Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site) “A Service of Hope.” An interdenominational, service encouraging all people to seek a genuine spirit of racial reconciliation.
7:00pm Fredericksburg Baptist Church–“Voices in the Storm: A City of Hospitals.” A program of dramatic readings, music, and images.
All venues are within an easy walk of each other. However, because of the uphill grade between Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) and St. George’s Episcopal Church, shuttle buses will be available for that one transition for those with limited mobility.
Following the program at St. George’s Episcopal Church, the church will provide box lunches for $10 in the church basement. The lunch time will also include a Book Fair featuring publications and histories of the participating churches as well as copies of God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War by George Rable.
Keynote speaker Dr. Rable is the Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama and the author of six books on the Civil War. He is one of the most accomplished of America’s Civil War historians.
The evening program, Voices of from the Storm: City of Hospitals, will use dramatic readings, narration, images, light and music to convey the story of Fredericksburg’s use as a vast Union hospital during the war. The program is lead by the park’s chief historian, John Hennessy.
All programs are free.