Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012
On Saturday, March 24th, seven historic congregations from Fredericksburg came together to tell their stories in a compelling, day-long event that filled five churches and engaged nearly 1,500 visitors in a broad conversation about the history and legacy of the Civil War.
"Churches Remember," an idea conceived by the National Park Service, was two years in the planning. The idea was to have each church tell its story in its own way, and, through their collective efforts, look at the experience of Fredericksburg in the Civil War through a new, different lens – discussing the nexus between faith and freedom, faith and rebellion, faith and Union, and faith and the community.
Starting with Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) – the pre-war "African Baptist Church" – visitors moved through the downtown from church to church throughout the day. The churches used music, drama, readings, and images to tell their story. The afternoon climaxed with an interdenominational "Service of Hope" at Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site).
The day concluded with an NPS program in the sanctuary of the Fredericksburg Baptist Church. The program, entitled "Voices from the Storm: City of Hospitals," looked at the common experience of the churches (and indeed the community at large) when, in 1864, Fredericksburg became a "City of Hospitals."
During the day, each church was filled to repletion. The following morning, the NPS engaged the community in a lively discussion about the legacy of the war and the difficult place it holds in modern society. Local press coverage of the event was extensive, both in advance and in the aftermath. You can find some of the coverage in these articles, listed by headline: