Local church recognizes enslaved people's contribution to the construction of historic structure

Pohick Church unveiled bronze plaques recognizing the enslaved laborers who contributed to the construction of the historic church. Image: Wikipedia

Pohick Church in Lorton, Virginia, also known as 'George Washington's home church,' recently recognized the contribution of enslaved people who built it. 

According to reports, the Virginia church installed bronze plaques with the names of the people who contributed to the historic structure's construction. 

Honoring the Contributions of Enslaved Laborers 

On Tuesday, the Pohick Church put up bronze plaques listing the names of everyone who had a role in constructing the church, including those who served while in bondage.

According to The Washington Post, the dedication ceremony took place on Saturday. The markers are on the back wall of the Episcopal church, alongside two other historical signs.

Finished in 1774, Washington led the church's construction and attended services there from his Mount Vernon plantation. Also, George Mason and George William Fairfax were among the other notable enslavers in attendance.

It also revealed that researchers from the church discovered that at least 25 workers were enslaved by examining vestry documents. They also supplemented their findings with Fairfax County Circuit Court Historic Records information.

"We are also aware that our church was built in part by slave labor. So it became a passion to recognize all who came together 'as a village' to build Pohick Church, including and especially those who had no choice," Rev. Lynn Ronaldi, Pohick's rector, told the Episcopal News Service

Daniel French's Enslaved Laborers Also Participated

Although most of the enslaved people who built the chapel were owned by Daniel French, a local plantation owner, it is possible that enslaved people from other plantations, such as those owned by Washington and Mason, also participated. 

The Washington Post revealed that documents such as vestry minutes, contractor invoices, and census data were utilized to determine who worked at the church. However, it is unclear what role specific enslaved people played in the construction process.

Dick Hamly, one of the researchers of the church, said that some people's exact contributions are unknown because they lacked the necessary expertise or were not formally assigned to a given task.

"Many probably made bricks, but we just don't know. They belonged to Daniel French and were surely quartered there to work on the new church," added Hamly, as quoted in the report. 

About Pohick Church

More than 500 people of all ages call Pohick Church their spiritual home. It is a place where they regularly engage in God-honoring activities, including prayer, Bible study, serving people, and the development of strong, Christ-centered friendships.

As stated on its website, the welcoming and lively Christian community has its roots in the Anglican ethos of its spiritual founders. It continues to be mission-oriented, relevant, moderate, and transformative worldwide.

Based on the Traditional Anglican services on the 16th-century English Book of Common Prayer, the book has been revised and modified to reflect current language usage. 

The Holy Communion and other sacraments are celebrated using the BCP's Daily Prayer Office, rooted in English monasticism.

Rev. Dr. Lynn P. Ronaldi and Rev. Deacon Celal Kamran lead the worship services at Pohick Church. 

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