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March 21, 2003

Colonial Williamsburg Delves into the Intricacies of Religion During Religion History Month in April

Religious life in colonial Virginia could be very tumultuous. The legally sanctioned Church of England modified Native American, African and European religions in the colony. They also were modified by the evangelical movement that inspired many people to abandon the established church for dissenting sects, and by the philosophical, political and social changes that culminated in the passage of a law guaranteeing the free exercise of religion.

In April Colonial Williamsburg invites guests to thoroughly investigate religious history yesterday and today at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium:

  • Mondays (April 14, 21 and 28), 3 p.m. A Link Among the Days. Learn about the story of Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin’s dream to restore Williamsburg to its 18th-century appearance and how he helped the dream become a reality. Video. 30 minutes.
  • 4 p.m. Gospel of Liberty. An award winning presentation of the Great Awakening in Virginia and role of Presbyterian minister Samuel Davies in the struggle for religious toleration. Video. 45 minutes.

  • Tuesdays (April 1, 15, 22 and 29) 3:30 p.m. Gowan Pamphlet: God is My Rock. Gowan Pamphlet, the slave of tavern owner Jane Vobe, known locally as a popular preacher, offers his perspective on slavery, religion and freedom. 45 minutes.

  • Wednesdays, Visiting Scholar Lecture Series
  • April 2, 4 p.m. Recent Approaches to the Creation of African-American Christianity in Early America, Professor Mark Valeri, Union Theological Seminary. One hour.
  • April 9, 4 p.m. Spiritual Weapons, Spiritual Solace: Religion in Colonial Virginia, Professor
  • Edward Bond, Alabama A&M University. One hour.
  • April 16, 4 p.m. A Century of Native American Popular Religion in New England’s Old Colony: 1670-1770, Professor Doug Winiarski, University of Richmond. One hour.
  • April 23, 4 p.m. Learning From the Fig Tree: Symbolism and the Spiritual Meaning of Plants in the Bible, Lytton Mussleman, Mary Payne Professor of Botany, Old Dominion University
  • April 30, 4 p.m. The Trumpet Shall Sound: Patrick Henry and Presbyterians of Virginia, Professor C. Jan Swearingen, Texas A&M University. One hour.

  • Thursdays (April 3, 10, 17 and 24) 2 and 3:30 p.m. Jefferson and Henry on Religion. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry present to the public their respective bills concerning religion before the Virginia legislature in 1784 to the public. 45 minutes. This program requires a free reservation, which is available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location.

  • Fridays (April 4, 11, 18 and 25) 4 p.m. George Wythe: The Enlightened Faith of Thomas Jefferson’s Mentor. Mr. Wythe presents his views on religion and its place in 18th-century society.

  • Saturdays (April 5, 12, 19 and 26) 2 and 3:30 p.m. The Faith of a Founding Father. Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson will discuss how religion impacts daily life.

  • Sundays (April 13, 20 and 27) 3:30 p.m. Martha Washington: Woman of Faith. A prominent Virginia lady shares her views on religion. This program requires a free reservation, which is available at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location.

    A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required for all programs.

    Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington D.C., off Interstate 64. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is not-for-profit educational institution that receives no regular state or federal funding. For information and reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

    Media Contact:
    Lorraine C. Brooks
    (757) 220-7280

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