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CANCELLED – Wednesdays Evening Prayer
February 20 @ 5:15 PM - 5:45 PM
Wednesdays with the Saints
Evening Prayer Service
Daily prayers are said on a regular schedule at Saint James. On Wednesday evenings, we invite you to explore and celebrate the inspiring lives of the saints at our Evening Prayer service.
This week we give thanks for and celebrate the life of Frederick Douglass, Prophetic Witness.
Born as a slave in 1818, Frederick Douglass was separated from his mother at the age of eight and given by his new owner, Thomas Auld, to his brother and sister-in-law, Hugh and Sophia Auld. Sophia attempted to teach Frederick to read along with her son, but her husband put a stop to this, claiming, “it would forever unfit him to be a slave.” Frederick learned to read in secret, earning small amounts of money when he could and paying neighbors to teach him. In 1838, Frederick Bailey (as he was then known) escaped and changed his name to Frederick Douglass. At the age of 14, he had experienced a conversion to Christ in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and his recollection of that tradition’s spiritual music sustained him in his struggle for freedom: “Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds.”
An outstanding orator, Douglass was sent on speaking tours in the Northern States by the American Anti-Slavery Society. The more renowned he became, the more he had to worry about recapture. In 1845 he went to England on a speaking tour. His friends in America raised enough money to buy out his master’s legal claim to him so that he could return to the United States in safety. Douglass eventually moved to New York and edited the pro-abolition journal North Star, named for the fleeing slave’s nighttime guide.
Douglass was highly critical of churches that did not disassociate themselves from slavery, and he was a strong advocate of racial integration. He disavowed black separatism and wanted to be counted as equal among his white peers. When he met Abraham Lincoln in the White House, he noted that the President treated him as a kindred spirit without one trace of condescension. Douglass died in 1895 of a massive heart attack. He was 77 years old.
[Excerpted from Holy Men Holy Women: Celebrating the Saints published by, Church Publishing Co.]