A Virginia church is taking steps to remove its Confederate memorabilia in an effort to work toward racial reconciliation.
ABC News reports that St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, known as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy," and located in Richmond, Virginia near the state Capitol building, announced on Sunday that it will begin “to embark on a new journey of racial reconciliation.”
The church discussed the decision to retire some of its Confederacy-related items for months before deciding to remove its needlepoint kneelers, coat of arms, and plaques honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The two plaques honoring Lee and Davis will be placed in an exhibit.
After the tragic Charleston church shooting five months ago which took the lives of nine African-Americans, many churches have rethought their display of Confederate memorabilia.
After the shooting, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution urging its churches to remove Confederate flags from their places of worship. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, however, has not flown the Confederate flag since the 1960’s.
The decision to break ties with its Confederate history is a big step for St. Paul’s since both Lee and his wife attended services there regularly. Davis also became a member in 1862.
In addition, it was at St. Paul’s that Davis received the message that Lee had to withdraw from Petersburg and could no longer defend Richmond. This was a turning point in the Civil War, and led to Richmond’s evacuation.
A small plaque marks where Davis sat when he received the message. This plaque will remain in the church.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: November 24, 2015