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April 1, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg’s Religion Month Programs Explore Faith as a Building Block for the Nation’s Founders

April is Religion Month in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Religion permeated life and learning in the 18th century and figured in government policy, political debate, cultural adaptations and revolutionary thought. Each of this month’s programs allows guests to discover how religion factored into the overall creation of the American identity during the American Revolution and how it laid the groundwork for our contemporary discussions surrounding American freedom and liberty.

In “Martha Washington: Woman of Faith,” Mrs. Washington discusses how her firm belief in the Creator helped her cope with the many trials she suffered including the loss of her first husband and two of her children before her marriage to George Washington. This performance is presented at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, April 4, 18 and 25 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

“Faith of a Nation Builder” offers guests the opportunity to hear the views of two leaders of their time as they explore issues of religion and religious freedom. At 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, April 5-26, guests meet Gowan Pamphlet, the popular 18th-century preacher that later founded the black Baptist church featured in the African American Religion exhibition on Nassau Street. At 10 a.m. on Saturdays, April 2, 9 and 23, guests join in a conversation with Thomas Jefferson, who was a member of the established church during his youth. As an adult, he was accused of being a Deist. He was, however, convinced that every man deserved freedom of conscience. These programs will take place at the Governor’s Palace.

Themes of a heavenly home on high and reaping the rewards of earthly delight were twin dreams running through the new America religious music and hymns of the 18th and 19th centuries. During the program, “Rivers of Delight: Songs of Canaan, the Promised Land and the American Wilderness,” guests enjoy some of the church music that exhorted the American populace to make the happy journey through the wilderness on earth and Canaan’s land on high. This musical program can be enjoyed at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 5, 12, 19 and 26 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

During “Champions of Church and Change,” the Rev. Mr. Jarratt and the Rev. Mr. Camm meet to discuss differences regarding the duties of the church amidst the revolutionary changes taking place. This debate can be seen at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, April 6, 13, 20 and 27 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

On Thursday, April 7 at 12:30 p.m. at the Kimball Theatre, Patrick Henry presents his bill concerning religion before the Virginia legislature in 1784. On Thursdays, April 14, 21 and 28 at 12:30 p.m. at the Kimball Theatre, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson present their respective bills concerning religion before the Virginia legislature in 1784 during “Jefferson and Henry Present Their Disparate Views on the Separation of Church and State.”

Guests also can enjoy two videos during April at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. During “Link Among the Days,” guests learn about Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin’s dream to restore Williamsburg at 3 p.m. on April 1, 2, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

“Gospel of Liberty,” an award-winning video produced by Colonial Williamsburg, tells the story of the Great Awakening in Virginia and can be seen at 1:30 p.m. on April 7, 14, 21 and 28 and at 4 p.m. on April 1, 2, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

A Colonial Williamsburg admission pass is required to attend these programs. For more information, call 1-800-HISTORY.

Religion Month programs are made possible with the generous support of the Kern Family Foundation, Waukesha, Wis. These are only a portion of the programs offered during Religion Month. The 2011 Religion Month Scholarly Lecture Series takes place at the Wallace Museum during the month as well.

Programs and exhibitions at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at www.history.org.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121



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