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Annual Daniels Pilgrimage set for Aug. 13

SPECIAL TO THE SIGNAL

The Annual Jonathan Myrick Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage will take place Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 11 am in Hayneville, AL.

The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and the Commission on Race Relations will host the pilgrimage, honoring Daniels and others who gave their lives in the civil rights movement.

This year’s observance will include a Service of Remembrance, Repentance and Reconciliation for the Church’s part in the tragedy of slavery and the sin of racism. The service is the culmination of a three-year project conducted by the Commission called “Past Imperfect Present Hope”.

A timeline of the history of the Diocese beginning with its earliest parishes through the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow years and segregation, through the turbulent civil rights period to present time will be on display for education purposes and personal reflection.

The planners for this historic event include parishioners who served as their parish historians, the Rural Enrichment Accessing Community Hands, Inc. (REACH) and members of the Commission on Race Relations. The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr., Bishop of Alabama, will deliver the sermon.

The Mayor of Hayneville and other elected officials will be in attendance.

The event will focus on remembering the martyrs of Alabama, lamenting the church’s role in the sin of racism and focusing on ways to work for reconciliation and transformation, which is one of the gifts the Diocese of Alabama has to offer.

Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian who answered the call of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help register African-American voters in Alabama.

He was shot and killed on Aug. 20, 1965, while shielding then 16-year-old Ruby Sales from a shotgun blast as she attempted to enter a store to buy something to drink. Daniels was added to the Episcopal Church Calendar of Saints and Martyrs in 1994.

The pilgrimage begins at the Courthouse Square in Hayneville. The procession will go to the old county jail where Daniels and Sales were among those detained for a week and then will move to the former Cash Grocery Store where Daniels was killed.

The pilgrimage will end at the Courthouse with the service of Holy Communion in the courtroom where an all-white jury acquitted Daniels’ killer. The judge’s bench will serve as the altar for the Eucharist.

The Hall Sisters of Mosses will also perform at the event.

For more information, contact Rev. Deacon Carolyn Foster at carolynjfoster@bellsouth.net or Rev. Deacon Tom Osborne at trosborne@una.edu.

Fannie Davis, coordinator of the event, can be reached at fldavis51@yahoo.com or Barbara Evans at barbara@okrafestival.org.