Alabama Diocese leads Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage Aug. 12

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and Central Gulf Coast are partnering to sponsor the 26th Annual Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage on Aug. 12 at the Courthouse Square in Hayneville. The procession will begin on the square at 11 a.m. and feature guest preacher the Right Reverend Phoebe Roaf, Bishop of the Diocese of West Tennessee.

According to the event’s 2022 speaker, the Right Reverend Glenda Curry, Bishop of Alabama, the event is an important way for believers to explore the August 1965 death of Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Daniels.

“We are gathering for a solemn and important remembrance of the events of the day of Jonathan Daniels’ death,” Curry told attendees of the 2022 pilgrimage. In an address to the Diocesan Convention, Curry said, “There is something transformational that happens when we go on pilgrimage. Exploring and entering into a story that’s already been lived once moves us. We believe that pilgrimage is part of who we are as Christians.”

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Pilgrims will begin their procession on the square and travel to the old Lowndes County Jail where Daniels and others were detained for picketing white-only businesses in Fort Deposit. From there, attendees will proceed to the site of the old Varner’s Cash Store, where Daniels was killed. The pilgrimage will end in the Lowndes County Courthouse with a service of Holy Communion in the courtroom where Daniels’ shooter was tried and acquitted.

Attendees will sing as they progress on the pilgrimage, which has become a fixture for many and a reminder of the equality for which Daniels died.

“Alabama has many sacred spaces, places that are often connected with the civil rights movement,” the event’s website notes. “For Episcopalians in Alabama, perhaps the most significant is at Hayneville in Lowndes County, where Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Daniels was martyred in August of 1965. The Jonathan Daniels pilgrimage has become a fixture for many and a reminder that the equality for which he gave his life is a continuing sacrifice. There is something profoundly moving about going back to a sacred place and remembering that enables the pilgrim to resolve, to repent, and to carry on the work of building the beloved community. This year we will return again to Hayneville and remember Jonathan, one of only two American martyrs commemorated by a monument at Canterbury Cathedral in England.”

The Diocese will provide water and guests are encouraged to dress in casual, cool clothing. Vendors will be on hand offering food options after the service.

For more information or to register, visit www.dioala.org/jonathandaniels.