Lovefeast at St. Philips on Dec. 11

Lovefeast at St. Philips on Dec. 11
December 05
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  St. Philips African Moravian held its first service in 1861.)

St. Philips African Moravian Church at Old Salem Museums & Gardens is holding a Christmas Lovefeast on Thursday, Dec. 11 to commemorate the first service held in the church on Dec.15, 1861.

The Lovefeast will begin at noon and is free and open to the public. It will include traditional Lovefeast buns and tea as well as special music featuring the Voices of God’s Children, an all-volunteer choir dedicated to the preservation of Negro Spirituals.

Historic St. Philips African Moravian Church is the oldest African American church still standing in the state of North Carolina and one of the earliest in the entire country. Built for the African-American congregation, the church matched most of the other churches in the area built at the same time with the large brick, Greek Revival style.

The church was expanded in 1890 with the need to add more classroom space downstairs and above in the balcony. The church extended out into the graveyard, which later caused structural issues on the front walls. The congregation moved out of the building in 1952, and the church sat vacant until restored for use as part of Old Salem Museums & Gardens tours. The steeple, which had been removed in the 1920s, was part of the exterior restoration. The original pews and other details are back in place inside the building.

It was from the pulpit of this brick church that on Sunday, May 21, 1865, a Union Cavalry Chaplain announced freedom to the enslaved community in and around the town of Salem, now Winston-Salem.

The St. Philips Heritage Center in Old Salem is comprised of the African Moravian Log Church, St. Philips African Moravian Church, the Strangers Graveyard, the African American Graveyard and the Path to Happy Hill Overlook.

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