- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

As culmination of its 140th anniversary celebration, Meade Memorial Episcopal Church in Alexandria will hold a joint service Sunday with Christ Church, where George Washington and Robert E. Lee once worshipped.

Everyone is welcome to attend the historical event this weekend to “honor the vision, sacrifice and commitment of the African-American Christ Church members who transferred their memberships to Meade Memorial,” said Janet Thomas, Meade Memorial’s chief executive assistant.

The service will be led by the Rev. Collins E. Asonye of Meade Memorial and will include the Rev. David C. Jones as guest speaker plus Civil War re-enactors.

The 5 p.m. service begins at Christ Church and will conclude at Meade Memorial after participants march in a candlelight procession from Christ Church at 118 N. Washington St. to Meade Memorial at 322 N. Alfred St., a few blocks west.

“This is wonderful for us to get in touch with Christ’s Church,” said Mr. Asonye, whom parishioners know as Father Collins. “We are expecting a big turnout … to unite together, walk together and learn from experience.”

“Our intention is to walk toward a common goal,” he said. “We can accomplish so much, and this is a symbol that we can do it. The world we live in today is broken into pieces of Democrat, Republican, black, yellow, we fail to see the human dignity. In Christ we can walk together to heal the brokenhearted. We come together to celebrate who Christ is.”

The celebration also will include unveiling of a plaque in memory of the original members, 50 former slaves who walked out of a service at the Episcopal Christ Church and founded their own congregation at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church in 1869, according to Mr. Asonye.

Following the service, there will be a presentation of Meade Memorial’s 140-year history. Historians, who will present papers on the church’s origin and evolution, will include David T. Terry, executive director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, located in Baltimore; the Rev. Lloyd A. Lewis of the Virginia Theological Seminary; Christ Church historian Julia Randle, who also is library archivist of the seminary’s Bishop Payne Library; and Louis C. Hicks Jr., director of the Alexandria Black History Museum.

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