A pilgrimage of truth and reconciliation to mark the 153rd anniversary of abolishment of chattel slavery in Maryland (November 1, 1864) is this Saturday, November 4, 2017. The “Trail of Souls” pilgrimage begins with a short service of remembrance at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (4 E. University Pkwy., Baltimore, MD 21218) at 9:00 AM. Pilgrims will depart by bus at 9:30 AM to visit four Episcopal churches in Baltimore City with ties to slavery. They return to the cathedral at 5:00 PM.
The churches on the pilgrimage are St. Paul’s Church (Old St. Paul’s), 233 N. Charles St. – 325 years: Built using income from the labor of enslaved people of African descent and embroiled in the struggle for abolition; Emmanuel Church, 811 Cathedral St. – a church with separate spaces for enslaved and free Africans; St. Luke’s Church, 217 N. Carey St. – enduring care for all children and youth; and Memorial Church, 1407 Bolton St. – a sanctuary for Confederate sympathizers.
The pilgrimage concludes with a service for All Saints Day at Memorial Church. The speaker is Dr. Raymond Winbush, professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University.
The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, invited Episcopalians to remember this painful period in their history saying “as sisters and brothers in the household of a delightfully creative God, we really do need each other more profoundly than we can imagine. May this pilgrimage enable us to better see the face of God in each other.”
This is the second “Trail of Souls,” a project of the diocesan Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The first pilgrimage visited four sites in southern and western Maryland on November 1, 2014.
An online pilgrimage of 27 churches and diocesan sites found at http://trailofsouls.org, is a virtual tour that offers a chance to visit the Episcopal Churches of Maryland and witness them in a new light – looking at the legacy of slavery and the impact it still bears witness to today. As more churches discover and write their history they’ll be added to the online pilgrimage.
“We have continued to explore ways in which we can honor the past in ways that restore the dignity of nameless souls who toiled as persons perceived as less than human. Their free labor instituted a way of life that still haunts us in the 21st century. The Trail of Souls pilgrimage reconciles us with a painful past, yet we are able to thank God for changes that have occurred as we work for an even brighter tomorrow,” said the Rev. Dr. Angela Shepherd, canon for mission in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and staff liaison to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has more than 100 parishes in 10 counties and the City of Baltimore in western, central and southern Maryland. It is a part of The Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.