Baptists and the American Civil War: June 26, 1864

Civil War States MapToday is a Sunday. Countless sermons North and South mention the war, whether directly or indirectly. Both sides evoke God’s favor over the other, with black slaves in the South praying that their nation will be conquered by the United States, their only hope for freedom.

At the same time, some special events take place in Baptist churches this day.

The Lee Street Baptist Church of Baltimore, organized April 20, 1855 and a Southern Baptist congregation in Union territory, continues to grow and prosper despite the war.  May 26, 1863 marked the laying of the cornerstone of a new meeting house. Today, the finished building is dedicated. The entire cost of the facility is $15,206.46.

Leading the dedication services this day is the eminent Dr. Richard Fuller, pastor of the city’s Seventh Baptist Church, former Southern Baptist Convention president 1859-1860, and the man who is largely responsible for maintaining support of the SBC’s Foreign Mission Board during the war years.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Illinois the “Fifth Annual Sermon Before the Berean Society of the University of Chicago” (the university’s religious society) is delivered at the city’s Wabash Avenue Baptist Church, an American (Northern) Baptist congregation.

As on other Sundays during the war, whether in regular worship services or special events, Baptists are in disagreement as to where God’s favor rests in the midst of war.

Sources: John F. Weishampel and George F. Adams, History of Baptist Churches in Maryland Connected with the Maryland Baptist Union Association, Baltimore, 1885, pp. 142-149 (link); “Biography of Richard Fuller,” Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware (link); “The Fifth Annual Sermon Before the Berean Society of the University of Chicago, Delivered at the Wabash Avenue Baptist Church, Chicago, June 26, 1864” (link)