religious hypocrisy over sacred history known as the ruins of ebenezer a.m.e. on bacton hill road

The ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church on Bacton Hill Rd July 5, 2016

The ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church on Bacton Hill Rd July 5, 2016

When a person of faith, a minister, essentially calls you a liar on social media it takes one’s breath away. I make absolutely NO secret of my desire to save the ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer. I have been trying for a few years now to get the attention of the A.M.E. national church organization (which by all records OWNS the land still) to pay attention to this equally sacred and historic site before it is beyond any preservation.

The ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. March 2013

The ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. March 2013

And face it, we are pretty darn close to NO salvation on this site. And there are people in Chester County and elsewhere today with ancestors buried there, who want to visit their ancestors. And they can’t. It is all overgrown.

Until 2011 volunteers would more regularly get in there and clean up the area. Boy Scouts used to adopt the area too as well.  But people run out of steam and I imagine get frustrated because technically this place looks abandoned but the A.M.E. Church still owns it.

Ebenezer A.M.E. 2011 after last boy scout clean up

Ebenezer A.M.E. 2011 after last boy scout clean up

So the A.M.E. Church has been in Philadelphia for their bicentennial. So because all of a sudden they are up on social media sites like Twitter, I have been tweeting photos and the story of the place at them.

I am sure these A.M.E. folks do not like my Tweeting about how they don’t honor their dead, but they don’t. How is that not truthful? If the A.M.E. Church honored their dead, they would be maintaining the churchyard and securing the church ruin.  If the A.M.E. Church honored their dead (and here there are freed slaves and black civil war soldiers) they would honor their history by honoring the history of this sacred place.

But what do you get instead? Religious hypocrisy. Obstructionism. They have all that money to put on a HUGE bicentennial celebration, do peaceful protests, erect statues and so on and so forth, yet they can’t take care of one small place in Chester County? Really? How truly sad is that?

So this minister rolls up and tells me what I write is flawed because I have never attended A.M.E. Church.  And mocks me when I said some folks with ancestors buried there are grateful to me (and others) who are trying and have been trying to get this place cleaned up. How is this a holy person of God?

Am I a member of the A.M.E. Church or even related to those buried there? No, I am not. But it doesn’t mean I do not respect what those brave souls buried there did for this country.  It doesn’t mean that I can’t care about this place, does it?   Do I have to be a card carrying member of the A.M.E. church to care about the ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, or only to IGNORE the ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer?

So A.M.E. Church here is how I feel: instead of allowing your members to be ugly and passive aggressively infer more ugliness because I am not a member of your “flock”, I challenge you while you are in Philadelphia to take the hour plus to drive to the site and see it for yourselves.   You all check it out and tell me how the condition is acceptable.

These are some of the souls buried there:

8585208099_b3a6495a80_o 8585209369_747a5d1778_o 8585210091_38c0ef048a_o 8585210801_3628c9f161_o 8585211067_df3d9ea24d_o 8585211933_87b2422887_o 8585212245_9604b1b887_o 8585212465_9eb889abae_o 8585212597_b1aca09bf7_o 8586314486_6a450b7464_o

I do not know what is WRONG with this church’s national leaders that they can’t or won’t see what is going on here.  You would think they would be happy people cared enough to try for YEARS to get them to pay attention.

The only photo I have ever seen from a book by Chester County Historian Catherine Quillman (History of the Conestoga Turkpike)

The only photo I have ever seen from a book by Chester County Historian Catherine Quillman (History of the Conestoga Turkpike)

Holy hypocrisy. They want to celebrate their bicentennial in high fashion, yet they don’t honor their dead who are so very much part of their history.

I just don’t get it. Don’t #ByeBlogger me, lady. #HonorYourDead —that is all I want, that is all any of us who care have ever wanted. For these people to be respected and their final resting place cleaned up and preserved.

DeedPage1

DeedPage2

DeedPage3

remembering soldiers on memorial day that a.m.e. church doesn’t care about.

 
 I said in a prior post that someone asked me what it was that made me want to save the graves in the ruins of the Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in East Whiteland or what old timers in East Whiteland like to call “that old black church”. What first moved me was the grave you see above of Private Joshua Johnson(1846-1916) who was a member of Company K of the 45th of the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War.

Today is Memorial Day so I thought I would take the time to recognize Private Joshua Johnson and the other Civil War Colored Troop Soldier buried in this graveyard OWNED and ABANDONED by the A.M.E. Church. The head of the East Whiteland Historical Society told me recently that there is yet another soldier in this graveyard. (And did you know there is another abandoned graveyard of unknown denomination behind Queen Appliance in Frazer? That is more of an aside, just pointing its existence out.)

Anyway, I still can’t believe that the A.M.E. Church doesn’t give a damn about the Ebenezer A.M.E. but after YEARS of trying to get them to pay attention and discovering all of the OTHER people also ignored in years gone by, I pretty much think they don’t care about the familial history of their members or enough about the history of their churches.  That makes me really sad. It also makes me wonder if I am just the wrong race and religion to be asking them about this? And if THAT is true (as has been implied by people I have spoken with) wow what a sorry state of affairs.
 

 The A.M.E. Church is celebrating a remarkable milestone this summer in Philadelphia, their bicentennial. One would THINK or HOPE or WISH they would give a damn about the dead in the decrepit and disgraceful graveyard at Chester County’s Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, Pa but alas, they don’t. They want to talk about their history and the struggles of their people but if they truly valued the contributions and suffering of their membership the past 200 years they would respect their dead and at least regularly tidy up this graveyard, right?

The following article appeared recently in an out of state newspaper:

Indianapolis Recorder: African-American churches and their vision of faith and freedom

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016 3:01 am

By ANGELIQUE WALKER-SMITH 

“Oh freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me. And before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave. And go home to my Lord and be free.”

This post-Civil War African-American freedom song, often associated with the 20th century Civil Rights Movement in the United States, provides a helpful historical lens for understanding why elections have been important to African-American churches. For these churches, voting and other methods of engaging their public voices have been important in their quest in obtaining freedom from social and legal racism in the U.S., while relying on the biblical promise of a transcendent freedom in the afterlife.

Albert Raboteau at Princeton University points out the following concerning religious formation of African-American churches: “These Christians appropriated Christianity on their own terms despite what they were told or not told by their slave holders and U.S. law. African slaves experienced dissonance between their dignified African identities and the disempowering and undignified messaging of White colonizers and missionaries.”

This kind of social marginalization and oppression of people of African descent, and the acceptance of the biblical narrative of struggle, deliverance, hope and faith, have provoked and encouraged the faith of people of African descent. Such faith has informed their vision and mission to fight for a dignified and equitable quality of life as evidence of earthly freedom.

OK so maybe I am being terribly politically incorrect,but does anyone else see the pure hypocracy  of a religious organization that can write things like the above and preach about the above and they can’t care for their dead in a relatively small old graveyard of land they own and probably pay no taxes on??

It’s Memorial Day and at a bare minimum they should respect those soldiers more!  

So A.M.E. Church, I double dog dare you. Prove me and others wrong – take care of your dead in this graveyard. Surely if you can foot the bill for a Bicentennial Convention and celebration you can afford to clean up one small and very historic  graveyard?