St. Paul’s plans special Palm Sunday

Published 8:01 pm Thursday, March 26, 2015

At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 29, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will celebrate a service of reconciliation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its integration, an event considered so significant when it occurred that it was covered on the front page of The New York Times.

Members of St. Paul’s, most of whom are white, will join with members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Birmingham, most of whom are black, and members of Brown Chapel AME Church for the service.

The Rev. Jack Alvey, rector of St. Paul’s, said an interracial group of Episcopal clergy and lay people, who had responded to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to come to Selma in the wake of Bloody Sunday, attempted to worship at the church several times, but were turned away at the door.

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Those who eventually participated in the first integrated service, held on March 28, 1965, included Jonathan Daniels a seminarian who was murdered by a deputy sheriff in nearby Hayneville five months later.

Worship leaders will include Yvonne Willie of St. Mark’s, who was among the group turned away in 1965.

“We are hopeful that this worship service will also witness to the ongoing reconciliation that God is revealing through his church,” Alvey said.