Logo for: The Chapel of the Cross

History Day 2024

April 27, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., at Christ Church, Raleigh, and Historic St. John’s, Williamsboro

John Stark Ravenscroft was the first elected bishop of North Carolina, serving from 1823 to 1830. Our 2024 History Day marks the bicentennial of his episcopate by exploring his understanding of church and society, and by setting those views in a larger historical context.

Ravenscroft’s tenure as bishop has been long remembered for his staunch high church orientation. But Ravenscroft was not always an Episcopalian, much less a high churchman. He was a Virginia planter who underwent a religious conversion when he was 38 years old, and he didn’t become an Episcopalian until he was 43. Charting the twist and turns in Ravenscroft’s religious and social outlook will be our diocesan historiographer, the Rev. Brooks Graebner. Setting Ravenscroft’s views in a larger historical framework will be the Rev. Dr. Benjamin King, Professor of Church History at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.

Following these addresses, the Rev. Lindsey Ardrey, canon missioner for diocesan restitution and reparations ministry, will offer a response to the presentations from the perspective of our diocesan commitment to restitution and reparations.

The day concludes with a visit to St. John’s, Williamsboro, the oldest frame church in North Carolina and a historic property of the diocese. St. John’s was the site of the 1824 diocesan convention, the first over which Ravenscroft presided and where the bishop first publicly declared his high church views.

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