George Washington’s Faithful Church Attendance

GW President closeupOn Sunday, March 21, 1790, President George Washington welcomed Thomas Jefferson as America’s First Secretary of State. Yet what the history books don’t tell us is that this happened after church on Sunday. Washington recorded in his diary as follows:

“Went to St. Paul’s Chappel in the forenoon – wrote private letters in the afternoon. Received Mr. Jefferson, Minister of State about one o’clock.”*

St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City was the location of the worship service held immediately following the inauguration that was planned by the U.S. Senate, attended by the President and both Houses of Congress, and conducted by the Chaplain Samuel Provoost.  As President Washington attended St. Paul’s  regularly and even had a designated box seat in the church. President Washington’s habit of not only participating in worship but recording it in his diary as a faithful church attender is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read Acts 17:1-2 and reflect on Paul’s custom of attending the synagogue on the Sabbath and compare that with Washington’s custom of Sunday church attendance.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the gift of the Day of Worship and Rest. May we be more faithful to honor you on your Day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Benjamin J. Lossing, ed., The Diary of George Washington, From 1789 to 1791, Embracing the Opening of the First Congress and His Tours Through New England, Long Island and The Southern States, Together with His Journal of a Tour to the Ohio in 1753 (New York: Charles B. Richardson & Co., 1860), 109.

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