Concord and Keene, NH -- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of New Hampshire’s own Jonathan Daniels, a saint and martyr in the Episcopal Church, who was assassinated on August 20, 1965 at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Events to honor and remember Daniels are being held in New Hampshire and across the country.
NH Youth and Bishop Hirschfeld Pilgrimage to Alabama
From August 11 – 16, The Right Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of NH, will join the St. James Episcopal Church of Keene’s youth group on a Pilgrimage to Hayneville, Alabama, where Daniels was assassinated. The trip includes immersion in the history of the Civil Rights movement with a walk across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge, tours of the National Voting Rights Museum, The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Rosa Parks Museum and visits to the sites of slave markets. A service project and March in Hayneville on August 15 will culminate with a prayer service and an afternoon of study at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bishop Hirschfeld will be alongside the youth, learning and listening. You can visit his blog, www.tendingthevine.org, to read his reflections.
Commemorative Worship Service, Sunday, August 23
On Sunday, August 23, a Commemorative Worship Service will be held at St. James, Keene, officiated by Bishop Hirschfeld. Ruby Sales, whose life was saved by Daniels, will offer the sermon. St. James is located at 44 West Street in Keene and all are welcome to attend the service, followed by a Walk of Remembrance to Jonathan Daniels’ grave, and a celebratory luncheon.
Walk of Remembrance and Graveside Service, Sunday, August 23
Following the Worship Service, at approximately 10:30 am, several downtown churches, including St. James, will ring their bells as a tribute to Daniels’ memory and to mark the beginning of a Walk of Remembrance. Starting at St. James Episcopal Church, marchers will walk to Daniels’ grave in the Monadnock View Cemetery in West Keene where there will be a short graveside service. Transportation to and from the grave will be provided for those who are unable to walk.
About Jonathan Daniels
Daniels, a seminarian at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, went south that summer answering The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy to help register black voters. While there, Daniels was arrested along with a number of Civil Rights workers. Upon being released from jail, he headed to a store to buy a cold drink. As he approached, a local deputy sheriff, Tom Coleman, raised his gun and fired. Daniels shoved SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) worker Ruby Sales out of the way, taking the fatal shot himself.
Daniels grew up in Keene, New Hampshire, where he worshiped at St. James Episcopal Church. To honor him and the beliefs he stood and died for, a Jonathan Daniels Commemoration Committee has hosted activities throughout the year locally, nationally and internationally to commemorate his life and death, with the theme, “Here I am, Send Me,” encouraging others touched by Daniels’ example to do one thing to make the world a better place.
For more information on other events scheduled during this 50th anniversary year and to learn more about Jonathan Daniels please visit www.jonathandaniels50.com. For more information on the Episcopal Church of NH, visit www.nhepiscopal.org.