Visiting Williamsburg, Virginia
After the presbytery opened with prayer and housekeeping, I was able to address the body and then lead a breakout session on maintaining church records. At lunch I met elders from First United Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, whose church had a hand in organizing Norfolk State University and sustaining the Norfolk Mission College. I had brought down a photo of Norfolk Mission College from our own Record Group 303, hoping for this kind of encounter.
Got to bring a photo of Norfolk Mission College to members of First United PC Norfolk pic.twitter.com/t0TcVUN46i— David Staniunas (@RecdsArchvst) January 25, 2020
Williamsburg Presbyterian Church's history is bound up with that of the Virginia Peninsula. Organized about 1860 as the York River Presbyterian Church, the site of the original white frame church was subsumed by the military reservation that would become Camp Peary, and the congregation was resettled in the center of Williamsburg, across from the College of William and Mary. Church historians were recently permitted to visit the old structure, which is part of the CIA's training facilities. The church's current librarian and archivist found time to show me some images from that trip and the rest of their collection.
During Sunday morning services I spoke about PHS's mission to collect, preserve, and share Presbyterian history before the Williamsburg congregation--and was pleased to see my name in the church bulletin next to a certain "L. Cohen."
It was a treat to spend time with folks from Williamsburg, Norfolk, Newport News, and Virginia Beach; to share with them some of the important work PHS has been doing; and to guide them in appraising and preserving their original records. I look forward to being back in the Tidewater soon!