Saturday, July 26, 2008

Worship Service at the Old Fort

It has been a very busy time for downtown Fort Wayne. Late spring and early summer is a time of festivals. We have had a Fiesta, Greek Fest, German Fest, Pride Fest and tonight there is an Island Fest complete with a beach and reggae music.

However, the biggest event by far is the Three Rivers Festival. It lasts nine days. It has carnival rides, a huge parade, and events all over the city. Cathi and our niece Zoƫ entered an intergenerational craft show at the Community Center. Our school had an award winning float (antique circus wagon pulled by horses). The school also had an art showing and a special planetarium show for the community. Events include music, movies, art shows, and of course food.

I was especially excited to see that the First Baptist Church of Fort Wayne was having a worship service at Historic Fort Wayne (our fort). This was a re-enactment of an 1820 worship service. Turns out that on May 15th 1820 the Rev. Isaac McCoy, his wife and children arrived in Fort Wayne. At that time the city was just a frontier town. On May 15th he also preached his first sermon in town. On June 18th he baptized Pe-Me-Sah-Quah who was the grand daughter of Chief Little Turtle. The churches charter members included Indians and settlers. The service this day was at the fort because he also used the decommissioned fort of his day.

The preacher, the Rev. George B. Scripture was in an impressive period costume. He looked like a cross between a parson and a riverboat gambler. He stood out of the sun framed by the fort doorway and was very impressive with his white hair and strong voice.

Music was provided by the Towpath Players. They played hand harps, dulcimers and tin whistles and they were wonderful.

We sat around the flag pole in the center of the fort. To one side the horses neighed and stomped their hooves. Above us on the roof of the fort a dove landed and it seemed so appropriate for the setting. The symbol of peace landed on a structure for war. Many of the church members were also dressed in historical costumes.

The fort also had en-actors from Wisconsin, Chicago and Nevada. Soldiers and settles, traders and Indians wondered about as we participated in our worship service.

Outside the fort the blacksmith shop was busy. A Miami Indian showed off his goods, a Shawnee rode around on a horse. Infantry shoot of their rifles and the cannon was shot across the river. It was quite a setting for church!

The service was simple and touching. The music was great. We all sang and the Rev. preached about “God’s Formula for Real Happiness”. Right across the river carnival rides were going, food was being served and people were having a fun time. We sat and worshiped as the birds sang and the sky became deep blue. Spending time with our Baptist brothers and sisters as they mark an important time in their local history proved to be a great way to spend a Sunday morning in Fort Wayne.

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