On several occasions I have had the honor to preach at the Fountain City Wesleyan Church near Richmond, Indiana. It has since been renamed LifeSpring Church, as they are reaching throughout the east-central part of the state. I really knew nothing of the background of the church and was moved by its present vibrancy, outreaching-missional mindset and loving community, effectively increasing its membership and running out of space and having to add more services.
All this defied its location in rural Indiana near a tiny town.
One morning, as I was quite early, one of the women came to me and began to recount the history of the church. Founded in 1843 by Pastor Daniel Worth, an abolitionist, the church worked with a family of Quakers nearby, who served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
By this time, I was already overwhelmed! Then she said rather nonchalantly, “We have some artifacts back in this room you might like to see.” Of course, I could not get there fast enough. My breath was taken away when she led me to this pulpit and said, “This was our pulpit for years. Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth both preached from this pulpit here in our church.”
As I laid my hands on that pulpit, I could hear the stirring oratory of Douglas, “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.”
Then nearly in tears, I could hear Sojourner Truths deep compelling voice, “I have born 16 children and seen them all sold into slavery, and only Jesus heard my cry.”
This Wesleyan Church protected and cared for over 2,000 enslaved people on their journey to freedom.
God is still pouring out his blessings for their courageous obedience, not only 177 years ago but still today, as they seek freedom for the oppressed. Thank you, Pastors David Anderson and Steve Bray.