Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Church celebrates founding of UA

An audience of church members and University faculty sat on polished wood chairs as the evening sun flooded through the stained glass windows of Christ Episcopal Church Monday night.

This year, the church decided to commemorate the founding of the University and the inaugural ceremonies held on its behalf by placing a bronze plaque in the atrium of the church. The inaugural ceremony to install the first president of the University occurred in the nave of the church on April 12, 1831.

In the ceremony to celebrate the commemoration, Justice Bernard Harwood, who served on the Supreme Court of Alabama for seven years, spoke about the deep ties between the church and the University.

“Many of our parishioners serve as University professors or staff members, are alumni, or are parents of former or current students,” Harwood said. “There are many in our church who participate in a variety of University activities. For example, 18 members of the University’s President’s Cabinet worship at Christ Church. The current president of the University and a former president are parishioners here.”

Harwood, who was baptized and confirmed at the church, said that he received his law degree from the University.

According to the Rev. David Meginnis, the church waited until the University’s 179th anniversary to hold a celebration because Easter this year played an important role.

“Usually, April 12 occurs in Lent, and we can’t have parties during that time,” Meginnis said. “But this year, we had an early Easter, so this is the first opportunity we’ve had in a long time [to commemorate our relationship with the University].”

Meginnis said a plaque in the atrium would draw attention to the church’s history with the University.

Meginnis, in his speech to the audience, likened the students’ pursuit of knowledge at the University to the life of Solomon, who some say was as the wisest man in the Bible.

Elizabeth Cleino, whose husband taught in the School of Music, said the holding of the inaugural ceremonies at the church occurred out of practicality.

Cleino said the rotunda had yet to be finished, and the church was the biggest place for a public gathering needed for the ceremonies to be conducted.

UA President Robert Witt said the plaque helps to establish something permanent between the church and the University while the service served as a reminder.

“The inauguration of the University’s first President is such a significant event in the history of the church, as well as the University,” Witt said. “They could have just put up the plaque, but they chose to involve the community instead by holding a ceremony today.”

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