e.g. Abolition, Prudence Crandall, the Amistad, Nat Turner, Indian Removal, Female Complaints: First Congregational Church, Lyme, Connecticut, ca. 1816

Even the pulpit Bible was consumed
in the fire that turned the meeting-house to ash.
An architect planned the new meeting-house,
a steeple equipped with a lightning-rod,
a belfry, and a golden weathervane;
Ionic columns supporting the architraves
framing the entrance; and an oval arch
in the ceiling to lift the eye and heart.

Having survived Jefferson’s embargo
with shipbuilding and shipping fortunes intact,
the community wanted to build a meeting-house
as elegant as any in the state.
They painted its clapboards yellow, with white trim,
and installed a high, mahogany pulpit.
The new gallery held pews for the choir.

They removed the stocks and the whipping-post.
They flocked to the reverend’s Bible study class.
The ladies formed a reading society
whose meetings began with a Bible verse,
segued into a chat about uplifting books,
avoided discussions of uncomfortable things,
and collected an offering for missionary work.

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