Youth participants at the 12th annual “Blessing of the City.” From left, Rashard Matthews, St. James’ Episcopal Church; Malachi Gatewood, Enon Baptist Church; Gary T. Logan II, Macedonia Baptist Church; Tay’La Murphy, Metropolitan United Methodist Church; and Rev. Sequoia Boone, St. John. AME Church.
The churches of historic Lafayette Square came together on Palm Sunday, March 29, to offer up prayers of blessing for the city of Baltimore for a 12th straight year.
Pastors laid hands on the doors of City Hall as they asked for wisdom, peace and strong leadership. Youth leaders prayed for education, crime prevention, racism and the homeless, in addition to city and state leadership.
Member participants were Enon Baptist, Greater Hope COGIC, Macedonia Baptist, Metropolitan United Methodist, St. James Episcopal and St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal churches. Pastors are the Rev. Dr. Arnold W. Howard, Rev. Stephen Jones, Rev. Dr. Darron McKinney, Rev. Eric King, Rev. Dr. Allen F. Robinson and Rev. Dr. Peggy Wall.
Lafayette Square was established in West Baltimore in 1860 and was occupied during the Civil War as Camp Hoffman for Union troops. Many historic mansions of architectural significance are part of the fabric of the Lafayette Square, which is the only public square in the city with five churches; four were built in the 19th century.
The eldest of the churches, by way of history, is St. James, also the third oldest African-American Episcopal congregation in the United States and the oldest south of the Mason-Dixon line. Founded during slavery in 1824 by the Rev. William Levington, it was established as St. James’ First African Protestant Episcopal Church in the “Upper Room” at Park Avenue and Marion Street. The church moved to several different locations in Baltimore City before settling in 1832 at its current building, 829 N. Arlington Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.
In 2014, St. James’ celebrated 190 years of dedicated service to God in Baltimore City and abroad. Today, St. James’ is a vibrant, inclusive, multi-cultural congregation in Lafayette Square, West Baltimore City. The Rev. Dr. Allen F. Robinson, rector, has served as the pastor of this congregation for the past 13 years.