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Civil War

St. Stephen's Resurrection Windows

Sin: Off Target


Off Target

by Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

Ash Wednesday 2015

2 Corinthians 5: 20b-6:10

I’ve only shot a firearm once, when I was pastor of my first church in Virginia. It was not AT one of my parishioners, but WITH one: one of my deacons, Don Herring, was a retired Navy firearms instructor. He took me out to his private firing range out in the woods to fire a musket–Don and his wife were big Civil War re-enactors as well. He showed me the complicated loading process, which involved ramming the powder, wadding, and ball in exactly right, and in the right order. He pointed out that to this day they’re finding old muskets on Civil War battlefields loaded with unfired balls stacked up on top of one another, from panicked troopers loading their muskets incorrectly.Read More »Sin: Off Target

Let Us Go to the Other Side

November 11, 2012
St. Mark 4:35-41

Several years ago when I lived in Virginia, I paid a visit to an interesting little church, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA. Fifth Avenue is a historically African American church, founded over a hundred years ago. When I visited, it was a small struggling church, and maybe it still is, but when I was there I was struck by a stained glass window in its sanctuary. It’s a picture of a beautiful, calm, river scene with, of all things, Civil War tents on one side and a wooded area on the other. I asked what it was and discovered to my surprise that this stained glass window depicted the Rappahannock River going through the Civil War battlefield of Chancellorsville, and that the window was dedicated to one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals, Stonewall Jackson.Read More »Let Us Go to the Other Side