~Mount Gilead

Church offers faith and history

Bucks County Courier Times

  A tiny church built by escaped slaves was the setting Easter morning for a sunrise service in Buckingham. About 40 people trekked up Buckingham Mountain in the wee hours of the morning to sing and pray in the old Mount Gilead African Methodist Episcopal Church. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, Mount Gilead now opens only a few times a year. It drew a crowd of about 40 on Sunday. Lenny Harvett of Trenton said he got up at 4 a.m. to come to the Methodist service. Harvett said he wanted to experience “the day of resurrection” in a church built by former slaves.

Solo performers sang soulful melodies. John Jackson of Newtown sang “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” as listeners drummed their feet against the old wooden floorboards. Following the service, church caretaker John Reinhardt pointed out evidence of recent vandalism at the church. The north wall of the stone building was defaced with graffiti. There is damage to some of the graves, which belonged to escaped slaves. Vandals also stole the sign posted on the road announcing Sunday's celebration, Reinhardt said. These incidents were reported to the local police, who are investigating, he added.


The Rev. David Jackson of the Second Baptist Church in Doylestown said he would not let the vandalism upset him. “We need not worry about the vandalism. We need not worry about the stolen signs. God is there in our lives. He's at the controls. He's standing behind us,” Jackson said. Mount Gilead Church was first constructed of logs in 1832 and later fortified with stone, according to the book “Black Heritage Sites” by Nancy Curtis. The church was one of the last stops in Pennsylvania for slaves heading to New Jersey, according to the book.

James McGinnis can be reached at 215-949-3248 or

March 24, 2008 6:07 AM



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ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1864) 2nd Inaugural

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 


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