Reverend Dr. Reginald Davis: January 27, 2016




Reverend Dr. Reginald Davis
First Baptist Church of Williamsburg

240th Anniversary of First Baptist Church of Williamsburg Celebrated with Special Bell Ringing Ceremony and Concert for Hope on February 1; President Obama Invited, Russell Simmons and Rabbi Schneier Honorary Chairpersons


Let Freedom Ring Challenges Nation to Ring the First Baptist Church Bell for Peace, Justice, Equality and Hope; Bell to Ring on the 1st Day of Black History Month and  All Day, Every Day Throughout the Month by Americans Across the Country

After a year of simmering racial tension in America, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and First Baptist Church have challenged the Nation—Americans of every color, faith, and creed—to come ring the newly restored First Baptist Church bell this February.  The bell, restored to ring for the first time since the Jim Crow era and the early days of segregation, will ring to celebrate the 240th Anniversary of First Baptist Church and as a call to action to begin the process of healing of the nation during Black History Month.

A church bell is a symbol of peace, hope, and faith. It is also a call-to-action to go forth and do good work in the world. As a Nation, we are constantly striving to form a more perfect union—and in February, we wish to begin the process of healing, peace, and hope—with YOU.


Secretly founded in 1776, the year of America’s independence, by a group of slaves the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia celebrates its 240th anniversary in 2016.  It is today one of the country’s oldest African-American houses of Baptist worship, and a symbol of the faith, struggle, and perseverance that marks the black experience in America. The First Baptist Church — whose first members met under thatched arbors in the woods — later moved to a church building and acquired a bell in the late 19th century.

Since the days of segregation and Jim Crow, the bell has been inoperable…unheard throughout the tumult and progress of the civil rights movement and in the presence of famed worshipers including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which has played a key role in building the church at the current site, has pledged to restore the bell to working condition and to challenge the nation to ring it throughout the day — every day — for Black History Month in February 2016.

Throughout January, Mitchell Reiss, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Reverend Dr. Reginald Davis from the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg will be available to you and your listeners to discuss how people can get involved with ringing the bell and being part of the process of healing, peace and hope as an international call-to-action with a ceremonial kick-off ignites a movement.


Reverend Dr. Reginald F. Davis has presided as pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia since January 2004.  The twenty-first pastor of First Baptist Church, Pastor Davis holds a Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in New York, and a Doctorate in Humanities, with a concentration in African American Studies from Florida State University. Pastor Davis received his Bachelor of Art degree from the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas.

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