From Congregation to Constitution: The separation of church and state in Connecticut

Announcing our CT 1818 grant series programs! These events are funded by a grant from CT Humanities and designed in partnership with the Avon Historical Society.  Events will be held at multiple locations within the town of Avon. Programs are free, no registration. The Avon Senior Center is a supporting partner of this series.

Standing Order of 1639-1818: Why Connecticans Stood For It

 Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Lecture presented by Eugene Leach,  Professor of History and American Studies, Emeritus, Trinity College. The magistrates and ministers who ruled early Connecticut for most of two centuries may have been a hidebound, ingrown, and self-righteous lot.  But this “Standing Order” could not have stood as long as it did by standing still.  Eugene Leach will argue that early Connecticut’s governing establishment was more adaptive, and more responsive to the will of ordinary Connecticans, than its long-standing image suggests.  This program will be held at the Avon Congregational Church,  6 West Main St., Avon, CT 06001.

Episcopalians in Connecticut: Religious freedom and education reform 

Monday, October 22, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Presented by Stephen McGrath, History Professor at CCSU. The Constitution of 1818 brought true religious freedom to Connecticut.  It ended the status of the Congregational Church as the state church, and freed local public schools from Congregational church control. It enabled dissenters such as Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists to form their own schools.  With freedom to educate, Connecticut’s religious minorities finally enjoyed religious freedom that they worked for so long to achieve.  Please read excerpts from Original Discontents, available at the Avon Library.  This program will be held at the Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Rd., Avon, CT 06001.

The People Have Sung: Popular Songs of 1818 

Wed., November 7, 2018, 2:00 pm  This program includes songs that were popular or familiar in CT during the period. The discussion will include background on the songs and how they reflected the cultural, political or “just plain human” sensibilities of the day.  Songs that were already well-known in the Colonial era were still widely popular in 1818.  More modern songs from the time of the 1812 war were entering the public domain.  An interesting mix of sounds was evolving during this part of our history and popular songs, new and old, were being sung in parlors, taverns and concert gatherings across Connecticut. This is what “pop” music sounded like in 1818.  Presented by music historians Rick Spencer and Dawn IndermuehleThis program will be held at the Avon Senior Center, 635 West Avon Rd., Avon, CT 06001.

Completed programs:

Meet John Adams, Saturday, June 9, 2018, 2:00 p.m. Join us for a dramatic program by George Baker, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, their historic relationship from the American Revolution to 1826, the 50th Anniversary of the United States.” Since 2008, George Baker has portrayed John Adams to businesses, universities, libraries, national conventions and venues. He has been seen at the New York Historical  Society, the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and has been featured on National Public Radio’s weekend program, Studio 360. All ages welcome.   This program will be held at the Avon Library, 281 Country Club Rd., Avon, CT 06001.

Trouble in the land of steady habits: How we got to the Constitution of 1818

Monday, September 10, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Connecticut in 1818 was in many ways eerily similar to  Connecticut in 2018: A troubled state, seeking a new direction.  This lecture, presented by Walter Woodward, Connecticut State Historian, Ph.D, Associate Professor of History at UConn, will highlight the perfect storm of crises — environmental, economic, demographic, religious, and political — which converged in the middle of the 1810’s  to force the state to rethink the ways it had been conducting its affairs for the  previous two centuries.  The  comprehensive nature of these problems, and the accidental events that ultimately produced Connecticut’s  constitutional transformation, offer essential insights for our equally-challenging time. This program will be held at the West Avon Congregational Church, 280 Country Club Rd., Avon, CT 06001.




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