They came from nearly 50 states - 4,000 men, women and children. They came representing diverse denominational backgrounds, skin colors and ethnicities. Some were descendants of the Powhatan Indians themselves, or the Jamestown colonists, while others were first, second, and third-generation children of immigrants.
And from the opening ceremonies, which involved the re-enactment of the planting of the Cross at the "First Landing" on Monday, June 11, to the glorious closing fireworks on the evening of Saturday, June 16, the Christian families in attendance prayed, played, feasted and rejoiced.
In 1607 a three-ship flotilla of Englishmen set sail for America: the Susan Constant guided by a privateer captain, Christopher Newport with seventy-one passengers and crew, the Godspeed with fifty-two men aboard led by another experienced fighter Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, and the tiny Discovery with twenty-one men in the charge of John Ratcliffe. A third to a half the men on board were considered gentlemen; they eschewed physical labor. The Virginia-bound company also included a pastor, twelve artisans, a blacksmith, a mason, two bricklayers, four carpenters, a tailor, two barbers, and a surgeon; the rest of the men were unskilled laborers or ship's crew. All of them were seeking their fortunes and fulfilling the mandates of their sponsor, the London company: to locate sources of precious metals, find a river route to the Pacific, and make contact with and bring the Christian Gospel to the native population. The querulous ship's company included several pirates ("privateers") and veterans of European wars, one of whom was a practical and tough freebooter, a man not to be trifled with, John Smith.
We gather this evening just one-half mile from historic Jamestown Island, Virginia, to celebrate the 375th anniversary year of Henricus Colledge (1619), Inc.
While it was not until July 31, 1619, that the Colledge was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly, it is most fitting to commemorate its birth on April 9, 1994. For tomorrow, April 10, is the 388th anniversary day of the First Charter authorizing the founding of the colony of Virginia.
Without the founding of the colony, there would obviously have been no college. But the connection between the two is far closer than that. Both were founded with the single purpose of winning the native peoples of Virginia to Christ.
America's Quadricentennial provides a time when Americans of all persuasions can rejoice together that the seeds planted at her birth were of such quality as to bring forth the civil liberty we still enjoy today. Yet, those conducting the "commemoration" (one cannot say celebration these days) of America's four hundredth birthday find it difficult to give honor to whom honor is due.
It is common today to view all the European settlements, especially Jamestown and Plymouth, as "an invasion." Since we must come to conclusions based upon a bias of historic interpretations (all have such a bias), it may be important to highlight the biased assumptions of some of today's historians.
King David was a student of history. Thinking about God's wonderful acts in the history of God's people encouraged him in his own struggles. He wrote songs of God's victories so those people might continue down through their generations to glorify God and to work for the advance of God's kingdom over all the earth. Here are David's own words in Psalm 145.
For one beautiful, inspiring week dedicated to the glory of God, thousands of Americans stopped to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord and His many kind providences associated with the founding of our nation at Jamestown four hundred years ago. These families came to do what our government officials said should not be done - "celebrate"! And they did so with enthusiasm and gusto. The following quotes - taken from event organizers, participants, adults, children, and onlookers - is provided to offer you the personal insights of those who not only celebrated history, but became part of it. Each quote is placed within the context of a key observation about the significance of the Jamestown Quadricentennial.