The church is also removing a plaque that memorializes Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Both of the plaques, which indicated where the two men sat when they attended services there, were erected in 1870, according to The Republican Standard.
“We understand that both Washington and Lee lived in times much different than our own, and that each man, in addition to his public persona, was a complicated human being, and like all of us, a child of God,” reads a letter issued by the church board. “Today, the legacy of slavery and of the Confederacy is understood differently than it was in 1870. For some, Lee symbolizes the attempt to overthrow the Union and to preserve slavery. Today our country is trying once again to come to grips with the history of slavery and the subsequent disenfranchisement of people of color.”
The church initially considered taking out only Lee’s plaque, but later added Washington because he owned slaves.
The church board quotes Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”