23 June, 2011

A Humbling Fieldtrip

I don't think many people have ever taken their children to a Holocaust museum & were surprised at what they found. I kind of did that by taking a field trip 2 weeks ago to the town of Valdese for their Trail of Faith celebration. Have you ever heard of them? I had heard that they were persecuted but due to my lack of exposure or background, I was thinking more like Richard Wurmbrand; the Catholic church made Nazis look like kindergarten teachers. Valdese was founded by the Waldensians, a little known Christian remnant that God was gracious enough to preserve until the reformation came about. This post, like most of my posts was getting unwieldy, so it shan't be as thorough as I'd have liked, but check out this link for eye witness accounts of the times; turn the pages.
They immigrated to America to start a new life after the atrocities inflicted by the Catholic church ended & the land would no longer support their numbers. Quite a few reproductions & original pieces are included in the year-round display we visited. My camera was on internal memory mode for some reason, rather than memory card so I didn't get the number of pictures I wanted. We started at the end of the trail because the children were not as initially enthused over the field trip as I was & the entrance & engines were at the end of the trail so that's where we gravitated.

The actual beginning was their seminary, much of it was locked up. They did have the illustrations from the above link however. We are not big criers at our house, maybe on an annual basis for me, depending on if I'm carrying at the time. Reading all of those descriptions in the olde engli┼┐h & their illustrations was more than enough to make me tear up. I know a lot of people like to change the subject or only think of happy things or the bright side or whatever it takes to stay in their comfort zone & keep their sensitivities anesthetized. For my part, I think that's a grave mistake, as bad as over exposure & callousing them. People never change & are always capable of these things. Total depravity is total.

Charlotte is a week or two away from her 3rd birthday in this picture. Can you imagine being an old man, or pregnant woman crawling in to worship on your hands & knees? Or crawling to fresh air to be shot coming out. It's not a smooth wall either but as this was a reproduction, a door was put in on the side for convenience.

The ceiling.

This picture is taken from the platform where the preacher would stand.

So, they left. If you click on the picture it ought to be readable.

The 26th NC Regiment was present & handing out Stars & Bars. The sesquicentennial is big here.

There was another model of house w/ walls 3' thick & the stable underneath for warmth. They didn't realize that winter in the Carolina's isn't nearly as severe as in the Alps. So enough untreated lumber for a 15x15 house for each family was allotted for the winter no matter how many members came over. This is the original half, another 15x15 section was added on later. These little houses can still be seen dotting the area. A deal was made to the group to give them a huge tract of land & a sawmill to sell lumber to other settlers & so pay for the land. They turned out to not be very good w/ the sawmill however & got into debt.

A hit & miss engine, kind of like a huge table saw, but w/ the intent to cut wood like a chainsaw. That nice man was sawing off thin rounds of cedar for free souvenirs to keep in the closets. This was our second stop after the old timey tractors. A LOT of older farm equipment was around & I was pleased that I was able to tell V& C what 90% of it was. Since I couldn't get pictures of everything, that cement structure w/ the spire was the gift of a fountain to the Waldensians from King Charles Albert, so pleased was he w/ their hospitality when he visited. The field stone building is a little one room school & the untreated building is the Tron House, which is pictured above.

V&C holding their rounds watching the sawmill in action. Victor is thrilled, Charlotte nervous because of the noise. Victor is definitely more mechanically inclined.

The original sawmill still in use!

Their church building. Steeples at the time were outlawed. I'm not a big architecture geek but I love the simplicity & thought it was neat to see the Italian influence. A sign out front claims it to be the oldest Protestant church in America. I don't remember if I read that means it was brought over or what.

So, all in all, they ended on a good note after centuries of persecution which, from what I've read the Catholic church has yet to apologize for. I encourage you to look a little deeper, it was a pretty moving field trip & should it still be going on as the chickens grow up, we'll definitley return. They do guided tours throughout the year if you call ahead. Some links:

Their heinous "crimes"

Atrocities inflicted

Inquistion Info.

Valdese site

The movement


Timeline 2


Milton's poem & synopsis

Of the Sects of Modern Heretics, 1254

No comments: