God in the Darkness: How Congregationalists in the Connecticut River Valley Faced the Upheaval and Violence of the American Revolution

Christopher Walton
Promotional graphic for the event, featuring an image of the Connecticut River Valley

12-1 pm EST


This event will held in person at 14 Beacon and will concurrently be livestreamed over Zoom.



Join us for a lunchtime talk with American Congregational Association - Boston Athenaeum Research Fellow Christopher Walton on his research into how Congregationalists in the Connecticut River Valley navigated the American Revolution.

War impacts religion just as much as religion affects war. Christopher Walton’s research examines the religious experience of Congregationalist non-combatants in the Connecticut River Valley during the American Revolution. Focusing on the years of warfare (1775-1783), the project reveals the ways in which Revolutionary violence affected congregational life in a region that was not subject to occupation or major military campaigns. The realities of dissension, uncertainty, violence, and loss shaped the religious commitments and activities of Congregationalists in rural New England. Through it all, many Congregational ministers in the Valley elevated a vision for personal and community piety that strove to use political turmoil for religious ends, rather than to use religion for political ends.

Using the detailed diary of Rev. Stephen Williams of Longmeadow, Massachusetts as a window into the religious world of communities and clergymen all through the Connecticut River Valley, Walton shows how the Revolution tested religious beliefs and practices and how ministers and laypeople responded.


There are two ways to attend this hybrid event:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about the event. For more information, please email info@14beacon.org.



Christopher Walton is a PhD candidate in history at Southern Methodist University. His research explores American religious history from the colonial era to the early national period. Specializing in the Revolutionary era, he examines the effects of war on religious life, showing how the Revolution affected Congregationalist beliefs, practices, and institutions in the Connecticut River Valley. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts from Whitefield College, a Master of American Studies from the University of Dallas, and a Master of Arts in History from Southern Methodist University.