Congress Holds First Church Service in 130 Years

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WASHINGTON -- For the first time in 130 years, members of Congress gathered in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for a church service.

About 300 members from both sides of the aisle gathered to worship just hours before the House of Representatives voted to pass health care reform.

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., organized the service and delivered a message about trusting God.

"When we look at our Founding Fathers we don't have to ask the question 'I wonder what would have happened if they had trusted God?" Forbes said. "They did. Our question is 'What would have happened had they not trusted God?'"

"And the question we left them with is 100 years from today, 30 years from today what will our children be asking?" he continued. "Will they have to ask the question,'I wonder what would have happened if they had trusted God?' or will they be able to ask the same question that we get to ask: 'I wonder what would have happened had they not trusted God?'"

Church services in the Capitol were common throughout the 19th century. At one point, nearly 2,000 people assembled for church there each Sunday representing the largest Protestant church in the U.S. at the time.

Thomas Jefferson attended a church service in the Capitol just two days after writing his famous "wall of separation between church and state" metaphor in a letter.

*Originally published March 26, 2010.

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