The Roger Williams National Memorial is the first National Park in Rhode Island, barely 4 acres, but according to the National Park Service, “commemorates the life of the founder of Rhode Island and a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Williams, banished from Massachusetts for his beliefs, founded Providence in 1636. This colony served as a refuge where all could come to worship as their conscience dictated without interference from the state.”
Williams took this concept from the Bible. When Peter was told by the church/state establishment to alter his sermon, he replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men.“ Later Peter wrote declaring the individual priesthood of the believer, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…” (1 Peter 2:9).
One mile east is where Roger landed (GPS: 41.823417, -71.390467), “And having a sense of God’s merciful Providence unto me in my distress called the place Providence I desired it might be fore a shelter for persons Distressed for Conscience”
.Two blocks south of the National Memorial is the church he started in 1638, the First Baptist Church in America (GPS: 41.827463, -71.408342).
Three miles south of the memorial is the Roger Williams Park (and Zoo GPS: 41.790422, -71.414862). This land was given to Roger Williams by the Narragansett chief Canonicus, and Roger’s descendant Betsey Williams willed it to Providence in 1872,
Paul talked often of Holding faith, and a good conscience. Likewise, Williams believed that “that no person be forced to pay nor pray, otherwise then as his soul believeth and consenteth”
Three blocks east of the National Memorial is Prospect Terrace (GPS: 41.82983, -71.40738), where you’ll find a statue of Roger Williams, and also his earthly remains
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