Faith and ‘The Holy Day’ holiday: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church examines the meaning of Sunday as a day of rest and how it impacted our nation

May 9, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

SUBMITTED BY ERICA RESS MARTIN – On Tuesday, May 11 at 4:30 p.m., the third free webisode of the new St. Andrew’s Lecture series examines the impact of Sunday as a Holy Day Holiday in America.

Not so long ago, Sunday was the most special day of the week. Blue laws kept malls and stores closed on Sunday. It was treated as a day of rest, and if you had to work on Sunday, time and a half was paid. Even the newspaper was different on Sunday, filled with comics, sports and living sections that took most of the day to read. More importantly, Sunday was filled with spirituality, faith and family.

So, what happened? How has American life changed as Sunday became more like the other days of the week?

OAH Distinguished Lecturer Alexis McCrossen, examines this compelling intersection of time, faith and the laws of our nation in “The Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday.” 

Considered a leading cultural historian, Professor McCrossen’s work studies the history of timekeeping, religion, technology, cities and business in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the path to understanding our lives today. Since 1800, conflicts over the meaning of Sunday has shaped the way America observes, lives and works, 

Mo. Michelle Robertshaw, the pastor at St. Andrew’s, reminds us that true faith is not something to practice only on Sunday. But have we weakened our connection by softening the observance of the Holy Day Holiday? 

McCrossen is a professor of history at Southern Methodist University, where she has taught since 1995. She is also the author of “Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life” (2013), as well as the editor and contributor to “Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States-Mexico Borderlands” (2009). She is currently working on a book entitled “Time’s Touchstone: The New Year in American Life” which examines the White House’s annual New Year’s Day reception, New York’s Times Square extravaganza, and Watch Night services, among other observances. 

How can you listen to the lecture and ask questions if you’re sitting at home watching on your computer? It’s simple, according to Kimberly Gladding Whipple, the moderator of the “Faith and …” series. Go to, the official St. Andrew’s website. Click on the link to the Zoom presentation. As you listen, type in any question for Professor McCrossen and Kimberly promises to get to as many questions as time permits.