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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, May 24

Death of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, of a fever.
Death of Polish cleric and astronomer Nicolas Copernicus. Copernicus participated in a Roman Catholic religious community at the cathedral of Frauenburg.
Lutheran scholar Stephen Gerlach delivers the Augsburg Confession to Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II for consideration as talks continue to see if common ground can be found for a union between the Orthodox and Lutheran churches.
Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colonists observe their first celebration of the Eucharist, thought to have been presided over by John Hunt, their Anglican priest.
English founder of Methodism John Wesley underwent his famous religious conversion at Aldersgate Chapel in London. Later, in his journal, Wesley reflected under this date: 'I felt my heart strangely warmed....'
According to a note inscribed in his Bible, Robert Robinson, 16, was "born again" ("renatus") under the preaching of English revivalist George Whitefield. Robinson later authored the hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
Death of pastor and hymnwriter Joseph Hart. Twenty thousand people will attend his funeral. Although reared godly, he had become virulently opposed to Christianity and wrote against John Wesley. However, at forty years of age, he returned to his childhood faith and began to write hymns. Among the best known was "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy." His hymns were so successful he was encouraged to become a Congregational minister. He was so fervent that great crowds gathered to hear him preach.
Alexander Duff arrives in India. He will proceed to Calcutta where he will advance Christian education. He and his wife suffered two shipwrecks in sailing to Asia.
Inventor Samuel F. B. Morse demonstrates the world's first practical telegraph. For over a decade he had struggled to patent and finance the invention, writing in a moment of discouragement, "The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?' Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence." His first message, sent from the Supreme Court to Baltimore, was a quote from the Bible: Numbers 23:23, "What hath God wrought."
Madame Caroline Miolan-Carvalho gives Charles Gounod's Ave Maria its first public performance.
Death of Mary Webb in Boston. Although bound to a wheelchair from youth, she had founded one of the first women’s missionary societies in America and coordinated the efforts of two hundred local societies.
Death in Wisconsin of Episcopalian Bishop Jackson Kemper, who had served much of his life evangelizing on the American frontier and among the Indians of the Mid west.
Gilbert Haven is consecrated at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Because he promotes the equality of all persons, racists will not have him as bishop of white conferences, so the white bishop serves an Atlanta conference composed entirely of African Americans.
Death in New York City of William Lloyd Garrison, who had agitated against slavery as a speaker, writer, editor, and founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Many of his anti-slavery arguments had been Bible-based.
Birth of Earl B. Marlatt, American religious educator and hymnologist. In 1926 Marlatt penned the hymn, "`Are Ye Able?' Said the Master," to be sung in a consecration service at Boston University's School of Religion.
Maud Booth speaks in Sing Sing prison, seeking prison reform, and electrifies the prisoners: "I do not come here to prevent you from paying the just penalty of your crimes; take your medicine like men. When you have paid the penalty I will help you. I will nurse you back to health. I will get you work. Above all I will trust you. It depends on you whether I keep doing so or not."
Pioneer linguist Frank C. Laubach, while serving as a Congregational missionary, wrote in a letter: 'As one makes new discoveries about his friends by being with them, so one discovers the "individuality" of God if one entertains him continuously.'
After selfless service to his nation both as an Episcopal bishop and as an organizer of medical relief during the Sino-Japanese war, Zhu Youyu is in Shanghai when Communist forces enter the city. He will soon be denounced as an imperialist agent by the Communists, speaking through the Three Self Patriotic Church.
In Boston, during its annual gathering, the Northern Baptist Convention formally changed its name to the American Baptist Convention. Twenty-two years later, in 1972, the denomination changed its name once more, and became the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.
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