Today in Christian History
Bridget Bishop became the first person hanged for witchcraft, during the ordeal known to history as the 'Salem Witch Trials.' In all, 20 people died before theological jurisprudence was restored in this isolated Puritan community in Massachusetts.
François Fénelon is consecrated archbishop of Cambrai.
The American Bible Union was founded, organized by church leaders who had broken from the American and Foreign Bible Society.
Death at Halle, Germany, of Friedrich A. G. Tholuck, German Lutheran Bible scholar and theologian. He had done much to check rationalistic scholarship in Germany within the Lutheran church.
Chinese soldiers and revolutionaries known as Boxers surround the home of the Orthodox priest Fr. Mitrophan about ten at night, having burned his church a week and a half earlier. They torture Mitrophan and the Christians assembled at his house, primarily women and children. Finally Boxers puncture his chest and he dies under a date tree.
Death in Chicago of American hymnwriter Edwin O. Excell. Converted at a Methodist revival, Excell had turned his energies toward sacred music. For the rest of his life he will be active in the publication of gospel songbooks and Sunday school conventions. Among his popular tunes are those to which we sing “Since I Have Been Redeemed,” “I'll Be a Sunbeam,” and “Count Your Blessings.”
The United Church of Canada was formed, uniting both the Methodist and Presbyterian denominations of Canada. The merger also took in 3,000 independent Canadian Congregational churches.
The East German Communist government announces that its attack on churches is over. It had tried repeatedly to force youth to renounce the Lutheran Junge Gemeinde [young people's organizations], but hundreds had bravely remained in the church groups.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) was formed in Atlanta, through a reunification of the United Presbyterian Church (UPCUSA) and the Southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS).
Death of Kwame Bediako, first rector of Ghana's Akrofi-Christaller Institute for Theology, Mission and Culture. He was internationally respected for writings about Christianity in Ghana and Africa.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"