September 9, 1411 – Gregory XII

For about 70 years starting in the late 1300’s, there were three men who all claimed to be the Pope at the same time.  Known as the Avignon Captivity (because the Papal See was moved from Rome to Avignon, France) the full story has way too much history to be a snippet.  The prevailing Pope was Gregory XII who issued …

September 8, 1636 – Harvard College

Massachusetts Puritans understood the need to train ministers for the Gospel in their new colony and on September 8, 1636 founded a school named for a prominent English minister who came to America to lead the school: Harvard College. The founders took as their guiding verse John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they know Thee to be the …

September 7, 1807 – Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison, a British Presbyterian, becomes the first Protestant missionary to go to China when he landed in Macao on September 7, 1807. Morrison would later be the first to translate and have published the entire New Testament into Chinese – much to the chagrin of the Chinese government and Morrison’s sponsor, the East India Company. Roman Catholics had been …

September 6, 1774 – The Continental Congress

The first official act of the Continental Congress when it met on September 6, 1774 was to open the session in prayer. But it almost didn’t happen because some delegates, led by soon-to-be Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, felt there were too many religions in America and it wouldn’t be appropriate. Jay was outvoted and the delegates called an …

September 5, 1651 – Reverend Obadiah Holmes

In spite of all the talk about freedom of religion in America, the early Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts was anything but tolerant.  Only the approved and established Puritan church was allowed but a contingent of settlers (mostly Baptists) were moving toward Rhode Island.  One of those who espoused Baptist beliefs in Plymouth was Reverend Obadiah Holmes who was found guilty …

September 4, 1664 – New Sweden Lutheran Church

Once upon a time there was a New Sweden in North America and its capital was on Tinicum Island in the middle of the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Before the Dutch would drive the Swedes away, the first Lutheran church in America was established on Tinicum Island on September 4, 1664.

September 3, 570 – Gregorian Mission

Did John Calvin ever have something good to say about a pope? There was at least one, Pope Gregory the Great, who was consecrated on September 3, 570. He was a prolific writer and reconstructed much of the way worship took place at the time. He is most appreciated for the “Gregorian Mission” to convert the Anglo-Saxons of England so …

September 2, 1973 – J.R.R. Tolkien

A devout Roman Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien is best remembered as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novels.  Unlike his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien never made over religious inferences in his novel such as can be seen in the Narnia series.  He preferred to allow the reader to see the subtleties such as Gandalf returning in …

September 1, 1159 – Pope Adrian IV

The only Englishman to serve as pope, died on September 1, 1159. He took the name Adrian IV during the five years he served as pope and was elected because of his reorganization of the churches in Scandinavia. He would often run afoul of the Holy Roman Emperor as he played a role in expanding the power of the papacy.

August 31, 1735 – Missionary John Sergeant

Norman Rockwell captured a meeting of missionary John Sergeant’s conversion of Mahican Chief Konkapot in this painting to commemorate the important meeting.  Chief Konkapot realized he was not able to defeat the white settlers and decided for a truce and thought he best way to live with these Europeans was accept their religion.  John Sergeant, who was appointed to convert …