June 30, 1882 – Bishop Nester and Alaskans

Most of us recall from our US history that Alaska was at first a US territory after it was purchased from Russia in 1867. So it stands to reason there was a substantial Russian Orthodox Christian community there. The Russians were given wonderful spiritual counsel from Bishop Nestor who died on June 30, 1882. The see (or diocese) of the …

June 29, 62 – Apostle Paul beheaded?

One of the interesting things about history is we don’t always know what we think we know. That’s the case for what most scholars THINK happened today: the Apostle Paul’s beheading in Rome on June 29, 62 AD. Or maybe 67 AD. Or maybe…? What we do know is, 2nd only to Jesus Christ, he was the most influential Christian …

June 28, 1962 – Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America

On June 28, 1962, the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was formed when 4 synods/groups merged into one organization: 1) the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2) the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3) the United Lutheran Church in America and 4) the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1988 other synods merged with the LCA and the Association to form what today …

June 27, 1844 – Joseph Smith lynched

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was lynched on June 27, 1844 in Carthage, Illinois. The locals had “sort-of” tolerated Smith’s perverted version of Christianity but when he approved polygamy and multiple wives it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. His successor Brigham Young would soon guide the Mormons to …

June 26, 1892 – Pearl Buck born

Most of us “had to read” The Good Earth at some point before we graduated from high school. The author, Pearl S. Buck, was a Presbyterian missionary to China who spent most of her life in China before she won the Pulitzer Prize and was born on June 26, 1892. Buck’s parents were missionaries to China and, in addition to …

June 25, 1962 – School Prayer Outlawed

I have sometimes heard politicians say “As long as there are tests there will always be prayer in schools.” They are usually on the fence and don’t want to let their conservative-leaning audience know what they really think. In a decision handed down on June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of five Hyde Park, NY …

June 24, 1813 – Henry Ward Beecher

Advocating for social change from the view of the pulpit is certainly nothing new but Henry Ward Beecher understood the influence well. As a Congregationalist minister, Beecher was a major abolitionist (his sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom’s Cabin fame – see June 5th) and Abraham Lincoln sent him to Europe to stir up the cause of abolishing …

June 23, 1942 – When We All Get to Heaven

One of my favorite hymns is “When we all get to Heaven” and we sing about what a day of rejoicing that will be (that will be). The lyrics were written by Philadelphia, PA native Eliza Hewitt who wrote over 1700 hymns but the music was written by Emily Divine Wilson who died a childless widow on June 23, 1942. …

June 22, 1750 – Jonathan Edwards dismissed

If we were to rank theological intellect on a scale of 1 to 10, Jonathan Edwards would be a 57 at least. He was a major earthly-reason for the Great Awakening of the 1730/40’s but on June 22, 1750 he was dismissed from his Northampton Congregational Church because he would not agree to give communion to members unless they had …

June 21, 1579 – Francis Drake and Californians

When was the first time a Prayer Book was read in English in the New World? No one can know for certain but the first time it was recorded as taking place was June 21, 1579, when Sir Francis Drake was circumnavigating the globe. He stopped somewhere in modern-day California and read the Book of Common Prayer to Native Americans.