August 10, 1886 – “What a Friend we have in Jesus”

The writer of the well-loved hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” knew Jesus as his friend through some very difficult times.  Joseph Scriven drowned on August 10, 1886 having lived with depression his whole life, was never financially successful and twice had fiancés die before their wedding.  Some friends thought he may have taken his own life.

August 9, 1788 – Adoniram Judson

On August 9, 1788 in Malden, Massachusetts, missionary great Adoniram Judson was born. Judson would go on to serve for decades in Burma (modern day Myanmar) and would develop the first Burmese-English dictionary. Judson College in Alabama and Judsonia, Arkansas are both named for him.

August 8, 1471 – Thomas a’ Kempis

One of the most popular devotional books ever is The Imitation of Christ written by Thomas a Kempis. Thomas, who was a German priest, was an excellent copyist and spent years immersed in Scripture. He died on August 8, 1471. One my favorite quotes from Imitation is: “If God were our one and only desire we would not be so …

August 7, 1771 – Francis Asbury

When the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, wanted to expand his missionary work in the American colonies Francis Asbury answered the call on August 7, 1771.  Asbury rode thousands of miles on horseback spreading the gospel and growing the church.  Asbury was known as the Father of American Methodism and Asbury Seminary in Kentucky was named for him.

August 6, 1221 – The Dominican Friars

The Dominican Friars, whose official name is the Order of Preachers, was founded by Dominic de Guzman in 1216 with six members.  When St. Dominic died on August 6, 1221 the Order had grown to thousands of priests.  The Order was created to develop more informed preaching.

August 5, 642 – King Oswald

Before the interest in medieval series like The Vikings or the Last Kingdom exploded there were real live kings of Northumbria and Mercia in modern day England and Wales. One king who became a Christian after being converted by the famous monk Columba at the Iona monastery was the Northumbian King Oswald. He was committed to his faith and fought …

August 4, 1821 – Rev. William Blair

What does a year’s work of Sunday School look like to you? For Rev. William Blair, who was commissioned by the Sunday and Adult School Union, his first year’s work looked something like this: rode 2,500 miles on horseback visiting 6 states, established 4 adult schools and 61 Sunday Schools. After he began his journey on August 4, 1821, the …

August 3, 1785 – Bishop Samuel Seabury

The first Anglican bishop in the United States was Samuel Seabury who was confirmed as the Bishop of Connecticut on August 3, 1785.  Seabury had been ordained as a priest in Scotland before coming to America and very shortly after this the Anglican Church (the Church of England) became known as the Episcopal in the US.

August 2, 1643 – Isaac Jogues and the Iroquois

Roman Catholic priest Isaac Jogues’ commitment to convert the Iroquois Indians in French Canada went well beyond the call of duty.  After a Huron band of Iroquois murdered his fellow priests, Jogues initially hid out but made the decision the only way to keep his witness was to turn himself into band searching for him on August 2, 1643.  The …

August 1, 1179 – Francis Scott Key

Hopefully most of us Americans recall that Francis Scott Key wrote our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812 against the British as he saw fighting at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. Key, who was born on August 1, 1779, was a devout Episcopalian and went on to add leadership to the Sunday and Adult School Union …