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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

September 13, 2016

--by Christopher N. Phillips

How much do you love your church’s hymn-singing tradition? Enough to steal its hymnbook? That was the case for George Fleming, a newspaper publisher in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Why would he do such a thing? A quick history of Presbyterian hymnbooks gives some clues.

Presbyterians, like most English-speaking Calvinists, didn’t sing hymns in church until the second half of the 18th century; it took the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America’s General Assembly (GA) until 1802 to declare that Isaac Watts’...

September 9, 2016

--By Richard P. Poethig

Change was in the air when our family returned to the U.S. in the Spring of 1972 from Manila. The demise of American manufacturing was becoming a national preoccupation. The loss of the U.S. industrial base, and the jobs that went with it, was especially hard-felt in Chicago, where I was to lead the...

August 17, 2016

Despite controversy in the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, international participation in the Games is robust. A few athletes have stayed home to avoid contracting Zika, and a large segment of the Russian team has been banned for doping violations, but no country has withdrawn its entire team.

Eighty years ago, participation in the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, was much less certain. The International Olympic Committee awarded the Games to Berlin in 1931, two years before the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. Hosting the games provided the Nazi government the...

August 11, 2016

Mary Parke and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In this installment from her diary, Mary celebrates their first Christmas as husband and wife amidst continuing tensions over the form and future of Japanese Christianity.[1]

Dec 25 [1874, Toyko]: Christmas! but not white and frozen as we are wont to see it at home. A gray day in which the rain has continued to fall without intermission through its whole length. But this has not kept us from our purposes,...

July 29, 2016

--by Crystal R. Sanders

The Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) Head Start program was black Mississippians’ next battle in the long struggle to secure freedom and equality after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Presbyterian Church offered important support at crucial times for the effort.

Head Start, a component of President Lyndon Johnson’s...

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