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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 PHS staff members.

August 8, 2014

Mary Parke Thompson and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In this third excerpt from Mary’s diaries, beginning after she had been in Japan approximately three weeks and just met her future husband, she describes her frustrations with learning Japanese—a problem that faces many new missionaries but was especially vexing for a woman in 1870s Japan.[1]

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May 12 [1873, Yedo, now Tokyo]: By chance, I might say, I secured a Japanese teacher today. God is...

August 11, 2014

In the middle of the twentieth century, Presbyterians rededicated themselves to ministry in America's inner cities. While the ebb tide of suburbanization drew congregants to new neighborhoods, urban churches were urged to tend to the people right next door. For forty years, Presbyterians' work in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles centered on the Westminster Neighborhood Association.

In 1955, the Presbytery of Los Angeles’ Church Extension Board began study of its own outreach to neglected Angeleno neighborhoods, establishing an Inner City Committee. Members were...

July 11, 2014

Bradley J. Longfield, Dean and Professor of Church History at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, spoke at the PHS General Assembly Luncheon in Detroit. In remarks before a sold-out audience at the Renaissance Center’s Ambassador Room, Dr. Longfield gave an insightful and entertaining account of the interaction of Presbyterianism and American Culture since the 17th century.

After an opening prayer by the Reverend Paul Watermulder, outgoing PHS Board of Directors’ Chair, and an introduction by Nancy Taylor, co-Acting Director of PHS, Dr. Longfield...

July 10, 2014

Mary Parke Thompson and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In this second excerpt from Mary’s diaries, she records her first overseas voyage to Japan and her first several weeks in the country she would come to call home, including some of her first encounters with her future husband.[1]

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Mary Parke left San Francisco April 1, 1873, aboard a paddle-wheel steamer bound for Yokohama. She was sick most of the way.

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July 10, 2014

The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia holds a special place in the history of the faith. In an 1830 letter to Albert Barnes, Samuel Miller of Princeton Theological Seminary called it “the mother of us all.” As the first Presbyterian church in Colonial America’s most Presbyterian city, it is the flagship church of early Presbyterianism.

Little of the original church remains, in part owing to the congregation’s mobility though the...

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