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Heritage Sunday

Every year, Presbyterians celebrate Heritage Sunday, a day to reflect upon and learn more about the long and rich history of the Presbyterian church in America.

Heritage Sunday always falls on the Sunday closest to May 21, the opening date of the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1789. Use the resources below to plan a celebration for your congregation or learn more about Presbyterian history.

Faith in God: Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Sermon

150 years ago, on April 19, 1865, Reverend Phineas Densmore Gurley (1816-1868), Chaplain of the United States Senate and first pastor of the prestigious New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., delivered the funeral sermon for President Abraham Lincoln in the East Room of the White House. Many orations marked the occasion of Lincoln’s death on April 14, 1865, but Gurley’s “Faith in God” is among the most famous. The original manuscript sermon, handwritten by Gurley, is preserved at the Presbyterian Historical Society. Read more and download the bulletin insert.

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, by Matthew Brady, January 8, 1864. [Image no. 2834]