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Living History Films

The Living History film project features diverse experiences and stories told firsthand by American Presbyterians. Believing that every one of us shapes history in our everyday lives, we aim to educate and inspire through interviews with Presbyterians, asking: how do we make history together?

Participant Films

Joan S. Gray, former general assembly moderator, speaks about biblical interpretation and equal rights.

Bettie J. Durrah, church elder, shares her experiences as a leader of Presbyterian and women's groups, including her work as a choreopoems author.

Melva Costen,wife of former general assembly moderator James Costen, discusses her musical life inside and outside the Presbyterian church--a subject touched on in an earlier Living History film.

James Foster Reese explains how his background as a Presbyterian seminarian helped him advocate for voting rights for all during the 1950s.

Melva Costen, wife of former general assembly moderator James Costen, is a retired professor of music and worship. Here she discusses her family's involvement in the Civil Rights movement, and the role of music.

Richard Poethig grew up in Depression-era New York City. After becoming a minister, he dedicated his life to economic justice.

Vernon Broyles wrestled with leadership choices in a congregation fractured over racial tension in the mid-20th century.

Rick Ufford-Chase and Bruce Reyes-Chow were two of the youngest General Assembly moderators in history. Here, they discuss what drives them and what new generations will mean to the church.

As a pastor and, later, Moderator of the 215th General Assembly, Susan Andrews grappled with traditional gender expectations in church leadership.

Sue Althouse taught English as a Presbyterian missionary in Japan for 38 years, witnessing great change in both the country and in herself.

Don Black spent his career overseeing Presbyterian missions programs around the world as they grew more independent in changing cultural climates.

Connie Thurber taught youth and college-aged students in Japan immediately after World War II and was surprised by the reception she received.

As church and seminary leaders in Taiwan during a turbulent political moment, David Gelzer and his wife were evicted from the country. Here, he discusses the inevitable link between faith and politics.