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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.

October 22, 2019
RNS photo showing Father Hubert Celis, a prison chaplain in Brussels, Belgium, being welcomed on his arrival in New York City to serve as "grandfather" at the Bar Mitzvah of Norman Wolbrom. Pearl ID: 151705

On June 18, 1965, Father Hubert Celis of Belgium arrived in New York City to be present for the Bar Mitzvah of Norman Wolbrom, son of Regine Rotenberg Wolbrom. Regine and her siblings survived the Holocaust thanks to the Celis family, and Father Hubert was...

October 17, 2019

When the Reverend Henry Russell “Russ” Mabry decided to ignore the advice of an instructor to never work with “criminals,” he certainly anticipated a volatile workplace. What he couldn’t have imagined was that his workplace would take center stage while the nation watched as the interests of the United States and Cuba, of immigration and criminal policy, and of jailer and jailed violently collided in late 1987.

“They lined up 20 hostages on the wall opposite the chapel," Mabry would remember about the Marielitos prison riot he witnessed in an...

October 9, 2019

--by Stephanie Santoro

"Stephanie: would you tell us a little about your research project at PHS?"

My journey with the Building Knowledge & Breaking Barriers project began with me fielding that question, and my face turning beet red, during a lovely dinner I was invited to at the Presbyterian Historical Society in December 2018. The rain prevented substantial attendance, but I might as well have been put on-the-spot in a room of thousands. I had written a paper...

October 1, 2019

"Their leaders and members are surrounded by a menacing atmosphere of strict surveillance, tapping of telephone calls, telex services and correspondence in general."

So concluded an ecumenical delegation to Paraguay in 1988, describing the suffocation of civil society under the 34-year dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. Within the year, Stroessner would be deposed in a coup and forced into exile in Brazil. The groups which brought the ecumenical delegation in -- the Comité de Iglesias para Ayudas de Emergencia (CIPAE), and the...

September 26, 2019
Gayraud S. Wilmore, Jr., 1960. [Pearl ID: 5065]

--by Douglas H. Brown Clark

A New Black Presbyterian Church

One spring day in 1937, a few white Presbyterians approached two black community leaders on a street corner in North Philadelphia. The white Presbyterians’ local church had been dwindling. African Americans had been moving into the community from the American South in droves as a part of the Great Migration, and...

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