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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.

April 28, 2020

--By John C.B. Webster

These guidelines, which I hope will help others working on congregation histories, are offered after completing three very different projects: two Baptist congregation histories and one Presbyterian congregation history. One was for a 250th anniversary, the second a 175th anniversary, and the third a 50th anniversary. (One was published, with an important appendix, in the Spring 2017 issue of the American Baptist Quarterly, pp. 69-87.) These...

April 20, 2020

--by Douglas McVarish

The voluminous sets of records saved by Rev. James L. Doom and the Board of National Ministries, which are now archived at PHS, paint a detailed picture of the influences on the designs of post-World War II Southern Presbyterian churches, as we began to discuss in a previous blog post. Doom’s office files were divided into two major categories: architects and congregations. The architect files document Doom’s...

March 13, 2020

--by Douglas McVarish

The Presbyterian Church, as with other Protestant denominations, has long been active in the design and construction of its church buildings.

In 1844, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) directed its Board of Missions to appoint a Church Extension Committee. The purpose of this committee was to help less prosperous congregations build houses of worship. Similarly, in 1853, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School) appointed its own Committee on Church Erection. In 1870, these two extension agencies...

February 14, 2020
Cover of 2019 book by Marcus Paul. Click here for book information.

--by Marcus Paul

Traveling 4,000 miles to read a particular document is a fairly serious undertaking in terms of time and money. In my case, to say it was worth it is an understatement.

I had arrived at Lombard Street, Philadelphia from the UK in a very cold April. The city was bare of...

February 1, 2020
Presbyterian Hymnal, 1990.
--by Douglas McVarish
Look through the hymnal that your congregation uses and note the large number of hymns that have never—or rarely ever—been sung during a Sunday morning service of worship…. Some hymns stand the test of time: some do not. Why should the unused ones take up space when more challenging and vital hymns are available?... Again and again Scripture urges us: “Sing to the Lord a new song!” And there is such an abundance of new singable, vital, challenging, and...
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