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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.

January 14, 2021

"As Christians, you expect women to serve the church. Women are the slaves of the church. Women raise money, serve as mistresses to some of you delegates at this convention--"

The speaker from the Chicago Women's Liberation Union was interrupted by noise among the delegates to the 182nd General Assembly. She went on, and was interrupted again.

"We arrange flowers, serve dinners, teach Sunday school, pour coffee, sing in the choir, and care for children while men attend conventions like this. If you will be quiet, I will continue. Your...

December 30, 2020

--By Richard W. Reifsnyder

When the church re-elected J. Herbert Nelson as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly in 2020, there was no doubt of the strong visible leadership they expected him to exercise. Despite the humble title, the Clerk was the “Head of Communion,” charged with “constitutional and spiritual leadership for the life and witness of the church” and the “chief ecumenical officer” who “speaks to and for the church in...

August 19, 2020

In 1970 the UPCUSA Council on Church and Race issued a $10,000 grant to the legal defense fund of Angela Davis, occasioning a furore inside the denomination that many Presbyterians remain reluctant to mention out loud to this day. In light of the tumult, a group of Black ministers contributed $10,000 of their own back to COCAR, to make the denomination whole.

In September 1972, following the UPCUSA General...

June 16, 2020

Many of us were looking forward to visiting Baltimore in June of this year for General Assembly. Even though General Assembly will now be a virtual occasion, we can still reflect on the historic nature of the city and its connection to the PCUSA and General Assemblies past.

One of many historic events that happened in Baltimore occurred in 1976 when Thelma Cornelia Davidson Adair was elected and became the first African American woman Moderator of the General Assembly for the...

June 12, 2020

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has forced General Assembly 224 into a virtual space, Baltimore remains the host city of record. This will be Baltimore’s eighth time hosting a General Assembly.

A sprawling metro area bridging South and North, land and tidewater, Baltimore was the stage for 19th century assemblies where regional schisms and attempts at reunification were hotly debated. The city’s 20th century assemblies showed a Church...

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