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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.

July 13, 2021
Sunday service at Erie Chapel, undated. Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.

--by Maureen Hellwig

This post is the second in a series looking back a the history of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago. To read the first installment, click here.

What was the critical factor in the longevity of Erie House? The core of Erie’s story, and a major contribution to its success, is strong leadership. While...

May 6, 2021

--by Lynn Coburn, elder at New Life Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque, N.M.)

In the 1970s New Life Presbyterian Church was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a church without walls, enabling us to spend more of our resources on service. Another important tenant was pluralism. Those heady first years were full of mission work and respectful discussions. By the '80s we had grown tired of setting up the “tent” each Sunday morning and we had a building constructed. But the desire to be God...

May 3, 2021
Erie Neighborhood House, 2019. Photo courtesy of Maureen Hellwig.

--by Maureen Hellwig 

Those of us who take an interest in history are generally drawn to it because it is full of good stories. One such story, a Chicago story, that has always grabbed my attention, pertains to the birth and growth of the settlement house movement before, during, and after Hull House and Jane Addams. My view is that it was a faith-based movement – not necessarily church-based, although churches were...

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...

July 11, 2019

--by Julia Flynn Siler

Donaldina Cameron (1869-1968) captured the nation’s imagination at the turn of the 20th century by running a “safe house” for vulnerable girls and young women on the edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown. She was a tall, auburn-haired woman with a Scottish lilt who fascinated headline writers and the public alike.

Cameron wasn’t the founder of the Presbyterian Mission House in Chinatown, nor did she run it single-handedly. The home opened in 1874, more than two decades before Cameron first arrived as a sewing...

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