1784 - Birth of Thomas Hastings, American sacred composer. Hastings was an albino afflicted with extreme nearsightedness, yet from his pen came such enduring hymn tunes as TOPLADY ("Rock of Ages") and ORTONVILLE ("Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned").
1790 - Ann Teresa Mathews (aka Mother Bernardina) and Frances Dickinson founded a convent of Discalced Carmelites (a contemplative working order) in Port Tobacco, Maryland. It was the first Catholic convent founded in the United States.
1840 - In Melville, Missouri, the Evangelical Synod of North America was founded. It later became one of the branches of today's United Church of Christ.
1900 - Pentecostal evangelist Charles Fox Parham opened Bethel Bible Institute in Topeka, Kansas. It was here on January 1, 1901 that the first Christian in modern times was reported to have spoken in tongues: student Agnes Ozman.
1948 - American missionary martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: '"They shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isa. 40:31). These wings are not so typical of purity as they are of power - strength to live above snares and everything ese...Thanks for wings, Lord.'
© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from Almanac of the Christian Church