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May 21 in Christian History

May 21, 2009 11:08 AM EDT

1536 - The General Assembly of Geneva, Switzerland officially embraced Protestantism by accepting the evangelical faith of the Swiss reformers.


1739 - Methodist hymnwriter Charles Wesley, 31, on the first anniversary of his religious conversion, penned the hymn, "O For a Thousand Tongues."


1740 - English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter regarding Jesus' character; 'He was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.'


1864 - Belgian missionary priest Father Damien, 24, was ordained on the Island of Hawaii. Born Joseph de Veuster, the Picpus Father began a work among the lepers on the island of Molokai in 1873. Contracting the disease in 1884, Father Damien succumbed to it five years later.


1944 - German Lutheran theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'God alone protects; otherwise there is nothing.'


© 1987-2009, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church