December 31 in Christian History

Dec 31, 2008 07:02 AM EST

1687 - The first shipload of emigrating Huguenots (French Protestants) left France for South Africa.

1712 - Birth of Peter Bohler, the Moravian missionary who, at age 25, influenced the religious spirit of John Wesley. Bohler taught the founder of Methodism the joys of personal conversion and self-surrendering faith, and Wesley later incorporated these spiritual emphases within Methodist theology.

1823 - Birth of William O. Cushing, American clergyman. He penned over 300 hymns, among them "When He Cometh," "Under His Wings" and "Hiding in Thee."

1837 - Birth of John R. Sweney, American sacred chorister. He composed over 1,000 gospel tunes, including SUNSHINE ("There is Sunshine in My Soul Today") and SWENEY ("More About Jesus Would I Know").

1900 - Birth of Stephen C. Neill, British clergyman and biblical scholar. A prolific writer, some of Neill's better-known titles are "A History of Christian Missions" (1964), "The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1871-1961" (1966) and "The Modern Reader's Dictionary of the Bible" (1966).

© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church