July 8 in Christian History

Jul 08, 2011 10:12 AM EDT

1663 - Following restoration of the English monarchy, a new charter was issued to the American colony of Rhode Island. It guaranteed religious freedom regardless of 'differences in opinion in matters of religion.'

1741 - Influencing the start of New England's 'Great Awakening,' colonial American theologian Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,' at Enfield, CT.

1792 - Birth of Lowell Mason, Presbyterian pioneer of congregational singing. He composed over 1,000 hymn tunes, including BETHANY ('Nearer, My God, To Thee'), DENNIS ('Blest Be the Tie That Binds'), and HAMBURG ('When I Survey the Wondrous Cross').

1948 - The Moscow Conference convened to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church from control of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople.

1959 - Meeting in Oberlin, OH, the Congregational Christian and the Evangelical and Reformed churches adopted a united statement of faith. (The two groups merged to form the United Church of Christ in 1961.)

© 1987-2011, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church