Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.
Each week brings the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, telling tribulations, inspirational progress, and everything in between.
Here are just a few things that happened this week, Sept. 23-29, in Church history. They include the beginning and end of construction on the Washington National Cathedral and the election of Jonathan Edwards to the presidency of Princeton.
Jonathan Edwards Elected President of Princeton – September 29, 1757
This week marks the anniversary of when famed Protestant preacher Jonathan Edwards was elected the third president of the College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton University.
Princeton’s trustees elected Edwards five days after the death of his son-in-law, Aaron Burr, Sr., who had served as the second president of the academic institution.
While Edwards was a supporter of Princeton, he was initially hesitant to accept the position, explaining in a letter dated Oct. 19, 1757 that he felt “my own defects” disqualified him from “such a new and great business, attended with such a multiplicity of cares, and requiring such a degree of activity, alertness and spirit of government ….”
Nevertheless, Edwards eventually accepted the position and was officially installed as president the following year, but served a brief term before dying from a fever on March 22, 1758.
National Cathedral Construction Begins – September 29, 1907
This week marks the anniversary of when construction began on the Washington National Cathedral, one of the largest church buildings in the world.
Serving as the official Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the ceremony in which the foundation stone was laid was attended by approximately 10,000 people, including then President Theodore Roosevelt.
“I believe so implicitly in the good that will be done by and through this Cathedral,” stated Roosevelt in his speech at the ceremony.
The foundation stone, reportedly coming from a field in Bethlehem and set to a piece of American granite, had an inspiration from John 1:14: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
National Cathedral Construction Concludes – September 29, 1990
Yes, you read that right. This week not only marks the anniversary of when construction began on the National Cathedral, but also when it ended.
83 years to the day after the foundation stone was laid, construction on the Episcopal cathedral officially came to a close, at a cost of approximately $65 million.
Throughout its time, the National Cathedral has been a prominent fixture in American history, with NPR noting in a 2007 article that the church has “an impressive guest list.”
“Every president of the United States after Roosevelt has visited the cathedral, as well as Queen Elizabeth II,” explained NPR.
“Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon there, and the cathedral was recently the site for funerals for presidents Reagan and Ford.”
On Sept. 1, a nationally televised funeral service for U.S. Sen. John McCain was held there.