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, June 10-16, in Church history. They include the formation of Presbyterian Church (USA), the marriage of Martin Luther, and the insertion of “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.
Presbyterian Church (USA) Formed – June 10, 1983
This week marks the anniversary of when the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination was formed, Presbyterian Church (USA).
The mainline denomination was created via the merger of the southern-based Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the northern-based United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
The merger was technically a reunion, as the two churches had split over a century earlier due to the American Civil War and their differing views on the morality of slavery.
Approximately 35,000 Presbyterians from multiple locations connected via satellite took part in the merger event, which included worship and communion.
Martin Luther Marries a Nun – June 13, 1525
This week marks the anniversary of when Protestant Reformation leader and former monk Martin Luther married a runaway nun named Katharina von Bora.
The marriage of the 42-year-old Luther and the 26-year-old von Bora was controversial to many; Luther’s friend and fellow reformer Philipp Melanchthon was among the critics, fearing that it would scandalize the Reformation.
During their nearly 21 years of marriage, the couple had six children and by all accounts had a happy marriage, spending their years living in Wittenberg, birthplace of the Reformation.
Upon her husband’s death in 1546, Katharina wrote, “my sorrow is so deep that no words can express my heartbreak, and it is humanly impossible to understand what state of mind and spirit I am in.”
‘Under God’ Added to the Pledge of Allegiance – June 14, 1954
This week marks the anniversary of when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
First penned in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, the Pledge had been changed before in 1923 to alter the term “my Flag” to its current “the Flag of the United States of America.”
At the time, President Eisenhower explained that the change came with the hope that children across the nation will take part in “the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.”
“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war,” stated Eisenhower.