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, July 1-7, in Church history. They include the birth of an influential Gospel music writer, the founding of the Salvation Army, and the burning of Jan Hus.
Charles Albert Tindley Born – July 7, 1851
This week marks the anniversary of the birth of Charles Albert Tindley, a minister who composed many popular Gospel music hymns.
A native of Berlin, Maryland whose father was a slave, Tindley became pastor of East Bainbridge Street Church and helped to grow the church considerably.
The mind behind songs like “Stand by Me,” “Nothing Between,” and “Beams of Heaven,” in 1982 the Smithsonian presented a combination musical tribute and colloquium on his work.
“Tindley’s compositions influenced Thomas A. Dorsey and Roberta Martin, and formed the base for a new black urban sacred music — gospel,” reported The Washington Post at the time.
“Later, the hymns composed during the twilight of Tindley’s ministry reflected his faith — ‘Spiritual Springtime,’ ‘A Better Day Is Coming By-and-By,’ ‘The Home of the Soul,’ ‘I’ll Be Satisfied,’ and ‘He’ll Take You Through.’ These and many other hymns establish, without fear of contradiction, that Tindley was the father of gospel music.”
Salvation Army Founded – July 2, 1865
This week marks the anniversary of when revivalist preacher William Booth and his wife Catherine launched the notable religious philanthropy The Salvation Army.
Originally called the Christian Mission and based in East London, the Salvation Army was known to launch charitable efforts in the most downtrodden neighborhoods of the city.
“Soup kitchens were the first in a long line of various projects designed to provide physical and spiritual assistance to the destitute,” noted History.com.
“In the early years, many in Britain were critical of the Christian Mission and its tactics, and the members were often subjected to fines and imprisonment as breakers of the peace.”
Jan Hus Burned at the Stake – July 6, 1415
This week marks the anniversary of when Jan Hus, a Central European Catholic priest widely considered to be the forerunner of the Protestant Reformation.
Born in Bohemia, Hus preached for reform within the Medieval Church and was influenced by the English Reformer and Bible translator John Wycliffe.
Hus’ objections to items like the practice of indulgences and certain pilgrimages led to his excommunication and eventually being burned at the stake.
As part of his punishment, Hus had to wear a paper miter with demonic illustrations on it and then have his books and personal possessions burned as well.
“When he arrived at the place of execution, he knelt down and prayed with a joyful heart and a bright countenance. Then they stripped him down to his shirtsleeves, chained and roped him to a stake and piled wood around him to such a height that his head was barely visible,” claimed one contemporary account.
“When the strong flames blazed up, he stopped singing and praying. But his spirit as we devoutly believe, reached with the flames to heaven, to the company of angels, just as Elijah did.”