September In History

September 1, 1536John Calvin

On September 1, 1536, 27-year-old John Calvin (Jean Cauvin, July 10, 1509 - May 27, 1564) preached his first sermon in Geneva at St. Peter's Cathedral. Reportedly a sermon on the leters of Paul, Calvin's preaching was immediately noted in the town council's minutes of Sept. 5th. Earlier in 1536, Calvin (shown in a painting) had published his Institutes of the Christian Religion, a work destined to expand the momentum of the Reformation.

September 3, 1939William Edward Biederwolf

On September 3, 1939, evangelist William Edward Biederwolf died. Trained at Princeton Univiersity and the Princeton Theological Seminary, Presbyterian minister Biederwolf served at the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Loganport, Indiana, in 1897, before joining in 1898 the 131st Indiana Volunteer Regiment of the 13th Calvary. He served as chaplain to this group during the Spanish-American War. He would become one of outstanding Presbyterian evangelists in the early decades of the 20th century, leading three worldwide evangelism tours. He served for 20 years as director of the Winona Lake Bible Conference, as well as organizing the Winona Lake School of Theology. Biederwolf was born on September 27, 1867.

September 7, 1891

OArkansas Cumberland Collegen September 7, 1891, the Arkansas Cumberland (Presbyterian) College (shown) opened in Clarksville, AR. This college succeeded the Cain Hill College, which was closed at that time. In 1920, the school was renamed the College of the Ozarks, and in 1983 was titled the University of the Ozarks.

September 8, 1793Capital Cornerstone Mural

On September 8, 1793, Presbyterian Rev. Dr. James Muir of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (from 1789 - 1820), helped in the laying ceremony of the cornerstone of the new U. S. Capitol being built in Washington, D.C. (The photo at right is provided courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol).

Rev. Muir also was president of trustees for the Alexandria Academy a school for oprhans, as well as opening a school for young women and heading the Alexandria Library.

September 15, 1748George Whitfield

On September 15, 1748, members of a recently organized church in Newburyport, Massachusetts, petitioned to join the Presbytery of Boston and organize as "after the manner of the Kirk of Scotland" — The Presbyterian Society and Church. The pastor for this First Presbyterian Church of Newburyport was Rev. Jonathan Parsons of Lyme, Connecticut, who was influenced and mentored by the evangelist Rev. George Whitefield (shown at right). On September 30, 1770, Whitefield, who helped create the Great Awakening in America and influenced many New Side Presbyterian ministers, died at Parson's manse in Newburyport.

September 18, 1716

On September 18, 1716, the first Presbytery in America (located in Philadelphia) met in session. At this multi-day meeting, the participants voted to establish the first Synod (of Philadelphia) with new presbyteries to be located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newcastle, Delaware; Snow Hill, Maryland, and Long Island, New York. The Snow Hill Presbytery did not get organized.

September 19, 1722Jonathan Dickenson

On September 19, 1722, the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson preached a sermon to open the Synod meeting at Philadelphia — "Wherein is Considered the Character of the Man of God, and his Furniture for the Exercise both of Doctrine and Discipline, With the True Boundaries of the Church's Power." Rev. Dickinson lead his church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, to join the Presbyterian denomination in 1717. He would go on to be highly influential in the early America church and served as the first president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

September 21, 1766

OGeorge Duffieldn September 21, 1766, Presbyterian ministers Charles Beatty and George Duffield (1732 - 1790, shown at right) preached to a group of Native Americans at a site near present day Newcomerstown, Ohio, on the Tuscarawas River. The two Pennsylvania ministers were scouting the Northwest Territory (Ohio) for possible missions.

September 22, 1961

On September 22, 1961, St. Andrews Presbyterian College opened its doors in Laurinburg, NC. The previous year on September 23, 1960, the colege's board of directors had named the college, which was the result of a merger of Flora MacDonald College and Presbyterian Junior College.

September 23, 1860

On September 23, 1860, Presbyterian minister and Hawaiian missionary Richard Armstrong died. He arrived in Maui in 1831.

September 24, 1757Jonathan Edwards

On September 24, 1757, Rev. Jonathan Edwards became president of the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University).

September 25, 1866Cleland Boyd McAfee

On September 25, 1866, Rev. Cleland Boyd McAfee was born in Missouri. For 20 years, he served as professor, chaplain and choir director at Park College. He also served churches in Chicago and Brooklyn, as well as on the faculty of McCormick Theological Seminary (1912 - 1930) and as director of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions (1930 - 1936). He died in 1944. In 1903, he wrote the hymn, Near to the Heart of God.

September 30, 1770

OGeorge Whitefieldn September 30, 1770, noted evangelist George Whitefield (shown) died in the manse of the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, Old South (First) Presbyterian Church of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Reverend Whitefield helped to trigger the first Great Awakening in America in the 1740s. Greatly influenced and aided by Reverend Whitefield, Parsons also was one of the Great Awakenings leading evangelists.