Today in Christian History

January 2

January 2, 1909: Aimee Semple and her husband, Robert, are ordained by Chicago evangelist William H. Durham. Aimee, who married Harold McPherson after Robert died, would become the founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and one of America's most popular preachers of the twentieth century (see issue 58: Pentecostalism).

January 2, 1921: Pittsburgh radio station KDKA broadcasts the first religious program over the airwaves: a vesper service of Calvary Episcopal Church. The senior pastor, unimpressed by the landmark broadcast, didn't even participate in the service, leaving his junior associate to conduct it. The two KDKA engineers (one Jewish, the other Catholic), were asked to dress in choir robes to be less obtrusive. Today religious broadcasting is a multi-billion dollar industry.

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September 29, 1413: Archbishop Arundel condemned Sir John Oldcastle, a follower of John Wycliffe, of heresy. He was given 40 days to recant, during which he escaped and hid in Wales. He remained hidden for a year, until the offer of a large reward prompted someone to betray him. He was then captured and roasted to death.

September 29, 1978: Three weeks after being elected, Pope John Paul I dies while reading a devotional in bed.

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