December 2, 1697: St Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Christopher Wren, is dedicated. It replaced a medieval cathedral at the site that had burned in the Great Fire of 1666.
December 2, 1859: Militant messianic abolitionist John Brown is hanged at Charles Town, (West) Virginia, for his attack on Harper's Ferry. He was convinced that only violent action could end the horrors of slavery (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
December 2, 1980: Three American nuns and a lay churchwoman are killed by death squads in El Salvador. Some 70,000 Salvadorans are estimated to have died because of terrorists or civil war during the 1980s, including many Catholic clergy.
December 8, 1691: English Puritan minister Richard Baxter dies in London. One of England's most renowned preachers and author of nearly 200 works (including several hymns), he was known as a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants.
December 8, 1934: American missionaries John and Betty Stam are beheaded by Chinese communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just the year before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer ...