July 1, 1643: The Westminster Assembly convenes for the first time in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey. Five years later it published the Westminster longer and shorter catechisms, which the Anglican church rejected, but the Presbyterians accepted.
July 1, 1824: The Presbyterian church ordains Charles Grandison Finney, the father of modern revivalism (see issue 20: Charles Grandison Finney).
July 1, 1899: Three traveling businessmen meet in a YMCA building and decide to form an organization to distribute Bibles. The Christian Commercial Men's Association of America, later renamed the Gideons, placed their first Bibles in a hotel nine years later.
July 1, 1896: Abolitionist writer Harriet Beecher Stowe dies. She averaged nearly a book a year, but Uncle Tom's Cabin remains her legacy. Even one of her harshest critics acknowledged that it was "perhaps the most influential novel ever published . . . a verbal earthquake, an ink-and-paper tidal wave" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).