In 1944, the same year Allied forces stormed the beaches of occupied Europe, the congregation of Boston’s historic Park Street Church began giving up some meals during Lent. They sent the money they would have spent on food to the War Relief Fund, an initiative created by the newly formed (1942) National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). They were not alone in their desire to alleviate the suffering in war-torn Europe. Now known as World Relief, this fund was just one of many new Christian service organizations spurred into being by the...Read More
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One was an ethnically Jewish Carmelite nun , the other a Dutch Reformed watchmaker. One received her doctorate, the other initially failed to get even a Bible training certificate. On the surface Edith Stein (1891–1942) and Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983) had little in common, but their faith and choices during World War II bound them in suffering.
[Last photograph of Edith Stein]
The Watchmaker’s Daughter
Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom was the fourth surviving child of a poor but generous Dutch Reformed couple, Casper and Cornelia ten Boom. After...Read More
In World War II, 97 percent of Italy’s population identified as Roman Catholic. Some joined Mussolini’s Fascist Party and enlisted to fight in the Italian Army, but some also risked imprisonment or death to protect Jews and supported the resistance. Most would have been people without much influence, men and women who went to Mass, prayed, worked, and did good deeds for their neighbors. Most of their stories will never be told.
[Mussolini and Hitler, 1940—Wikimedia]
the popes and the dictator
The individuals in Italy who receive the...Read More
In German prisoner-of-war (POW) camp Stalag 4c, a small group of imprisoned US troops gathered for an improvised Christmas Eve worship service in 1944. Since they lacked a chaplain, a young man reluctantly volunteered to lead them in prayer.
Clarence Swope, who was present at the service, recalled, “It was the most moving religious experience I ever had.” Though they prayed for the safety and comfort of their families rather than their own, Swope described leaving the gathering with an exhilarating feeling of complete faith that all would...Read More
A wrong turn on June 28, 1914 , plunged the world into war.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife, Sophie, rode through the streets of Sarajevo in Bosnia, a province Austria-Hungary had taken from the Serbs just six years earlier. Unbeknownst to him, seven Serbian nationalists were hiding in the crowd to attempt an assassination. The first try—a bomb—missed, injuring an officer. The rattled archduke kept his scheduled appointments, but chose a different route back, intending to go to the...Read More
THE STORY OF CALVINISM’S emergence and the development of the Reformed tradition is forever tethered to Geneva. And yet Reformed Christianity in Europe reached well beyond those walls of refuge. Even the great reformer of Geneva, John Calvin, was not a Genevan himself, but a French refugee seeking asylum from persecution in his native country.
[Reformers looting churches in Lyons, France]
It is estimated that by 1600 around 10 million people worshiped in Reformed churches, a 2,000 percent increase in just 50 years. Established churches...Read More