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Date (Year-Month-Day) Event Introduction Type
1607-01-01 Colonial Period Colonial America took root in Virginia in 1607 and gained momentum when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. By 1760, there were two million settlers. Historical Content
1620-12-16 Plymouth Plantation Plymouth Plantation was a North American colony settled in 1620 by English Separatists, later known as Pilgrims, who desired to practice their own religion freely.
1630-01-01 Massachusetts Bay Colony In 1630, a group of Puritans, led by John Winthrop, established the Massachusetts Bay Colony after fleeing religious persecution in England.
1636-06-01 Roger Williams Founds Providence, Rhode Island In 1636, Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, which became known for its religious tolerance and deregulation of religious behavior.
1637-11-07 Trial of Anne Hutchinson In 1637, Anne Hutchinson was put on trial in Massachusetts for promoting "free grace" theology and challenging colonial authorities.
1640-01-01 Bay Psalm Book printed The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in English in North America.
1640-08-27 Henry Dunster Becomes President of Harvard In 1640, Henry Dunster became the first President of Harvard College and helped lay the foundational structure for America’s most renowned institution for higher learning.
1660-06-01 Execution of Mary Dyer On June 1, 1660, Mary Dyer (1611-1660), a friend of Anne Hutchinson, was executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for her Quaker faith.
1662-01-01 Half-Way Covenant The Half-Way Covenant adjusted the requirements for full membership in the New England Congregational churches
1663-07-08 Rhode Island Royal Charter In 1663, the Rhode Island Royal Charter made a unified government in the colony possible, acknowledged American Indian land rights, and declared religious toleration.
1675-01-01 King Philip's War For 14 months (1675-1676), Indians raided settlements and colonialists launched counterattacks. It ended after King Philip, the chief of the Wampanoag Indian tribe, was assassinated. Historical Content
1692-02-01 Salem Witch Trials During the Salem Witch Trials (1692-1693), citizens accused one another of witchcraft, leading to mass hysteria and the imprisonment/death of approximately 170 community members.
1706-01-01 First Presbytery Formed in Philadelphia The formation of a presbytery in Philadelphia in 1706 brought official Presbyterianism to the colonies.
1707-07-01 Philadelphia Baptist Association In 1707, Welsh Baptist immigrants in Philadelphia formed the first permanent Baptist denomination in America.
1727-01-01 Free Will Baptists Founded in North Carolina In 1727, Paul Palmer founded North Carolina’s first Baptist Church. This led to the spread of Baptist churches throughout the state.
1727-01-01 William Tennent's "Log College" In 1727, William Tennent's "Log College" became the first seminary in North America.
1729-01-01 Adopting Act of Westminster Confession By adopting the Westminster Confession of Faith (1729) as its doctrinal standard, American Presbyterianism moved a step closer to becoming a fully regularized denomination.
1733-01-01 The First Great Awakening The First Great Awakening (1730s-1770s) was a series of religious revivals that propelled the expansion of evangelical denominations in the colonies.
1736-01-01 John and Charles Wesley Visit America In 1736, John and Charles Wesley arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Although disappointing, the mission impacted the early stages of Methodism.
1737-01-01 Synod of 1737 and the Old Side-New Side Controversy The Synod of 1737, which restricted itinerancy and tightened ordination standards, launched the Old Side-New Side Controversy, which divided American Presbyterianism for two decades.
1739-01-01 George Whitefield's First American Preaching Tour George Whitefield's preaching tour (1739-1740) helped propel his career as the preeminent revivalist of the First Great Awakening.
1740-01-01 Mikveh Israel Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia began as a Jewish cemetery (1740) but later became a synagogue (1782), one of the earliest existing Jewish synagogues in America.
1740-03-08 Gilbert Tennent Preaches "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry" Gilbert Tennent's 1740 sermon, "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry," helped spark the Old Side-New Side division among American Presbyterians.
1741-07-08 Jonathan Edwards Preaches 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' Jonathan Edwards's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (1741) was one of the foundational texts of the First Great Awakening.
1742-01-01 Philadelphia Confession of Faith The Philadelphia Baptist Association adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith in 1742, unifying Particular Baptist churches throughout the country.
1746-01-01 Princeton University Founded New Light Presbyterians founded Princeton University in 1746 as one of the first national colleges in America.
1749-01-01 Life of David Brainerd Published Jonathan Edwards published The Life of David Brainerd (1749) to promote evangelical theology during the First Great Awakening.
1755-10-03 Hanover Presbytery Organized in Virginia The 1755 founding of Hanover Presbytery in Virginia highlighted the rapid expansion of evangelicalism in the South during the First Great Awakening.
1758-05-29 The Plan of Union of 1758 The Plan of Union in 1758 ended the Old Side-New Side controversy among American Presbyterians.
1763-01-01 First Methodist Societies Established From 1763 to 1766, the first Methodist societies in America were established in Maryland, Virginia, and New York.
1763-01-01 Touro Synagogue Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1763 in Newport, R.I. It is the oldest dedicated synagogue in America.
1764-03-03 Brown University In 1764, the Philadelphia Baptist Association commissioned James Manning to found Brown as a Baptist college.
1769-07-16 Junipero Serra Establishes First Missions in California Junipero Serra established Mission San Diego on July 16, 1769. This helped extend Spanish control in California and brought Christianity to Native Americans.
1769-10-20 First Wesleyan Missionaries Arrive in America Though Methodists were already in America, John Wesley sent Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore to America in 1769 in order to further spread Methodism.
1770-01-01 Mary Evans Thorne Appointed Class Leader Mary Evans Thorne is believed to be the first woman appointed as a class leader in American Methodism around 1770.
1770-01-01 The Trial of Margaret Meuse Clay In 1770, local authorities trialed Margaret Meuse Clay for challenging the gender norms of colonial society and for preaching without a license.
1771-01-01 Francis Asbury Arrives in America Methodist missionary Francis Asbury travels from England to America in 1771 and becomes the leader of American Methodism.
1773-01-01 Publication of An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty In 1773, Isaac Backus published a collection of sermons promoting religious liberty and the separation between church and state.
1774-01-01 Ann Lee Migrates to America Ann Lee (1736-1784) brought a Christian sect known as the Shakers from England to the American colonies in 1774.
1774-01-01 Scottish Covenanters Form First Presbytery in Pennsylvania Expatriates from dissident Scottish Presbyterians formed a presbytery in central Pennsylvania in 1774.
1774-10-07 Quebec Act The Quebec Act of 1774 led to a resurgence in anti-Catholic sentiment in the American colonies and increased tensions between colonists and the British government.
1775-01-01 Silver Bluff Baptist Church Silver Bluff Baptist Church was founded over the course of 1773-1775 as the first black Baptist church in America.
1775-04-19 American Revolution When the first shots were fired in 1775, the Colonies didn’t even have a military. Eight years later, the United States had defeated England. Historical Content
1780-01-01 Wesley's A Collection of Hymns, for Use of the People Called Methodists This 1780 hymnbook, written by John Wesley, became the definitive hymnbook for Methodists.
1780-06-30 Benjamin Randall Organizes the Free Will Baptists Itinerant preacher Benjamin Randall organized the Free Will Baptists in New England in 1780.
1782-01-01 Formation of the Associate Reformed Presbytery, or "Seceders" The Associate Reformed Presbytery, formed in Philadelphia in 1782, represented Scottish immigrants from the "seceder" tradition in the Church of Scotland.
1783-01-01 Founding Period With independence won, the United States of America began creating a new government during the Founding Period (1783-1791), including the selection of the first president. Historical Content
1784-01-01 Methodist Episcopal Church In 1784, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the first official Methodist denomination in the United States.
1784-01-01 Thomas Coke's Anti-Slavery Resolution, "Christmas Conference" The Christmas Conference of 1784 allowed American Methodists to establish their new denominational identity in the United States and to reaffirm their opposition to slavery.
1786-01-16 Virginia's Religious Disestablishment In 1786, the Virginia legislature passed a bill by Thomas Jefferson ending the Anglican Church's formal establishment as the state religion.
1789-01-01 Georgetown Founded In 1789, Georgetown University became the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.
1789-05-21 First General Assembly of the PCUSA In 1789, American Presbyterians created the General Assembly and adopted a new name, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (i.e., PCUSA).
1789-11-06 Diocese of Baltimore On November 6, 1789, the first diocese in the United States was established in Baltimore, Maryland.
1790-01-01 First Convent of Nuns in America The first Catholic convent in America was founded in 1790 in Maryland by four contemplative Discalced Carmelite Nuns who came from a convent in Belgium.
1790-01-01 The Second Great Awakening The Second Great Awakening(s) (1790s-1840s) fueled the rise of an evangelical Protestant majority in antebellum America, giving rise to new denominations and social reform organizations.
1790-01-01 Westward and Southern Expansion The United States of America began pushing beyond the boundaries of its original 13 states, until its holdings spanned from sea to sea (1790-1848). Historical Content
1790-08-18 George Washington's Letter to Touro Synagogue President George Washington's 1790 letter to Jews in Rhode Island is widely regarded as his most emphatic endorsement of religious liberty and acceptance.
1792-01-01 James O'Kelly's Congregational Revolt In 1792, James O'Kelly, concerned with the power of bishops, led the first schism in the American Methodist Church.
1794-01-01 First Camp Meeting, Rehobeth, NC In 1794, Daniel Asbury and the Methodists held the first recognized camp meeting in the United States.
1795-01-01 Congregation Rodeph Shalom The first Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere, Rodeph Shalom, was founded in Philadelphia in 1795.
1800-01-01 Church of the United Brethren in Christ In 1800, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ formed as a result of evangelizing German immigrants. It is the first uniquely American denomination.
1801-01-01 Cane Ridge Camp Meeting Barton Stone organized the Cane Ridge camp meeting (1801), the largest and most famous religious revival of the Second Great Awakening.
1801-01-01 The Plan of Union of 1801 In 1801, the Plan of Union united the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists in efforts to evangelize the Midwest.
1802-01-01 Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists In 1802, Thomas Jefferson's letter contained the phrase "a wall of separation between Church and State," important in later legal interpretations of the first amendment.
1807-01-01 First African Presbyterian Church Organized In May 1807, John Gloucester organized the first African American Presbyterian Church.
1809-01-01 Ququnok Patke Prophesies Ququnok Patke (c.1790s-1837) was a Kootenai Indian whose prophecies in the early 1800s made her legendary throughout the Pacific Northwest.
1810-01-01 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions In 1810, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions formed in order to send Congregationalist and Presbyterian missionaries all over the world.
1810-02-04 Cumberland Presbyterian Church In 1810, the Cumberland Presbytery formed as a response to ordination and theological differences with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
1812-01-01 War of 1812 The War of 1812 (1812-1815) is often called the second American Revolutionary War, because it again pitted America against Britain. Historical Content
1813-01-01 Union Church of Africans In 1813, the Union Church of Africans became the first independently organized black church in the United States.
1814-05-18 Triennial Convention In 1814, the Triennial Convention became the first formal Baptist missionary agency in America.
1815-01-01 George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery Presbyterian minister George Bourne lost his pastor position in 1815 for advocating the immediate emancipation of the slaves.
1816-01-01 African Methodist Episcopal Church In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church formed after years of unequal treatment with white Methodists. It is the oldest existing African-American denomination in the U.S.
1816-01-01 American Bible Society Founded The American Bible Society (est. 1816) is a faith-based voluntary society that distributes millions of Bibles throughout the country.
1816-01-01 Death of Francis Asbury Francis Asbury’s 1816 death marked the end of an influential 55-year ministry, but American Methodists continued to flourish following his death.
1817-01-01 The American Sunday School Union In 1817, the American Sunday School Union formed as a faith-based voluntary society to spread education and knowledge of the Bible throughout the country.
1819-01-01 First Methodist Missionary Societies Organized In 1819, American Methodists organized their first missionary societies in New York and Philadelphia.
1821-01-01 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church formed in 1821 as a response to racial discrimination and segregation.
1826-01-01 The Christian Advocate First Published In 1826, the Methodist Episcopal Church commissioned the Christian Advocate, a weekly newspaper that became one of the most popular periodicals in the country.
1827-01-01 The Primitive Baptists Coalesce In 1827, the Primitive Baptists began forming in response to growing Baptist denominationalism.
1829-01-01 Oblate Sisters of Providence Founded The Oblate Sisters of Providence, founded in Baltimore, Md., in 1829, was the first Roman Catholic congregation founded by women of African descent.
1830-09-01 Charles Finney's Rochester Revival Charles Finney's Rochester Revival (1830-1831) played a foundational role for the more widespread revivalism and conversions of the 1830s and 1840s.
1831-08-21 Nat Turner's Rebellion Nat Turner’s rebellion (1831) is the most famous slave revolt in American history.
1834-08-11 Ursuline Convent Riots In 1834, an anti-Catholic mob burned down a convent and school run by Ursuline nuns in Charlestown, Mass.
1835-01-01 Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon In 1835, Methodist missionaries established a mission and manual labor school for American Indians, which was largely unsuccessful.
1835-01-01 Trial of Albert Barnes The trial of Presbyterian minister Albert Barnes regarding his unorthodox theology in 1835 increased tensions between Old School and New School Presbyterians.
1836-01-01 Publication of Appeal to the Christian Women of the South In 1836, Angelina Grimke published Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, which urged other southern Christian women to denounce slavery.
1836-01-01 Publication of Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery Maria Monk's controversial Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery (1836) depicted illicit encounters between priests and nuns, rape, infanticide, and murder.
1836-01-01 Publication of Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee Jarena Lee’s 1836 autobiography is one of the first extended life accounts of a black woman in America.
1836-03-27 First LDS Temple (Kirtland) Joseph Smith founded the first Latter-day Saints temple in Kirtland, Ohio, on March 27, 1836.
1836-12-10 Emory University Founded In 1836, the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Emory College in Georgia.
1836-12-23 Wesleyan College In 1836, Wesleyan College was founded in Macon, GA. It is the oldest college for women in the world.
1837-01-01 New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly The New School-Old School controversy, driven by theological differences during the Second Great Awakening, split the mainstream of American Presbyterianism in 1837.
1838-01-01 Duke University Founded A group of Methodists and Quakers founded a subscription school in 1838 that would eventually become Duke University.
1838-01-01 Rebecca Gratz Founds First Hebrew Sunday School Under Rebecca Gratz's oversight, the first free Hebrew Sunday school opened in Philadelphia in 1838.
1839-01-01 Papal Condemnation of Slave Trade In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade in the papal bull entitled In supremo apostolatus, but American Catholics were tentative about ending slavery.
1842-01-01 Early Mormon Women Found Female Relief Society In 1842, four Mormon women organized the Female Relief Society to aid the poor and help women grow in the church.
1842-01-01 University of Notre Dame Founded French Priest Edward Sorin founded the University of Notre Dame in 1842. It became the most renowned Catholic university in the world.
1843-01-01 Phoebe Palmer Writes The Way of Holiness In 1843, Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) first published The Way of Holiness, an important evangelical classic outlining a "shorter way" to ecstatic union with God.
1843-01-01 Sojourner Truth's Methodist Conversion In 1843, Sojourner Truth converted to Methodism and found her calling as an important social activist for blacks as well as women.
1843-01-01 The Wesleyan Methodist Church Connection In 1843, abolitionists split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over slavery and church governance.
1844-06-27 Death of Joseph Smith An angry mob broke into Joseph Smith's jail cell and killed him on June 27, 1844. Smith became a martyr at the age of 38.
1845-01-01 Methodist Episcopal Church, South In 1845, the contentious issue of American slavery divided the Methodist Episcopal Church into Northern and Southern denominations.
1845-05-08 Southern Baptist Convention Founded The Southern Baptist Convention (1845) resulted from a split between Northern and Southern Baptists over slavery. It is now the largest Protestant denomination in America.
1846-07-01 Ordination of Ruby Knapp Bixby by the Free Will Baptists In 1846, the Freewill Baptists ordained Ruby Knapp Bixby, making her the first licensed female Baptist preacher.
1847-07-24 Utah In 1847, Brigham Young led the Mormons into Utah after facing persecution at home. The land was considered a Mormon "Zion."
1847-11-29 Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman In 1847, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, early missionaries to the Oregon territory, were killed by the Cayuse Indians in a widely publicized massacre.
1848-01-01 First Wave of Feminism The 72-year struggle to grant women the right to vote evolved as the central theme of the first wave of American feminism (1848-1920). Historical Content
1848-03-31 Fox Sisters Contact a Spirit America's Spiritualism movement, which believes spirits of the dead can communicate with the living through mediums, traces its roots to two young girls in 1848.
1849-01-01 First Daoist/Traditional Chinese Temples in the U.S. Daoism (i.e., Taoism), one of China’s recognized religions, arrived in San Francisco in the 19th century as Chinese immigrants sought work in California’s gold rush.
1851-06-24 Initiation of the Baptist Landmarker Movement In 1851, the Baptist Landmarker movement began and embroiled the Southern Baptist Convention in controversy.
1852-01-01 Congregational Methodist Church In 1852, the Congregational Methodist Church broke off from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South over church governance disputes.
1852-01-01 Harriet Beecher Stowe Publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin In 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1886) spread a powerful message that slavery was evil and Christian love could eradicate it.
1852-05-09 Plenary Councils of Baltimore The Plenary Councils of Baltimore were a series of meetings of the American Catholic bishops held in 1852, 1866, and 1884.
1853-01-01 First Buddhist Temples Built In the 1850s-1880s, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought Buddhism to America as they searched for work in Hawaii's plantations and California's gold rush.
1853-09-15 Antoinette Brown Ordained by Congregationalists In 1853, Antoinette Brown (1825-1921), a woman's rights activist and abolitionist, became the first woman to be ordained by a Mainline Protestant church.
1854-01-01 Chief Seattle's Speech An 1854 speech by Native American Chief Seattle (1780-1866) inspired the 20th century environmental movement, despite being heavily rewritten.
1856-01-01 Publication of Autobiography of Peter Cartwright Peter Cartwright’s Autobiography (1856) recounts the famous Methodist circuit rider’s life, from his conversion to his encounters with famous American figures.
1860-01-01 Free Methodist Church Benjamin Titus Roberts and John Wesley Redfield founded the Free Methodist Church in 1860 after failing to reform the Methodist Episcopal Church.
1861-01-01 Civil War The Civil War (1861-1865) was fought between the U.S. government and 11 southern states. The Union prevailed, slaves were freed, and nearly 700,000 people died. Historical Content
1861-01-01 Freedmen's Aid Society In the 1860s, the Freedmen's Aid Society formed with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for blacks in the American South.
1861-01-01 Presbyterian Church in the U.S. The Civil War divided northern and southern Presbyterians, leading those in the South to secede and form the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in 1861.
1863-01-01 Ellen White Helps Found Seventh-day Adventists In 1863, Ellen G. White (1827-1915), was instrumental in founding the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which worships on Saturday and believes Christ's return is imminent.
1863-01-01 Olympia Brown Ordained By Universalist Church In 1863, women's rights activist Olympia Brown (1835-1926) became the first woman to be ordained by the Universalist Church.
1864-11-29 John Chivington Leads Sand Creek Massacre In 1864, former Methodist Episcopal Church pastor John Chivington led a massacre against Colorado Native Americans, now known as the Sand Creek Massacre.
1865-01-01 Reconstruction and Industrialization During the Reconstruction and Industrialization period (1865-1890), the South struggled to recover after the Civil War. Meanwhile, United States was emerging as an industrial giant. Historical Content
1869-01-01 Reunification of New School and Old School Presbyterians After 30 years of division between New School and Old School Presbyterians, the factions reunited in 1869.
1870-01-01 Christian Methodist Episcopal Church In 1870, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church formed after southern black Methodists desired to form their own denomination following the Civil War.
1873-01-01 Fanny Crosby Writes "Blessed Assurance" Fanny Crosby’s "Blessed Assurance" (1873) became one of the most popular Christian hymns.
1873-01-01 Vanderbilt University Founded In 1873, Vanderbilt University was founded in Nashville, Tennessee with the initial goal of training local Methodist ministers.
1873-07-07 Lottie Moon Sent to China as a Southern Baptist Missionary In 1873, Lottie Moon went to China as a Southern Baptist missionary at a time when sending unmarried women to the mission field was rare.
1874-01-01 Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded In 1874, former slaves in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded an independent denomination, later named the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America.
1874-01-01 Woman's Christian Temperance Union The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was founded in November 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio, after a series of anti-alcohol protests by women.
1875-01-01 Hebrew Union College Hebrew Union College, the oldest center of Jewish higher education in America, was founded in 1875 with its first campus in Cincinnati.
1875-11-17 Theosophical Society Founded Founded in New York in 1875, the Theosophical Society popularized such Eastern tenets as karma and reincarnation in a new religious movement emphasizing spiritual evolution.
1880-01-01 Female Ordination Controversy in Methodist Episcopal Church In 1880, Anna Howard Shaw and Anna Oliver both were denied ordination rights by the Methodist Episcopal Church, stirring tensions regarding female ordination.
1880-03-14 First Salvation Army Meeting in America The Salvation Army conducted its first formal meeting in the United States in New York City in 1880.
1882-01-01 Knights of Columbus The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization for Catholic men that formed in Connecticut in 1882.
1885-01-01 Peyote Religion and the Native American Church Use of peyote, a psychedelic source for Native American spirit ceremonies, became widespread in the mid-1880s. In 1906, peyote groups formed the Native American Church.
1886-01-01 Jewish Theological Seminary of America The Jewish Theological Seminary, founded in New York in 1886, is the educational center of Conservative Judaism.
1886-04-24 Augustus Tolton Becomes Ordained Catholic Priest On April 24, 1886, Augustus Tolton became the first fully and recognizably African-American Catholic priest.
1886-08-19 Church of God (Cleveland, TN) The Church of God (Cleveland, TN) was founded in 1886 and is the oldest Pentecostal denomination in the United States.
1890-01-01 Jim Crow Laws Abolition freed the slaves, but blacks were kept segregated from whites in the South through local and state regulations known as Jim Crow laws (1890-1965). Historical Content
1890-01-01 University of Chicago In 1890, John D. Rockefeller and William Rainey Harper founded a non-sectarian university in Chicago to promote progressive education and modernist theology.
1891-05-15 Publication of Encyclical Rerum Novarum Rerum Novarum, an 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on protecting the working class, is a foundational text in modern Catholic social thought.
1892-01-01 Trial of Charles Augustus Briggs The 1892 heresy trial of theologian Charles Augustus Briggs anticipated the fundamentalist-modernist controversy in the Presbyterian Church twenty years later.
1893-08-01 World Parliament of Religions In 1893, the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago introduced many non-Christian faiths to America -- including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto and Taoism.
1895-09-24 National Baptist Convention The National Baptist Convention has been the largest national association of African-American Baptists since 1895 despite major denominational splits in 1915 and 1961.
1897-01-01 Church of God in Christ The Church of God in Christ was formed in 1897 in Mississippi. It is the oldest and largest black Pentecostal body in the United States.
1897-01-01 Pilgrim Holiness Church The Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897) was originally a Methodist prayer league that grew into a denomination by the early 20th century.
1898-11-03 First Shinto Shrine in the U.S. On November 3, 1898, Japanese immigrants built the first Shinto shrine in the United States in Hilo, Hawaii.
1899-01-22 Publication of Encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, an 1899 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII, condemned the heresy of Americanism.
1899-11-21 President McKinley Addresses Methodist Ministers on Philippines On November 21, 1899, President William McKinley told Methodist leaders that he had been divinely inspired to annex the Philippines.
1906-01-01 Dzemijetul Hajrije Dzemijetal Hajrije, America's oldest existing Muslim organization, was formed in 1906 by Bosnian immigrants who came to Chicago to help dig subway tunnels.
1906-01-07 Hindu Temple Established in San Francisco On Jan. 7, 1906, Indian-born Swami Trigunatita helped build one of the first Hindu temples of the western world in San Francisco.
1906-04-09 William Seymour and Azusa Street Revival The Azusa Street Revival (1906-1915) was a defining event for early Pentecostalism and functioned as the catalyst to the growth of American Pentecostalism.
1907-05-17 Northern Baptist Convention The Northern Baptist Convention formed in 1907 and represents the theologically liberal and politically progressive strains of the Baptist tradition.
1907-09-08 Publication of Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis Pascendi Dominici Gregis, a 1907 encyclical by Pope Pius X, defined Modernism as "the synthesis of all heresies."
1908-01-01 The Methodist Social Creed Adopted In 1908, the Methodist Episcopal Church developed an official creed to address social problems of poverty and child labor exploitation.
1909-01-01 Publication of Scofield Reference Bible The Scofield Reference Bible, first published by Oxford University Press in 1909, would sell two million copies by the end of World War II.
1910-01-01 Sufism Comes to United States Fulfilling the wishes of his Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan sailed to America in 1910 to spread the message of this mystical arm of Islam.
1912-01-01 First Sikh Gurdwara The first gurdwara, a Sikh gathering place, was built in 1912 in Stockton, C.A., by settlers attracted to the fertile farmland similar to their native Punjab.
1914-01-01 World War I World War I (1914-1919) began in Europe, but grew into an unprecedented global conflict with 65 million troops. It was called the Great War. Historical Content
1914-04-01 Assemblies of God Founded The Assemblies of God started with a handful of Pentecostal ministers in Hot Springs, Arkansas in April 1914, but would grow into a global phenomenon.
1915-01-01 Xavier University of Louisiana Founded Xavier University of Louisiana (est. 1915) is the only historically black Catholic institution of higher learning in America.
1917-01-01 National Catholic War Council The National Catholic War Council in 1917 allowed the Catholic hierarchy to display its patriotism and to unite on a national level.
1918-01-01 Alma Bridwell White Becomes First Female Bishop In 1918, Alma Bridwell White (1862-1946) was consecrated bishop of a Holiness sect she founded, becoming the first woman bishop of a Christian church.
1919-01-01 Bishops' Program for Social Reconstruction The "Bishops’ Program for Social Reconstruction" (1919) was a Catholic initiative supporting guaranteed wages, health insurance, and worker protections.
1920-01-01 Bureau of Immigration In 1920, the National Catholic Welfare Council gave aid and guidance to new Catholic immigrants through its Bureau of Immigration.
1920-01-01 Prohibition The 18th amendment made the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States for 13 years (1920-1933). Historical Content
1922-05-21 Harry Emerson Fosdick Preaches "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" In 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick's sermon accused fundamentalists of being "essentially illiberal and intolerant." His subsequent dismissal made Fosdick a martyr for liberal mainline Christianity.
1923-01-01 Baptist Bible Union The Baptist Bible Union was a fundamentalist association of churches which had separated from the Northern Baptist Convention in 1923.
1923-01-01 Christianity and Liberalism Published John Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism (1923) challenged the cultural shift toward modernist interpretations of the Bible within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
1924-01-01 Auburn Affirmation In 1924, the Auburn Affirmation denounced the Five Point Deliverance as a necessary means for ordination in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
1924-01-01 Publication of Shailer Mathews's The Faith of Modernism Shailer Mathews's The Faith of Modernism (1924) was an influential systematic theology of theological liberalism.
1925-01-01 The Cooperative Program Instituted in the Southern Baptist Convention In 1925, the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program centralized budgetary authority and aided the growth of the denomination.
1925-07-09 Scopes Trial The Scopes Trial (1925) highlighted the tension between literal interpretations of creation accounts in the Bible and evolutionary theory in the 20th century.
1928-11-06 Al Smith Presidential Campaign Alfred E. "Al" Smith became the first Catholic nominee for president when he ran as a Democrat in 1928 against Herbert Hoover.
1929-01-01 First Purpose-Built Mosque In 1929, Syrian-Lebanese immigrants constructed the first purpose-built mosque in America in Ross, N.D., to serve their small community of Muslims.
1929-01-01 Great Depression The Great Depression (1929-1939) brought the biggest economic upheaval in U.S. history. Millions of people were unemployed, banks/businesses failed, and there was sweeping poverty. Historical Content
1930-06-02 Sarah Dickson Becomes First Female Presbyterian Elder On June 2, 1930, Sarah Dickson became the first female elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
1930-07-04 Nation of Islam Founded On July 4, 1930, W.D. Fard founded the Nation of Islam, one of the most radical and militant religious movements of the 20th century.
1933-05-01 Catholic Worker Movement In 1933, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a group of Catholic communities promoting social justice and hospitality toward the poor.
1934-01-01 Mother Mosque of America The "Mother Mosque of America," established by immigrants in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the oldest purpose-built mosque still in use.
1935-11-05 National Association of Free Will Baptists In 1935, the two major "branches" of Free Will Baptists joined together to form the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
1936-01-01 Orthodox Presbyterian Church Founded In 1936, discontented conservative Presbyterians left the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
1937-05-01 Bible Presbyterian Church The Bible Presbyterian Church, led by Carl McIntire in 1937, was the product of division between Presbyterian traditionalists and fundamentalists in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
1939-01-01 Signing of the American Baptist Bill of Rights The American Baptist Bill of Rights (1939) defended the separation of church and state, paving the way for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
1939-01-01 World War II With the rise of Adolf Hitler, Germany began annexing neighboring countries, leading to the second World War (1939-1945) and the deadliest conflict in world history. Historical Content
1939-05-10 Northern and Southern Factions of the Methodist Episcopal Church Reunite The Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited in 1939, nearly a century after the issue of slavery divided them.
1942-04-07 National Association of Evangelicals Founded The National Association of Evangelicals was founded in 1942 to provide representation for evangelicals in Washington, D.C., and with the broadcasting industry.
1944-01-01 Buddhist Churches of America The Buddhist Churches of America, formed in 1944 and headquartered in San Francisco, represents mainstream Japanese American Buddhism.
1946-01-01 Autobiography of a Yogi Published Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946, continues to be used by followers of his Self-Realization Fellowship and as college textbooks.
1946-01-01 Evangelical Methodist Church In 1946, the Evangelical Methodist Church formed in response to fears of liberalism within the Methodist Church.
1946-01-01 John R. Mott Awarded Nobel Peace Prize In 1946, John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting religious peace through his ecumenical efforts.
1947-01-01 Cold War The antagonistic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Cold War (1947-1991), lasted for nearly half a century. Historical Content
1947-02-10 Everson v. Board of Education In this 1947 case, the Supreme Court first applied the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (i.e. no law establishing religion) to the states.
1947-05-17 Conservative Baptist Association of America William Bell Riley, fundamentalist minister and Bible college president, led the Minnesota Baptist Convention out of the Northern Baptist Convention in 1947.
1949-09-25 Billy Graham's Los Angeles Crusade Billy Graham's Los Angeles Crusade (1949) catapulted the southern evangelist into the national spotlight for the first time.
1950-01-01 Baptist Missionary Association of America The Baptist Missionary Association of America, which split from the American Baptist Association in 1950, is the largest Landmark Baptist denomination in the United States.
1950-01-01 Bible Baptist Fellowship The Bible Baptist Fellowship formed after a split with J. Frank Norris in 1950 and became the largest association of independent Baptists in America.
1953-01-01 Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois The Baha'i House of Worship, located near Chicago in Wilmette, Ill., was opened in 1953 and is the only Baha'i temple in North America.
1953-03-15 Billy Graham Holds First Integrated Crusade in Chattanooga, TN In 1953, Billy Graham's decision to hold an integrated crusade in the South helped shift racial attitudes among white evangelicals.
1954-01-01 Church of Scientology In 1954, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) began the Church of Scientology with teachings on how to reach a blissful "state of clear."
1955-01-01 Vietnam War America’s two-decade involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) was costly and divisive. It claimed more than 58,000 U.S. lives and cost 140 billion dollars. Historical Content
1956-01-01 Methodists Approve Full Ordination of Women In 1956, the Methodist Church finally permitted the full ordination of women after years of resistance.
1956-10-24 Margaret Towner Ordained in PCUSA Margaret Towner's ordination in 1956 was the culmination of a long struggle for gender equality in the Presbyterian Church USA.
1957-01-01 Elisabeth Elliot Publishes Through Gates of Splendor Elisabeth Elliot’s (1926-2015) book about the martyrdom of her husband and three other missionaries, Through Gates of Splendor (1957), is an evangelical classic.
1957-02-15 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Founded in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) believed that racial equality was a Christian imperative and utilized non-violent protests to combat racism.
1957-05-15 Billy Graham's New York Crusade In 1957, Billy Graham's New York Crusade became his largest American revival campaign with more than two million attendees.
1958-01-01 Huston Smith Publishes The Religions of Man In 1958, Huston Smith published his landmark textbook on comparative religion, The Religions of Man in 1958, later renamed The World's Religions.
1958-01-01 Merger of UPCNA and PCUSA The merger of the UPCNA and the PCUSA in 1958 created the largest Presbyterian denomination in America, but was followed by controversy and dissension.
1960-01-01 American Chapter of Soka Gakkai Formed The Japanese-based Soka Gakkai Buddhist society commissioned its U.S. chapter in 1960. In 1991, the chapter reorganized as Soka Gakkai International-USA.
1960-04-03 Dennis Bennett's Charismatic Outpouring In 1960, Dennis Bennett's public announcement of his baptism by the Holy Spirit led to the Second Wave of Charismatic Christianity in America.
1960-11-08 Election of John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic President of the United States when he defeated Richard Nixon in the 1960 election.
1961-01-01 Pat Robertson Founds Christian Broadcasting Network In 1961, Pat Robertson founded the Christian Broadcast Network, which became a multi-million dollar outlet for Christian television.
1961-11-14 Progressive National Baptist Convention In 1961, the Progressive National Baptist Convention split from the National Baptist Convention, USA, due to disputes regarding Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights activism.
1962-01-01 Rise of Equal Rights Movements The social justice movements of the 1960s were infectious, giving rise to women, racial minorities, and LGBT groups seeking equal rights in the United States. Historical Content
1962-10-11 Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was a Catholic ecumenical council that attempted to reconcile Catholicism with the challenges of modernity.
1962-10-25 Ralph Elliott Fired in the "Genesis" Controversy When Southern Baptist seminary professor Ralph Elliott challenged the historicity of Genesis, conservatives forced him to resign (1962), foreshadowing the conservative resurgence in the SBC.
1963-06-17 Abington School District v. Schempp In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that required Bible readings and recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional.
1963-06-17 Sherbert v. Verner This 1963 case introduced the "Sherbert test"; the government must show that burdening the individual's practice of religion is based on a compelling state interest.
1963-09-15 Birmingham Church Bombing On September 15, 1963, a bomb detonated inside 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. Four young African-American girls were killed, sparking national outrage.
1963-09-20 Islamic Center of America In 1963, after years of fundraising, Lebanese Muslims in the Detroit area opened the Islamic Center of America, one of the oldest Shi'a mosques in America.
1964-01-01 Muhammad Ali Converts to Islam After winning his first heavyweight championship in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay (1942-2016) announced he had converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
1964-08-09 First Ordained Southern Baptist Woman, Addie Davis In 1964, Addie Davis became the first woman ordained in a Southern Baptist church.
1965-01-01 Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (i.e., Hart-Celler Act) permitted more Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu immigrants into the United States, changing the U.S. religious landscape.
1965-12-07 Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration The Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of 1965 revoked the mutual excommunications of 1054 that led to the Great Schism.
1966-01-01 Church of Satan Anton Szandor LaVey (1930-97) started the Church of Satan in 1966, offering a new Golden Rule: "Do unto others as they do unto you."
1966-01-01 International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Parbhupada (1896-1977) founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in 1966 in New York to bring Krishna worship to the West.
1967-01-01 Catholic Charismatic Renewal at Duquesne University The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement influenced by both Catholicism and Pentecostalism and whose American roots can be traced to Duquesne University in 1967.
1967-01-01 UPCUSA Confession of 1967 The 1967 Confession added calls for racial and social reconciliation, but conservatives in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) accused it of hedging on essential doctrines.
1967-03-26 Albert Cleage and The Black Madonna In 1967, Albert Cleage revealed to his congregation a painting called "The Black Madonna," a provocative start to the Black Christian Nationalist Movement.
1968-01-01 United Methodist Church In 1968, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist denomination in the United States.
1968-06-26 Wesleyan Church In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged to form the Wesleyan Church.
1968-07-25 Publication of Encyclical Humanae Vitae Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on artificial birth control and serves as a continuing source of controversy.
1969-01-27 Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church In 1969, this Supreme Court case prohibited the government from interfering in doctrinal disputes between churches.
1971-01-01 Sojourners Magazine Sojourners magazine, founded in 1971, promoted a greater prominence of liberal Christian views on social issues within the evangelical community.
1971-06-28 Lemon v. Kurtzman This 1971 ruling established an influential precedent (the "Lemon test") for whether a law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
1971-08-01 Liberty University Jerry Falwell founded the small Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971, which would grow into the largest private, nonprofit university in America by the 2010s.
1972-06-03 Sally Priesand Becomes First Female Rabbi On June 3, 1972, Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi ordained in America -- and the first woman in Judaism to earn seminary ordination.
1973-01-01 Founding of Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate was a new religious movement founded by Bonnie Lu Nettles and Marshall Applewhite. Its 39 members died in 1997 via mass ritual suicide.
1973-01-01 Presbyterian Church in America In 1973, conservative Presbyterians dissatisfied with the liberal tendencies of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. left to form the Presbyterian Church in America.
1975-01-01 Vietnamese Buddhists Come to United States Vietnamese Buddhism spread across America as thousands of refugees arrived after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
1976-11-02 Election of Jimmy Carter In 1976, Jimmy Carter was the first self-proclaimed "born again" Christian elected president of the United States.
1977-06-08 Major Upsurge in Hindu Temples The 1970s, and early 1980s, saw an explosion of Hindu temples in America, courtesy of a new law allowing for more immigrants from India.
1978-01-01 1978 Revelation on Priesthood In 1978, the Church of Latter-day Saints opened the priesthood to male members of African descent for the first time.
1978-01-01 American Indian Religious Freedom Act The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1978, acknowledged the importance of Native American religious traditions and pledged to protect their rights.
1979-04-12 Adrian Rogers Elected as President of the Southern Baptist Convention In 1979, Baptist conservatives elected Adrian Rogers as president of the Southern Baptist Convention as the first part of a takeover strategy.
1979-06-01 Jerry Falwell Helps Found the Moral Majority With the help of Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell in 1979, the founding of the Moral Majority would later influence Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.
1980-07-17 Marjorie Matthews Elected Bishop Marjorie Matthews was elected bishop in the United Methodist church in 1980. She was the first female elected bishop of any mainline Christian church.
1981-01-01 Evangelical Presbyterian Church In 1981, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church became the third major conservative denomination to split off from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).
1982-01-01 Islamic Society of North America The Islamic Society of North America was created in 1982 as an umbrella group to support and unite the burgeoning Muslim population in America.
1983-01-01 Merger of UPCUSA and PCUS In 1983, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
1983-05-03 Publication of "The Challenge of Peace" In 1983, the Catholic bishops of the United States published the "Challenge of Peace," which denounced the arms race during the Cold War.
1984-03-05 Lynch v. Donnelly This case interpreted the Establishment Clause as an accommodation between church and state, not an absolute separation of the two.
1986-01-01 Publication of "Economic Justice for All" The United States Catholic bishops wrote the pastoral letter entitled "Economic Justice for All" (1986) to promote the economic well-being for all citizens.
1987-02-12 Formation of the Alliance of Baptists Liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention, frustrated by the conservative takeover of the denomination, formed a progressive association of churches in 1987.
1988-01-01 Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple Built in 1988, Hsi Lai Temple near Los Angeles is the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere.
1989-01-01 Barbara Harris Ordained as Anglican Bishop The Right Rev. Barbara Harris (1930-present), an African-American Episcopalian, was consecrated the first female bishop in the Worldwide Anglican Communion in 1989.
1989-07-03 Allegheny County v. ACLU This 1989 case dealt with religious holiday symbols on government property and found that a combination of religious symbols does not violate the Establishment Clause.
1990-04-17 Employment Division v. Smith This 1990 case determined that citizens could not be exempt from generally applicable and religiously neutral laws because those laws burdened their exercise of religion.
1991-05-09 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Moderate Southern Baptists formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991 to protest the conservative dominance in the denomination during the prior decade.
1993-01-01 Eugene Peterson's The Message Published In 1993, Eugene Peterson began publishing sections of The Message (Bible), which translated the Christian Bible into modern everyday language.
1993-02-28 Siege of Branch Davidian Compound Most remember the Branch Davidians, a sect of Seventh-day Adventism, the US Government laying siege to their compound outside of Waco, Texas in 1993.
1993-11-16 Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allowed the "compelling state interest" test to apply to federal level, not just the state level.
1994-01-01 Native American Peyote Controversy Despite passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, legal judgments continued to challenge the use of peyote in religious services until 1994.
1995-01-01 Tim LaHaye publishes Left Behind Starting in 1995, the Left Behind series of novels about the Rapture would become the best-selling works of American Christian fiction.
1995-10-16 Million Man March The Million Man March in 1995, organized by the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, was the largest gathering of African Americans in U.S. history.
1997-06-25 City of Boerne v. Flores In this 1997 case, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had overstepped its constitutional powers in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
2001-09-11 9/11 On September 11, 2001 ("9/11"), al-Qaeda terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. More than 3,000 people died. Historical Content
2002-01-01 Catholic Church Abuse Scandal The Catholic Church has recently been the subject of a widespread scandal involving Catholic officials accused of sexual abuse and cover-ups.
2006-11-07 First Buddhists Elected to U.S. Congress In November 2006, voters in Georgia and Hawaii elected the first two Buddhists --Democrats Hank Johnson and Mazie Hirono -- to the U.S. Congress.
2006-11-07 Keith Ellison Elected to U.S. Congress On Nov. 7, 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to national office, joining the U.S. House of Representatives for Minnesota's fifth district.
2008-01-01 UMC General Conference Denies Sexuality Amendment In 2008 and 2012, the United Methodist Church denied changes in the Book of Discipline, which would have permitted a more liberal stance on homosexuality.
2010-07-08 PCUSA Approves Gay/Lesbian Ordination On July 8, 2010, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the ordination of "openly"/partnered gay and lesbian members. Many conservative members left the denomination thereafter.
2012-11-06 Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign Mitt Romney became the first Mormon nominee for president when he ran as a Republican in 2012 against Barack Obama.
2014-06-19 PCUSA Allows Same-Sex Marriage On June 19, 2014, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed an amendment to allow pastor to perform same-sex marriages.
2023-10-09 Swaminarayan Akshardham The world's largest Hindu temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, opened in 2023 in Robbinsville, N.J.

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