Easter Service in the Club House, April 15th, 1900

clubhousesm.jpgThe Easter service in Bryn Athyn on April 15th, 1900, took place in what was known as the “Club House.” Bryn Athyn was a newly formed community in 1900 (the name “Bryn Athyn,” meaning “Hill of Unity,” had been selected by the Village Association in 1899), and no permanent place of worship had yet been built. The Club House was designed by Benjamin Smith, a young New Church architect, and constructed by Henry Stroh, who also built the original churches in Berlin (Kitchener) and Toronto. John Pitcairn owned the land and the building, located on Central Avenue (now Alnwick Road).

clubhouse3.jpg“The interior is entirely finished in Virginia pine, ceiling and walls being alike covered by this beautiful wood. The furniture of the chancel is of the noble California red-wood (Sequoia). The chancel, which measures 10 x 15 1/2 feet, is lit by a window in the roof; the light being shaded from the congregation by an ornamental tent-like contrivance of wood that rises in the form of a Japanese roof (more…)

Riotous Mob Attacks New Church Temple (1791)

uploadjpg.jpg“Two or three times the mob came to destroy our Temple, upon the supposition that we were against Church and King, as the Unitarians were supposed to be, and the last time the mob came by thousands, with wood under their arms to burn our Temple; I rush’d in amongst the crowd, to the ring leader, explained to him that we had no connection with Dr. Priestley or that Party, and that we wished no ill to the Church, or the King, and putting a guinea or two into their hands (N.B.—this was given by Mr. Hand’s brother), they went away with ‘Huzza to the New Jerusalem for ever.’ Thus the temple escaped destruction. After the mob was dispersed and peace restored, we were quiet and successful as before” (Joseph Proud, unpublished Memoir, 1822. In Early History of the New Church in Birmingham, by E.J.E. Schreck, 1916, 32).

This dramatic attack on the New Jerusalem Temple in Birmingham—the first building in the world erected specifically for New Church worship—took place in 1791 (more…)

First New Church Place of Worship in the World (1791)

birminghambackjpg.jpg“It is somewhat remarkable, that the opening of the [Birmingham] Temple should take place on the 19th day of June, 1791, which is exactly 21 years (3 times 7) since the Lord sent his twelve disciples throughout the whole spiritual world to preach the new and everlasting gospel, That the Lord God Jesus Christ reigneth, whose kingdom shall endure for ever and ever. . . . And what is likewise worthy of notice is, that the proprietors of the Temple, when they appointed the day of opening it, were not in the least aware of the above circumstance, neither did the reflection occur to the mind of any person till after the day of opening it was publicly announced” (The New Magazine of Knowledge, June 1791. In Early History of the New Church in Birmingham, by E.J.E. Schreck, 1916, 27).

birmingham5b.jpgThe New Jerusalem Temple in Birmingham, England, was built from 1790 to 1791. It was the first building in the world erected specifically for the purpose of New Church worship, although it remained in New Church hands for only two years. No drawings are known to exist from 1791, but “thanks to the interruption in the copper coinage of the realm at that period, we are given a clue as to what the building looked like. (more…)

The Angel in the Mirror

mirrorphoto.jpg“‘Now you shall see an angel’; and as he spoke, he drew up the curtain, when the maiden beheld herself reflected in a mirror.” This charming story about Emanuel Swedenborg and a young visitor to his garden may sound like a fanciful legend, but it seems to have actually happened. (See below for information about the original source.) It is a favorite with New Church children, and has been told in New Church elementary schools since the 19th century, often in connection with Swedenborg’s birthday celebrations:

“As this was the eve of the anniversary of Swedenborg’s birth it was thought to be a fitting occasion for giving some instruction concerning him. Accordingly after the dancing, which followed the pleasant and frugal supper, the entire school assembled to listen to a short account of Swedenborg from Chancellor Benade. Although the remarks were comprehensible to the youngest pupils, whose knowledge of the subject dates from yesterday, so to speak, they were nonetheless interesting to the older pupils and teachers. At the close of these remarks one of the students of Theology read a poem which he had ably translated from the Swedish. It told in the metre of the original, of a dear little girl who went to Swedenborg with the request that he would permit her to see an angel. After listening kindly to her child-like prattle he led her to a mirror, and showed her the image of herself, and thus granted her prayer” (New Church Life 1887, 62).

esbustphoto.jpgThe story has been depicted in a bronze relief on the pedestal of a bust of Swedenborg in Maria Square, Stockholm, by the Swedish artist Gustav Nordahl. (See photos of Nordahl’s 1973 bust from the “Swedenborg’s Sweden” trip co-sponsored by Bryn Athyn College and Glencairn Museum in 1998. (more…)

Placement of Cornerstone for New Church Temple Causes Rev. William H. Benade to Resign (1854)

cornerstonebig.jpgOn September 4, 1854, a cornerstone containing a “time capsule” was ceremoniously laid for The First New Jerusalem Society of Philadelphia’s temple at the corner of Broad and Brandywine. The time capsule, set in the hollow center of the cornerstone, was a tin box – nine inches long, six inches wide, and four inches deep. The elders of the society, in the presence of the building committee, deposited a number of documents in the box. However, the acting minister of the society, Rev. William Henry Benade, was conspicuously absent from the ceremony, having refused to take part. On October 15, Benade resigned his pastorate over disagreements with the church’s building committee, and preached a farewell sermon based on the text from Psalm 127: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” 

dedication.jpgToday the cornerstone is in the collection of Glencairn Museum, and the materials in the tin box “time capsule” reside in the Academy of the New Church Archives, Swedenborg Library, Bryn Athyn, PA. Included among the papers were a handwritten copy of the “Articles of Faith” of the New Church (see photo below) and a short document describing the history and organization of the society (Eldric S. Klein, “Report of the Archivist,” The Academy Journal, 1971-72, 25). The papers were somewhat damaged during their 118-year stay in the tin box, perhaps due to seepage from groundwater. (more…)

The Tomb of Jesper Swedberg at Varnhem Cloister (1736)

jesperweb1.jpgBishop Jesper Swedberg (1653-1735), Emanuel Swedenborg’s father and one of the leaders of the Swedish Lutheran Church, died in July 1735. He was buried beside Sara Bergia (d. 1720), his second wife, in a tomb on the south side of the cloister church of Varnhem (in Västergötland, near Skara). Sara Bergia, Swedenborg’s stepmother, had developed a great affection for the boy, and left him a large inheritance when she died in 1720. The epitaph above the door of the tomb, although exposed to the elements, has survived in excellent condition:

jesperweb31.jpg“The Bishop’s D.J. Swedberg’s and his d(ear) wife mrs. SARA Swedenborg’s (last) restingplace. A(nno) 1720″

The details of Jesper Swedberg’s funeral provide an interesting look into 18th century Swedish funerary customs. The excerpts below (pp. 125-6, 128, 131) are from Swedenborg’s Secret—The Meaning and Significance of the Word of God, the Life of the Angels, and Service to God—A Biography, by Lars Bergquist (London: The Swedenborg Society, 2005)

“In July 1735 [Bishop Jesper Swedberg] had felt that his life was moving towards its close, and he took to his bed. (more…)

Valentine Parties in New Church Congregations (1882-1945)

“The young ladies have solved the mysteries as to just who sent them their valentines, with a promptness that should strike terror into the heart of the average young man, while most of the young men are decidedly in the dark as to whom they are indebted for their pretty favors” (New Church Life 1882, 47).

Although the New Church does not recognize any saints, St. Valentine’s Day, like Halloween and other secular holidays, has been celebrated in New Church schools and congregations since the latter part of the 19th century.

Chicago, Illinois, 1882:

“Since our last letter we have had a pleasant Church social at the house of Mr. Junge, and the young people’s club has met twice; the last time, on the evening of St. Valentine’s day, at the house of Mr. Smeal . . . The second feature of the evening was the distribution of the valentines, which had been deposited in a box in the hall by the members of the company as they came in, and this feature of the evening, which had been regarded rather skeptically by some, proved quite entertaining and was a success; a strict embargo had been put upon the sending of caricatures, and only one managed to find its way among the lot, but that was a work of art (in its way), and considered by the company to serve the recipient just right.

“The third feature of the evening consisted in discussing large quantities of cake and ice cream, (more…)

Cairnwood Featured in New Book about Carrere and Hastings, Architects

Cairnwood repositoryWhat do the New York Public Library, the original House and Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill, the Frick mansion, and Cairnwood, the former home of John and Gertrude Pitcairn in Bryn Athyn, have in common?

They all were designed by the renowned New York architectural firm of Carrère & Hastings, and all are featured in a new book: Carrère & Hastings, Architects. The first comprehensive study and visual record of the firm’s remarkable achievements, this two-volume work is already being hailed as “the architectural book of the year” (Francis Marrone).

One of the book’s authors, Mark Alan Hewitt, will speak on the scope of Carrère & Hastings’ work, focusing on Cairnwood, the first large country house designed by the firm, in a presentation at Cairnwood on Feb. 11 at 4 p.m., 1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA,. The event is free and open to the public. 

Hewitt, a registered architect, teacher, and architectural historian, will be available to sign books and answer questions, and all three floors of Cairnwood will be open for self-guided tours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Cairnwood and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America

In the 1890s, country living was developing as an ideal among the wealthiest Americans, and leading designers worked to develop an architectural form for that ideal. The firm of Carrère & Hastings, which helped define the architecture of the period, was responsible for some 600 projects in its 45-year history. Many of the firm’s homes were built for leaders of the oil and railroad industries, like John Pitcairn, who commissioned Cairnwood in 1892. The home was completed in 1895. (more…)

319th Birthday of Emanuel Swedenborg

swedenborg-hollsm.jpg“There was a birthday cake for Swedenborg, and one little boy couldn’t understand why Mr. Swedenborg was not present at his own birthday party” (Church News: Toronto, Canada, in New Church Life 1921, 376).

For more than a century, New Church schools and congregations around the world have been celebrating the birthday of Emanuel Swedenborg (January 29th, 1688) with parties, banquets, and other activities. A detailed account of an 1892 Swedenborg’s birthday celebration at the Academy of the New Church in Philadelphia was published in New Church Life:


IT has been customary in the Philadelphia Schools for several years past, to celebrate Swedenborg’s birthday in some way. First, by a few remarks at the opening exercises in the morning. Then by a lecture on Swedenborg’s life and mission, and once by an evening social with appropriate toasts and speeches.

But last year’s celebration by a school dinner was so eminently satisfactory, that it was the universal desire that the day should be annually celebrated in that way. Accordingly there assembled in the Boys School building at noon, on January 29th, a company of about one hundred, including all the pupils of the school, old and young, (more…)

First New Jerusalem Temple in Philadelphia (1817)

stricklandtemplesm1.jpgOn January 1, 1817, the New Jerusalem Temple, the first New Church place of worship in the city of Philadelphia, was dedicated at the south-east corner of Twelfth and George [now Sansom] Streets. The building was designed by William Strickland, a member of the New Church who would go on to become the most famous Philadelphia architect of his day. This illustration of the temple (above) was engraved by Strickland himself.

Later accounts of the New Jerusalem Temple in New Church publications (e.g. New Church Life 1932, 431) indicate that it was built according to the doctrine of “correspondences” described by Emanuel Swedenborg, and modeled after the Nunc Licet temple described in True Christian Religion 508:

“One day a magnificent church building appeared to me; it was square in plan with a roof like a crown, with arches above and a raised parapet running around . . . Later, when I got closer, I saw there was an inscription over the door: NOW IT IS PERMITTED. This meant that now it is permitted to enter with the understanding into the mysteries of faith” (TCR 508).

As yet no early sources have been found that name the Nunc Licet temple as the inspiration behind the design of the New Jerusalem Temple. The building was made possible by William Schlatter, a wealthy merchant and devoted member of the early Philadelphia society. The society wanted a church, but did not have the financial means. (more…)

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Glencairn Museum (January 16, 1982)

museumopen.jpgExactly twenty-five years ago today, Glencairn Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time. The opening event was described in the March issue of the newsletter:



Everyone comes to Glencairn with memories. It was a home that transcended its majestic setting. The Raymond Pitcairn family made sure that it was a community resource as well. That is its legacy.

The sphere of the Great Hall is alive with remembrance: of music, dances, art, history, culture, warmth. All of it revolved around the church, elevating each event and our recollections of it.

Now Glencairn is home for the Academy Museum, and it is a natural transition.

The graciousness with which the Raymond Pitcairn family furnished their home remains. Glencairn, for all its formal splendor, was never remote, sterile, intimidating. As a museum, it is as inviting as it always was, for Christmas Sing or springtime dance.

For years, there had not been the appropriate space to display the Academy Museum’s impressive collection of treasures. So they were consigned to the Library attic. Now they have the setting they deserve, as well as the growing expertise and continued devotion of a dedicated staff and committee.

All of this made a stunning impression at the official opening of the Glencairn Museum on a night when the warmth of this special occasion transcended the numbing cold outside. (more…)

A New Year for the New Church? Not so fast!

christmas1889detail.jpgAccording to a New Church calendar system used during the late 19th century, the new year will not take place until next June 19th. And the year will be 238!

In a 1977 issue of New Church Life, the question was asked, “I wonder if anyone in the New Church has ever thought of a distinctive New Church calendar? As the Old Church starts theirs with the first coming of the Lord into the world, why not a calendar commencing anew with the second coming?” (January 1977, 38). In fact, such a system was in use during the late 19th (and even early 20th) century among New Church people connected with the Academy movement. As explained in a 1918 issue of New Church Life, “June the Nineteenth, 1770, is regarded by some as the head of the year, and they even wish to begin a new calendar dating from that time” (August 1918, 515).

The New Church system of dating (usually written as 1890=120, i.e. Gregorian year=New Church year) was never used on a daily basis by Academy and General Church members. However, before the turn of the century it was common to see the system used, not only in publications, but in greeting cards and invitations. See, for example, this Christmas card from 1889 and this wedding invitation from 1890. As late as 1910 it appeared on a June 19th card.

New Church Life used the system on its masthead beginning with the January 1886 issue, (more…)

The Great Santa Claus and Christmas Tree Debate (1888-1913)

benadetree.jpg1888: Santa Claus “was banished, as being unworthy of a place in any ceremonial in honor of our LORD. The heathen Christmas tree was also discarded. . .”

1913: “There were some, however, who never regarded the criticisms of these two Christmas features as well founded, and in the course of years one or the other, or both, have gradually regained their former positions in many of our homes.”

In 1888, the Philadelphia schools of the Academy of the New Church held their first Christmas celebration, as reported in the pages of New Church Life:
The Philadelphia schools of the Academy had a service this year in celebration of Christmas, for the first time since their establishment. From this service Santa Claus, the traditional saint of the Catholic Church, was banished, as being unworthy of a place in any ceremonial in honor of our LORD. The heathen Christmas tree was also discarded, because, being a tree without roots, it is dead; and with its lifeless branches, adorned with glittering gewgaws and hung with fruits that never ripened upon them, is a correspondence of the dead church, by which it has been adopted. (T. C. R. 451, 185.)

Children have been accustomed to look forward to Christmas as a day for receiving numerous presents—the most valued of these being sweetmeats, which they are permitted to indulge in even to satiety— (more…)

Farmers Sell Land to John Pitcairn for New Church Community and School (1891)

1891rrmapjpeg.jpg“These Sweden-Bordian (sic) are trying to buy all the place around . . .” This statement, recorded 115 years ago (December 9th, 1891) in a young girl’s diary, presages the founding of Bryn Athyn, a New Church community. Her parents, Charles and Mary Holt, sold the family farm in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, to John Pitcairn on December 7th, through the agency of Robert Glenn. John and Gertrude Pitcairn would eventually purchase a number of local farms, amounting to more than five hundred acres—enough land to accommodate Cairnwood (the Pitcairn family’s estate), the New Church community, and the Academy of the New Church campus. Plans for the entire settlement were drawn up in 1893 by Charles Eliot, of the famous landscape architecture firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot. (Frederick Law Olmsted, regarded today as the father of American landscape architecture, designed Central Park in New York City.)

The Holt family papers, including a copy of the sale agreement, are in the collection of The Old York Road Historical Society. The girl’s diary paints a remarkable picture of late 19th century farm life in the area that was renamed Bryn Athyn less than ten years later. She mentions threshing oats, making a pig pen, killing a hog, making scrapple, sewing, cutting wood, and getting goods ready for market. Interestingly, Robert Glenn brought a former neighbor of the Holts (Mr. Knight) with him during one of his visits to their home. The Knight farm, adjacent to the Holt farm, had been bought by the Pitcairns two years earlier.

The diary entries below begin in November of 1891 and continue into December:

“27. clear. getting ready for Market. Mr. Glenn and Mr. Knight were here and made an offer of $350 an Acre for our place. Mr. Knight here to supper. Papa and mother told him they would accept it. (more…)

A New Old Portrait of Emanuel Swedenborg (1817)

bredasmall.jpgSometimes a museum can make a great “addition” to its collection by researching, restoring, and appreciating anew an object in its own storage rooms. Such is the case with a 189-year-old oil painting of Emanuel Swedenborg by Carl Fredrik von Breda, one of Sweden’s great portrait artists, recently “rediscovered” in storage at Glencairn Museum. 

The conservation of this painting has raised some baffling questions. The conservator had suggested that several areas of repainting be removed from the surface. When this was done, three of the buttons on Swedenborg’s blue coat disappeared, and a special insignia, the Order of the Polar Star (Nordstjärneordern), appeared on his chest! Why were the three bottom buttons added, and by whom? And why was the Order of the Polar Star, an important feature present in the original portrait, later painted over?

For a possible solution to the mystery of the disappearing—and reappearing—Order of the Polar Star, read the complete article here.

Note: A 19th century oil painting of Swedenborg based on the original 1817 portrait by Carl Fredrik von Breda is pictured and discussed in the article at the above link. The Glendale New Church in Ohio is no longer able to care for it, and it needs a new home. For more information please contact Rev. Clark Echols, Pastor.

Swedenborg as Gardener

swedenborggarden.jpgThe property owned by Swedenborg in Stockholm, which contained his summerhouse, also had extensive gardens, and written sources indicate that he was actively involved in the selection of plants and trees. An almanac for the year 1752 has Swedenborg’s notes in the margins. One side of the almanac records the sending of Arcana Coelestia pages to the printer, but the reverse side reveals his love of gardening, with entries listing plants and their locations on his property. A notation at the end even lists seeds that he has acquired from plants in America, including buttonwood, beech, and dogwood. 

In 1745, “a desire for a quiet retreat and comfortable establishment led [Swedenborg] to invest in the property on Hornsgatan, to the south of Stockholm, situated upon a high cliff overlooking Lake Mälar, on the one hand, and the Salt Sea on the other, with the Royal Castle and gardens in front. (more…)

Bronze Bust of Swedenborg Disappears from Lincoln Park, Chicago; Police Baffled (1976)

bronzebustlincolnparksmall.jpgOn June 28, 1924, a bronze bust of Swedenborg, sculpted by the Swedish artist Adolf Jonsson, was given to the city of Chicago by Mr. and Mrs. L. Brackett Bishop. The ceremonial unveiling of the statue, on an island at the edge of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, included a speech by Professor C.G. Wallenius; the reading of a letter from President Calvin Coolidge by Congressman Carl R. Chindblom; an address by Axel Wallenberg, Swedish Minister to the United States; and the reading of Edwin Markham’s poem “Swedenborg.”

jonssonbust.jpgThe statue remained in Lincoln Park until 1976, when it was stolen. The theft was reported in a February 10, 1976 article in the Chicago Tribune. “A Park District spokesman said the last bust burglary he recalled was that of a Beethoven bronze in the Lincoln Park Conservatory, stolen in April 1971. It never was recovered. ‘I can’t see why anyone would want that [Swedenborg] bust,’ he said. (more…)

Halloween Celebrations in Early New Church Congregations (1898-1900, 1958)

halloween1958sm.jpgAlthough from a New Church point of view Halloween is a purely secular celebration, New Church congregations, schools, and families have been having Halloween parties together for more than 100 years.

Chicago-Glenview, Illinois, 1898:

“On Halloween a ‘sheet and pillowcase’ party was given in the city, which was attended by a large delegation from Glenview. The mysterious gowns were carefully arranged so as to hide the identity of the wearers, and in this array a ceremonious grand march was executed through the hall, which had been especially decorated by the ladies. After several dances there was a general unmasking and a skurry to get back to the dress of civilization once more. Then followed more dancing, recitations, and refreshments, and the new month was ushered in with considerable jollity” (New Church Life 1898, p. 15). (more…)

The First Celebration of Charter Day (1917)

charterdaysm.jpgTomorrow’s “Charter Day” celebration will mark the 89th anniversary of this event at the Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, PA. (Before the inception of Charter Day, the Academy had celebrated “Founders Day” each January.) The descriptions below of early Charter Day celebrations will be familiar to modern participants in this event, as many of the activities have remained much the same. 

Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 1917 (the first “Charter Day”): 

“Saturday, Nov. 3rd, was ‘Charter Day,’ a newly instituted annual celebration of the anniversary of the granting of a Charter to the Academy, in the year 1877. The preceding Friday was a holiday wherein the pupils of the Academy Schools did their Saturday work. On Saturday morning, (more…)

347-Year-Old Tree Felled for Roof of Bryn Athyn Cathedral (1916)

treeringssm.jpgThe decision was made early on during the construction of Bryn Athyn Cathedral to have a solid timber roof in the nave and chancel rather than a stone vaulted one. Trees of sufficient size had to be found to provide the tie beams that would span the width. Although construction of the roof did not begin until 1915, the search for trees was already underway in the summer of 1913, in order to allow the wood to “be . . . properly seasoned before final working and placing . . . Southeastern Pennsylvania had at that time perhaps the finest growth of white oak trees on the continent. To find specimens . . . became a personal challenge for Raymond Pitcairn. Armed with camera and accompanied by members of the family and frequently by leaders of the Bryn Athyn congregation, he traveled miles in all directions.” 

The cut trees were brought to Isaac Ryan’s sawmill on the Neshaminy Creek where they were squared before being taken to the Cathedral. Ryan “caught the spirit of the undertaking, and for years made it his personal task to seek out the needed trees, (more…)

Glencairn Cloister Features Twelve Capitals Carved with Symbolic Birds

Glencairn cloisterThe works of sculpture, stained glass, and mosaic found throughout Glencairn, the former home of Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn and their family, in Bryn Athyn, PA, are governed by a distinctive symbolism based on the teachings of the New Church. Visitors to Glencairn Museum appreciate the unique design of this building and the superb creations in stone, wood, glass and metal. As Glencairn was being built from 1928 until 1939, the Pitcairn family lived next door at Cairnwood and witnessed the same artists and craftsmen who worked on Bryn Athyn Cathedral produce works of art for their own future home. Some of the most interesting examples of New Church symbolism in this building can be found in the Cloister:

“The focal point of this family cloister is found in the twelve capitals of the columns forming the inner arcade. Carved with fidelity and imagination, they depict twelve birds, each one (more…)

Repository for the Word and the Writings of Swedenborg Returns to Cairnwood Chapel

Cairnwood repositoryCairnwood, the Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, home of John and Gertrude Pitcairn, was dedicated on May 22, 1895. During the dedication service, the Word (i.e. the Bible) and volumes of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg were placed in the chapel in a special cabinet called a “repository,” and also in the private rooms of members of the family and household staff. Several decades later, in 1939, Raymond Pitcairn, John and Gertrude’s eldest son, moved the repository to the chapel of Glencairn, the castle-like home that he built for his family. Finally, in 2005, after an extensive renovation of the Cairnwood chapel, this historic repository was restored to its earlier location in Cairnwood. It has now been used continuously for more than one hundred years.

For more information about Cairnwood’s chapel, repository, and the New Church tradition of family worship, see this article: “Family Worship at Cairnwood and Glencairn.” Since the article was written in 2003, the original receipt for the repository has been located in the John and Gertrude Pitcairn Archives. The receipt, dated January 31, 1888, (more…)

Pinnacle of Bryn Athyn Cathedral Demolished by Bolt of Lightning (1924)

Cathedral Pinnacles“Visitors to Bryn Athyn will observe the absence of one of the four pinnacles of the tower of the cathedral. It was demolished by a bolt of lightning during a violent thunderstorm which passed over this region at 10:10 p. m. on June 18th, and the broken stone fell through the roof of the chancel, doing considerable damage. Two hours earlier, a large congregation was present at the wedding of Mr. Philip C. Pendleton and Miss Doris Glenn, but at the time of the storm were dispersing to their homes after attending the reception at Glenhurst” (New Church Life 1924, 446). This photograph of Bryn Athyn Cathedral from the air, missing one of its pinnacles, appears in the New Church History Image Project album entitled “Bryn Athyn Cathedral Construction.” Photo: Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn Archives, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

Photo of Bishop William Henry Benade and John Pitcairn in Jerusalem (1878)

jerusalem4A “magic lantern” slide of Bishop William Henry Benade and John Pitcairn camping near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem was recently discovered in the Academy of the New Church Archives, Swedenborg Library, Bryn Athyn, PA. The slide, which dates to around 1910, is labeled “Bishop Benade and Mr. John Pitcairn Outside the Walls of Jerusalem.” The location of the original print (which dates to 1878) is unknown.

In 1877 Benade and Pitcairn undertook an extended tour of Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land. Their intended purpose was to spread New Church ideas across Europe, and to see for themselves the land of the Bible. However, they would return home with something unexpected— (more…)

Introducing New Church History Fun Facts and General Announcements

NewChurchHistory.org represents a collaboration between the history major at Bryn Athyn College of the New Church and Glencairn Museum, both located in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Over the past few months we have given the site a new “look,” and added some exciting new features and content (e.g. The New Church History Image Project). The section of the site you are reading now, “New Church History Fun Facts and General Announcements,” will be the place to go for information about new additions to the site (e.g. articles, books, photo albums) and also “fun facts” and new discoveries about New Church history.

You can automatically be notified of new “fun facts” and announcements by subscribing to this site either through a blog/rss reader or through e-mail. If you use one of the popular blog/rss readers (or would like to start using one), just click on the appropriate button in the right-hand column. To receive updates through e-mail, submit your email address in the box in the right-hand column marked “Receive Updates Through Email” and follow the online instructions. When a new item is posted it will be e-mailed to you.

A complete list of recently added articles, books, and online projects is maintained here. (Note: this list does not include the “fun facts.”)

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