This week in Christian history: Battle of Tours, Orthodox Church schism, first Dove Awards

First-ever Dove Awards ceremony – Oct. 10, 1969

Attendees of the first-ever Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, held on Oct. 10, 1969, in Memphis, Tennessee, sing the Christian song "Jesus is Coming Soon." | Screengrab: YouTube/GMA Dove Awards

This week marks the anniversary of when the Gospel Music Association held its first-ever Dove Awards ceremony, with the event taking place at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

The idea for the awards came from notable contemporary Christian musician Bill Gaither, who first proposed the awards in 1968 during a GMA quarterly board meeting.

Performers who won awards at the inaugural ceremony included James Blackwood, the Imperials, the popular country band the Oak Ridge Boys, J.G. Whitfield and the Speers.

“The Dove Awards continued to grow and moved to Nashville, where the gospel music business was increasingly centered,” noted the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music.

“In 1976, they added a category, ‘Pop/Contemporary Album,’ which acknowledged the importance of contemporary Christian music; that award was won by the Imperials for their album No Shortage.”

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