Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.
Each week brings the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, telling tribulations, inspirational progress, and everything in between.
Here are just a few things that happened this week, April 9-14, in Church history. They include a major event in the early Pentecostal movement, the founding of a prominent African-American denomination, and the creation of the National Religious Broadcasters.
African Methodist Episcopal Church Founded - April 9, 1816
This week marks the anniversary of the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, created at a church meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Formed in response to the mistreatment of African-Americans in the Methodist Episcopal Church, the AME Church's first bishop was Richard Allen.
"Confined to the Northern states before the American Civil War, the church spread rapidly in the South after the war. It supports an active home-missions program and has sent missionaries to Africa and the West Indies," noted the African American Registry.
AME remains in existence in the present day, with approximately 2.5 million members spread among thirty-nine nations and five continents.
National Religious Broadcasters Founded - April 12, 1944
This week marks the anniversary of when the National Religious Broadcasters, which oversees the largest annual conference for Christian communications groups, was founded in a meeting held in Columbus, Ohio.
In September of that year, NRB would be ratified at a meeting in Chicago, Illinois and then in December officially incorporated. The organization was founded in response to efforts by mainline Protestants to limit evangelical radio programming.
"And thus began a multi-year effort by NRB to build credibility for Evangelical broadcasters, to secure their fair share of the available public interest slots, and to overturn the ban on the purchase of radio airtime for religious broadcasting," noted NRB in a 2014 website entry.
"In 1949 that effort bore fruit as the newly formed ABC radio network reversed the ban on paid religious broadcasting, with the other networks following their lead. In a few short years, Evangelical radio broadcasters were again a dynamic and growing presence on major radio networks, with scores of new programs serving a vast national audience."
Azusa Street Revival Begins - April 14, 1906
This week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Azusa Street Revival, a major event in the early history of the Pentecostal movement.
Taking place in Los Angeles and led by the Reverend William J. Seymour, the revival featured constant worship services, speaking in tongues, and interracial crowds at a time in America when Jim Crow was widely instituted.
"These days, the Azusa Street meeting is widely credited as the central event in the birth of Pentecostalism," explained the New York Times in a 1994 article.