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A taste of the past

Presbyterian Historical Society welcomes hundreds at fundraiser

July 19, 2017

Beth Hessel, executive director of PHS, speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas)

The Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) recently held its first outdoor fundraiser, welcoming more than 200 friends, visitors and volunteers to its newly renovated courtyard in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood.

“Taste of History: The Boys Are Back in Town” featured food, drinks and fellowship in front of a building familiar to many church historians and other Presbyterian history enthusiasts — the society’s 50-year-old headquarters at 425 Lombard St.

The returning “boys” were six terra-cotta statues representing early American Presbyterians — Francis Makemie, John Witherspoon, John McMillan, Samuel Davies, James Caldwell and Marcus Whitman. Designed by Alexander Stirling Calder in 1897, the statues were conserved throughout 2016 at the Philadelphia studios of Materials Conservation Co.

Stated Clerk the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II speaks at the PHS “Taste of History.” (Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas)

Guests enjoyed a ribbon-cutting toast, fare from local restaurants and beverage makers, a short program and a new in-house exhibit called “Presbyterians & the American Revolution.” Beth Hessel, executive director of PHS, was master of ceremonies. Other speakers included Peter Haas, son of longtime volunteer John Haas; statue conservator John Carr; and J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Nelson’s name is etched beside those of 19 other denominational leaders in Stated Clerks Square, a new brick patio overlooking the society’s front steps and wheelchair-accessible ramp.

Through sponsorships, ticket sales, auctions and a raffle, Taste of History raised more than $34,000. PC(USA) sponsors included the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation, the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, the Office of the General Assembly and the Committee on the Office of General Assembly. PHS vendors and board directors also provided generous support.

The Presbyterian Historical Society is the national archives of the PC(USA). Founded in 1852, PHS collects, preserves and shares stories of the American Presbyterian experience. For more information, call 215-627-1852 or email

Fred Tangeman, Communications and Marketing Director, Presbyterian Historical Society

Today’s Focus:  Presbyterian Historical Society

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Todd Ingves, BOP
Christian Iosso, PMA

Let us pray:

Gracious God, grant us the humility and strength to follow your call wherever it may lead, whether close to home or on distant shores. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 89:1-18; 147:1-11
First Reading 1 Samuel 20:1-23
Second Reading Acts 12:18-25
Gospel Reading Mark 2:13-22
Evening Psalms 1; 33

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