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Birthdays on March 12

Paul Gerhardt (1607 to 1676)
Kicked out for Refusing to Unite

Paul Gerhardt was born near Wittenberg, Saxony. He suffered much political and domestic misfortune during his life, including dismissal from the Lutheran pastorate for refusing to consider union with the Reformed Church. Four of his five children died in childhood, and his wife died in 1668. Gerhardt wrote over 130 hymns. His music marks the transition in Lutheran hymnody from confessional and high-church hymns to personal hymns of devotional piety. Even today we sing his "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded."

George Berkeley (1685 to 1735)
Church of England
He Was Alarmed at Deist Tendencies

George Berkeley was born. Becoming an Anglican bishop, he grew alarmed at the Deistic tendencies of John Locke's philosophy and developed immaterialism to counter it. Berkeley also tried to found a mission in the West Indies but was not successful.

Mary Webb (1779 to 1861)
Inspiration from a Wheelchair

Mary Webb was born March 12, 1779 in Boston Massachusetts. Although wheelchair bound from a childhood disease, she organized the first womens' mission society in America at age 21 and inspired and coordinated over 200 more in her life time.

Robert Lowry (1826 to 1899)
Unforgetable Words and Music

Robert Lowry was born in Philadelphia. After graduating from Bucknell College, he was ordained at age 28, and became pastor of Hansen Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn. He wrote both words and music to "Shall We Gather At the River," composed the music and wrote the chorus for "We're Marching to Zion," wrote the music "Something For Thee," and "I Need Thee Every Hour," both words and music to "Christ Arose " (1874), composed music for "All The Way My Saviour Leads Me" and both words and music to "Nothing But The Blood of Jesus." He collaborated with William H. Doane in the publication of nearly two dozen hymnals.


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