Welcome to Ulster Worldly, a blog about the history of Presbyterianism. Many of these stories come from my own family, many others come from my own denomination.

Tim Hopper
Raleigh, NC


Memories of Congo

My great grandfather Hershey Longenecker and his wife Minnie served as Southern Presbyterian missionaries to the Belgian Congo from 1917 to 1951. In retirement, he wrote a memoir of his life and ministry entitled Memories of Congo. Some time ago, my dad’s cousin digitized the book, and he gave me permission to host it at congo.ulsterworldly.com.

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Shortage of Presbyterian Ministers in the 1700s

Beginning in 1707 and for virtually every year throughout the century, the minutes of the Presbyterian Church contain petitions from congregations and presbyteries pleading for ministers. At least every other year, the Synods of Philadelphia and New York wrote to presbyteries in Scotland or Ireland, begging for ministers to come to the New World. By 1740 there were 160 congregations; in 1761 the synod lamented: “The Church suffers greatly for want of a Opportunity to instruct Students in the Knowledge of Divinity.”

Between 1716 and 1766, some 200,000 Scotch-Irish immigrated, primarily from Ulster, with the majority settling in the Shenandoah Valley. The meeting of the first post-Revolutionary Presbyterian General Assembly, in 1789, counted 215 congregations with ministers and 204 without. Recognizing the shortage of ministers, the assembly called for each synod to recommend two members as missionaries to the frontier.

(From A Copious Fountain: A History of Union Presbyterian Seminary, 1812-2012 by William B. Sweetser Jr.)

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Read Machen

I recently launched a new website: readmachen.com. The site started as a digitization of the bibliography of Machen’s worked published in Pressing Towards the Mark (sadly out of print) by James Dennison and Grace Mullen. This bibliography is 25 pages long and lists nearly 400 books, articles, sermons, and letters from J. Gresham Machen published over the last 100 years.

The online version allows you to see the data in ways the print version doesn’t; for example, you can view publications by year or by source. I have also included the full text content for as many articles as possible, and, for Machen’s books, I’ve provided links to where you can buy copies.

I welcome any feedback you have on this bibliographic website; in particular, if you notice any errors, missing pieces, or know where I can get digital editions of any the original sources, please let me know.

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Joe B. Hopper’s Draft Card

My grandfather was born in May 17, 1921 in Kwangju, Korea; he was the perfect age to have served in the Second Wold War, but the draft board gave him an exception because he’d been taken under care of the Concord Presbytery of the PCUS in fall 1939; he was told to continue his studies at Davidson College.

Here is his draft registration card from 1941:

Notably his “person who will always know your address” was Dr. C. Darby Fulton, Executive Secretary of Foreign Missions of the PCUS. Fulton, a missionary kid himself, had served as a missionary to Japan and preached at my grandfather’s baptism service on June 26, 1921. We would serve as the Executive Secretary from 1932 to 1961.

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Blackstone Presbyterian Church

The story of Dorothy Longenecker's employment at Blackstone Presbyterian Church and how she came to be married there.

The story of Dorothy Longenecker's employment at Blackstone Presbyterian Church and how she came to be married there.   Read More

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Life and Ministry with Irfon Hughes

Yesterday, I sat down with my dear friend and former pastor Irfon Hughes to discuss his life and minstry. Pastor Hughes was born in 1942 in Wales and served as a minister for 50 years in 6 congregations in Wales, England, and the United States. Most recently, he was pastor of my church Shiloh Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Raleigh, NC.

The interview is split up into two parts, roughly consisting of his ministry in the United Kingdom in the first part and in the United States in the second part. I hope you enjoy hearing about how the Lord used this man for so many years. Press ️the ▶ buttons below to listen.

You can also download mp3 files for part 1 and part 2.

Posted on by Tim Hopper