On This Day
1457 – The Unitas Fratrum is established in the village of Kunvald, on the Bohemian-Moravian borderland. It is to date the second oldest Protestant denomination.
The Moravian Church, formally named the Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “Unity of the Brethren”), in German known as [Herrnhuter] Brüdergemeine (meaning “Brethren’s Congregation from Herrnhut”, the place of the Church’s renewal in the 18th century), is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the 15th century and the Unity of the Brethren (Czech: Jednota bratrská) established in the Kingdom of Bohemia.
The name by which the denomination is commonly known comes from the original exiles who fled to Saxony in 1722 from Moravia to escape religious persecution, but its heritage began in 1457 in Bohemia and its crown lands (Moravia and Silesia), then forming an autonomous kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. The modern Unitas Fratrum, with about one million members worldwide, continues to draw on traditions established during the 18th century. The Moravians continue their tradition of missionary work, such as in the Caribbean, as is reflected in their broad global distribution. They place high value on ecumenism, personal piety, missions and music.
The Moravian Church’s emblem is the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) with the flag of victory, surrounded by the Latin inscription: Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur (English: “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him”).
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Born On This Day
1918 – Gladys Spellman, American educator and politician (d. 1988)
Gladys Noon Spellman (March 1, 1918 – June 19, 1988) was a U.S. Congresswoman who represented the 5th congressional district of Maryland from January 3, 1975, to February 24, 1981. She was a member of the Democratic Party.
Spellman was born Gladys Blossom Noon in New York City and attended Eastern and Roosevelt high schools in Washington, D.C. She graduated from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and graduate school with the United States Department of Agriculture. Spellman became a teacher, and taught in Prince George’s County, Maryland, schools. A consummate politician, Spellman was part of the wave of young, new suburban dwellers who moved to Prince George’s County from Washington and elsewhere in the years after World War II, and that group remained her constituency throughout her political career.
Spellman’s years as a teacher and president of the PTA for Happy Acres Elementary School (renamed in 1991 the Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School), as well as civic association activism as a young mother and housewife in Cheverly during the 1950s led to leadership positions in the reform movement that seized control of the county’s government during the 1960s, ousting the old guard Democratic organization that had managed affairs in Prince George’s for decades. Spellman was active in the fight for a home rule charter form of government for Prince George’s, and in 1962, running on a reform slate, served as a member of the Prince George’s County Board of Commissioners from 1962 to 1970. She served two years as chairman, effectively the head of the county’s government. After the establishment of the County Council, Spellman served as councilwoman at large from 1971 to 1974. She was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1967 and was awarded the highest honor that could be bestowed by county officials nationwide when she became the first woman elected president of the National Association of Counties in 1972.
Spellman easily won the Democratic primary nomination in September 1974 for Maryland’s fifth congressional seat, and went on to defeat the Republican, John B. Burcham, Jr., in the general election. While in Congress, she served on the Committee on Banking, Currency and Housing, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service (including serving as chairperson of the Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits). Almost 40 percent of the work force in her district was employed by the federal government – the highest percentage of any congressional district in the nation.
In 1977, Spellman favored legislation to establish a bank to make loans to cooperatives owned by consumers as well as legislation to extend the federal revenue-sharing program. She also voted for the 1975 proposal authorizing $7 billion to loan guarantees for the financially troubled New York City. Spellman also resisted placing restrictions on hiring or promotion of federal employees and opposed Jimmy Carter’s plan to reform the civil service system in 1978.
Honors, coma and death
In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Spellman’s name and picture.
On October 31, 1980, Spellman was judging a Halloween costume contest at the Laurel Mall when she collapsed after suffering an incapacitating heart attack. She was re-elected to Congress with 80% of the vote against a little-known Republican opponent on November 4, 1980, but it soon became clear that she would be comatose for the remaining years of her life.
In the first weeks of the 97th Congress, the House passed a resolution providing for Spellman’s pay as if she had been seated, and for her Congressional office to be supported as if a member of Congress had died or resigned; and afterwards passed an act declaring the 5th District seat vacant, and providing that Spellman’s pay and administrative support would be terminated on the election of someone to her seat. It is the only time that medical reasons have resulted in the House of Representatives declaring a seat vacant. Thirty-two candidates from both parties entered the race, including her husband, Reuben. He was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Steny Hoyer, who won the special election on May 19 against the Republican nominee, Bowie mayor Audrey Scott. Hoyer has continued to be re-elected since then, and eventually became House Majority Leader.
In 1985, Spellman was an inductee to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, part of its inaugural class. The Baltimore–Washington Parkway, a scenic north-south highway in Maryland, is dedicated to Spellman, as is Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School, located in Cheverly, Maryland.
Spellman died on June 19, 1988, in a nursing home in suburban Maryland. She never regained consciousness after the 1980 heart attack and subsequent coma.
Katherine Marie Helmond (July 5, 1929 – February 23, 2019) was an American film, theater and television actress and director. Over her five decades of television acting, she is known for her starring role as ditzy matriarch Jessica Tate on the ABC prime time soap opera sitcom Soap (1977–1981) and her co-starring role as feisty mother Mona Robinson on Who’s the Boss? (1984–1992). She also played Doris Sherman on Coach and Lois Whelan, the mother of Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She has also appeared as a guest on several talk and variety shows.
Helmond had supporting roles in films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). She also voiced Lizzie in the three Cars films by Disney/Pixar.[better source needed]
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And we’re back with a Sea Lion of the Month for march! Our first for 2019. We’ve missed sharing more about these unique individuals and are happy to be back and sharing their stories with you all. Our featured sea lion is ~38 and he was nominated by a new member of our team!