Derby History Quiz

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Reinhold Niebuhr is most famous for being the author of the famous prayer best known as the "Serenity Prayer". More attention was recently brought to him because he was recently cited as President Obama's favorite philosopher. His prayer is also used widely by many twelve-step help programs including Alcoholics Anonymous. What most people don't know is that Niebuhr spent some of his earliest days right here in Derby as the interim pastor at the First Congregational Church in Derby - the Valley's oldest continuous congregation of any faith.

He was actually born in Missouri, but attended the Yale Divinity School where he earned both bachelor and masters degrees in 1915 and 1915. It was in 1915 that he served in Derby. Ironically, the current interim pastor, Rev. Marc Trister was inspired by Niebuhr's to enter the seminary. He did not realize the connection that Niebuhr had with derby until after he had interviewed for his current position and saw Niebuhr's name on a list of former pastors posted in the Church.

Niebuhr went on from his position in Derby to become one of the leading theologians of his time with his teachings impacting national leaders of just about every persuasion. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom - one of the highest civilian awards that the U.S. confers. The award is for individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".[

For those interested in the full prayer in its original form:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Our thanks to Pete Petrino for providing the information for this quiz.

Correct answers were received from: Erika Larsen, Marc J. Garofalo, Paul Comkowycz, Lynette Jordan, Louise Pitney, Amy Cobaugh, MARY BISACCIA, Ruth E. Barnett, Nick from Terryville, Diane Rivers, MaryAnn Meer, Jack  Vagnini, Pat Filan, Robert Scovin, Dave DeRosa, Joseph DiRienzo, Jack Jurkowski, John Kowarik, Jim Norris, Joe Emma, Fred Grant, and Stephanie Anne D'Onofrio.

To see our earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.

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