Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Remembering Rev. Dr. George M. Docherty May 9, 1911 - November 27, 2008

Abraham Lincoln routinely attended the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. located a few blocks from the White House.  Later, the church was attended by many other U.S. Presidents on the Sunday nearest Lincoln's birthday and a special pew was reserved for those presidents in the exact seat where Lincoln sat.

During President Dwight Eisenhower's years in office, the church was pastored by a gentleman by the name of Rev. George MacPherson Docherty.  Eisenhower attended the service on Lincoln Sunday, February 7, 1954.  Docherty preached a message that Sunday on calling for the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.  He borrowed the phrase from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address that included the words "this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. Docherty's message inspired Eisenhower. The following day, Eisenhower and other members of Congress began amending the "Pledge" to include those words.  On Feb. 8, 1954 the bill was introduced to Congress and the bill was signed by Eisenhower on Flag Day (June 14, 1954).  Docherty's sermon was published in 1958 by Harper & Bros. in New York.

Docherty was born in Glasgow, Scotland and worked as a shipping clerk.  During his 20's, he decided to enter the ministry and earned two degrees from the University of Glasgow.

Docherty with Eisenhower
Dr. Docherty continued to pastor the church for 26 years.  He was very active in the civil rights movement during those years and had developed a relationship with Martin Luther King and Billy Graham along with many others.  He was also an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.  Docherty hosted a television program in Washington D.C. as well as authored a book of his sermons entitled "One Way Living" His biography of memoirs was also written called "I've Seen the Day."

Rev. Docherty memorial folder
Dr. Docherty retired from the ministry in 1976.  He eventually settled in Alexandria, Pennsylvania and continued to serve as a guest pastor and teacher.

Rev. George Docherty died at his home on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2008 from a heart ailment.

Rev. Docherty funeral program
The John B. Brown Funeral Home in Huntington was in charge of Dr. Docherty's funeral arrangements.  On Dec. 21, 2008, his memorial service (program pictured) was held in the historic church Docherty faithfully served, the New York Ave. Presbyterian  Church in Washington D.C.  A visitation was held Dec. 1, 2008 in the Huntington Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania followed by his funeral service (program pictured)

St. Michael's Cemetery
Dr. Docherty was laid to rest in the St. Michael's Orthodox Church Cemetery in Wood, Pennsylvania.

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