The Kirtland Temple in Ohio and the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation took a major hit at the end of September when Site Director Seth Bryant took his energy and creativity to the VA.
During his four years as site director, he oversaw numerous improvements and maintenance projects. He also designed a new website, started an online museum store, and began the project to offer virtual reality tours.
In addition, he served as an ex-officio board member of the foundation, participated in numerous Storyteller events, and more. Foundation Executive Director Barbara Walden referred to him as a “minister of church history.”
Because of the pandemic, all Community of Christ historic sites will remain closed until at least March 2021. This will provide time for leaders to search for a replacement.
Lovers of church history lost someone special Saturday, October 10.
Tom Morain, who made a huge impact on church history sites, church education, the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation, and more, passed away.
He was passionate about sharing church history. Besides serving on the foundation board, he contributed at Storyteller events, educational and fundraising sessions, reunions, and more.
He led history classes, hymn festivals, and worship services. He wrote grants and talked to potential donors.
We’ll all miss him.
The Summer Lecture Series was a hit, so it was only natural that leaders would follow with a Fall Lecture Series.
Beginning October 1 The eight-week series will run at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) on Thursdays. The theme will be “Church History Without Boundaries” with speakers focusing on the global history in Community of Christ.
October 1--John-Charles Duffy, “A Global Family”
October 8--David Howlett, “The Story of Community of Christ in India”
October 15--Dima Hurlbut, “The Story of Community of Christ in Southeastern Nigeria”
October 22--Barbara Walden, “Community of Christ History in the Holy Land”
October 29--Andrew Bolton, “Latter-day Saint British Isles Missions, 1837–1863”
November 5--Steve Shields, “The Church Encounters Asia. Beginnings: Korea”
November 12--Seth Bryant, “1830s Latter-day Saint Missiology
November 19--John Hamer, “R.C. Evans of Canada: From the RLDS First Presidency to Schismatic Church Leader”
For more information, visit www.historicsitesfoundation.org/autumn-lecture-series.html.
The Historic Sites Foundation will be involved Sunday in an online Heritage Day Service with the Beyond the Walls/Toronto Congregation. John Hamer will preside at the event, 11:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time.
Among participants with strong historic ties will be Barbara Walden, David Howlett, Rachel Killebrew, and more. Donations will go to the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation for preserving and sharing church heritage. Check YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kufjs7_HzmE.
It was a decision everyone wanted to avoid. But leaders, concerned for the welfare and safety of staff members, volunteers, and visitors, felt it had to be made.
Historic Sites Director Lachlan Mackay and directors of each historic site recently announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic the properties would be closed until the end of the year.
Among the properties affected are the Kirtland Temple in Ohio; the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois; Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa; Heritage Plaza in Independence, Missouri; and the Plano Stone Church in Illinois.
Despite the closure, the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation continues online efforts to promote church heritage while performing maintenance of the sites. Your financial support is appreciated.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it an inconvenient time to join the board of the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation. Nonetheless, Sherry Mesle-Morain already has made an impact.
Executive Director Barbara Walden recently praised her work in reviewing campaign and lecture materials for the editorial team. Also, Walden credited Mesle-Morain for helping build the relationship between the foundation and the John Whitmer Historical Association.
If you’re a student of Community of Christ history, this is perfect for you.
The Summer Lecture Series will resume July 2 and continue each Thursday through August 13. Each week at 7:00 p.m. (CDT) experts will deliver a lecture followed by a question-and-answer session.
July 2—Lachlan Mckay: “Life, Legacy, and Lessons from Joseph Smith RLDS Prophet/President, 1860–1914”
July 9—David Brock: “Life and Legacy of Edward Ellsworth Guy: Smoke Jumper and Humanitarian”
July 16—Seth Bryant: “(Non) Violence: Lessons from Community of Christ History”
July 23—Barbara Walden “The Annual Reunion Tradition in Community of Christ: Share Your Object; Share Your Story”
July 30—David Howlett: “The Story of Community of Christ in the Philippines”
August 6—Wendy Eaton: “The Story behind the Preservation of the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois”
August 13—Barbara Walden: “Life and Legacy of Marietta Walker”
For more information and to register, visit www.historicsitesfoundation.org/summer-lecture-series.html. Participation is limited.
If you like to sing but are missing the opportunity to lift your voice with others, the Emma Smith Hymn Festival will be just what you need.
Friday, July 10, will continue an annual tradition of celebrating Smith’s life with hymns, which she so loved. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will be online instead of in the Lower Court of the Kirtland Temple in Ohio.
The event will be co-hosted by the Kirtland Temple; the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois; the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation; and Beyond the Walls. Donations received during the hymn festival will help preserve Community of Christ historic sites.
Participants will join by helping record nine hymns, which will be streamed live at 7:00 p.m. (CDT). See this website for further information.
Perhaps you were looking ahead to visiting the Kirtland Temple in Ohio this summer. Then the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out your plans.
Well, though the Temple is closed, you still have options. One of them recently drew notice from the LDS Living website. It said: ". . . those interested in still seeing it this summer don’t have to wait for the Temple to reopen. The Community of Christ, which owns the Kirtland Temple, is currently offering a daily online tour of the building."
The online tours begin 2:00 p.m. EDT. Tickets are $10, with proceeds going toward preservation of the site.
For more information, visit www.ldsliving.com/Missing-Church-history-sites-Tour-the-Kirtland-Temple-online/s/92962
An artifact acquisition at Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa, didn’t get quite the coming-out party that leaders envisioned, but they’re still thrilled to have it.
The subject of this historic hubbub is a crib that recently made its return to Liberty Hall, the longtime home of President Joseph Smith III, who often is credited with setting the church on its course toward peace.
Liberty Hall, among the properties supported by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation, was built in 1881 and served as the church’s headquarters into the 20th century.
The crib’s significance, however, far exceeds its age. It is possible that it was used by two of Bertha’s sons, Fred M. and Israel A., who later served as presidents of the RLDS Church (now Community of Christ).
“We are really excited to receive Bertha’s crib,” Site Director Steve Smith said. “We don’t know the exact year it was made, but I like to think all of her kids may have slept in the bed.”
Originally, a grand opening was scheduled April 5. The crib was to be a centerpiece of the event. Then the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way. Liberty Hall, along with the church’s other historic sites, was closed down.
Nonetheless, the crib, which will be displayed in Bertha’s bedroom, remains a cherished heirloom from the Smith family.
The crib was built by Mads Madison, Bertha’s father. When Liberty Hall received the gift, it was showing its age.
“Lloyd White, a woodworker here, gave it some tender, loving care,” Smith explained. “It needed some repair work; there were places where joints had dried out.”
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