Guests and workers at a Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation booth enjoyed a wonderful reunion this week while basking in the World Conference atmosphere in Independence, Missouri.
The event, scheduled to run April 22–28, drew thousands of delegates and visitors. The booth gave guests a chance to learn more about their church heritage, check out resources, and even plan trips to historic sites. It gave workers a chance to share their passion.
The booth featured brochures, books, T-shirts and more. Nearby stood nearly life-size cutouts of the “giants” in church history such as Joseph Smith Jr. and Alexander Hale Smith. Photo-ops abounded.
The foundation’s presence extended far beyond the booth. The group also planned lunches for two groups extremely important to its operation: volunteers and donors.
Without them, the foundation couldn’t support properties such as the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois; the Kirtland Temple in Ohio; Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa; the Plano Stone Church in Illinois; and Heritage Plaza in Independence.
An icon has passed.
Alma Blair, a pillar at Graceland University, with the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation, and Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa, died shortly before Easter at 94.
As a history professor at Graceland for almost four decades, he touched the lives of generations of students. He also journeyed to the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, each summer to help train interns.
In addition, he served as a board member with the foundation, site director at Liberty Hall, and a gifted storyteller.
In recognition of his contributions, the summer internship program at Community of Christ historic sites was renamed the Alma Blair Internship Program.
At last, requirements for face coverings at key properties supported by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation no longer are mandatory.
The church’s Human Resource Ministries announced March 31 that masks are optional at:
At its fall board meeting, the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation selected a new set of officers for 2023. The officers:
President: Sally Roth
First vice president: Tom Webber
Second vice president: Scott Britton-Mehlisch
Treasurer: Tim Klocko
Secretary: Peter Smith:
Immediate past-president: Karen Graham Wade
In addition, the board expressed great gratitude to departing members: Steve Graffeo, Richard Betts, and Sherry Morain.
The pandemic just won't relax its grip on Community of Christ and its historic properties.
A news release Friday from the church's International Headquarters updated requirements for face-coverings. Effective immediately, coverings will be required at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, the International Headquarters in Independence, Missouri, and all historic sites in Independence.
Currently, masks are not required at the Kirtland Temple in Ohio or Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa. The news statement said that if pandemic conditions worsen, face-coverings could be required.
After missing the last two summers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, properties supported by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation find themselves primed for the July 4 holiday.
The Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, and the Kirtland Temple in Ohio opened May 1. Liberty Hall, in Lamoni, Iowa, opened a month earlier.
The return has been a blessing for school groups, caravans, and individuals who are seeking ways to deepen their discipleship and understanding of church heritage.
Visitors will notice some changes. During the closure some maintenance and landscaping were done.
The wait is over.
For some key properties supported by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation, a more-than-two-year closure will end Sunday, May 1.
That’s when the doors to the Kirtland Temple in Ohio and the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, are scheduled to open for the first time since the pandemic forced the shutting of most church properties in March 2020.
Another site, Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa, reopened at the beginning of April.
To be sure, visitors will notice some changes. During the closure some maintenance and landscaping were done. Also, reopening won’t be easy because the sites in Kirtland and Nauvoo still are short of help from interns.
The same board that so far has helped steer the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation through the pandemic will return in 2022.
At the November 13 fall board meeting, members voted to return to office:
President: Sally Roth.
First vice president: Jacquie Bethel.
Second vice president: Scott Britton-Mehlisch.
Secretary: Peter Smith.
Treasurer: Timothy Klocko.
Immediate past president: Karen Graham Wade.
The Fall Lecture Series will begin Thursday, October 7, with a panel presentation.
Among the participants in the 7:00 p.m. event will be John-Charles Duffy, Lachlan Mackay, Rachel Killebrew, and more.
Other events (all Central Time):
* October 14: Andrew Bolton and Phillip Caswell will focus on the life and legacy of Kisuke Sekine, 7:00 p.m.
* October 21: "Community of Christ History in France" with Chrystal Vanel, noon.
* October 28: "Community of Christ History in Wales" with Richard James, noon.
* November 4: "Community of Christ History in 20th-century Germany" with Eva Erickson and Kerstin Jeske, 7:00 p.m.
* November 11: "Community of Christ History in Australia" with Ben Smith, 7:00 p.m.
* November 18: "Community of Christ History in England" with Pete Gaffney, 7:00 p.m.
A recognizable face is back in Kirtland, Ohio.
Bruce Crockett returned this summer as a volunteer, focusing on programming for spiritual formation after for when the Temple reopens after the pandemic eases.
It’s a familiar setting for Crockett. In 2007 he began serving as the first full-time spiritual-formation coordinator at the Kirtland Temple. He held that position until he retired in 2013.
During his tenure, his efforts touched thousands of guests, pilgrims, and church members.
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