Sometimes it just takes time. . . and the talents of the right person.
Sister Jan T. (Myrberg) Isaac, co-director of the Historic Kirtland Visitors' Center operated by the LDS church, recently finished a labor of love started many years earlier.
Her work on two portraits will be unveiled at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, at the Kirtland Temple Visitor Center operated by Community of Christ.
The portraits feature Sally Waterman Phelps (1797–1874) and Sarah Jackson Whitmer (1809–1873). The paintings complete “The Kirtland Temple Portrait Series.” It was started in 1997 by Henry K. Inouye Jr. He died before doing the last two of the 18 paintings, an artistic reproduction of originals painted about 1837. The original artist is unknown.
Officials say at least some—perhaps all—of the original paintings were displayed in the Kirtland Temple in the 1830s. Today, the reproductions are in the Kirtland Temple Visitor Center’s theater.
In the end, the Mississippi River wasn’t strong enough to overcome the love of dedicated staff members and volunteers who protected the Joseph Smith Historic Site from spring and summer floods.
Because of their sweat, dedication, and passion, no severe damage was done to historic properties in Nauvoo, Illinois. That’s not to say there wasn’t lots of worrying.
Apostle Lach Mackay, Community of Christ’s historic sites director, said the concerns began with March blizzards in the upper Midwest. The worry didn’t dissipate until the US Army Corps of Engineers said it was safe to remove flood-prevention structures in mid-July.
“For several months, heavy rain in the middle of the night meant getting up and starting the gasoline-powered pumps that supplement the electric pumping system for the Nauvoo House cellar,” Mackay said. “Once started, we had to put on life jackets and scale the levee to inspect the hoses and make sure they were not cutting through the plastic protecting the levee from erosion. We would also need to refuel the pumps as needed.”
The five pumps and plastic weren’t the only protective efforts. Workers used 125 tons of sand to fill hundreds of white, nylon bags and provide other protection.
Volunteers included members of the Community of Christ RV Association, World Conference delegates passing through Nauvoo on the way to Independence, Missouri, and 25 sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Combined, they raised the levee by two feet.
“We are extremely grateful for all of the help we received,” Mackay said.
Staff, Smith family members, and guests joined together June 27 in two events that remembered the passing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
The events, at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, marked the 175th anniversary of the brothers' death in 1844 in Carthage, Illinois.
The early afternoon featured a memorial service at the Smith Family Cemetery. That evening, the site near the Mississippi River provided time for reflection by candlelight.
Community of Christ owes deep gratitude to the many volunteers who help run the properties supported by the church's Historic Sites Foundation.
But there are never enough. Especially this year at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois. "We have significant volunteer needs," Lach Mackay reported to the foundation's board in March. "We are significantly shorthanded in Nauvoo. We need couples to move there, and make it their home. We would provide housing."
If interested, please call (217) 453-2246.
It's great when a difficult goal is achieved, and it's even better when it's surpassed.
Such was the case with the "$22K by 22 May" fund-raising campaign this spring by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation.
The original goal was set for the purpose of funding four internships at the historic sites. But generous donors exceeded the goal, contributing $30,499.26. That amount will enable five internships to be funded.
Interns, of course, primarily serve during the busy summer months. But operation and maintenance of the sites are year-round obligations. If you'd like to continue to help, go to the home page of this web site and click on the "Donate" button. In the meantime, please accept our thanks for all of your help.
Time's running out! So why wait until the campaign deadline to show your generosity by supporting young-adult internships at Community of Christ historic sites?
The "22K by 22 May" campaign started with a goal of funding four internships. Increased generosity means increased opportunities that will help build resumes, strengthen faith, and serve the historic sites.
The Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, and the Kirtland Temple in Ohio will benefit.
If you'd like to help, visit http://www.historicsitesfoundation.org and click on the "Donate" button in the upper-right corner. Thanks!
Where can you get a summer position that offers college credits, a salary, an opportunity to deepen your faith, and a lot of fun? It's Community of Christ's historic sites.
If you're looking for an internship this summer, visit www.CofChrist.org/human-resources-job-opportunities.
Interns at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, and the Kirtland Temple in Ohio will lead walking tours while serving as historical interpreters.
Join us this spring as we raise $22,000 to fund four young adults in the Alma Blair Internship Program.
Spring has arrived at Community of Christ historic sites and soon twelve young adults will take their first steps on to the historic properties surrounding the Kirtland Temple and the Joseph Smith Historic Site. The students will join generations of young adults who experienced the historic sites in life-changing ways. From Cecil Ettinger and Maurice Draper to Heather Frey and Art Smith, young adults have served and shared the sacred story at the historical properties for over a century.
Like the young adult interns who have gone before, this summer’s students will acquire public speaking skills, a deeper understanding of Community of Christ theology and history, meet people from all over the world, and explore a new and exciting area of the United States. It’s a summer experience that will create memories and friendships that will last long after summer’s end. One summer has the potential to expand into a lifetime of new perspectives and passions for preserving both the past and present Community of Christ. Many of the former interns have gone on to serve in Community of Christ as leaders in their congregations, mission centers, and at International Headquarters. This important young adult program, known today as the Alma Blair Internship Program, continues to impact future church leaders. It is truly a life-changing experience as you will discover from the testimonies enclosed.
Young Adults at the Historic Sites Need Your Support
We invite you to consider a gift in support of the “$22K by 22 May” campaign. When you give to this young adult program, in many ways you are making an investment in the future. Future church leaders, future historians, perhaps your future Mission Center president or pastor. For indeed, history is just as much about the past as it is about the future.
Thank you for your consideration and for helping preserve church heritage through your support of the Alma Blair Internship Program.
The role of the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation permeated the church's World Conference in Independence, Missouri.
The biggest influence in the April event was seen in a crowded Temple Sanctuary for a Storytellers session that featured six people with profound tales about the Temple's influence in the past, present, and future.
"I was excited by the stories of impact that the Temple has had," said Karen Graham Wade, the foundation's board president. "It re-enforced my appreciation for our Enduring Principle of Pursuit of Peace."
But though this was the most visible event, the foundation's presence was felt in many other ways.
Consider the Village Expo, a gathering of booths representing church groups, affiliates, and like-minded organizations. The foundation shared a space with the Church History and Sacred Story Team.
Banners attracted passers-by, who soon found numerous resources, pamphlets, and brochures that touted foundation activities. An iPad demonstrated the new 3D virtual tours offered at the Kirtland Temple. A flyer described the Alma Blair Internship Program. A small book focused on Joseph Smith Jr.'s family in Nauvoo, Ill. Another book, Tuesday Tales in Church History, brought stories alive.
"It's nice to have a booth of good size," board member Sally Roth said. "We hope to achieve awareness of who we are and how to reach out. We want people to realize there are resources here, and we can help them connect with history."
Traffic at the booth, which also featured life-size cutouts of historic figures (wearing Conference lanyards and badges), was beyond brisk.
"We have been busy," admitted Barbara Walden, executive director of the foundation. "Yesterday we just about got run over! "To me this is continuing our sacred story," Walden continued. "Coming to an event like World Conference and seeing people from all over, you can see that we're a global church."
This isn't the first time the Joseph Smith Historic Site has dealt with a high Mississippi River, but that doesn't make the situation any less worrisome.
Christin Mackay, site director at the site in Nauvoo, Illinois, said the river is expected to crest the week of April 15. The staff plans to begin reinforcing the levee with sand and sandbags this week.
She said that Highway 61, which connects Alexandria, Missouri, to Keokuk, Iowa, and Nauvoo, is closed because of high water. However, other routes to Nauvoo remain open.
Mackay noted that the historic site would be open Tuesday and Wednesday this week before closing until April 15 for the Community of Christ World Conference in Independence, Missouri.
The Forum, the Foundation newsletter, is an excellent source on continuing news, feature stories, and the impact of your donations on the preservation of church heritage. If you would like to receive The Forum, make a donation to the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation today!
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