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.”
Community of Christ’s leadership continues its efforts to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it has announced that all World Church sites—including properties supported by the Historic Sites Foundation—will remain closed to the public through at least August 31.
Other properties, such as the Temple Complex and Peace Pavilion in Independence, Missouri, also will remain closed. In addition, World Church-sponsored events have been canceled through at least August 31.
An old friend has returned to a leadership position at a Community of Christ historic site.
Steve Smith, who proved a blessing of creativity and energy in his first stint as site director at Liberty Hall, returned to the position in Lamoni, Iowa, on February 10.
He replaces Cindy Wilson. She and her husband, Bryce Wilson, the site’s maintenance director, plan to move later this year.
During the pandemic, it has become oh so important for people to stay connected in their relationships, their faith, and their heritage. One new way of doing this happens every Sunday night on the Facebook page of the Community of Christ Historic Site Foundation.
Each week while stay-at-home orders are in place, a storyteller leads a short devotion. It will use a story from Community of Christ history and show how it connects to our lives and faith.
Stories will highlight examples of the Enduring Principles, Mission Initiatives, or moments in life that cause viewers to consider the meaning behind the historic experience. The stories help us see how church history can inspire and change lives.
And during the pandemic, they help us stay together. Join us on Facebook to find connections that span church history.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought undeniable hardship and pain. However, some blessings are coming from it, too. One is a video project sponsored by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation.
It’s called, “We Are All Storytellers.” In a time when so many people are feeling isolated, this project offers an opportunity for people to connect through stories. The project is seeking to collect stories from church history that reflect the goodness in humanity (people helping others, making sacrifices, practicing forgiveness, and offering generosity).
Remember, we’re all storytellers. So brush up on your storytelling skills. Then visit the foundation’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Community-of-Christ-Historic-Sites-Foundation-194388303381/) to enjoy—and offer—stories.
All properties supported by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation are among closures announced Friday, March 13, by World Church officials.
Those properties include the Kirtland Temple Complex in Ohio; the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois; Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa; the historic Plano Stone Church in Illinois; and Heritage Plaza in Independence, Missouri.
Closures are being done in an effort to protect people from the COVID-19 coronavirus. Closures will run until at least Monday, April 13, The situation continues to be monitored.
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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