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Brethren in Christ History and Life
The current display features various artifacts from various aspects of church life and practice. Visitors—especially those who are not familiar with the denomination—are introduced to historical facets of the Brethren in Christ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
To emphasize the principle that people were (and are) the true church, two display cases tell the stories of prominent church members Samuel R. Smith and Sarah H. Bert. Smith (1853-1916), a man of considerable talents and resources, helped thrust the church into new areas of ministry through his roles as church leader, entrepreneur, and founder and first president of Messiah College. Sarah Bert (1860-1948), raised in the rural surroundings of Pennsylvania and Kansas, ministered in an urban setting for over forty years as co-founder and superintendent of the Chicago Brethren in Christ Mission. Personal artifacts from Smith and Bert illustrate their abilities and their church involvement.
Two additional display cases feature items from Brethren in Christ worship. Objects used during communion, love feasts, and feetwashing help to demonstrate the importance of worshiping in community. Of special interest are photographs, taken in 1950, of men from the former Home Evangel congregation (Robinson Ridge, KY) practicing the church ordinances of feetwashing and the holy kiss.
Brethren in Christ ventures into missions and education are also highlighted through a variety of artifacts. On display in this section is the gun used by African missionary Myron Taylor in his attempt to kill a lion that had been troubling a local village. After the gun misfired, the lion attacked Taylor, who soon died from the wounds he received.
The remaining display cases focus on the lifestyle of church members, particularly in the area of dress. The plain clothing "uniforms" of men and women are featured, along with appropriate coverings for the head. Several photographs capture images of church members in plain dress during the early and mid-1900s.
Larger artifacts, scattered throughout the Historical Library and Archives, also offer a window into early church life, and help to provide a historical atmosphere for visitors and researchers.
Visitors are cordially invited to view this display.