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Photo Friday: Plain Persistence

The “new” Dallas Center, Iowa, church, built in 1947 (Courtesy of the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives)

For many years, Dallas Center, Iowa, was home to a small but committed band of Brethren in Christ. Although the congregation has been closed for some time, a band of faithful members returned to their church home on July 4, 2005, to re-connect with one another and to recall the congregation’s past. Today’s Photo Friday installment celebrates that commitment to community, history, and memory.

When the Dallas Center church building was re-built in 1947, members placed valuables and other memorabilia into the cornerstone — a bequest to future generations, and a common practice among the Brethren in Christ of that era. Almost sixty years later, a small crowd of former members — many of whom were born and raised in the Dallas Center church — gathered on a drizzly Fourth of July morning to re-open that cornerstone and reveal the “treasures” inside.

When Mark Keller, a former member of the congregation, sent images from the gathering to the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives, he neglected to include an inventory of the cornerstone’s contents. But he did provide some telling captions for his images — captions that suggest the persistence of traditional Brethren in Christ practices among this small band of believers, and the power of such practices to link community members over time and geographic distance, despite the pressures of the “modern world.”

(Note: For the photos that follow, Mark’s comments are in quotation marks. All other captions are original.)

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