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Practicing Simplicity During The Depression

Virgie Kraybill (right), a member of Messiah College’s first graduating class, with Dr. D. Ray Hostetter, who served as the College’s president from 1964-1994. (Courtesy of the BIC Historical Library and Archives)

The latest issue of In Part, the magazine for the Brethren in Christ community in North America, shares several stories about living simply. One of those stories describes a plain-dressed Brethren in Christ woman named Virgie Kraybill and her dedication to family and community in the midst of the Great Depression.

Here’s a taste of the article, written by Dorcas (Steckbeck) Landis:

For Virgie Felker Lehman, a young girl growing up in Lancaster County, Pa., in the early 1900s, living simply initially centered around wearing plain clothes. Although commonplace among Brethren in Christ of the day, the practice often left Virgie feeling isolated and lonely. In later years, she remembered being teased once on the school playground when she ran and her head covering fell off. And as a teenager, after her family’s move to Harrisburg, Pa., she pronounced herself to be “the only plain girl in the city.”

But later in life, when she understood the meaning behind the tradition, wearing plain clothes developed into a vital expression of Virgie’s faith. And it became just one piece in the mosaic of her expanding understanding of simplicity, a value that helped her face the economic burdens she would carry throughout much of her life.

Read the whole article here.

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