#tbt from ACU Special Collections: A minister writes his family, 1891

Dallas minister Morrison Meade Davis wrote to his wife and daughter in Sedalia, Missouri on 28 August 1891.  In it he writes of the weather, of making pastoral visits, of his loneliness and of the family’s plans for further travel.  He mentions attending a prayer meeting at the Pearl and Bryan Church of Christ, which he describes as “for the head, not for the heart.”

The letter is one of several (along with many cabinet-card photographs belonging to Davis of Christian Church ministers) acquired by Joe Johnson in the 1990s.  The Davis photo and letter collection is one sub-set of Joe’s remarkable assemblage of Stone-Campbell books, periodicals, ephemera now housed in ACU’s Center for Restoration Studies. Right-click the images to open in a new tab or window; click here for an annotated transcription of this letter.

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Big Spring, Texas, Church of Christ, ca. 1935

Here is the meetinghouse of the Church of Christ in Big Spring, Texas, 1935, as it appeared during the ministry of Forrest R. Waldrop.

In my experience, interior photographs are rarer than exterior shots.  At least in the archival contexts in which I have worked contained far more snapshots of the church building than the inside.  Usually we do not think to photograph our most sacred places (unless a classroom wing is added or it was time for a new directory).

Interior views capture a sense of the space in which congregations met for worship, for instruction, for inspiration.  In these spaces they performed their most sacred rituals, read from their most sacred texts, oriented and reoriented their lives.  Worship, marriage ceremonies, funeral services, passing on their faith to their children and engaging and serving their neighbors: all of this and more occurred weekly at meetinghouses across the US and the globe.

How does the space in which you worship shape your worship?  How does your worship shape the space you create in which to assemble, or teach, or serve?

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