Photo Friday: Wishful Thinking for a Stormy Weekend

(Courtesy of Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives)

This week’s Photo Friday is pretty light — and optimistic — fare. My historicizing was stunted today by repeated reports of the massive hurricane currently barreling up the eastern seaboard. So I decided to select an historical photo — a personal favorite — that expresses the kind of happy, bucolic reality I’d rather be experiencing this weekend.

This candid shot was snapped during the General Conference of 1953, which convened at Niagara Christian Collegiate. The people in the image are unidentified, but I am intrigued by their lack of plain clothes.

Like I said, today’s post is pretty light and almost entirely absent of analysis. But maybe that’s ideal for a day largely occupied by disaster prep and Weather Channel watching.

If you’re a reader on the East Coast, stay safe this weekend.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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5 Responses to Photo Friday: Wishful Thinking for a Stormy Weekend

  1. Gerald Wingert says:

    Lack of plain clothes? The first thing I saw was two coverings at the tent. I did not expect the two children at the swing to have plain clothes.

    Gerald Wingert

    • Devin Manzullo-Thomas says:

      Gerald: I was speaking specifically about the mother standing behind her child on the swing; she is clearly not wearing a cape dress, and does not appear to be wearing a covering (although I’ll admit that it’s hard to know for sure because of the direction she’s facing). Good eyes spotting the coverings by the tent, though — I didn’t even spot those!

  2. Elaine Reed says:

    I don’t think it likely that a mother or lady of her age would have been wearing a cape in 1953. It was also common at that time that her covering would have been set back on her head far enough that it might not have been seen from the front. Her blouse has short sleeves, but is modest, as is the rest of her clothing. Looks to me to be very typical BIC dress for her age in the 1950’s according to my memory.

    Keep safe.

  3. Karen D. says:

    During my growing-up years I attended many of the General Conferences and Camp Meetings held on the grounds of Niagara Christian College. I remember the large tent set up for the children’s daytime meetings.and know exactly where the swing set was. In the 50’s, my family lived just across the border in the small town of Clarence Center, NY, where my father was the pastor of the Brethren in Christ Church.

    To this day, I am thankful that I benefited from that congregation’s purposeful and rapid shift away from legalism. In the early 50’s the men in that church put on ties, and most of the women quit wearing cape dresses and coverings, cut their hair, and started to wear dresses that were more modern, but not flashy. Men and women began wearing wedding rings. My parents went through this change as well. In respect for people from the more conservative congregations, my sisters and I always wore dresses or skirts to attend Conference or Camp Meetings.

    During those years, we did not wear sandals to church or school, but could at home. All public schools still kept the girls wearing dresses or skirts but my sisters and I were allowed to wear slacks and shorts at home, a definite shift away from previous generations of BIC practice. I never felt different or “wierd” at school or out in other public places and I was proud of my parents’ involvement in the community. I am grateful that I was born into that generation and into that forward-thinking congregation.

    There would have been plenty of more traditional, plain dressed people at the General Conference of ’53, but it occurs to me that perhaps the photographer purposely aimed to get a shot of this more modern-looking, but still modestly dressed, mother and daughter enjoying some free time on the beautiful grounds of NCC.

  4. Doris Heisey Crider says:

    Thanks for this photo of the child enjoying a ride on the swing…so carefree and happy! That child’s picture came to my mind several times during the stormy weekend! It reminded me of Jesus telling us to have simple child-like faith. I don’t remember the exact Bible quote but that’s how the thought came to me, along with the memory of this young child going to the altar at a tent in Canada where Bishop E. J. Swalm prayed for me to let Jesus come into my heart! A blessed memory–an anchor for the storms of life!

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