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Did She Stump the Minister?

5 Dec

“A Difficult Text” is the title of this 1907 painting by John Henry Dobson. All the little details help tell the story of a minister’s visit to a member of his congregation. Do you think the minister looks a trifle perplexed?  If only we knew which Bible verse she’s pointing to!

p.s. You can click on the image to see a larger version.

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A Most Remarkable Communion Service

16 Oct

On Tuesday, October 11, 1910 delegates to a national Christian church convention assembled in Topeka, Kansas for their annual meeting. The convention came to order on Wednesday night, October 12, and continued full-tilt until the following Monday.

The local newspapers published the convention agenda. In a busy week filled with scheduled prayer meetings, missionary society board reports, temperance education workshops, and a host of lectures, there was this agenda item:

Organizers expected a good turn-out for the Sunday communion service, which was set to begin at 3:00.

But long before the appointed hour, people began assembling at the capitol building in Topeka. They first congregated on the State House steps, until there was no more room.

The Kansas State Capitol building in 1905

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Workers quickly placed some benches along the east side of the capital building. But as more and more people arrived, those benches were quickly filled.

And still the people came. Hundreds more benches were added, along with chairs and stools, and anything else the organizers could find to accommodate the growing crowd.

By the time the communion service began at 3:00, over eight thousand people had assembled on the State House grounds.

The service opened with almost everyone present joining their voices to sing the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Ministers from different churches across Kansas took a turn stepping up to the podium to offer prayers, read scripture, and bless the communion bread and wine.

Twenty church elders and forty-eight deacons assisted with the communion. The crowd was so large it took over an hour to serve the Lord’s Supper to everyone.

The Christian Herald magazine, which covered the event, wrote that there was a “reverent attitude” throughout the service that made it one of the most remarkable gatherings ever assembled on the State House grounds. The reporter wrote:

An ice driver broke bread with a great divine and a banker leaned out of his chair to hand the cup to a butcher. A Texan sat beside a Negro, and gentle society women held the babies of char-women.

The governor of Kansas, Walter Roscoe Stubbs, spoke about prohibition in Kansas, and reaffirmed his pledge to drive liquor sales and manufacturing out of the state (Kansas enacted its own law of prohibition in 1880). In his speech, Governor Stubbs promised:

“I say to you today that I don’t know of an open saloon in the State, and if any man shows me one and tells me of it and I don’t close it I’ll resign my position.”

The crowd cheered.

Walter Roscoe Stubbs, about 1920.

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Another well-received speaker that day was Dr. Charles M. Sheldon, pastor of Central Congregational Church in Topeka, and author of the enormously popular Christian novel, In His Steps.

Dr. Charles Monroe Sheldon

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He brought his Social Gospel message to the crowd, and exhorted everyone to work diligently toward world peace, saying:

“I hope to live to see the [day] our battleships are turned into missionary vessels and filled with missionaries to go out to all parts of the world to teach the Gospel of Christ.”

The Christian Herald published this photo of the crowd in the November 9, 1910 issue of the magazine (click on the image to see a larger version):

Photograph printed in The Christian Herald magazine, November 9, 1910.

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One-hundred, seven years ago today this remarkable communion service took place on a Sunday afternoon in Kansas, on the grounds of the State Capitol building. It was an event the like of which may never be seen again.

Do you wish you could have been there? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!

An Interview with Grace Livingston Hill

2 May

In 1915 Isabella’s niece, writer Grace Livingston Hill, was profiled in The Book News Monthly magazine.

A photograph of Grace Livingston Hill, published in the 1915 Book News Monthly interview.

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The magazine printed two articles, the first of which was written by Grace’s long-time friend Hilda von Markhen. Hilda described Grace’s “workshop” for writing: an ample, business-like desk at the sunshiny side of an upstairs room. On the desk was her typewriter and a few necessary reference books; behind her was a glass door which led to a small un-roofed upper porch set in the midst of trees in which played birds and squirrels.

Grace reading on her favorite porch.

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In addition to describing Grace’s workspace, Hilda told the story of how Grace’s first books were published. Sprinkled throughout the article are hints of Grace’s strong Christian beliefs and the work Grace did for those in need, the Sunday school classes she taught, the children Grace “adopted,” and her commitment to The Christian Christian Endeavor society.

Grace working out-of-doors at her home in 1915.

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The second article was written by Norma Bright Carson and provides some insight into Grace’s personality and the impression she made on the article’s author.

You can read both articles right now by clicking on the image below.

 

 

 

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Quotable

11 Aug

Quotable - Friendship 04

New Free Read: The Exact Truth

28 Apr

Cover_The Exact TruthThe Bible is full of golden texts of inspiration and maxims of sound doctrine, but Zephene Hammond thinks they’re just words on a page. Although she considers herself a Christian, she doesn’t think those Bible verses have any real meaning in her life.

So when her Sunday school teacher challenges Zephene to look at the golden texts with fresh eyes, Zephene reluctantly takes up the challenge. Before long, Zeph sees that the Bible really can fit into her daily life and help her become a girl who always tells the exact truth.

This 1890 classic Christian novel was first published as  a serial in The Pansy magazine. Click on the cover to begin reading The Exact Truth now.

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Quotable

8 Apr

Pansy 03You can find plenty of work if you look for it; only don’t look too far, because it is the little bits of things, which come right in your way, that Jesus wants you to do.

—from Tip Lewis and His Lamp

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50% Off E-Books at Kobo!

28 Oct

Kobo is holding a huge 50% off e-book sale!

There’s no limit, so stock up on eBooks while you can! Just use the promo code below, based on where you live and date of purchase:

Canada
October 28th – October 31st
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand
October 27th – October 30th
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom
October 30th – November 2nd
Promo Code: UK50SALE

Kobo ButtonNow’s your chance to save on Isabella Alden and Grace Livingston Hill titles, as well as many other Kobo e-books. Click on the Kobo link to go directly to their site. Happy shopping!

 

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Faith and Love is Now in Paperback

10 Sep

Cover_Story Collection 07 resizedFaith and Love is now available in print! This exclusive collection of short stories by Grace Livingston Hill and her mother Marcia Livingston is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever print books are sold.

Get the print book:

Amazon button 2   Barnes and Noble button

Download the e-book:

Amazon button   Nook button   Kobo Button

 

God’s Portion (and a Free Read)

1 Sep

As the wife of a minister, Isabella Alden was very familiar with her husband’s congregation. She wasn’t the type of minister’s wife who simply went to teas and receptions and other social events, and never got involved in anything related to the church. Not Isabella.

Dave Comba Adamson_Five Oclock Tea

She was an “old-fashioned minister’s wife,” said her niece, Grace Livingston Hill:

She made calls on the parishioners, knew every member intimately, cared for the sick, gathered the young people into her home, making both a social and religious center for them with herself as leader and adviser; grew intimate with each personally and led them to Christ; became their confidante; and loved them all as if they had been her brothers and sisters.

Isabella’s experiences as a minister’s wife inspired many characters and events in her books. She wove her stories around real incidents and real people, their foibles and inconsistencies, and lessons learned.

Coins 2edLike the country congregation that couldn’t raise the funds needed to keep their church clean in Interrupted.

Or the woman in Aunt Hannah and Martha and John who placed a large donation in the offering plate to impress the congregation, only to slip into the church office later when no one was looking to demand her change because she didn’t really want to give the full amount.

Coins ed1And the Ladies’ Aid Society members who only donated pennies because they believed missionaries and others who did God’s work didn’t need nice things (this happened in a few of Isabella’s novels).

When it came to the subject of money, Isabella had heard all the arguments before. She knew why people preferred to spend their dollars on anything but God’s work. But she also knew her Bible, and believed its instructions about money were just as important as any other commandment.

Money open purse ed

Isabella was a strong believer in the Biblical concept of tithing, and she knew how important it was to teach children to tithe beginning at a young age.  She believed that when we follow God’s instructions about money, we grow to trust God in other areas of our lives, as well.

Her Offering ed

She illustrated the point in her short story, “Pictures from Mrs. Pierson’s Life.” The story centers around a couple who ignore God’s instructions about money, and what their children learn by the parents’ actions.

Cover_Pictures from Mrs Piersons Life v1 resized

“Pictures from Mrs. Pierson’s Life” first appeared in Mrs. Harper’s Awakening, published in 1881. You can read it here for free. Just click on the book cover to get started.

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Isabella wrote about money and the importance of tithing in many of her books, including:

Miss Priscilla Hunter (read it for free!)

Aunt Hannah and Martha and John

Interrupted

Household Puzzles and The Randolphs

Spun from Fact (read it for free!)

The Pocket Measure

Doris Farrand’s Vocation

Overruled

 

Fred and Maria and Me

30 Jun

In her books Isabella Alden often mentioned the works of other authors she read and admired.

One such example was in Isabella’s book, Links in Rebecca’s Life. In that story, newly-married Rebecca Edwards was settling into her new life in the home of her very critical mother-in-law.

At breakfast one morning, Mrs. Edwards criticized Rebecca for drinTea_Party1king coffee that was too hot, in Mrs. Edwards’ opinion.

“I wonder at you, Rebecca, for drinking your coffee so hot; it is very bad for the teeth.”

Rebecca laughed in her old gleeful way, and replied:

“I am like ‘Fred and Maria and Me,’ I like my coffee ‘bilin’. Frank, did you ever read that delightful book?”

“Never heard of it. What an extraordinary title! Is it good?”

“It is capital,” Rebecca had said, ignoring, as Frank did, his mother’s question.

“Do you mean the book, or the title, my son?” Then she had turned to Rebecca. “Did you say that was the title? How very singular! One would suppose the editor would have corrected so remarkable a grammatical error as that!”

And Rebecca’s eyes danced as she answered, “It is by Mrs. Dr. Prentice, you remember. She is one of our most popular authors. I suspect she wanted the grammatical part of it to appear just as it did.”

Mrs. Prentiss did, indeed. Fred and Maria and Me was written by Elizabeth Prentiss in the perspective of an elderly woman from Goshen, Maine. The heroine, Aunt Avery, made generous use of the local Maine dialect.

Elizabeth Prentiss right

Elizabeth Prentiss

Throughout the story, Mrs. Prentiss’s characters used words like “t’wasn’t,” “your’n,” “p’inted” (instead of “pointed”), and other grammatically incorrect terms that would have made prim Mrs. Edwards swoon.

Originally, Fred and Maria and Me was published as a serial in Hours at Home: A Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation in 1865. When Elizabeth Prentiss first saw her story in the magazine, she wasn’t happy:

“I have jHours at Home magazineust got hold of the Hours at Home. I read my article and was disgusted with it. My pride fell below zero, and I wish it would stay there.”

But the reading public disagreed. Reviewers praised the story and declared Aunt Avery was “a very quaint and interesting type of New England religious character.”

Elizabeth Prentiss soon changed her mind about the story.

“Poor old Aunt Avery! She doesn’t know what to make of it that folks make so much of her and has to keep wiping her spectacles.”

The popularity of Fred and Maria and Me may have surprised Elizabeth Prentiss, but not the publishing industry. The story’s “quaintness, simplicity, and truthfulness” created such a demand that it was published as a book in 1867 to great acclaim. A second printing appeared in 1872, six years before Isabella wrote Links in Rebecca’s Life.

Stepping Heavenward cover 1907

1907 cover of Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

Elizabeth Prentiss went on to write several books, including Stepping Heavenward, the classic story of a teenage girl’s Christian journey into womanhood. Stepping Heavenward is still widely read today. Click here to find out more about Stepping Heavenward.

She was also a talented poetess and penned lyrics for beloved hymns, including “More Love to Thee, O Christ.”

You can read Elizabeth Prentiss’s delightful book, Fred and Maria and Me and discover why Isabella Alden called it a “capital” story. Click on the book cover to begin reading now.

Cover_Fred and Maria and Me

Would you like to know more about Elizabeth Prentiss? Click here to read a very nice biography of her life and works.

Click on the link below to listen to her hymn, “More Love to Thee, O Christ”:

Follow this link to find out more about Links in Rebecca’s Life by Isabella Alden.

 

The Hall in the Grove

Author of Classic Christian Fiction

Isabella Alden

Author of Classic Christian Fiction

Britt Reads Fiction

Reviews and giveaways for Christian fiction. Bringing readers information on great stories and connecting authors with their readers.

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