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January 2014

Happy New Year!!

Here is, yet another, Community Current Events column that ran in the Flaming Sword. I cannot stress enough how it is an excellent source for those everyday things that occurred in the Unity. With the dawning of this new year, we wish to present the very first Community Current Events column, which appeared in January 1916. This was eight years after the death of Teed and it appears, at least to me, that the atmosphere in the Unity was changing, albeit slightly. Koresh had NOT returned which prompted some to reformulate their beliefs. Other may have given up all hope and still others turned to other ways of explaining the reasons for the lack of activity.

Current Events in Our Community Life
January 1916

BEGINNING with this issue of THE FLAMING SWORD, we will give our readers a brief account of whatever of interest transpires in our Community during the month. Every Sunday evening Service is held at the Art Hall. One of the brothers conducts the meeting; another officiates at the piano, and one of the six readers (of which there are three sisters and three brothers) reads selected articles from the Writings of our Master. Sunday evening, Dec. 12, the Service was conducted as follows: The congregation sang two Koreshan songs, after which excerpts were read from THE; FLAMING SWORD of Jan’y 25 and Feb’y 1, 1890, and also from the “Guiding Star,” Vol. II, pp. 256 to 259, bearing on the origin of the Teutonic family of nations, with the derivation and definition of the word Teuton. A solo was then rendered, entitled “In the Hollow of His Hand.” This is a comforting thought to all Koreshans, since we know that hand represents the power of truth in ultimates, and that the Science of Universology is the only source from which such knowledge may be gained. The second reading was “The Civilization of the Indo-Germanic Race; Derivation and Definition of the Word German,” from THE; FLAMING SWORD of Aug. 29, 1905. Portions of all these articles were reprinted in the December, 1915, SWORD, pp. 370 and 371. The congregation then sang another song, after which a prayer written by KORESH was read, at the close of which the congregation repeated in concert these words: “Our Father-Mother Deity; with oral acclamation we resound our prayer and praise! Thou art our Hero! Let us glorify Thy name, and Thou, 0 God, glorify us in Thy Holy Temple!” The Service concluded with the singing of the anthem, “Lift Up Your Heads, 0 Ye Gates.”

We are pleased to announce that two new members have recently joined us, both coming from California; Mrs. C. A. Place is from Hayward, and Mrs. H. D. Wilbur from San Francisco. It is indeed gratifying to find people who have had enough of competism, and crave the communistic life. It is well to heed the plea of our Shepherd, to “Yield up the world and its allurements, its bonds. Break the tie; go forward to the promised land. Let God direct. Yield your life to God, and be redeemed with an immortal redemption. Be His children and heirs to his throne, Kings and Priests unto God, for his Name’s Sake.”

Our new boat, the “Estero,” makes schedule trips to Fort Myers every Tuesday and Friday, returning the following days respectively. Sometimes during the fruit season the schedule is interfered with, owing to increased traffic. Lee County is one of the best citrus growing sections in the country, and Estero has many excellent groves of luscious grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines.

The Service for Dec. 19 was very well attended, and the enthusiasm with which our people sang was very marked. A sister read “The Law of Progressive Life,” from the “Guiding Star,” Vol. II, pp. 249 to 254. This is a most wonderful article, dealing with the law of seed-time and harvest, or cause and effect. The solo for the evening was, “Open the Gates of the Temple.” The words were written by that famous author, Fanny Crosby, and the music by Mrs. Knapp. Nothing unusual transpired during Christmas week at the Unity, but from the activities of the local Post Office, it was plain to be seen that the spirit of giving was as much indulged in as ever. We observe Christmas as a legal holiday; other than that it has very little significance to us, since we have come to know that the seventh Messianic manifestation, with a “New Name,” as prophetically foretold, made his appearance on Oct. 18, 1839, and this is the day we celebrate. ((1))

Sunday evening, Dec. 26, the last Service for the memorable year of 1915 was held. We surely ought to be the happiest people in the world, because we have the light with which this sin-cursed world is to be illuminated. The first article read was “Devachan and Nirvana,” from FLAMING SWORD of Aug. 13, 1892. The male quartette sang “The Lord Is Great,” written by Walter Howe Jones; following this number, two more short articles were read respectively from FLAMING SWORD of June 25, and June 11, 1892, under the caption of “Theology.” The last paragraph in the last article reads as follows: “The hand that lays its desecrating touch upon the God-ordained and Koreshan fruit of Christian evolution shall become palsied, for no power in earth or hell can, with impunity, attempt the retardation of this mountain of God’s eternal progress.” Following this we listened to a very pleasing solo, “The Star of Bethlehem;” and with the reading of a prayer and the singing of the anthem, “Lift- Up Your Heads,” the Service closed. These Services are very inspiring and a stimulus to all who attend them. We have with us as guests, Mr. and Mrs. Ashley, of Savannah, Ga. Mr. Ashley has been a reader of THE SWORD for many years; but Mrs. Ashley is a comparatively new student, and is very much impressed with the profound teachings of our illustrious Shepherd.

On Saturday evening, Jan’y 1, a social entertainment was given at the Art Hall, which consisted of music, games, dancing, and refreshments. When the participants entered the Hall they were presented with “Good Resolution Caps” and 1916 badges. Each cap was inscribed with a word suggestive of a gift or grace of character, such as: “Moderate, Cheerful, Thorough, Forgiving,” etc. Then came a New Year’s March, to orchestra music, in which all the newly decorated members participated. Some of the games were quite amusing, and the reading of “Mr. Dooley,” and “Way Down South Once More,” by Sister Berthaldine, was enjoyed by all. (Sisters and brothers do not dance together.) Mr. Paul Sargent, son of our worthy brother, John S., sent his father two barrels of the finest apples grown in the state of Illinois. During the evening we were treated to some of them, which we enjoyed very much. Mr. Sargent’s visit to us a year ago is fresh in our memory, and particularly when we visit the Art Hall, because of the two paintings he left with the Unity, which are a source of joy to all. Mr. Sargent left a warm spot in the hearts of our people, and we appreciate his ability as an artist. Our first Service for 1916 was held Sunday evening, Jan’y 2. A sister read the following articles from THE; FLAMING SWORD of March 15, 1907: “The Lord’s Advent the Paramount Issue,” and “The Culmination of the Competitive Conflict.” Those who have these SWORDS would do well to read these articles, particularly the last one, which shows very plainly how the competitive system is going to wind up. The quartette sang “Adonai;” after the prayer, the meeting closed with the singing of “Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates.” This is a beautiful anthem, a great favorite of the Master’s, which has been sung for many years at the close of our meetings. We were pleased to receive a visit from Mr. Horace Edgar Bailey of Unadilla, N.Y., who is an old acquaintance of our Master; they were both veterans of the Civil War. A party of twenty-three had a picnic several days ago, for the purpose of getting shell to repair some of the walks in the Park. We went in a power boat to Big Hickory Island, on the Gulf of Mexico. The day was an ideal one; the pure ozone of the Gulf was exhilarating, and a more jolly crowd would be hard to find. Every one did his or her part; while some filled the sacks with shell, others busied themselves getting the dinner, and a sumptuous meal it certainly was. Fish and oysters, for which Lee County is so noted, were served, along with the other good things that had been prepared.

The Service on Sunday evening, Jan’y 9, was very impressive. A brother read “The Failure of Government and the Remedy,” from THE SWORD of Jan’y 1910. Had the article been written yesterday, it could not be more up- to-date. Such articles ought to convince the rankest skeptic, as to the divine prescience of KORESH, The last, which we give below, is wonderfully prophetic:
“The governments of the world, devoid as they are of every spark of the divine principle—love to the neighbor, will find their sepulchre in the valley of the decomposing carcass of a polluted and hypocritical church. But from their ruins, resurrected into the law of the economy of ever- lasting life, the new and living Firstborn shall arise, clothed upon with the Lord’s righteousness, bright and shining as the noon-day sun, kindled into the glowing heat of overwhelming love to God and man. Such is the change and such is the kingdom to succeed the crumbling ruins of the old church which, though now corrupt, had its inception in the very heart of God.”

The solo for the evening was “0 Flaming Sword,” the words of which were written by Sister Berthaldine, and the music by her late son, H. B. Boomer, at the dedication of the Guiding Star Publishing House, at Estero, in 1904. I feel that I am voicing the sentiments of the majority present, when I say it was good to have been at the Service. We are pleased to announce the return to our Home circle of Sister Elizabeth Robinson, who has been with relatives in New York City for several years. Sr. Elizabeth is one of the pioneers of the Koreshan movement, and we are all very glad to have her with us again.

  1. Interesting to note that even after 8 years, there was still a belief in Teed’s role as the New Messiah. []

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