Thursday, February 04, 2010

Denny Talks About "The Old Times" of Omaha

I had a wonderful time yesterday visiting with residents of the Via Christe Assisted Living Community down on the Duchesne campus. I had been invited by Karen Miller who serves as activities director there to give a presentation on the religious history of Omaha. I was pleased to do so.

I have given this talk before (well, versions of it) to a civic group, a genealogical society and a couple of churches. It's an interesting, story-based presentation that goes from the Lewis and Clark expedition through the creation of Grace Bible Institute in the 1940s. It covers such ground as the first missionaries (Moses and Eliza Merrill and their colleagues, one of whom was a converted Native-American herself); the first church activity in the wild, immoral environs of Omaha; the far-reaching impact of the Sisters of Mercy; the temperance movement; the development of Christian organizations (some of which still serve our community); the political corruption of Omaha's "political machine"; the tornado of 1913; the 6-week crusade of Billy Sunday; the monstrous injustice of the race riots of 1919; the birth of Boy's Town (the first five boys of which are shown above); and much more.

There's pathos, humor and opportunity for interaction in the presentation. And no small amount of moral instruction. We had a good turnout for the affair(maybe 18-20) and everyone was attentive and, bless their hearts, even appreciative for the hour we spent together. So much so that Karen is writing me into the schedule there for other presentations, Scripture and poetry readings, etc. I'm really looking forward to it.

And, of course, if you're interested in having a presentation of Omaha's religious history (or any one of a number of other "edifying entertainments") for your church, Sunday School class, nursing home or whatever, drop us a note. The price is certainly within your budget (I come for a cup of coffee) and, if the schedule permits, I'd be honored to do it.