Thirty-Seven Years of Weekly Scripture Reading, Study
Is Notable Record of Eastside Bible Class Members
Dodge City Daily Globe
Saturday, March 13, 1954 page 7
By Ethel Watkins
With a motto reading with simplicity, “Whosoever Will,” the Eastside Bible class, begun as an aftermath of an evangelistic meeting held here by Rev. James Raybourn of Newton in 1917, is still functioning to the gratification of its members. Each Friday without a break since that long ago year, the membership has met in one another’s homes (in the beginning only resident living in the east section of Dodge City, but now scattered over all sections) to read the Bible aloud to each other and discuss the scriptures so read.
Membership has had an active turnover during the 37 years, and includes close to200 women who have answered roll call at one period or another, with an average roll call of fifteen, three of whom are of the original group of 20 women who first organized the non-denominational Bible-reading class. The three are Mrs. Judd Crawford, Mrs. Fred Simmons and Mrs. E. W. Dagenhart.
The group, in addition to seeking and finding a better understanding of the Bible; enjoying the fellowship of each other and taking pride in the fact their knowledge of Bible verses help them in their other interests, have a philanthropic program. Through moneys acquired by free-will offerings, they have contributed to a wide range of worthy charities. Their list of contributions include such items as boxes to Mecalero Indians in New Mexico, baby clothing to Belgium, a linen shower for Trinity Hospital, donation to chapel at Norton tuberculosis sanatorium, kitchen shower for the Star Ranch in Colorado Springs, donation to Louisiana’s Hanson disease hospital, a radio to the blind in Excelsior Springs, contributions to the Old Fashioned Revival radio hour in long Beach, Christmas toys and quilt scraps to Ozark mission and contributions to the local school shoe fund. Each year they give to the local cancer and polio funds and to the Gideon Bibles-for-Youth fund. In addition the Class helps its neighborhood bereaved families and those who have illness.
Organized on February 2, (Ground Hog Day!) 1917 in the home of Mrs. Abe Walker (whose mother, Mrs. E. W. Dagenahrt is still a member), the class for the first 20 years had Mrs. Harriet Milton for a teachers. Since she moved away, the women have had no one teacher, and not for many years a president. The women stay together and study through mutual interest, rather than a formal organization.
When they started, the class read the Bible verse by verse straight through, both Old and New Testaments, and throughout the years have repeated that performance two more times. When “skipping around” for special study, the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, along with Acts are perennial favorites. The Revelations too, are read often. Hymns are sometimes sung at the meetings, often the group singing a verse or two of each member’s favorite. With the closing of their meetings with the Mispah, for 37 years now it has been “ … until next Friday then!”
Upper left photo: Mrs. Fred Simmons, a charger member, has rarely missed a weekly meeting of the Eastside Bible class in its 37 years of existence. She is pictured here (right) in her home on Military avenue, where this year’s birthday observance was held, with Mrs. Judd Crawford (center). She is also a faithful through-the-years charter member; and Mrs. Roy Wells (standing), who though not a charter member, is a sister of Rev. James Raybourn of Newton. His influence gave the impetus to the organizing of the group in 1917. Mrs. E. W. Dagenhart (not pictured) is another charger member who is still a member.
Lower left photo: During the 37 years there have been close to 200 women who have belonged to the class. Four of the present day members pictured in Mrs. Simmons home are Mrs. A. E. Combs, Mrs. Frank Evans, Mrs. Elizabeth Richardson and Mrs. George Behl.
Bottom Center: Cutting the 37th birthday cake is Mrs. M. C. Woodall in the home of Mrs. Simmons. Pictured with her are members Mrs. Beatrice Stout, Mrs. Della Glidewell and Miss Lucille Kennedy
Upper right: And unto the fifth generation. The late Mrs. N. J. Conaway was a charter member of the Bible read in class and following her footsteps attending the weekly sessions are her granddaughter Mrs. Nelson Johnson; her daughter Mrs. C. W. Woolwine; her great granddaughter, Mrs. Elmer Nuss, and showing interest in grandmother’s Bible is her great great granddaughter little Miss Leila KatharineNuss, pictured in Mrs. Simmons home.