Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tenting Tonight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tenting Tonight

Article excerpt

IN THE late 19th century, the traveling tent shows known as Chautauquas brought their educational and musical programs, often featuring such famed orators as William Jennings Bryan and Teddy Roosevelt, to small towns across America. In many rural communities, the sight of the big tent going up on the outskirts of town was a prelude to the summer's major event.

The Missouri Chautauqua, a re-creation of those traveling shows of a century ago, will wind up its second season with a five-day stay at O'Fallon Civic Park, beginning Monday. It caps a June tour of Missouri towns that also included stops in Kansas City, Neosho and Hannibal.

Missouri Chautauqua is sponsored by the Missouri Humanities Council. Its current presentation explores the variety in American religion through historical characterizations of five major religious figures. Each of the five is portrayed by a prominent scholars.

The historical figures (and those who portray them) are:

Father Pierre De Smet, the Jesuit missionary who became one of St. Louis' most celebrated citizens (Robert Carriker, Gonzaga University).

Daniel Payne, a pioneer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (Henry James Young, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary).

Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity School of Christianity in Kansas City (Betty DeBerg, Valparaiso University).

Reinhold Niebuhr, the Missourian who became one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century (Arnold Wettstein, Rollins College).

Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gary Holloway, Institute for Christian Studies).

Each of the main-tent presentations is preceded by musical entertainment. In addition, the five portrayers will give a number of talks around the community.

***** MISSOURI CHAUTAUQUA SCHEDULE

Monday, June 27

1:30 p.m.: "Noah's Ark on the River" (for children under 12), Robert and Eleanor Carriker. O'Fallon Plaza Branch Library, 130 O'Fallon Plaza. Information: 272-4999.

6:30 p.m.: Tent-Raising Party (volunteers welcome). Tent site, O'Fallon Civic Park. (From I-70, take O'Fallon-Main St. exit and drive north on Main; after railroad tracks, turn left on Civic Park Dr. …

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