Stories on how Ina Duley Ogdon has inspired you or what her song means to you.
Please email your story to Melissa at [email protected]. If you do not want your name listed just let me know otherwise I will add it.Before the standard of “Americanism” was compared to a nine inch pastry filled with sliced pomaceous fruit, there was another, far more extensive, touchstone. “Theodore Roosevelt called it ‘the most American thing in America,’ Woodrow Wilson described it during World War I as an ‘integral part of the national defense,’ and William Jennings Bryan deemed it a ‘potent human factor in molding the mind of the nation.’ ” You are certainly not alone, however, if you have never heard of the Chautauqua Circuit.
This was a national pastime that began in the 19th century as a Sunday School training camp in New York, but by the 20th century had morphed into a traveling education in culture, religion, politics, history, and more. The American Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, The American Jubilee Singers, and the San Francisco Ballet Company were just a few of the world famous talents to take the stage. Lecturers such as William Jennings Bryan, the former President William Taft, and Joseph McCarthy joined hundreds of other scholars, statesmen, and preachers on the stage. Debates, plays, revival meetings, and the first correspondence school were all part of this enormous circuit that continued through the first half of the 20th century.
Undoubtedly, it would have been an honor just to attend such an event—one person commented, “[our] town was never the same after Chautauqua started coming.... It broadened our lives in many ways ." But to speak or perform in the circuit—could you imagine? Just one speaker who was part of Chautauqua is estimated to have reached “10,000 communities in 45 states to audiences totaling 45 million people .” Such an audience was nearly impossible to reach in any other way during that time, and even now would be difficult to obtain. (A TV show would perhaps be the closest one could come—and 45 million hits on a YouTube clip remains exceptional and elusive).
All of these thoughts must have been going through one young lady’s head when she was invited to speak on the tour in 1912. Excitement at the possibilities for advancing God’s kingdom filled her, but nervousness surely overcame her too at the thought of speaking before so many masses. She agreed, however, and bought her tickets, and eagerly told all her friends of the upcoming tour. Commitments were finished, her lectures were outlined, and prayers were being offered for her safe journey and Spirit-filled sessions. All that remained was to pack, say her good-byes, and be on her way. But while she was in the very act of gathering the necessities she would need for the trip, the terrible news came that her father had been seriously injured in a horseless carriage. There was nothing to be done but to call the directors of Chautauqua and cancel, to throw away her tickets, to unpack her bags, and to ask all her friends to change their prayers for her father instead of her.
One Bright Corner Website
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson was president, the Titanic wrecked, Gene Kelly was born, and Ina Duley Ogdon found herself staying at home. She was tending to her injured father when she had planned to be speaking to thousands at Chautauqua.
Fast forward one hundred years or so, and the year is 2009. Barack Obama is president, an airplane crash-landed in the
When she wrote, “Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,” she lassoed the procrastinator in me that wants to struggle through this part of my life until I find something really great to do.
When she wrote, “Tho’ into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,” she seized the people-pleaser in me that is more concerned with the jovial groups than with the lonely child in the corner.
When she wrote, “Brighten the corner where you are,” she convicted me of all the winds of temptation and sin that I let blow at my feeble light, and suddenly I realized that the smaller my corner is, the brighter I can make it. Matthew 5:14a says, “You are the light of the world,” and that includes all the nooks and crannies I can find!
It is not an old-world charm that makes “Brighten the Corner” so special. It is not even the exceptional musical arrangement or the expert turning of words that has helped it to endure so long. For me, it is the heart of one resolved young woman—Ina Duley Ogdon—speaking to this young woman over 100 years later saying, “Your little efforts are not little. Your one word is not short. Your one light is just what is needed to turn the tide.” And I, in 2009, can only say, “Thank you, Ina.”
By Lauren One Bright Corner
of Ina Duley Ogdon. He remembers her as a kindly lady who on a summer day would give him a cold
cloth to mop his brow and then a glass of her special homemade strawberry punch.
As a youth Sharon had attended services at both Liberty Corners Wesleyan and the Lambertville Methodist Church.
He remembers often singing "Brighten the Corner Where you Are."
As a young Marine in WWII he served in the South Pacific. While under attack by the Japanese at Henderson Airfield, Guadalcanal, when his fellow marines all began cursing their bad luck, Sharon started humming
Mother did not know the story behind the song, "Brighten the Corner." Years ago a little lady, Ina Duley Ogdon, was given a beautiful voice. Someone asked her to sing a concert tour around the world. She had anticipated the day when she could cover the globe and carry the bright light of Christ through her voice. She had signed the contract; the date had been set for her journey to begin. Just days before her departure, she found her father was taken seriously ill. No one else could care for him; only she! With some bitterness and much disappointment she cancelled her worldwide trip to use her voice to sing the praises of Christ and shine His light around the world!
Ina Ogdon looked at her aged father and saw him as he was nearing death. She realized that she could not take her trip. Her bitterness changed to joy, her disappointment changed to gratitude as she sat down one day and began to write, "Brighten the corner where you are; brighten the corner where you are; someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar if you brighten the corner where you are!"
What the soloist could not do with her journey she did with her sweet spirit as it went from her heart to her mind, from her mind to her pen, from her pen to the paper, from the paper to the hymnbook, and from the hymnbook to the whole world! Not just in her lifetime did she brighten the world, but she will do so as long as the song is sung!
That's your job--brighten your corner! The atmosphere of the office is determined more by the spirit of the secretaries than that of the bosses. The atmosphere of the home is determined more by the mother and wife than by the father and the children.
I think "Tomorrow’s Child," speaks to us across the generations with a message so simple yet so profound, reminding us that we are all part of the web of life, every last one of us. During our brief visit here, this beautiful blue planet, we have a really simple but profound choice to make—to help that web of life or to hurt it—and it’s your call how you live your life.
The final keynote—we have a long way to go, where do we start? When I was a child we sang a song in Sunday school, "Brighten the corner where you are."
Brighten the corner where you are.
Someone far from harbor
you may guide across the bar,
brighten the corner where you are.
And years later, I read a somewhat more sophisticated corollary in philosophy, Emmanuel Kant's categorical imperative, which said, "Before you do something, consider the consequences. What if everybody did it?" Brighten the corner where you are. What if everybody did it?
21st Century Policy Project
Text from Keynote Address given by Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Inc. and Co-Chair of the President's Council on Sustainable Development
11/11/2009 Commercial News
Residents of small town pull together
Work on church is example of their efforts
BY CAROL HICKS
CHENEYVILLE — Cheneyville, 5 miles east of Hoopeston and just north of Illinois Route 9, is a town that works together toward a common goal, especially when it comes to the 118-year-old Cheneyville Church of Christ.
“There’s so few of us, that we have to do the work ourselves,” Betty Barron said. “(We) can’t afford to hire it done.”
During the previous two years, members replaced the old water line and put a new roof on the church. This year the goal of the residents was the removal and rededication of the church bell from its deteriorating tower station.
Getting the 1,200-pound bell out of the tower was a community effort, Barron said. A man lift was used last year to reach the bell tower and several men of the community slid the bell onto the lift to bring it down.
The bell was taken to Don and Betty Barron’s garage for storage until a platform on ground level could be built for the bell. While the bell was at the Barron residence, it was cleaned and restored by them.
Earlier this year three men, Wayne “Buzz” Reed, Roger Reed and Randy Reed set about the task of building the platform to house the bell. Ryan Odle then mounted the bell and Jack and Mary Jo Petersen paid for a sidewalk to the bell from the church sidewalk. The bell was rededicated on Aug. 30.
“It was a community project, otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten done,” Don Barron said. “I just want to thank everyone that helped on the project in every way.”
Cheneyville had its early beginnings about the same time as Hoopeston in the 1870s, a small village along the Lafayette, Bloomington and Western Rail line (later called the Lake Erie and Western and Nickel Plate Railroad). Named after J. H. Cheney, vice president of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company, the village had a population of 120 residents by 1930. It also had a hardware and drug store, several other stores, a post office, telephone company, a doctor, a grain elevator, and a school where church and Bible school services were held until 1891.
In February 1891, according to the Hoopeston paper, evangelist James Lester held an evangelistic meeting in Cheneyville. This prompted the community to raise funds toward a church building and by April 16, 1891, $800 had been raised. Joseph Kellogg began work on the new building in July and finished in September. The Cheneyville Church of Christ was dedicated on Oct. 8, 1891.
In the “History of the Cheneyville Church of Christ,” written in 1954, 109 members belonged to the church in 1915 with the building valued at $1,500. The doors to the church were closed in 1946 and reopened again in May 1951. It continues to serve Cheneyville residents to the present day.
It was also noted in the history of Cheneyville that Ina Dudley Ogdon, teacher in Cheneyville from 1896 to 1900, wrote more than 3,000 church hymns and published two volumes of verse, “A Keepsake from the Old House” and “Home Woods.” One of her hymns, “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” was one of Billy Sunday’s favorite hymns.
Today, Cheneyville has a population of about 41 residents.