The Rev. Donald Fisher, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Eureka, talks to Eureka Woman’s Club members outside the church during a tour in October 1964. (Times-Standard file photo)

Members of the Eureka Woman’s Club toured some of the local churches 54 years ago this week.

The tour — part of a national movement to bring about interfaith goodwill — was modeled after Operation Understanding, which was initiated in New Orleans with thousands of people participating in a three-day schedule of visits to Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish houses of worship. During each visit, representatives of the host church explained its faith and worship practices to those in attendance.

The Rev. John Thompson, rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka, explains the program of the church in October 1964 to members of the Eureka Woman’s Club (Times-Standard file photo)

Locally, the five-hour October 1964 tour was organized by Mrs. Aaron Smith and Mrs. Arthur Smith (no first names given) and included stops at churches in Eureka and Arcata, according to the Oct. 12, 1964, Humboldt Standard.

Eureka churches included the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2806 Dolbeer St.; Calvary Lutheran Church, South and Prospect streets; Christ Episcopal Church, 15th and H streets; and St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 615 H St.

Arcata churches included First Baptist Church, 1700 Union St., and the First Methodist Church, 1761 11th St.

According to the Humboldt Standard, the church tour had initially been planned as a goodwill program with no thought of gathering donations. However, the Eureka Woman’s Club soon decided to make the event a public service project as well by raising funds to purchase a “Resusci-Anne” for the Eureka Fire Department.

Mrs. Arthur Smith, left, and Mrs. Aaron Smith co-chaired the Eureka Woman’s Club October 1964 church tour series. (Times-Standard file photo)

“Resusci-Anne” is a life-size replica of a human being and was used to teach and demonstrate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Heather Shelton can be reached at 707-441-0516.


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