About a dozen local church members on Thursday afternoon opened two boxes placed in a church cornerstone 75 years ago, with hopes of learning a little of the church’s history.
Unfortunately, that history met resistance from mother nature.
The information contained in one of the boxes was damp and caked in mud, making most information illegible for members of the First United Methodist Church of Portales.
“It hurts, it’s very painful,” said Jane Hilliard, who has been attending the church since the early 1920s.
The group said there was a small leak in the box, which contained what looked to be an edition of the Christian Herald and possibly a local newspaper among other items.
The other box contained the names of members of Portales Masonic Lodge No. 26. Members of the lodge placed the boxes in the cornerstone they built on Sept. 12, 1929.
According to the Portales Lodge minutes, the cornerstone was to be removed and the time capsules opened on the church’s 75th anniversary.
Church members needed a saw and pliers to get both boxes open, as the boxes were sealed with lead. Church members said they will attempt to restore the damaged material, but weren’t too enthusiastic about the damages on Thursday.
Even so, the bad news did nothing to put a damper on any memories three longtime members have of their time there. Hilliard, Claudia Prince and Dorothy Sparks all shared joyous stories about the church and its family atmosphere.
Hilliard is one of the longest active members, and Sparks and Prince have been members since the ‘50s.
“It’s a matter of love, because I love the people in this church and the Methodist church,” Hilliard said. “I’m a great believer in its disciplines and beliefs and family traditions. These are wonderful people I have the privilege of being associated with. It fills my life and I’m thankful for that.”