Commemorative Church Plates on Display

May 5, 2005

This commemorative plate from Janet Sheets' collection is from the 1952 dedication of a new building for Turner Street Baptist Church. Dr. George W. Truett was pastor of this church from 1892 through 1895. (Photo by Mary Goolsby)

Commemorative church plates collected by Janet Sheets, reference librarian for the Central Libraries, are on display in the Allbritton Foyer of Moody Memorial Library. The exhibit will remain in the foyer until June 10.

The reference librarian was attracted to the plates because most of them tell a story about a local congregation both by the illustration on the front and the written history on the back. Sheets began her collection about 10 years ago after seeing a small display at a funeral home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She has obtained 152 plates through purchases at garage sales, flea markets and antique malls. A few of them are gifts from family members and friends such as one from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Most of the collectibles were produced to celebrate a church's anniversary or the dedication of a new building or sanctuary. Plates in the collection represent 33 states, the District of Columbia, and one foreign country - Canada. Fifty-one are from Texas. They are from 28 different denominations or faith traditions and include 54 from Methodist churches and 22 representing Baptist congregations.

In addition to searching for more plates from unrepresented states and foreign countries, Sheets always hopes to find different denominations and different styles. Approximately 120 items from the collection are in the exhibit.