Monthly Archives: March 2021

My first shock came one year ago today

It’s not that I am slow, and I am aware that the news media celebrated the anniversary of the beginning of the Covid-19 in the United States one week ago today. I keep up with the news. I am sort of a news junkie. I think it is related to my years of travel. It was important that I know what was going on in the various places I wanted to visit.

March 18, 2020 I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist. The waiting time was always long there but I may have been in and out in two hours. When I visit that clinic I frequently stop by a Publix grocery on the corner of Hillsborough and Habana to pick up a few needed items. My regular store is nearer to my home, but I had to get back before our helper was scheduled to leave.

The cell signal was not very good in the eye clinic so I must have missed some significant morning news. First, I was surprised at the large crowd at the grocery. But my real shock came when I went to the bread aisle to pickup up a loaf of bread. You see only one loaf of something that I would not have been interested in unless I was very hungry. It was about 11 a.m. when i walked in the store.

Next, I went by the meat counters. The butchers were bringing out a small tray with perhaps six to twelve items on them from time to time. Shoppers were already waiting to take whatever was available.

Photo made March 18, 2020

Need I go on? The shelves for paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning products were already cleaned out. This past year has been quite a ride to someone shut in as a caregiver. I have someone who comes to help a few hours a week. This allowed me to keep those necessary appointments, shop for groceries, etc.

My patience with the young ones who complain about beach and bar closings is very limited.

Delighted to say that my wife and I are now weeks past our final vaccine injection. We feel good about that, but we still wear our masks for the benefit of other who may not yet be that fortunate.

St. Patrick’s Day. A Family and Religious Connection to Ireland

It has been my pleasure to lead a few tours to Ireland. I always felt a connection to the country because one fourth of my family history (maternal grandmother) is easily traced back to Ireland. And I sense a slight connection through the religious leaders Thomas and Alexander Campbell.

Thomas Campbell was born in County Down, Ireland, February 1, 1763, but he was educated at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He became a Presbyterian minister but gradually came to question allegiance to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Whether he said it in these exact words his writings agree with the phrase, “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” As a result of bad health Thomas came to American in 1807 ahead of the planned trip for his family. He settled and eventually died in Bethany, [West] Virginia in 1854.

At one point in his life Thomas Campbell settled at Rich Hill in [northern] Ireland and preached for a nearby Presbyterian church. In order to make ends meet he began an academy with the help of his son Alexander. Eva Jean Wrather, Alexander Campbell : adventurer in freedom : a literary biography, says,

Thomas decided to take up his old occupation of schoolmaster. This time, he would open his own academy. The prospect was especially inviting since Alexander, now age sixteen, was proficient enough in the ordinary branches of learning to act as his assistant.

Campbell lived in this multi-story house with fourteen windows on the square of Rich Hill that provided enough space for the family and the school.

Campbell Country Photos - House in Rich Hill, Ireland, where the

This house faced a much larger house on the opposite side of the square that was occupied by the family of William Richardson the Lord of Rich Hill Castle and high sheriff. Eventually Alexander was hired to serve as tutor to the Richardson daughters. The house now seems to be unoccupied and in need of repair.

Campbell Country Photos - Richardson Castle in Rich Hill, Irelan

Alexander was born in County Antrim, Ireland, about a mile from Shane’s Castle, September 12, 1788. He died at Bethany, West Virginia in 1866.

Thomas sent word for the family to join him in America. They sailed on the Hibernia through Lough Foyle from Londonderry, passing McGilligan’s Point, October 1, 1808. The ship encountered a storm and was shipwrecked on the island of Islay. From there they went into Glasgow, Scotland, and lived for nearly a year. Alexander used the opportunity to attend the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He was greatly influenced by James and Robert Haldane, of the Church of Scotland. They set up independent churches with elders over each church, and observed the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. Alexander soon cut his ties with the Presbyterians.

The Campbell family sailed from Scotland on August 3, 1809 and came to America after 57days of sailing. Alexander and Thomas had independently come to similar religious views. The Campbells organized the Brush Run church, near Washington, Pennsylvania., in 1811. After a year-long study Alexander Campbell was convinced that baptism was immersion. In 1812 he had a Baptist preacher to immerse him in Buffalo Creek. Soon other members of the family and of the Brush Run church were immersed.

Along with other leaders such as Barton W. Stone, Thomas and Alexander became leaders in a movement commonly called the Stone-Campbell Movement.

Some additional information about the Campbell stay in Rich Hill and their efforts to teach the Gospel is available at the Restoration Movement website here.

N.B. I have not forgotten the promised series on the Seven Churches of Revelation. Health concerns in my family have prevented me from completing these post.