"Where is this going?"
This question is usually asked of busses, trains, and relationships. But should we ask this question about the church? Obviously, we know the grand conclusion of ALL things is the return of Christ in glory to redeem his treasures -- which is a reference to the church -- his radiant bride! But the church sure seems to go through many valleys and mountain tops in anticipation of that Great Day. If history tells us anything, the church will still need to endure trying days, rejoice in grateful ways, and hold on to Christ in every way. Richland ARP has just such a history. The earliest accounts of "our founders" document families being forced from their country during the reign King James I, during the Revolution of 1688 in England. "These now Scots-Irish Presbyterians found it difficult to live with England."*
"Over 200,000 of them sailed to the colonies between 1718-1775. Entire congregations sailed and settled on the Appalachian frontier. These would later play a prominent part in the American Revolution.
One of these was Samuel McCalla (the father of Richland's Robert McCalla) who fought and was captured at the battle of Vinegar Hill in 1798… (He owed his life to a lady who pulled the epaulettes off his shoulders and the white cockade from his hat, not 5 minutes before his capture after a disastrous route. His captors provided a choice: serve his majesty for seven years, or be banished to slavery in exile. He chose the later, but escaped to Newberry, South Carolina. In avoiding arrest, Samuel was separated from his wife and his 2 year old son Robert from 1798 to 1818… In 1817, Mary McCalla sailed with Robert from Belfast, Ireland to Charleston, South Carolina. Reunited, and having served as an elder in the ARP Church at Cannon Creek, Samuel McCalla was buried in the church cemetery in 1824."*
"After the death of his mother, Robert McCalla moved to Georgia, and then to Lincoln County, TN, settling in the area of Prosperity ARP. He finally moved to the hamlet of Richland in Shelby County, TN.
The Presbyterian families of Richland began to worship in the home of Robert McCalla around 1854; then meeting in a school house at the center crossing of town. Initially led by ministers from the Salem ARP Church of south Tipton County, the Richland Church was organized by the Memphis ARP Presbytery on a portion of land donated by Robert McCalla in 1866. Robert (whose portrait adorns our main hallway) did not live long enough to see the church organized, dying and being buried in the Salem ARP Cemetery in 1861.
His descendants are numbered among the charter members of this country church, among which are direct descendants attending to this very day."* [*Excerpts taken from the paper, "125 Anniversary Celebration: The History of Richland -- Its People"]
Where is this going? History reveals national revolutions, family separations, transport over great distances, and humble beginnings… In the Bible, we read similar stories that teach us God often takes His people through related transitions in order to prepare them for what He has planned: A Great Day when all fighting will cease; a family that will inherit eternal blessings; a home that will be permanent; and a Day when our humility will be crowned!
Where is this all going?
In a way that God will reveal His glory to all of heaven and earth!
Let's keep going this way!
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