First Presbyterian Church

“Quilted In Stone and Story”

Connersville 1980 VBS Quilt and a few of the G's, Y's and Z's.

Connersville 1980 VBS Quilt and a few of the G’s, Y’s, and Z’s!

Galatians 6:1-10

As we’ve seen over the last week, some history is balanced and beneficial…
Two hundred anniversaries don’t come around very often. I don’t believe any of you have enjoyed that milestone yet. That has exactly been the focus during these Bicentennial days celebrating the 200 anniversary of Connersville. John Conner was but a young man when he first set up a trading post around these parts. An Ohio boy, born in a Moravian settlement around Moravian missionaries, he was one of two of the 5 Conner children who made it to Indiana as fur trappers and traders. His younger brother William would settle around Indy and build the first brick house in the early 1800’s in what is now known as Conner Prairie. But John, stopped and stayed here, establishing a city on the river 3 years even before Indiana would file for statehood. He was only 38, married to an Native American woman from the Delaware tribe. When Connersville came into being. His wife would die leaving him with 2 sons although the first would die as an infant. John remarried the same year that Connersville was settled. 3 years later he would become the first State Senator to the first Indiana Congress and would serve for 6 years, then as the first sheriff of Fayette County during the middle of his term as Senator, followed by a year as a state Representative. While serving as Senator, John was elected to the commission that helped select Indianapolis as the site of the state Capital (in 1820.) John would move his family to Indy, and died a young man of 50 (only 13 years after founding Connersville and only 2 years after leaving the State Legislature as representative. He was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, but when erosion threatened to wash it totally away, remains of those buried there were moved to Crown Hill, but the body of John Conner was gone, a pioneer and a settler washed away by that erosion. History tells us that Conner had been buried with Masonic rites befitting the first man to establish a Masonic order in Indiana. John Conner’s body had washed away and the only known picture of him, made at his son’s house had burned in a fire but the contributions of John Conner would benefit 1000’s – even 200 years later as his town is heralded.
The first newspaper in Connersville was begun by Abraham Van Fleet, known as the Indiana Statesman, and started in 1824 followed 2 years later by the Fayette Observer. Van Fleet is also known as one of the 1st 3 elders of this church when …
*1st in 1824 – Cincinnati Presbytery sent Rev Daniel Hayden to preach, October 22, Saturday, with Van Fleet, Adam Smeltser, John Boyd elders.

Some history is balanced and beneficial but some history is just bad…
The Session notes from Feb 28, 1829 reads as follows, “Thomas Moffatt appears before the session of his own accord and made a confession of having been intoxicated about seven weeks previously. As this was not the first offense of the kind nor the first time of his having made an acknowledgement of it. The Session resolved that Moffatt be suspended from the communion of the church until after this time next communion and that he be required to appear before them at a future meeting of which he shall have due notice. Voted to give Mr Moffatt the result of Session deliberation on his case.
May 25, 1829 – Session met at Mr Samples. Present Rev Maynard, Moderator. Adam Smeltser and John boyd , elders. Constituted with prayer. Public fame having accused John Huston, a member of this church of intemperance, the Session cited him to appear before them. He came forewith. He frankly acknowledged the charge. The Session conversed with him at length on the great evils of this sin and of his peculiar liability to it’s communion. He appeared penitent and acknowledged it to be his duty to abstain entirely from the use of ardent spirits. Whereupon Session resolved to continue him in the communion of the church provided he make a public acknowledgement of his fault and promise reformation. Otherwise he shall be suspended from the communion of the church.
The case of Mr. Thomas Moffatt was taken up whereupon it was resolved the same be required of him as of Mr Huston otherwise his suspension is to continue.
Resolved also as a standing rule of this Session that any member of the church offending by intemperance and being convicted of the same shall be indefinitely suspended except they promise entire abstinence from ardent spirits except when ordered as a medicine and that by a temperate physician. June 20, 1829
At the time Thomas Moffatt and John Huston made a public confession of their sin of intemperance and promised total abstinence in future.
From August 15, 1829 – John Gamble – sin of intemperance – source of deep distress. Session solemly admonished it on him the duty of making a public confession. This he refused to do as in his opinion unreasonable. Session postponed the final decision of his case till another time.
Session was then called to take up the case of Thomas Moffatt against whom common fame again referred the charge of intemperance. Also charges were brought forward by on the elders of profane swearing and abusing the good name of one of the members of session. A citation was sent him to appear before session at the house of Dr. Haynes in Connersville and answer to the charges about named then and there to be brought against him. Closed with prayer.
August 30, 1829 – Received a communication from Mr Moffatt containing a refusal to obey the citation of session and wishing no longer to be a member of the church. Session appointed Rev Maynard and A Smeltser to visit Mr Moffatt and obtain all the information in relation to the charges against him and report thereon in two weeks. Session also cited Mr Moffatt to appear before them at that time. Mr. Gambles case was then taken up whereupon it was resolved that he be suspended from the communion of the church for the term of 6 months and that in the meantime members of session take all proper measures to bring him to repentance. The reasons of the above were that he treated session with contempt when before them. That he refused to refrain from the use of ardent spirits. That he refused to make a public confession, Agreed to meet again in two weeks. Concluded with prayer.
September 12, 1829 – Session then called for the report of the committee appointed to visit Mr Moffatt and make inquiries concerning reports of charges against him. Mr Moffatt was not present. Committee reported that Mr Moffatt acknowledged to them that he came to Connersville on the Sabbath on which there was no preaching to obtain a letter from the Post Office. That he went to a public house with a company of profane drunkards that he drank ardent spirits too freely and contrary to his promise to the church. That he drank spirits at the celebration of independence which circumstance he at first denied but when he found it could be proved he acknowledged then he drank freely in his harvest field. In relation to the charge of profane swearing, they reported that Mr. Moffatt at first denied it but when requested to accompany the committee to see the man who circulated the report, he said he did not remember swearing so he might have sworn. Was reluctant to see his accuser and when in his presence and the charge was affirmed against him, and the expressions were repeated which were too horrible to be written, Mr Moffatt still admitted that he might have uttered such words but did not remember uttering them and said if he did he must have been intoxicated and had been in his harvest field and had been drinking very freely. But one o fthe committee saw Mr Moffatt a few minutes after the time when it was said he uttered the profane expressions and did not discover that he was very much intoxicated = at least not so as to impair his memory nor did his accuser think he was much intoxicated. As to the charge of abusing the good name of a member of session, Mr Moffatt acknowledged that charge to the committee and said he was entirely inexcusable for it and was sorry for it. Whereupon as Mr. Moffatt had refused to obey the citations of session and the crimes of intemperance, profane swearing, Sabbath breaking and abusing the good name of a member of session were satisfactorily proven for which he gave no evidence of repentance, resolved that he be as he hereby is excommunicated from this church and that his sentence be read publicly with the reason thereof after sermon on the next Sabbath.

Skip forward 39 years to December 24, 1868 – The Session and, as far as it knows, the individual members of the church was not consulted in regard to the ringing of the bell and it was done without consent or authority.
The Session disapproves of the use of the church or any of it’s furniture for any demonstration of a political character, but believes that such proceedings tend to produce an unchristian feeling in the church and destroy the harmony necessary to it’s well=being and altogether improper and out of place. The Session regrets that such proceedings have taken place and that injury has been done to the feelings of any member. There is not to be any construction placed on this Deliverance of a political character or made to imply that the church will not publish the Truth again Throng from whatever source it may present itself, whether it be from individual or organizations. By order of the Session.
March 30, 1869 – Dr Garver offered the following resolution …
*Whereas There has been much occasion of disturbance in the church by some of the members engaging in dancing and revelry and
*Whereas such dissipation on the heart of the membership is a source of reproach to the cause of Christ and crucifies the Savior afresh and is moreover a stumbling block and rock of offense in the way of many who are weak. And
*Whereas such proceedings are contrary to the spirit and teachings of the Bible and are subversive to grow in grace and holiness in those who engage therein and are in direct conflict with true Christianity, therefore
*Resolved by the Session that henceforward any member engaging in such immoral practices shall be cited to appear before the Session of the church and dealt with in accordance with the laws of church discipline.

The Clerk was instructed to cite Dr. J Pepper to appear before the Session on Wednesday evening April 14 to answer to summons of charges of drunkenness and profanity. The Session met at the church and was opened with prayer. Present was moderator, Rev Shockley with elders Huston and Gilchrist. IN compliance with citation of Session appeared before them, Dr Pepper. And after conversation with and statements from him, the Session after cautioning him in regard to these matters deemed further action unnecessary and dismissed the case. Session adjourned with prayer. H M Shockly, Sometimes our history is just embarrassing when it has to do with the occasions we are caught in dealing with

As today’s scripture suggests, while history cannot in itself be remade, we as products of that history can certainly remake ourselves. Instead, too often we find ourselves victims of our history and still living it day after day. If we are not careful we can become,

Too often stuck in our history.
Too often we keep repeating our history
Or continue to live in our history because it was so terrible…

It becomes easy to keep asking ourselves and others…
Do you remember what they did?
Do you believe what they did!
How could they?
Do you remember how painful (how embarrassing) that was?

What if, instead of reliving our history, we moved toward using it as our teacher? Instead of wallowing in it’s pain, we actually chose to use it’s lessons and to learn from them? What if over the next couple of weeks, we watched our language to see how much of our history invades our current thoughts and conversations? Then decide instead to ask ourselves…
What did you learn?
What did you decide?
What will you do differently today and tomorrow?
How will you (and others) benefit from what happened to you?

…in 10 verses from Galatians 6:1-10, we find 7 directives (reminders) about the welfare of others.
…what is not there is a preoccupation on “do we look alike, dress alike, think alike, speak alike?” NO because unity does not mean conformity but diversity. (Jews, Gentiles, men, women, etc.)

…”if someone falls, restore him with gentleness…”
…”Look after your own affairs (not the affairs of others)…”
…”What you are planting is what you will be growing…”
*if you’re planting sorry stuff, sorry stuff will grow from your life
…”don’t get tired when you are doing well (Don’t give up when you are doing what you can and know you should.)”
…”do good to all…”

You are quilting a life that others will be able to view for a long, long time after you’re gone. Some of the things your life is putting into embroidery will vanish, others will still be there for all to see, while still more is carved in stone. Carve that which will last…that which matters, that which 200 years from now, there will be some who gather on a morning like this and say, “They did more than fuss about …

You do that by what you say, what you do and by how you act. Act Christlike. Like Christlike. Speak in a Christlike way for in doing so the story of your life in stone and story will be a hoot to tell and to read 200 years from now.