Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My Ancestors

When we were in Ireland, we were able to go to county Laois (pronounced county leash) to the town of Stradbally where my grandfather was born and raised. His father (my great grandfather) was the rector of the parish there and was a chancellor of the church of Ireland. He pastored St. Patricks church in Stradbally. The church still stands today and the graves of my great grandparents and one of their daughters, who died as a child, are there in the Church cemetery. My husband found the number and called the current rector, the Reverend Cannon Nancy Gillespie. She was so kind as to come out and open the church for us. We went in and it is just as it was when my great grandfather, Robert Armstrong, pastored there. There are a few changes of course but the pew, altar, and podium are the very ones he used. It was so wonderful to be able to see where he ministered and touch the past as it were. This was a life long dream for my mother. I'm so glad we were able to go. Our family has a strong history of serving in the church. After my great grandfather, my grandfather became a missionary. They were unable to go though because my grandmother became pregnant and at that time (1920's) they wouldn't allow them to go because of it. However, they remained active in the church their whole lives. My mother then was a minister to the deaf until her marriage and has always been active in the church. As for us kids, one of my brothers serves as a deacon in his church and a Royal Ranger leader. Royal Rangers is like a Christian version of boy scouts. I also served as a children's pastor and tent maker in a home missions project in the New York metro area and my husband and I are active in the church today. We are not special. We are not perfect. In fact there is a lot of dysfunction in our family, but it goes to show that the Lord can use anyone in any circumstance if they are a willing vessel. I am honored to have the heritage of Godly service in my family. Those who have gone before us light our way reflecting the light of the Lord. OK so now on to the pictures.

The first one is St. Patrick's in Stradbally where my great grandfather pastored. The next is me and my mom on either side of my great grandparents grave. My great aunt Caroline's grave is on the other side of me. The third is my mother standing at her grandfather's pulpit, and the last is inside the sanctuary and it's mom and the current rector the Reverend Cannon Nancy Gillespie.

Although we no longer are affiliated with the Anglican church, the most important thing is to be part of the family of God. God doesn't care what denomination you attend so much as where your heart is and if you are following the Bible.



Rebecca, I can't emagine the feeling one must get from touching something in a place where one of my ancestors actually touched and was a part of. It must be thrilling to say the least. I am so glad you all had the opportunity to do just that. connie from Texas

Fran said...

Just wanted to say how proud I am of you, and how happy I am that you were able to help your mother fulfill a dream. Your sister, Fran