Signs of Their Times


I found my Greatgrandfather's grave (William McKinstry) in the churchyard at Big Spring Presbyterian Church in Newville, PA where my Greatgrandfather (James Alexander McKinstry) and Clara Alice Cratzer were married (some of the Cratzers are buried there, too).  The Newville area was settled mainly by Scots/Irish types and the Big Spring Church was organized in 1737.  The Seceder Presbyterians formed in opposition to the Church of Scotland telling local congregations who they could or couldn't hire as Pastors.  Seceders were forbidden by Anti-Seceders from taking communion- as was also the case with the Burger-Antiburger and New Light/Old Light divisions.  Seceder street in Newville is about half way between the two Presbyterian Churches in tiny Newville that were once separate factions but are now part of the same denomination (PCUSA). It was these divisions in the Presbyterian Church but also divisions in the larger Church that gave rise to the movement for wholeness and unity which became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  The vision of a reunited church with congregational polity where all Christians could worship in one community was carried westward with the migration of people like the McKinstrys and the Higbees (who founded our congregation).  WE are still a movement toward wholeness in a wold that is still fractured and broken.
In Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburg the Higbee family is remembered by a Street in their name.  Mr. Higbee was a Baptist (traveling the Baptist Church Road) when he encountered the preaching of Alexander Campbell.  Infected with Campbell's passion for unity, Mr. Higbee made a right turn off of Baptist Road (onto Higbee Drive) and migrated Westward to a farm Southest of Iowa City.  With their family and friends the Higbees founded the congregation that moved to a building on Iowa Avenue in Iowa City in 1863 and became Frist Christian Church of Iowa City, now located in Coralville.