Thursday, February 26, 2009

1859: Bumper Confirmation

An interesting section of Ian Paisley's book on 'The "Fifty Nine" Revival' is the descriptions of events in the counties of Ulster, and especially the city of Belfast. Some of the churches affected during the revival have now disappeared, presumably through the development of the city's infrastructure. So, for example, Great George's Street Presbyterian Church is now long gone, without a trace. Similarly, there are frequent references to Trinity Episcopal Church - a Church of Ireland parish which has now disappeared. It was off Clifton Street, but the Parish church was destroyed in an air raid in 1941. (Holy Trinity, Ballysillan was its replacement).

The Rector, Theophilus Campbell, writes this about his Confirmation service of 1859:

Perhaps I ought to state that at our annual confirmation this year my numbers were one hundred and sixty-one, while the average of former years may be stated at twenty. All of these, with perhaps half-a-dozen exceptions, have come to the Lord's table. During the confirmation many of the candidates were deeply affected, and could scarcely restrain their feelings. Of these one hundred and sixty-one, only sixteen were 'stricken cases'.

161 confirmands in one service! Truly revival struck that parish. Oh that we would see such scenes again. Lord, revive us again.

1 comment :

  1. I am a descendant of James McQuilkin and our family knew almost nothing about him until I found Dr. Paisley's book years ago. McQuilkin went to Kenilworth, was a preacher in a Baptist church and died soon after (1862). Does anyone know anything more about him? I wonder if he had a falling out with the Church in Antrim or something.