Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Morning

I stopped to photograph this church for one of my regular Sunday Morning posts. Then I saw this historical marker in front of the church and suddenly the church demanded more than that.
The marker ties this church to the Second Great Awakening in North America, an event taking place when this part of Kentucky was the frontier of the United States, and an event that gave rise to a number of modern protestant church denominations, including this one's.

The Second Great Awakening began on the frontier around 1800, but reached its zenith the following year when some 20,000 people were drawn to a camp meeting at Cane Ridge, near present day Paris, KY. These camp meetings lasted over several days and featured near continuous preaching by multiple preachers representing many denominations, but dominated by Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. The services became very charismatic, with participants being overtaken by the Holy Spirit, shaking, writhing, falling down in a faint, and speaking in unknown tongues. It was these mass revivals that attracted the attention of Shaker leadership at New Lebanon, New York, resulting in the dispatch of three missionaries to the west and the ultimate founding of Shaker Communities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

Two of the more important preachers attracted to the revivals were Barton W. Stone, a "New Light" Presbyterian, and Alexander Campbell, who together led what has become known as the Restoration Movement, seeking "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament." From this movement emerged the modern denominations of the Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and several independent churches known variously as Christian Churches or Churches of Christ.

 It's interesting that this church began in 1783 as a Baptist church, but changed its affiliation as a result of the influence of Campbell and Stone. Just imagine the even greater shift in theology required of the converts to the Shaker church, including adopting celibacy and communal ownership of all property. The Second Great Awakening surely was a profound experience for all who attended. I'm almost sorry I missed it. Almost ...


  1. Well, Church of Christ and Shakers are no where near the same are they? I've been thinking of Shakers as more akin to Quakers but honestly don't really think about their religion but rather their furniture and music. As far as the Church of Christ goes, I think of them more as just regular old fundamentalists.

  2. Isn't it strange how so many people can read the same Book and make such different choices based upon the text; most of 'em thinking that they're right and everyone else has got it all wrong?

  3. Interesting post! Glad you read the marker.

  4. Beautiful picture and what an interesting post. I've read a bit about the Great Awakening -- kind of amazing.

  5. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my post about this church. Hadn't really considered any Shaker connection, but it is certainly one worth exploring. It doesn't really relate to this church or the Disciples of Christ, but I can see Shaker leadership recognizing possible converts in the region leading toward Pleasant Hill.