I wrote to the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce (OC 5907) congratulating him on his appointment for a second time and in a second consecutive year. I teased slightly as I had written to him last year as well. I suspected that Rev. Henry Cooke, ‘The Black Man’ outside of the school in the centre of Belfast that we do not name, was the only other.
Rev. Bruce replied as follows and I thought the OC community would appreciate it:
Rev Henry Cooke did indeed serve two terms as Moderator and there have been a few others, but not recently. The last (interestingly) has a Campbell connection. He was Professor William Todd Martin who was Moderator in 1893 and 1894 and was one of the original Governors of Campbell College, later becoming Chairman. His two sons went to the school. Sidney Todd Martin (732) was killed in action at the Somme on 1st July, 1916. His younger brother Norman Todd Martin (1044) survived the war and became a school teacher. He in turn had three sons who all were at Campbell.
The sons I was able to find in the register, Patrick Martin (3669), Roland Martin 3670 and John Martin 4089. I see no ongoing connection with the College.
Rev Bruce undertakes a second year to tour and encourage congregations throughout Ireland, at a time of crisis. We wish him well, knowing that we face a moment in history, when the term ‘unprecedented’ has become passé, yet that is where we are. As a society we have created a financial debt that our grandchildren will be paying and the period of social change pressing upon us requires moral guidance and conscience. Society needs Old Campbellians such as the Rev Bruce.