Local minister to hold book signing Sunday

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It all started with a visit to the ruins of a once-grand abbey in the green hills of Somerset, England in 1989.

“My wife and I were on a bus tour of South Devon and we visited Glastonbury where we heard the story of Joseph of Arimathea, who is said to be buried there along with King Arthur,” explains the Reverend Robert Cruikshank. Cruikshank, long-time associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Greenville, says he became captivated by the stories told about Joseph, the man who, along with Nicodemus, buried Jesus according to Jewish ritual.

“I found out he made numerous trips to England over the years, and used his wealth and influence to help establish the early church there. I was intrigued and began to do some research and put together facts and a lot of legends,” Cruikshank says.

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So began more than 15 years of exploration of myth, lore and established truth about the life of what he considers an extraordinary man who was a kinsman to Jesus’ family, a tireless friend of the early church and said to be the man who brought the Holy Grail to England.

A few years ago, Cruikshank finally sat down and penned a book that was the culmination of his labor of love.

“When I started writing, it just flowed out of me. I probably wrote it in about a week,” the minister says.

His friend and former Troy classmate, Dr. Jean Thompson, queried him last year about what had happened with the manuscript.

After reading it, Thompson urged Cruikshank to take things a step further.

“She said, ‘It’s a real page-turner. You need to get this published in book form,'” Cruikshank said.

Now, both “Joseph of Arimathea: The Man Who Buried Jesus” and “Words From the Mountain,” which focuses on the Ten Commandments and how to incorporate them into people’s daily lives, are in print and ready for a book signing scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, April 17 at First United Methodist Church.

Dr. Thompson will be hosting the event, with catering provided by Tom and Mary Lou Crenshaw.