Saturday, May 26, 2007

Baptist history ramble

Today we went on a Baptist local history ramble in Wiltshire. After a picnic at Upper Studley Baptist Chapel, we drove to Southwick Baptist Chapel for a talk by local historian, Andrew Jones. He introduced the history of Dissent in the county, pointing out that the area was known for Lollardy. The Lollards were inspired by the teaching of John Wycliffe "The Morning Star of the Reformation." It is not know how some Dissenters in the area became Baptists, but records of the Church in Southwick date back to the 1650's. The restoration of the monarchy in the 1660's meant persecution for Baptist Dissenters. The "Five Mile Act" forbade religious meeting within five miles of a town. As a result, Baptists met in Wych Pit Woods for worship. Back then, around 2000 people would meet in the woods at night to avoid detection.
We walked from Southwick, through country lanes and fields to Wych Pit for an open air meeting. Andrew Jones set the meeting in an historical context. We sang three hymns, I read from Acts 2:22-42 , David Auger, pastor of Southwick Baptist Church prayed and Ben Midgley preached the word of God.
All this was a reminder of how our Baptists forebears were willing to suffer for their convictions. That challenges us to stand for our beliefs today. Also, it was a reminder that the religious freedom that we enjoy today should be treasured and protected.
Wednesday's trailblazers
Southwick Baptist Chapel, from which over 20 other churches were planted


Andrew Jones, local Baptist historian & Ben Midgley, pastor of North Bradley Baptist Church

Southwick's old baptistry
Baptist ramblers
Congregation in the Wych Pit woods

9 comments:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Looks like fun.
You should be aware that I used your name in vain on Levellers today.

michael jensen said...

Whew: Wallabies got out of jail against Wales 2nd XV today. Augurs well for Wales World Cup hopes I'd say...

Exiled Preacher said...

MW-W,

Yes, it was a very enjoyable day out. I've left a comment on your blog re your "taking my name in vain".

MJ,

Looks like it was a close and exciting game. Let's see what happens next Sat.

Danny said...

Guy, I am envious! I have been immersed in Baptist history for weeks now, and would have really enjoyed...

BTW, I have finally added a link to you over at my blog, Apologies for the delay - I am without internet at present and remote blogging when I get a chance.

Grosey's Messages said...

fantastic.. wish i was there!

Reformed Renegade said...

That looks like it was a great time for all. I, too, am envious!

Exiled Preacher said...

Next time we have an event like this, I'll put a notice on the blog and you can all come!

Grosey's Messages said...

I have family rootsw in that part of the country that go back to the 11th century..

Anonymous said...

More on the importance of Baptist History

http://www.gracebaptistsidney.com/Religious%20Freedom%20Broadcast.htm