Today we'll be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Penknap Providence Church with a special service at 4pm, preacher: Geoff Thomas. The other day Heather Skull of BBC Wiltshire called in at the Chapel to interview me for the occasion, see here.
Here's an excerpt from the 200th Anniversary booklet, describing how the Church was forged in the fires of contention and strife:
The Church was founded under the preaching of George Phillips. Mr Phillips, the son of a Devonshire farmer was converted under the preaching of Charles Wesley. Originally he was called to be the Pastor of Westbury Leigh Baptist Church, but resigned from his charge as some members of the congregation were suspicious of his Methodist background.
Phillips held a series of open air preaching meetings, beginning in April 1810 that led to the formation of the Church. By the October of that year, the Chapel had been built.
The Church was called 'Providence' because the open air services that led to the gathering of the Church were not once hindered by rain. 'Penknap' is the name of the field on which the Chapel was built.
The Penknap Providence Church was constituted as a Particular Baptist Church, holding to the Doctrines of Grace as set out in the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689.
The Lord greatly blessed the ministry of the founding Pastor of the Church. The work began with only 30 members, but during the 23 years of Phillips’ ministry it is recorded that 232 people were baptised and added to the Church. The preacher died on March 12th 1833, aged 82. A plaque was placed over the pulpit in his memory, paying tribute to his zealous and fruitful ministry.