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Who Do We Think We Are? NewRoad Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service 2012 Who Do We Think We Are? New Road Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service.

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Presentation on theme: "Who Do We Think We Are? NewRoad Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service 2012 Who Do We Think We Are? New Road Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 Who Do We Think We Are? NewRoad Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service 2012 Who Do We Think We Are? New Road Baptist Church, Oxford Anniversary Service 2012

2 Wheeler Robinson Hymn 2

3 Hymn #717 ‘O Thou Whose Love Has Brought Us Here’ This hymn was written by Henry Wheeler Robinson, a distinguished Old Testament scholar who was Principal of Regent’s Park College from 1920-1942. Wheeler Robinson believed that Oxford was a more congenial setting than London for a college. This belief, coupled with the lure of the advantages of the tutorial system and the fact that the Baptist Church remained the only Free Church denomination without a college in one of the ancient universities, led Wheeler Robinson to decide to relocate the college to Oxford. Wheeler Robinson was not generally known as a hymn writer, but this was hymn was found in leaflet form among his papers having been used at a New Year service at his church in Coventry. 3

4 A 17 th Century Reflection 4

5 A 17 th Century Reflection King James II is on the throne, but his short reign was a troubled one from the outset. James’s desire to promote his Catholicism was deeply resented by the population at large. In Oxford James had antagonized the University by effectively taking over Magdalen College and attempting to turn it into a Catholic seminary. Things were tense in Oxford. 5

6 6 Richard Tidmarsh’s letter of 20 December 1687

7 A 17 th Century Reflection On this day Richard Tidmarsh, the pastor of the Baptist church in Oxford for over 30 years, wrote a letter to the leaders of Broadmead Baptist church in Bristol. In it he revealed that he was considering a move away from Oxford. Several reasons were given for such a move: A business arrangement with his son in Oxford had gone sour and he was in financial difficulties, he felt that he was getting older and finding himself less able than previously to handle the burdens of his church ministry, which included three demanding sermons per week (lines 27- 30). Perhaps most importantly, he says that he was being pressured to take on some civic responsibilities in Oxford which he felt would hurt him rather than help him in his ministry (30-33). Tidmarsh had a long history of controversial engagement with Oxford politics, which all came to a head when he became a political pawn in James II’s struggle to maintain political control. Thus, Tidmarsh’s reading of the situation at the time of his writing this letter was insightful and a crucial step was taken exactly one month later. 7

8 8 The Election in the Oxford Guildhall

9 A 17 th Century Reflection On 20 January 1688 the king removed a number of Oxford City Councilmen from office and replaced them in a rigged election with what he felt were more acceptable candidates, namely dissenters (including Tidmarsh) who represented a challenge to the Anglican establishment which was so opposed to James II’s Catholicism. Thus Tidmarsh was caught up in the power politics of the day, which probably marred the final phase of his ministry in Oxford. By 1691 he had moved to Tiverton in Devon and was pastor of the Baptist church there. 9

10 John Bunyan Hymn 10

11 Hymn #561 ‘Who Would True Valour See’ This hymn was written by the famous writer John Bunyan, perhaps best known for his classic Pilgrim’s Progress (1658). He was for many years the pastor of an Independent-Baptist church in Bedford. He was in favour of congregational hymn singing in the days when it was still unusual and unpopular. There was a split in Bunyan’s own church over the issue which was not settled until after his death in 1688. It was agreed as a compromise to introduce a hymn on the understanding that those conscientiously opposed could remain silent or wait in the vestibule until the singing was finished. 11

12 An 18 th Century Reflection 12

13 An 18 th Century Reflection The Date: Thursday, 16 November 1780 On this day the Reverend Daniel Turner of Abingdon preached a sermon in Oxford at a service designed to celebrate the re-establishment of a Protestant Dissenting congregation in the city. Turner published this pamphlet entitled Charity The Bond of Perfection in December of 1780 to commemorate the occasion and explain the reason why it was so significant. The Baptist cause in Oxford had fallen on hard times in the mid 1700s, and there had not been regular services for a number of years. In fact, the beleaguered remnant had not been able to share a Communion Service together sine 1764. Numbers dwindled and finances were at rock bottom. However by 1780 a resurgence of interest took place among a small mixed group, some with Baptist views and some with Presbyterian views. A number of local ministers, including Turner, were called to gather in Oxford to formalize the re-establishment of a church in Oxford. It was a bold, visionary step to take. 13

14 14 Church Covenant of 1780

15 An 18 th Century Reflection At the end of Turner’s published pamphlet was a copy of the Church covenant agreed by the members of the Oxford congregation. This was the original covenant, and it has become our custom as a church since then to read this covenant as part of our church anniversary services. This is a solemn reminder of that common bond of charity and mutual support and understanding which brought our forebears in the faith together all those years ago. So hear once again these words. Be challenged and humbled by them. And exult in the sheer audacity they express, a confidence in the God who loves us and brings us together as his people. 15

16 Anne Steele Hymn 16

17 Hymn #423 ‘The Savior Calls’ The hymn is written by one of the most important and influential Baptist Hymn writers of all times, Anne Steele (1717-1778). She was born in Broughton in Hants, where she also died and is buried. Unfortunately, no painting or picture of her has survived, but we see here a photograph of her grave. Most of her poems and hymns were published in a large 3-volume work, published, as it happens, in 1780 – the very same year that our Church Covenant was agreed. 17

18 A 19 th Century Reflection 18

19 A 19 th Century Reflection The Date: 1 April 1840 The nation was deeply divided over the question of slavery, and Christians agonized over what their response should be to calls for abolition. In the devastating slave rebellion in Jamaica in 1831-32 tempers flared as fortunes were lost and hundreds of sugar plantations burned to the ground. Britain’s most productive West Indies colony lay in ruins. One of the Baptist Missionary society missionaries to Jamaica returned to England and worked tirelessly for the abolitionist cause, travelling up and down the country and speaking in churches, halls and at public meetings. 19

20 20 Church Minutes of 1 April 1840

21 A 19 th Century Reflection The pastor of New Road Baptist church at this time was Benjamin Godwin, and he also was an outspoken critic of slavery, and delivered an influential paper which proclaimed the essential sinfulness of slavery and its direct opposition to the precepts and spirit of Christianity. On 1 April 1840 the members of New Road held a church meeting at which it was agreed that ‘Mr Godwin and Mr Bartlett be appointed as delegates to represent this church and congregation at the approaching Anti-Slavery Convention’. 21

22 22 Anti-Slavery Meeting of 1840

23 A 19 th Century Reflection This is a famous painting of that Anti-Slavery Convention painted by Benjamin Robert Haydon in 1841. It hangs in the National Portrait gallery in London. In it we see the delegates meeting in Exeter Hall in the Strand; there were officially 409 delegates to the Convention which began on 12 June and lasted for nine days. They are being addressed by Thomas Clarkson, the well-known associate of William Wilberforce. Benjamin Goodwin is depicted just below Clarkson’s raised arm. 23

24 24 Benjamin Godwin at the Anti-Slavery Meeting of 1840

25 A 19 th Century Reflection Godwin also published about 40 books and pamphlets including his Lectures on Slavery, which is still in print today. 25

26 26 George F Handel Edmund Budry

27 Hymn #164 ‘Thine Be The Glory’ The words to this hymn were originally in French and were written by the Rev. Edmond Budry, a Swiss Reformed pastor, in 1884. They were translated into English by Richard Birch Hoyle in 1923. Hoyle was a student at Regent’s Park College and had several pastorates concluding with a ministry at Kingston-upon-Thames. Toward the end of his life he became deaf, which greatly hindered his pastoral ministry. He died in 1939. The music for the hymn is well known, and was first set to the song "See the conquering Hero comes" from Georg Friedrich Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabaeus (1746). 27

28 A 20 th Century Reflection 28

29 A 20 th Century Reflection The Date: 7 August 1940 Europe is once again plunged into war and Britain is forced to face the onslaught of a sustained bombing campaign by the German Luftwaffe. Over the summer German planes concentrate on RAF bases and other military targets such as radar towers, but everyone knows that soon the London blitz will start in earnest. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance, and everyone struggles to find what their role is to be. 29

30 30 Church Minutes of 7 August 1940

31 A 20 th Century Reflection On Wednesday 7 August 1940 a church meeting was held at which 50 members were present; the pastor Harry White presided over the meeting. Reverend White then expressed the sympathy of the church at the son of Mr Drew who was in the RAF and had been reported missing in action. The church meeting was then rocked to hear their pastor confirm what for many was the news they feared most. Pastor White gave a full statement oh his calling up as Chaplain to the RAF intimating that he would be leaving Oxford on August 15, just eight days time. He stated his definite desire to keep in touch with the church during his absence and to come backing due course. It was proposed at the meeting that the church release him for the duration of the war to enable himto take up this chaplaincy. This proposal was carried unanimously. In the end Harry White was stationed in Canada with the RAF. 31

32 32 Air Raid procedures are discussed by the Deacons (2 October 1940)

33 A 20 th Century Reflection Meanwhile the London blitz began in earnest on 7 September and carried on for months. Although Oxford was relatively safe, being further away from German air bases on the continent, the threat from air raids was still a real one. On 2 October 1940 the deacons met to discuss the procedures to be adopted in case of an air raid during a church service. It was agreed that in the event of an air raid warning being sounded during any service or meeting held on the premises then the officiating minister or anyone in charge of the meeting will close as soon as possible and the congregation or other gathering will leave the premises & take cover in the Public Shelters in the vicinity which are provided for their protection. The nearest shelters are situated just opposite the front gates of the chapel & next door to the Schoolroom entrance in New Inn Hall Street. 33

34 Ernest Payne Hymn 34

35 Hymn #362 ‘Our Father God Thy Name We Praise’ This hymn is from an old Anabaptist collection known as the Ausbund, which was the First Free Church Hymnal. The hymnal had as its core some fifty hymns which were used by a group of imprisoned Anabaptists in the sixteenth century. It was translated by Ernest Payne, who was a member of New Road Baptist church until his death in 1980. Ernie Payne was a senior statesman in the Baptist world, serving as General Secretary of the Baptist Union from 1951-67. He was also a active within the Baptist Missionary Society, and was a tutor at Regent’s Park College from 1940-1951. 35

36 A 21 st Century Reflection 36

37 A 21st Century Reflection The Date: 15 June 2008 In March of 2003 hostilities again broke out in the Middle East as a UN coalition force invaded Iraq and sought to bring peace to the troubled region by means of military force. A number of concerned people found themselves objecting to this military venture and formed a pressure group one of whose aims was to erect a public Peace Plaque in the centre of Oxford. The message of the proposed Plaque is shaped through Quaker eyes and experience, whose witness to peace empowers much of the anti-war movement in Britain. The site chosen for the plaque is in Bonn Square, the busiest part of the city, where hundreds wait for an board buses every day. It is also a place where peace vigils have been regularly held over the year. The permission of Oxford City Council was sought and they agreed to the proposal. 37

38 Hymn 38

39 A 21st Century Reflection On 15 June 2008 the Church meeting also gave its approval for the Peace Plaque to be set in the wall on their property adjacent to the church building. It reads: ‘PEACE. [ in English, Arabic, Hebrew and Sanskrit] TO HONOUR THOSE WHO SEEK ANOTHER PATH IN PLACE OF VIOLENCE AND WAR’. 39

40 Hymn 40

41 A 21st Century Reflection The Peace Plaque was unveiled by Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent on UN Peace Day, 21 September 2010. David Partridge, an inter- faith worker in Oxford and retired priest, said the plaque had been a long time in the planning. Mr Partridge said: “The idea started back in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, when lots of people around Oxford in small groups protested against the war. “We wanted to commemorate that and show people there is another way.” Mr Partridge hoped the plaque would stay there to promote peace for a long time. He said: “It is amazing and I can’t believe it actually happened – it needs to weather quite a bit but I hope people will be reading the message in years to come.” The Peace Plaque is a visual symbol, and potent reminder, of our commitment at New Road Baptist Church to proclaim Peace to the city of Oxford. 41

42 Debbie Rooke Hymn 42

43 Debbie Rooke’s Hymn ‘On This Day of Celebration’ Our concluding hymn was written by our very own Church Secretary Debbie Rooke. The hymn was part of the celebrations which took place as the church celebrated its 350th Anniversary in 2003, the very same time that proposals were made for the Peace Plaque. The celebrations included an exhibition at the Museum of Oxford under the title ‘Dissenting Voices: The Story of Baptists in Oxford 1653-2003’. 43

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