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Help and advice for MIDDLESBROUGH: Middlesbrough Baptist Church History up to 1912.

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MIDDLESBROUGH: Middlesbrough Baptist Church History up to 1912.

MIDDLESBROUGH:
Middlesbrough Baptist Church History up to 1912.

MIDDLESBROUGH BAPTIST CHURCH

Of the several Baptist Churches in Middlesbrough, only that at Linthorpe Road is federated with the Yorkshire Association. The first Baptist effort was made in 1849, when meetings were held in the house of Mr. Ainsworth. A Church was formed in 1857, by Rev. W. Leng, of Stockton, and consisted of nine persons who were transferred from Churches in other towns. Mr. Ainsworth served gratuitously and faithfully in the office of pastor for a number of years, being greatly honoured and beloved. The work, though beset by many difficulties, was continued with signs of the Divine favour until 1862, when there arose a dispute which resulted in the separation of eleven members, who formed the Church now worshipping in Newport Road. In 1862, the twelve members who remained ventured to take a room at the Oddfellows' Hall for Sunday services. They applied as a Church for admission to the Yorkshire Association, and were cordially received in 1865, their number then being twenty.

In 1869, the Church removed to the disused Welsh chapel in Stockton Street. Here they remained for three years, during which time land was secured in Boundary Road, and a building erected at a cost of about £500. In this forward movement practical sympathy was received from the Association and the Loan Fund. The advancing years of Mr. Ainsworth, and the growing requirements of the work, now compelled the people to consider the question of a pastor who could wholly devote himself to the service of the Church. With the help of the County Home Mission, the Rev. G. W. Wilkinson became minister in 1875. He remained about three years, during which time the membership rose to fifty. The Rev. R. H. Roberts followed in 1880, remaining five years and enjoying the love and confidence of the people.

Meanwhile the town was rapidly extending in the direction of Linthorpe, and the people were leaving the neighbourhood around the chapel. With commendable foresight a plot of ground was purchased in the new thoroughfare. By the help of many friends a commodious school-chapel, with classrooms, was erected, and opened in 1888. The total cost was 2,700. At that time the membership was thirty-seven, and there remained a debt on the new buildings which for years threatened almost to overwhelm the Church. In 1889, the Rev. T. Armstrong became pastor, and laboured with great devotion. The debt was reduced and the prospect greatly improving when a lengthened industrial trouble had disastrous effects on the town. In common with other Christian communities the Church was greatly distressed.

In 1894, the present pastor, Rev. R. Ensoll, began his ministry, the debt being then £600 and the membership forty-seven. The membership has risen to seventy-four, the debt has been cancelled, a gallery added at a cost of £350, lecture rooms erected, and all these liabilities have been discharged. The Church which was in receipt of an annual grant from the Association—generously made and long continued—is now self-supporting. The spirit of the people is one of prayerfulness and expectancy, and it may be said that the outlook of the Church is more hopeful than at any previous period.


Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2014
from the "Present Churches" section of
The Baptists of Yorkshire
by Rev. J. Brown Morgan
and Rev. C.E. Shipley