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Help and advice for BRADFORD: Bradford Sion Baptist Church History up to 1912.

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BRADFORD: Bradford Sion Baptist Church History up to 1912.

Bradford Sion Baptist Church History up to 1912.


The Church now worshiping in the Sion Jubilee Memorial Chapel, Harris Street, claims to be the first Sion. off-shoot of the mother Church in Westgate. It was formed on the 27th October, 1824, and carried on the work of God in the original Sion Chapel, which stood for over half a century at the foot of Bridge Street, the site being now occupied by the L. & Y. Railway Company's Goods Station. At the opening services of the chapel, the renowned Robert Hall was one of the preachers. The first membership consisted of twenty-three persons dismissed from Westgate, with the addition of Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Benjamin Godwin and Mrs. Godwin, dismissed from the Church at Great Missenden, Bucks. Mr. Godwin, who had been engaged as Classical Tutor at Horton College (now Rawdon), became its first pastor.

In twenty years the Church grew to a membership of 271, and in 1871 the names on the roll numbered 737. The pastors of the Church during its sojourn in Bridge Street were, Dr. Godwin (1824-37); Rev. Thomas Steadman, son of Dr. Steadman (1837-39, when Mr. Steadman emigrated to the United States); Rev. Thomas Dallinger (1840-48); and Rev. J. P. Chown, a succession of distinguished and devoted men. In 1871, while Mr. Chown was still minister, the present sanctuary was erected at a cost of £19,000. In connection with the opening services Rev. C. H. Spurgeon preached in St. George's Hall, and as the entire cost of the new premises, both chapel and school, had been already defrayed, the collections on the day, amounting to 250, were divided between the Stockwell Orphanage and the Bradford Fever Hospital. During the Pastorate of J. P. Chown, the New Year Services at St. George's Hall, on behalf of the local charities, were inaugurated.

Year after year the spacious building was crowded to listen to the Pastor of Sion's plain, homely, but always manly talk, and large sums were collected for the Hospitals. The services are still carried on. For several years the Bishop of Ripon, Dr. Boyd Carpenter, conducted them, but latterly different speakers have been invited each year, Revs. H. M. Neild, (Wesleyan Mission), Father Bernard Vaughan and Bishop Welldon being among the more recent speakers. In 1875, after a pastorate of twenty-seven years, Mr. Chown, whose name had in the mean-time become a household word in Bradford and who was loved by all who knew him, removed to London. He was succeeded in turn by Revs. J. W. Ashworth, C. A. Davis, J. Gelson Gregson, G. C. Williams, C. W. Minifie, and W. Hogan. The last named has recently removed to Wellington, Somerset. During Mr. Hogan's pastorate, a secession which took place years before was happily regathered into the flock at Sion. The present membership is 542.

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