IDLE: Idle Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The Church at Idle was formed on April 18th, 1808. Nine persons, including William Garnett, their minister, were on that day dismissed from Zion Church, Bramley, to establish the new cause. In the letter of transfer given by the Church at Bramley, the following passage occurs : "We consider your proceedings orderly and your request justifyable. We can therefore grant you an honourable dismition from our community that you may be formed into a Church, at Idle, of the same Faith and Order with ourselves. May the Great Head of the Church favour you with His reviving presence; may He grant you uninterrupted peace and prosperity." Not many great, or wise, or mighty, belonged to the infant community at Idle. Few could read, or write their own names, and their attestation to the covenant of the Church was, appropriately enough, by means of a cross; but the doctrine they believed in was "strong meat for men," and the obligations of the Church life were stringent.

No one was supposed to be absent from public worship "except for sickness, lameness, unseasonable weather, or old age." The observance of the Lord's Day was jealously guarded. "Sports or plays," unnecessary visits to friends, and harmful conversations were to be avoided. In this connection it is significant to read that Mr. Garnett himself, the first minister of the Church, was, years afterwards, excluded from fellowship for non-attendance at the means of grace. Although after two and a half years the membership of the Church was only about a dozen, the interest in the cause was such-that in 1810 a new chapel was erected. Mr. Garnett remained as minister of the Church till 1820, by which time the membership had arisen to about thirty. This seems a very small number for a chapel accommodating 400 persons, but it has to be remembered that in those days the door into the Church was narrower than it is to-day, and in all probability the adherents were several times as numerous as the members. For half a century the Church made quiet progress. During this period six ministers occupied the pastoral office, serving their generation and falling on sleep. The best work is often the quiet work.

" What shall I do lest life in silence pass ?

And if it do, and never prompt the bray of brass, Why shoulds't thou rue ?

The ocean deeps are mute, the shallows roar,

Worth is the ocean, fame is the bruit along the shore."

In 1868, the Rev. James Horn became the minister. During his pastorate the present commodious premises were erected at a cost of nearly £4,000. He was, in order, followed by Revs. Jonas Lee, T. E. Rawlings, and E. G. Hinton. The present minister is the Rev. T. Moss.

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