ARMLEY: Armley Baptist Church History up to 1912.
ARMLEY BAPTIST CHURCH
The story of the Armley Church is one that bids us never to despise "the day of small things." The Church was first organised on September 7th, 1848. In the previous year, the Leeds Baptist Village Mission had stationed Mr. Robert Hogg at Armley, as an evangelist, and he, after holding cottage meetings, rented the "Smithy Elm", a blacksmith's shop, which was furnished for worship. From the services at the smithy, ten converts were baptised, and in that humble home the Church had its birth. So poor was the cause that it waited for more than a year before it could carry out its resolution "that a tablecloth and cup be purchased for the Lord's Supper." The site of the smithy being required for railway purposes, the Church removed, in 1851, to a joiner's shop, and in the following year to a room in Station Road.
Mr. Hogg now resigned, carrying with him the affection of his little flock and the proceeds of a farewell tea-meeting which the Church presented to him as a parting gift. For several years the cause seems to have languished, but in 1856 five converts were baptised, and the pews—the total rents of which amounted to 3 10s. od. per annum—were repainted "green inside and buff outside" at a cost of thirty-six shillings. A resolution that "the appeal of the widows' and orphans' fund be squashed for the present" shews that the Church had but little to give when it had provided for its own needs, but its ambitions are evidenced by the fact that, when Mr. Spurgeon was preaching in Bradford, in 1859, Armley sent a deputation of two of her members "to try and get him to come to Armley."
In 1865, Mr. Henry Marles was recognised as pastor, but he resigned in 1868, to be followed by Rev. James Walker, who at once applied himself to the task of raising funds for a new building, which was opened on March 8th, 1871. After a brief pastorate by Mr. Rowson, the Rev. A. P. Foyers received the Church's invitation. He was minister at Armley from 1876 to 1883, the Church recording its testimony to his zealous and faithful service. He was succeeded by Rev. W. Sumner, in 1884, and on June 9th, 1891, their new chapel—Sion, Can Crofts—was opened for worship. Three years later the Church became self-supporting, and in 1898 celebrated its Jubilee by a month of special services. Mr. Sumner sustained his office for twenty-seven years, retiring in 1911, and leaving a Church which now numbers 234 in her membership.
from the "Present Churches" section of
The Baptists of Yorkshire
by Rev. J. Brown Morgan
and Rev. C.E. Shipley