History of Williamstown Baptist Church 1868 to 1968
Page 3: 1868 to 1869
The Church proper was constituted on October 11th 1868, with the Rev. David Rees officiating. Those present at this historical meeting were: Messrs Daniel Munday, Jacob King, Isaac Hopkins (first Treasurer and Deacon) Mesdames I. Munday, I. Hopkins, J. King, M. Taylor, James Hutchinson (age 27) (first secretary). Misses E. S. Greaves (age 17 years-Baptised 10th November, 1867) Alice Ruse, Ada Munday (age 14 years-Baptised 10th November. 1867). The first services were held in the Presbyterian school hall. The Collins Street Church, whose help had been sought, took a kindly interest in the work at Williamstown in arranging preachers for Sunday services: Mr. John Collins assisted the infant Church by frequently taking the Sunday preaching himself and in presiding at meetings of which first recorded attendance was 1st December, 1868.
James Hutchinson was elected the first secretary and Isaac Hopkins Treasurer.
The earliest preachers to this Baptist congregation were Rev. David Rees, who returned to visit England in March 1869, and Messrs D. C. Rees, John Turner, Charles Carter, W. H. S. Blake and Professor Kernot. At a meeting on 15th November 1868, Isaac Hopkins was elected the first delegate to the Baptist Association Eighth Annual Assembly Meetings to he held on 17th and 18th November, 1868.
Mr. Isaac Hopkins held various offices, and was one of the Church’s greatest helpers and supporters for many years.
After the initial period at the Mechanics’ Institute and at Isaac Hopkin’s and Emery Armstrong’s private residences, the Oddfellows’ Hall, property of Mr. Lovett, was rented at £17 per annum from December 1868 for services. The Presbyterian schoolroom in Cecil Street was later used, followed by the Temperance Hall from Friady, lst April, 1870. The Tabernacle, now the Church of Christ, Douglas Parade, was used after this. In January 1876 services were held in the Oddfellows’ Hall again and in 1884 the new Cecil Street Church building was officially opened.
For some years at the beginning the work,of the local Church experienced a very vibrant spirit which caused many ups and downs. History has demonstrated that the spirit had many more ups than downs and whilst much can be said about temporary troubles that existed in the early years they were only temporary and the congregation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, grew from strength to strength.
On the occasion of the 1st Anniversary in October 1869, the Reverends Poole, Lush and New preached and the Mechanics’ Institute was hired for a week night meeting tea.