History of Williamstown Baptist Church 1868 to 1968
Page 7: 1896 to 1902
6th MINISTRY—Rev. W. A. Whitney—8 years
During the fifteen months following Mr. Coombs’ resignation in January 1895, the Church was without a Pastor. A call was eventually sent to the Rev. W. A. Whitney of Castlemaine, who accepted in April, 1896, to commence a period of 8 years of service as Pastor until his death.
Secretary Sinclair writes of this period:
Mr. Whitney endeared himself to the whole community, he made the whole district his Parish and everybody knew and loved him.
He attracted large congregations and held them by his sympathetic ministry. It is recorded that “to get a seat one needed to be there by 6.40 p m.” His four sons were also a great help as workers in the Sunday School and C.E.
Mr. Herbert Whitney was an enthusiastic leader in junior Endeavour and gathered in large numbers of boys and girls by his attractive personality.
The Society had the honour of winning the Honour Banner for the largest society in the State.
On 29th October, 1898, during Mr. Whitney’s time a Building Committee was formed consisting of Sunday School and Church members for the purpose of building a Sunday School and, to make alterations to the Church building to allow for increased seating accommodation.
It wasn’t until 3rd and 4th June, 1906, that the new Sunday School was opened and the Church reopened after alterations.
It is recorded that by 19th September, 1900, 300 attended Sunday Services and 295 scholars the Sunday School : 70 under 6, 110 between 6 and 12 years and 115 -13 year s and over.
In the year 1902 at total of 45 persons were baptised making the total membership 222. Some of those in this year were:-
Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Bristow, Miss Spencer, Miss Barclay, Alice Barham, Mr. Capel, John Sullivan, Frank Hutchinson, Albert Hutchinson, Arthur Adams, Jas. Goulding, Wm. Thompson, Mrs. Martin Mrs. Bell, Maud Linton, Masie Sinclair, Mariion lames, May Stevens, Ernest Fuller, James Dowling, Leslie Thompson, Mr. F. Elsum, Mr. Laird, William MeClennan, Miss Edith Lawton, Miss E. Barham.
Mr. Whitney, was an Apostle of Peace and there was a splendid spirit of unity in the Church, the gospel had free course and many were added to the Church.
Mr. Whitney continued his ministry until a few weeks before his death, and the Rev. B. Hewison supplied the pulpit during the Pastor’s illness, and after his death accepted the call to the Pastorate.