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MUP Catalogs

Baptists in Early North America–First Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Volume VII

Edited by: Deborah Bingham Van Broekhoven
Product Code: HH1004
ISBN: 9780881467864
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Minutes from the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia show the congregation was from the beginning the mother church for Baptists in the American colonies and early republic. Baptist members of the Pennepack Church had begun meeting in the center city in 1688. They hosted the organizing meeting of the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1707 and organized formally in 1746. This volume includes minutes from 1757 through 1806, when William Staughton became pastor. Earlier the Philadelphia Baptists and their pastor, Morgan Edwards, had led the campaign to fund the Rhode Island College (Brown University), an institution Baptists hoped would increase their supply of educated clergy. African Americans and women appear in the minutes, the women as benefactors and petitioners for voting rights and as candidates for baptism. African Americans, like other members, applied for membership by relating a work of grace in their life or by bringing a letter from another congregation, most in Maryland and Virginia. The minutes show constant care for the Baptist burial ground and pew rentals, the examination of candidates for baptism, and struggles to pay the pastor. The minutes also detail how the church disciplined members, including their former pastor, Morgan Edwards, and how they assisted poor members and congregations as distant as First African in Savannah, Georgia. Struggling through the years of war with the British, theological controversy and conflict with a universalist pastor, and repeated yellow fever epidemics, the congregation in 1806 remained the most influential church among American Baptists.
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