On Saturday 2 June, Dr Lesley Rowe and Mrs Christine Meller each gave a historical talk at Barton in the Beans Baptist Chapel in Leicestershire.
The church history afternoon has been an annual event at Barton in the Beans since 2000, and each year the talks focus on different men and women from church history. As the chapel was an important centre for evangelism in the 18th century, it is an apt location for learning more about church history.
Dr Rowe’s informative lecture was about William Bradshaw, a 16th/17th century nonconformist preacher, who wrote and circulated biblical teachings and commentaries.
After almost drowning in a mill pond, Bradshaw understood the brevity of life and the power of God’s mercy. He received financial assistance from supporters of Puritanism to study and be trained for ministry.
Bradshaw was disliked by Lady Elizabeth Ferrars, a staunch Catholic, who proclaimed, ‘I hate him above any man in the world’. Yet even she was won over by his moral character and, though it is unknown whether she was converted, Lady Ferrars showed him kindness by building a house for him on land she owned.
Bradshaw refused to compromise on biblical truth, while being kind, gracious and peaceable — a lesson still important for Christians today to remember.
Mrs Meller then spoke on Kate Marsden and gave a descriptive and detailed account of her work. Kate Marsden was a Victorian nurse, who travelled across Russia and Siberia, meeting sufferers of leprosy and urging that they should receive proper care and treatment. Her vision was to see a hospital built to serve their needs.
Along the way, Marsden did other charitable acts, such as visiting prisons to distribute supplies and copies of the New Testament.
The talks were enjoyed by those who attended. The next church history afternoon at Barton in the Beans will be held on the first Saturday in June 2019.