How does one begin to reach an area with the gospel where there is no evangelical witness? A tiny answer to this question was recently provided in Bramhope, an affluent suburb of Leeds with no evangelical church. There is, however, the Puritan Chapel, built in 1649. It is Bramhope’s oldest building, well kept by the local council, but rarely used.
The church is both unusual and beautiful. Its central, two tiered pulpit has high box pews around it, meaning that several of the congregation would have to be seated with their backs to the preacher!
However, most of the locals have never actually been in the chapel, so to arrange an event there meant that it was a local history attraction, as well as having the appeal of a service held in a Puritan style.
A unique service was arranged for 17 April, in which David Earnshaw of Inskip Baptist Church spoke on ‘The God of the Puritans’. Each of the 1600 houses of Bramhope was visited with an invitation to the service. Seventy people came, and a fair number as a result of the visitation. Puritan hymns and prayers were part of the service.
David Earnshaw preached the gospel, first correcting various misconceptions about the Puritans, then saying that Puritans were people with a high view of: the Almighty; the Bible; Celebration; Declaration, and Eternity (the sermon is on the Inskip Baptist Church website). We pray that there will be lasting fruit through this unusual opportunity.