Two centuries of Baptists in Guernsey
Thornhill Media, 192 pages, £13.00
Star rating: 3
The challenges of conducting church life within a small, tight-knit community may not be what most of us have to grapple with in our fluid society, but for a sizeable number of churches in the UK such puzzles still remain.
Two centuries of Baptists in Guernsey tells the story of one particular Christian community as it moved from its origins to the present day. Their development was not only a journey through time, but through language also. Until two generations ago, Guernsey (along with the other Channel Islands) used almost exclusively the French language and its local dialect, Patois.
From small and modest beginnings, Guernsey Baptist churches grew into a circuit of several distinct fellowships spread across this very small island.
Those who ministered amongst them were local laymen, untrained in theological institutions. Nevertheless, they were men of the Word whom God was pleased to use. It was not until halfway through their history that any ‘professional’ ministers began to find a place of service in their midst.
The ups and downs of these often-struggling congregations are carefully researched and recorded, including the multiple problems occasioned by five years of German occupation.
We are brought up to date with the current state of Guernsey’s Baptist churches, several having closed, while those that remain have become largely Charismatic in nature.
I found the book most interesting, partly because I grew up on Guernsey and have had links with some of those named in the closing chapters.
The book is a history which local believers as well as those who have a particular interest in Baptist history will enjoy reading. Apart from that select audience, it is unlikely to stir the appetites of many others.