214BaptistHistory
Baptist History

The modern Baptist movement was born in the 16th century and is now a worldwide denomination with millions of believers worshipping in Baptist congregations.
 
1612 
The first Baptist church met in Spitalfields, London. Thomas Helwys, a founder of the Baptist denomination, published A short declaration of the mystery of iniquity, one of the first books to call for religious liberty. In the 17th century Baptists refused to conform and be members of the Church of England, arguing that Christ, and not the King (or Queen) was head of the church and were persecuted for their beliefs.
 
1689 
Act of Toleration passed allowing freedom of worship.
 
1792 
Baptist Missionary Society founded by William Carey. It is now known as BMS World Mission.
 
1812 
A group meet in Dr Rippon's Vestry, London to discuss the forming of a Baptist Union.
 
1813 
The first Baptist Assembly held in London.
 
1832 
The formation of the Baptist Union was completed.
 
1837 
The Revd George Cousens was the first reported West Indian minister to hold a pastorate in Britain, becoming pastor of Four Ways Baptist Church in Cradley Heath, Staffordshire.
 
1854 
CH Spurgeon, one of the most famous Baptist preachers, began his ministry.
 
1855 
The Freeman, now The Baptist Times, first appeared.
 
1891 
General Baptists (who believed that when Christ died on the cross he died for everyone in general) and Particular Baptists (who believed that Christ died for the elect, ie a particular group of people) came together to form the present Baptist Union of Great Britain.
 
1905 
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) was formed and held its first Baptist World Congress in London.
 
1912 
The Sustentation Fund started. It is currently known as Home Mission.
 
1922 
Violet Hedger became the first woman to qualify as a probationer minister.
 
1955 
The BWA celebrated its fiftieth anniversary Congress in London.
 
1989 
The BUGB moves its offices to Didcot and commits to participation in national ecumenical life.
 
1998 
A Denominational Consultation in 1996 led to the BUGB adopting Five Core Values.
 
2001 
New regional association structure for BUGB inaugurated.
 
2005 
The Baptist World Centenary Congress celebrated in Birmingham, England. BUGB General Secretary, the Revd David Coffey, became President of the Baptist World Alliance.
 
2013
The Revd Lynn Green was voted in as the first woman General Secretary.

More information can be found about our Union’s history through the Baptist Historical Society and the archives held at the Angus Library.
 
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