'A fascinating true story of struggle, hardship and the faithful determination of those past and present'
A new book chronicling the history of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Scarborough marks the church's 250th anniversary
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Baptist Church in Scarborough (1771-2021), the members of Ebenezer were, during 2020, busy planning in January 2021 a full year’s activity including an event each month to serve the town of Scarborough. Sadly, Covid-19 prevented the fellowship from physically gathering together.
Pastor Neil Douglas said, 'Although we are disappointed that we cannot meet in person to celebrate our 250th anniversary, we felt it important to care for our local community by not meeting during the national lockdown and plan to meet and celebrate properly when it is safe to do so in the coming months.'
Not daunted, an online celebratory service took place on Sunday 24 January, at which the Revd Mary Taylor spoke and the Revd Clive Burnard, a former Captain of Scarborough Rugby Union Club and now a Baptist Regional Minister, preached from 1 Samuel 7:12.
Alongside the online celebration, a book has been specially written for the anniversary. Titled Ebenezer, it spans 250 years of history from its founding in 1771 by William Hague to the present day. Penned locally by a church member, it is a fascinating true story of struggle, hardship and the faithful determination of those past and present who have trusted Jesus and continue to share with the community His ‘Good News’.
Meticulously researched, it explores an era when ‘Baptist’ or ‘Non-Conformist’ Christians met scorn as they desired to worship Jesus free from the restraints of the established church and Government. It also examines the worldwide impact of the Church and how its members took the good news of the Gospel from Scarborough to America, India, China and Africa.
Written to give God the Glory, the author, Sam Cowgill, said, ‘It is a book to inspire, encourage and draw readers into a world where Jesus is the centre of their lives.’
Sam explained the book was an opportunity to:
step into the era of John Wesley, James Cook and John Harrison and find out what it meant to be labelled a non-conformist/dissenter.
discover how the hard-working people of God used speech, pen and actions to gain social reform for those less favoured in society.
walk through 250 years of prayer, praise and worship of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Scarborough as its people continue to tell of the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ.'
The book highlights the story William Hague, the founder of Ebenezer Baptist Church: his humble beginnings, his longing to read and write, his imprisonment, and subsequent release and the founding of the Baptists in Scarborough, through to his last days. Several passages are in his own words as the church still has his own written record of his testimony, the beginning of the church and several of the poems he wrote.
The book also relates numerous lovable characters such as:
Captain James Hague (1767-1846), born in Scarborough and the son of William Hague, who commanded a ship in the East-Indian trade. When in Calcutta, India, he hired a house and put it at the services of the celebrated British missionary Dr William Carey, so he could meet Hindi merchants. Dr. William Carey was a Baptist minister, translator, social reformer, anthropologist and founder of the Serampore College and University, the first in India to award degrees. William Carey is known as the ‘father of modern missions’.
James Hague became interested in the English Baptist Mission at Serampore, Calcutta, administered by Drs. Carey, Marshman and Ward, known as the Serampore Trio. James spent part of his Sunday working there. When back home in New York, he spent many an evening telling the local Baptists the news from India in minute and lively statements that letters could not convey.
Described as a national leader, author, editor and historian, here are the last recorded words of Dr Benjamin Evans, Ebenezer’s fourth Pastor who passed away in 1871; just after the 100th anniversary of Ebenezer.
Beloved brethren - pastors may die - useful officers of the church will be called home.
Members may leave you, and others may make shipwrecks of faith; but never forget - the Great Master lives. His interest never weakens, His presence is never absent from your holy gatherings. He is the same yesterday today and forever. Seeing you have obtained help of God; you continue to this day.
Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not. Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Author Sam added, 'A book to inspire and encourage, it makes an ideal present for loved ones, a keep-sake for the children, a collector’s item or just to enjoy as a good read; whatever the reason, the 196 paged book is well worth the money at £7 per book or 4 for £20.'
Copies are available to order via Ebenezer Baptist Church Columbus Ravine, Scarborough YO12 7QZ.
An order form is on the church website: www.rockofhelp.org.uk/book