WHITBOURNE CHAPEL: Its life in the 21st Century and its hope for the future.
Whitbourne Chapel has been in existence for over two hundred years. We are an independent Baptist Chapel, which means that we stand for the historic mainstream Christian faith, that we manage our own affairs, that we are totally self-
Architecturally the Chapel is not graceful, but it is very interesting. It is possible to see the changes and extensions over the years from its beginning as a small country cottage to its present day function. If the Chapel is not beautiful, its location certainly is. The surrounding fields give a sense of peace, there is a distant view of Cley Hill and we are often visited by deer and pheasants. We have quite a large resident colony of pipistrelle bats. We may have a countrywide claim to being the place of worship nearest to giraffes, camels and other exotic fauna too!
In the early days of nonconformity, Christians of our persuasion were usually baptised in a local river. Modern Baptist Churches have an indoor baptistery like a miniature swimming pool. Whitbourne Chapel is a halfway house. We have a large, cement-
Of course, a church is a fellowship of Christian people not merely a collection of buildings. The little graveyard adjoining the Chapel bears witness to stalwart Christians who maintained the Faith in this area and who are now with God: Enos Mines, Aaron and Len White, Graham Sweet, the founder: Richard Parsons, and many more –
Looking through the records of the past centuries it is interesting to see how the same sorts of questions have been asked and answered in the same sorts of ways: How to reach people with the Gospel? How to heat the Chapel? Who should maintain the organ? Should it be moved downstairs? Should the times of the services be changed? There have been disagreements –
We survived the War, perhaps not surprisingly in this country area, although a 1940 note shows that there was great concern that the Chapel blackout was not effective. It seems harder to survive the Peace. Most people now fill their lives with everything except God. According to our Chapel records the last 50 years were marked by the coming of the power of electricity: 1950 –
“So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13. 13
And almost the last words in the New Testament: “Surely I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22. 20