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Baptist World Alliance

Heritage & Identity Commission

From     Honolulu  2010        to          Durban  2015

’The grace of goodness’

John Saunders:

Baptist pastor and activist, Sydney


by Ken Manley and Barbara Coe

397 pages

Rev John Saunders (1806–59) was the pioneer Baptist pastor in Sydney from 1834 to 1848. As well as establishing the first Baptist Church at Bathurst Street in 1836 he became a leading figure in the religious and moral life of the colony. A prominent activist in the temperance movement at a time when alcohol was still a major scourge, he was also a courageous and outspoken critic of the treatment of Aborigines by many British settlers at the fevered time of the trial of white men for the Myall Creek murders.

The special feature of this book is that it not only tells the full story of Saunders’ numerous activities on behalf of missions, philanthropic, scientific and moral issues, but for the first time publishes a comprehensive and carefully edited collection of his fascinating letters, written whilst he was travelling as chaplain to female convicts aboard the George Hibbert and after his arrival in Sydney. Other lectures and sermons, including his famous denunciation of the treatment of Aborigines, are included. Saunders also contributed to contemporary debates about crucial topics such as general education for children and the transportation of convicts. Whenever possible, the authors have allowed Saunders to speak for himself on the key issues that helped shape the colony during the crucial years of his ministry. The detailed notes about all who feature in his letters and papers are of special value.

During Saunders’ 13 years in Sydney, he came to love his new home. Following his death in London in 1859, his headstone revealed that he had become ‘one whose energies were devoted to the best interests of that bright land’.

Ken Manley and Barbara Coe have brought together original documents, commentary and research to produce not only a Baptist history, but a history of Sydney during these significant years.

This is a wonderful piece of writing incorporating biography, marvellous descriptions of colonial Sydney and exhaustive historical research into how Rev John Saunders tackled the burning issues of the early settlement in Australia’ (Rev Tim Costello, AM).

Published by Baptist Historical Society of NSW.

Price: (approx) AUS $35 +pp

Order on line: www.baptisthistory.org.au/shop


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International Conference on Baptist Studies VII

Luther King House, Manchester, England

15-18 July 2015

Following six successful International Conferences on Baptist Studies around the world beginning at Oxford in 1997, there is to be a seventh at Luther King House, Manchester, England, the home of the Northern Baptist Learning Community, from Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 July 2015.  All of these conferences have taken the history of the Baptists throughout the world as their subject matter, and participation has been open to all, both as speakers and attenders.  The theme this time is ‘Baptists and Revival’, a topic which includes traditional revivals, modern crusades and the more general reinvigoration of Baptist life.  The theme will be explored by means of case studies, some of which will be very specific in time and place while others will cover long periods and more than one country. All will be based on original research.

A number of main papers will address key aspects of the subject, but offers of short papers to last no more than 25 minutes in delivery are very much welcome as well.  They should relate in some way to the theme of ‘Baptists and Revival’.  The proposed title should be submitted to Professor D. W. Bebbington, School of History and Politics, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, United Kingdom (e-mail: d.w.bebbington@stir.ac.uk).  Papers from the first conference have appeared as The Gospel in the World: International Baptist Studies, edited by David Bebbington, and volumes representing nearly all the subsequent conferences have also been published in the series of Studies in Baptist History and Thought published by Paternoster Press.  We intend that a volume containing some of the papers will again appear after the seventh conference.

Luther King House is generously providing meals, accommodation and facilities for the three days for the remarkably low figure of £200.   The capacity of the House is limited to 59 and so early booking is advisable. Nevertheless additional attenders will be welcome if they are willing to make their own bed and breakfast arrangements and pay £80 for lunch, dinner, refreshments and facilities at Luther King House. Registration forms are available here and from Beverley Bartram, Conference Office, Luther King House, Brighton Grove, Manchester M14 5JP, United Kingdom (e-mail: LKHConferenceOffice@lkh.co.uk; tel: +44 (0)161 249 2539).  Further information is available from Nathan Finn, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina (e-mail: nfinn@sebts.edu).

Click here to download Registration Form