Sunday, September 20, 2009
A BIT OF HISTORY AND A VERY UNBAPTISTY COVENANT
"The First Baptist Church of Friendship, Allegany County, New York had its inception in the early missionary meetings held in various parts of the town beginning about the year 1813. One of the many devoted workers in the new region was Rev. Jesse Braman, a Baptist, through whose earnest efforts a church organization was perfected on the 10th of July, 1822. The original members were Mr. Bramen and his wife, and the pioneers James Reed, Moses B. Sherwin, Jonathan Savage and Harry Hayden. The first baptisms were those of Mrs. Polly Baxter and Nancy McQueen. This being the first regularly organized church of the town, it received a deed of a hundred acre tract of land from the Holland Land Company. The land was sold for the benefit of the society and the avails used in the purchase of a parsonage lot. The first church edifice was erected in 1825, and although twice substantially remodeled in later years, it was sufficient for the purposes of the society for more than half a century. In 1890 it was replaced with the present church house, one of the largest and most complete church structures in the county. Indeed, this is the strongest and most religious society in the in the county. The present members number 258. In the past four new church organizations have been formed from the society."
I found this bit of history, written by Vivian Karen Bush, on the New York Genweb page while I was scouting around to learn more about my Phineas & George Stevens families who were very early arrivals into Allegany County. What I found remarkable was the Church Covenants. Having spent many years in a Baptist Church, I would have expected an entirely different focus for such a statement. However, I found these to be not only interesting but timely and really good for the "here and now."
We promise to take heed to ourselves, to refrain from unbeliefs, pride, fleshly lust, covetousness, foolish jesting, evil speaking, anger, revenge, fretfulness, intemperance, tavern haunting and slothfulness.
We promise to keep a faithful watch over each other, to provoke one another to love and good works, to be care of each other's persons, characters, and estates; to be just in all our dealings; and to do good to all men.
I think if all of us incorporated both paragraphs into our lives, our whole society might get itself back on track, turning from the meanness that seems to be running rampant and back to good will and kindness.