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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Forgotten past of my town feat. Matthew Henry Update

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 Forgotten past of my town feat. Matthew Henry Update

What follows is an edited version of a previous post i posted some time ago that only few may remember. I've re-posted a shorter version just as a refresher before i post an update to how things have progressed here.

One day in 2003 i felt it impressed on my heart to do another study on the history of the town i live in.A previous study i had done laid a foundation for what was to come next. A couple my husband and i know attend a 'unitarian' church called 'Chowbent chapel' not far from here and knowing of my interest in local and church history they told me about the chapel building where they go which is badly in need of restoration. They kindly gave me a tour as they hold keys to the building and gave me a book on it's amazing history. The building was literaly built by the cogregation in 1723 when they were ejected from their old building. They built each brick with their own hands, both the men and women. As i read about the remarkable history of this cogregation i came across a name that had links to my own town so i looked into it....
Behind the houses on one of the estates, the first one i lived on, there is a field and as you walk across these fields there is a small graveyard but no building. No one i asked knew where it had come from or why it was there. Then as i looked up this familiar name, jackpot! By the graveyard there is a lane and up from the graveyard down this lane was a house. The owner was a Robert Mort and the house was called Wharton hall. Roberts friend James Wood was the minister of the old Chowbent chapel before the new one was built. Together they held the societies of both then villages during the troubled religious times of the period1660-1690. James Wood was amoung the 2,000 "silenced" in 1662. But he couldn't be kept from holding meetings & services in the homes of sympathisers, which was illegal! His good friends the Morts of Wharton hall threw open there home for religious services to the neighbouring villagers in spite of fines and threats! Eventually James Wood was caught and sent to prison.
At this point i was getting very excited.I had to stop for a moment in the research to contemplate on this. This all happened in the very place they burn out cars, race cross bikes, deal drugs the place i live and yes i do love. People are caught by police here in very different circumstances! It seemed to me to be two totally differrent worlds! Did all this really take place here? Wow.
It was this point in the research that i made an even more amazing discovery. While reading into the life of [u][b]Matthew Henry[/b][/u] i discovered he just so happened to be friends with Robert Mort and James Wood! If you read the life of Matthew Henry in the beggining of his commentry you will find that none of the names listed as his friends in one chapter is more expounded on than that of Robert Morts. It says he was "one that feared God above many, he was an illustrious example of humility, charity, and primitive christianity, and was universally loved and hounred; even the most profane of his neighbours were scarcely known to speak ill of him. He greatly honoured God and his posterity were blessed"
Wow! what a foundation had been laid. What happened? Matthew Henry preached here, and help set up the church here. they built the church up the lane from the hall and appropriatly called it Wharton. Thats were the graveyard came from!!! Wharton church was re built twice before it was relocated across the road due to mining subsidence and the hall has also been demolished. A school was also birthed from this wonderfull ministry and is now sited next to the new church. I am pleased to say my first child now attends this school. Everytime i look at his school jumper i am reminded of what our fathers did here generations ago.
It's sad to see how things have progressed but it has given me a fresh desire to pick up where they left off. How could such a thing be forgotten about. I have picked up the pieces and will try to put them together as this is'nt half the tale.
A seed has been planted; foundations have been laid in Little hulton and around 300 years on "the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose".

 2006/4/18 5:03

 Re: Forgotten past of my town feat. Matthew Henry Update

Since that was written i am amazed at how much God has done gradualy over the years. Not long after i first posted that i had found my pastor recieved a call from Wharton church. They told my pastor that they got the number after i had spoken to them (i was doing some research so got in touch with them). They were at the time (and still are at present) relying on lay preachers. They met with my pastors and asked them to preach at their church. They have since done this and we have been regularly interacting with them. There was then a meeting between Wharton church and another old methodist church, which my pastors were ask to attend, to decide their futures as much of the congregation are of the older generation and know that the future of each of the congregations are uncertain. I will post an update of this soon.
The school (Wharton) that my son attends were asking for a parent governer but no one came forward for the position. So my husband told me he thought i should go for it as i wanted to keep an eye on what goes on in the school and this would be the perfect opportunity. So i went for it and got the position! So i can now pray for particular issues that perhaps i wouldn't have known about before.
Then the council came together to form a residents group and were calling for residents to come forward to go onto the committee. This was an answer to prayer! With all the crime and violence it would be good for residents to come together and do something. At the same time members from the church can get involved and pray. A committee is in the process of being put together of which im joining.
I believe that God really is at work in this place. Theres a long way to go because i don't think many in the church have caught the vision, yet God has brought in new labourors who have, Praise God!
I have photo's id love to include and i will dig out some other interesting info on this little piece of history.

 2006/4/18 11:36

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA


Hi Geraldine,

I do recall this quite well. Thanks for the update. Looking forward to hearing more.

Mike Balog

 2006/4/18 15:34Profile

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