AGBC (S.E.) History
In November 1870, "a strong desire for closer union among Strict Baptist churches in London and its suburbs" led to the formation of the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches (M.A.S.B.C.) in
1871. Initially there were 23 churches. Today the Association, made up of 65 churches, is known as the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East).
From the beginning M.A.S.B.C. sought to preserve a careful balance between the independence of the local church and meaningful inter-church fellowship. The affairs of the Association were guided by a
Committee which met on the second Friday of each month.
Prayer was an outstanding feature of early association life. Before the end of the first year, the ministers had resolved that each associated pastor devote an half-hour (9.30 – 10pm) each Sunday evening to pray for God’s blessing upon the churches. Out of this grew the regular District Prayer Meetings.
A number of funds were created to promote the Christian Gospel and to assist Christians in need. All these reflected the true nature of sharing which gives Christian fellowship real meaning.
In 1889, the Sunday School Committee was formed. This was followed in 1904 by the ‘Home Mission’ which was established to strengthen the work of evangelism among the churches. In 1934 the M.A.S.B. C. launched ‘Fellowship of Youth’.
The complexities of holding chapel properties under Trust law and advising churches upon the many problems of church-life and maintenance led to the formation of the Association's Trustee Corporation
(Association of Strict Baptist Churches Limited) which undertakes trusteeship of chapel property throughout the country. Today this is known as Grace Baptist Charities Limited.
Mr. John Hazelton, presiding at the Annual Meeting in 1873, closed his address by naming four blessings greatly needed:
(i) An outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
(ii) A spirit of real brotherliness,
(iii) Each accepting a greater amount of labour
(iv) More personal communion with the Lord.
He added, “Our guiding motto shall be, That God may be glorified.”
May we know these blessings today!