Birth of the Strict Baptist Mission in London
"The independent work in India of the "Strict Baptist Mission" was born in the vestry of the central London Baptist Church at Keppel Street near Covent Garden in 1861 and in the following year it was shaped in to a nationwide mission. An Anglo-India, Henry Fenwick was appointed the first missionary and he commenced his work at Tulleygaum, a populous village between Bombay and Poona. Just prior to this British soldier, Mr.A Wilson, had formed a Baptist Church in Chintadripet in Madras and an Anglo-Indian Brother, Mr.H.F.Doll, a civil servant was sent out by his church in Poonamallee, and other workers were entrusted with extending the ministry. None of these early workers was a missionary sent from England but all the work was done by residents working in their own areas though supported from the United Kingdom financially. The work expanded in to the Thirunelvey District and into Ceylon as well as expanding throughout the Madras area. Samuel Hutchinson and Ernest Alfred Booth were the first missionaries to be sent from the British churches to join the indigenous work of South India and they sailed in February 1895. Since the time a succession of workers from the home churches have joined hands to strengthen the work." (The Baptist, Dr. Jack Hoad)
Strict Baptist Missionaries who have served in Chennai
Mr.Ernest Alfred Booth 1895 – 1927.
He arrived in India on March 16th 1895, studied Tamil in Kovilpatti until February 1897 and then began to work in villages around Madras. He returned to England in October 1898 was married in July 1899 and sailed for India again in October together with his gifted and devoted wife. He was instrumental in forming the first Tamil Baptist Church in Madras in 1900 and the opening of a number of day-schools where Scripture was regularly taught. After 32 years of fruitful service in India, he returned to England and continued to work for the Master in the S.B.M. as Editor of the Herald and Deputation Secretary from 1828 – 1936. After a long illness he heard the call to higher service on November 27th 1939.
Mrs. Winifred Booth 1899 – 1927
"A Bible woman, a Missionary, a bag of books and a concertina" were the humble instruments God used in 1900 to start work among women in the village of Ayanapuram. As the work grew a second and a third Bible women were added to the staff, and visits were paid to caste women in the city of Madras. During her furlough in 1906 Mrs.Booth was used in the formation of the Ladies Zenna Auxiliary of the Mission and after her return to India did much to increase interest in the women's side of the work. After retirement she served as President of the LZA for number of Years.
Mrs. Olive Morling came to India in 1908 as the first Ladies Zennana Missionary. Having had a period of medical training she was a great help to Mrs. Booth in the early day's of the work among women and children in Madras. In December 1911, she had the sole charge of the Bible women's work in and around the city, and by means of the dispensary which she had built on the KilpaukCompound, she ministered to the medical needs of thousands of people and preached Christ to them in a practical way during her time in Madras. After her marriage to Mr.DavidMorlingin July 1921, she was a great help to her husband in the extension of the work in the Namakkal area. After her husband's death in 1942 she resumed her service as an L.Z.A Missionary, helping in the training of Bible Women and lecturing to students in the Bible Institute till ill health compelled here to leave India in 1951 after 43 years of service on the foreign field.
Mr.Lincoln Watts arrived in India on December 16th, 1914 and owing to the illness of Mr.Booth found himself in charge of the Madras Field before the end of his first year. He later moved up country to Sendamangalam and the Kolli Hills. Before the end of his time with S.B.M. he was in charge of work in Kovilpatti. He was as good friend to many Indian young men and did much to build up the churches in the Madras area and develop their work along indigenous lines. Wider interest s in the work of the Lord in India led him to take over the post of Administrative Secretary to the India Sunday School Union in 1938. He later became General Secretary to the Evangelical Fellowship of India. He was called Home suddenly while on his way to conduct a service on Sunday September 25th 1960.
Mrs. Ethel Wattsbegan her Indian career in Sendamangalam in 1914. She had to return to England for health reasons in 1916. After a period of war nursing she returned to India and was married to Mr.Watts in Madras in 1919. She started a sewing class in Madras which was a great help to many girls at a difficult stage in their lives. She shared in her husband's labours until ill health necessitated a return to the Homeland.
Mr.David Thrower arrived in India on December 31st, 1921. He spend 22 years of his missionary service in Madras and also rendered useful service on the Kolli Hills, in Namakall and Sendamangalam and Paniadiapatti in south. Being a fluent speaker in Tamil he was often asked to take part in Conventions, Harvest meetings and similar gatherings. Many of his Tamil sermons have been printed. His magnum opus was the compilation of Tamil Concordance of the whole Bible, the first of its kind in any Indian Language. He had as an assisted in this great undertaking by an Indian Brother Mr.L.D.Benjamin. It has more than 170,000 reference and was a laborious and painstaking work.
Mrs.Martena Thrower arrived in India on December 11th 1925 and was married on December 22nd, 1925. She shared in the labours of her husband in all spheres. She did much to strengthen the spirit of service amoung Christian women in the Madras Churches. She also helped in literature production and distribution in Paniadipatti and in Kotagiri. Mr. and Mrs. Thrower retired in Kotagiri from where they served the churches for another 15 to 20 years. In December of 1977 a thief entered their house during the night and beat them quite badly that they needed hospitalization. The testimony of Mr.thrower still speaks to people today – " I forgive him". Mrs. Thrower was called to Glory in 1980 and he in 1985. They are both buried in Kotagiri.
Mr.Wilfred Kuhrtarrived at Kovilpatti at the end of 1934. His first term in India lasted over ten years because of the second world war. He spent eighteen months in Chennai and the remainder of the time was spent in the Tinevely Field. In addition to normal field activities preaching, camping and church work, he also assisted Mr.Morling in the work of the first Bile Institute (1937-39). His marriage to Doris Goddard at Paniadipatti on December 8th 1937 was probably the first European wedding in that village. After furlough in 1945 he had charge of the work in Namakkal and Sendamangalam and also helped to steer the work on the Kolli Hills during a very difficult transition period. In March 1948 the Bible Institute was reopened, this time at Paniadipatti with Mr.Kuhrt as Principal. After furlough in 1951 Mr.Kuhrt was posted to Madras where he began to implement the new policy of devolution the handing over of responsibility for schools and churches to Indian brethren and after the Billy Graham Crusade in Madras (January 1956) of which he was chairman, he moved to Kovilpatti and reorganized the work there. By the end of March 1957 he was quite ready for another furlough. On return in 1958 he lived in Paniadipatti until their departure for Malaya in 1959. He and Mrs.Kuhrtreturned to England for health reasons and Mr.Kuhrt came to India for a short time before leaving for furlough in early 1963. They returned to India in 1964 and lived in Sendamangalam until 1968 when they moved to Salem, having handed over the Mission Property to Indian brethren who formed the Trust. Mr.Kuhrtvisited churches in all areas. He conducted Pastor's Conferences until 1974. Mr.Kuhrt had health problems which necessitated their return to England in 1975. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kuhrt have been called to Glory.
Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Orchard Mr.Orchard first sailed for India in 1936. He spent his first year of Tamil study in Kovilpatti with Mr. and Mrs. Wattsand then moved on to Namakkal. In March 1940 he was transferred to Madras where young peoples Meeting, church services open-air preaching and school visitation filled his time. In 1943 he went on furlough and during that time married. The couplereturned to India in 1944. Periods of service in all the fields were followed by furlough in 1949 after which Mr.Ochard took charge of the work on the Kolli Hills and endeavoured to reorganize it on indigenous lines. After 1955 Mr. and Mrs. Orchard became the pioneer missionaries among the Tamils in Malaysia. They retired in 1959. Mr.Orchard was Deputation Secretary for the Mission until 1966 when he took up a pastorate at Hartlepoole. His home call came in 1987. Mrs. Orchard has been called to Glory
Miss Olive Knight arrived in India on January 8th 1949 and spent her first two years in Sendamangalam. In January 1951 she took over the work in Namakkal visiting with the Bible women and conducting evangelistic camps. She relieved folk for furloughs until 1958 when she entered the realm of Radio Evangelism in Kovilpatti learning to record Gospel programmes for Manilla and carried on this work while Mr.Appleby was on furlough. It was her taskto wind up the book shop in Dindigul before moving to Belukurichi in 1975 to share with Miss Conacher in Medical and Evenangelistic work until their furlough in 1977. After returning from furlough in 1978 they moved to Madras to be in fellowship with the Kilpauk Church. Miss Knight answered Radio Listeners letters and also supervised the translation and printing and dispatching of preachers Study Papers. She retired in 1987. She had a ministry among Tamils for several years after her retirement and also ministered in women's meetings from time to time. The Lord has called her to higher service
Mr. and Mrs. John Appleby Mr.Appleby was a pastor in England before coming to India in 1952. His first three years were spent in Madras learning Tamil, preparing illustrations and drawings for S.B.M. Publications, and helping in evangelistic work. At the same time he worked with and supported Mr.Kuhrt in the final phase of devolution in the Madras area. His wife Eileen came out in 1955 and they were the first couple to be married in the new Kilpauk Chapel. He was the last to leave the Madras field dealing with the problems of indigenization of the Tamil Baptist Churches. Problems of a similar nature awaited him in the Tiruneveli Field in 1957. By the middle of 1958 Mr.Appleby was set free for a new venture in S.B.M. witness – Radio Evangelism. He built a new recording studio in Kovilpatti and began supplying programmes for the Far East Broadcasting Company's station in Manila. After leaving the Old Mission areas a new studio was built in Dindigul and Radio Programmes continued to be prepared. It was while Mr. and Mrs. Appleby were on furlough in 1971 that God closed the door to their return to India. Together with their church they caught a new vision – preparation of a reformed radio and literature material for outreach in overseas mission. Material was prepared for Preachers Study papers in the form of commentaries and also Bible Correspondence courses in the form of subjects. These were sent to the missionaries in Madras where they were translated and sent to those who had a responsibility for ministry in the churches, but were unable to have any formal Bible College training.
Missionaries sent from Kilpauk Tamil Baptist Church
PASTOR D.EMMANUEL RAJ Emmanuel Raj, the second son of Pastor Devenesam was the first person to be sent by the church as a missionary to North India. He went to Dehradoon in 1960 and he served along with missionary Bettigg (Canada) and Doctor Laymann (UK) reached out to Tribles of Himalayas. He and his wife Mrs.Beula Raj and daughter Mr.Helena continue the work at there.
Mr.SriderStephen Born in an Othodox Hindu Family the son of a Hindu priest. God called Mr.Stider Stephen to ministry through his word Matthew 28:19, 20. He obeyed the call and in 1990 joined in Indian Evangelical Mission. IEM sent him the first field in Chinnoor field in Andrah Pradesh to wrok among Nethkanni tribe for about 10 years and now he is in working in the field of Andaman Islands.
Mr.R.SunderRaj He was born and brought up from Hindu Family and came to know Jesus when he was in the Christian Hostel. In 1988 he attended a Missionary Youth Camp at Khandhikuppam conducted by IEM. He had the opportunity to visit a mission field at this time he sought the lord as his will and God spoke to him through Romans 10:14, 15 and he joined Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM) as missionary. He and his wife Mrs.HelenSundar served amount the Kukna Tribe in Tangs district of Gujarat. Now they are stationed at Chennai working to build a Church Relationship ministry.
Mr.Bernard&Mrs.Indhra Mrs.Indhra born blind in Hindu Family at Vanniyambadi. While she was studying Karnatic music Chennai Tamilnadu Government music college she came to the saving knowledge of Christ. She got married to Mr.Bernard of Mumbai and they founded VVC along with well-wishers. Missionary to Vision for Visually Challanged – Mumbai.