301st Aniversery Logo

 

Timeline

1668

Welsh Baptists, seeking to avoid persecution, travel many miles (up to 40 miles on foot) to meet in a beautiful, remote valley in western Wales called Rhydwilym.

1701

The first chapel is built in Rhydwilym, Wales. It is still in existence.

 

Arriving in Tredyffrin Township, several Welsh Baptist families from Rhydwilym, Wales, begin to hold worship services in their homes.

1711

On April 22, the Baptist Church in the Great Valley is formed with the following sixteen charter members:

  • Rev. Hugh and Margaret David
  • Richard and Sarah Miles, and their daughters, Joan and Jane Miles
  • Margaret Phillip
  • James David
  • Alexander Owen
  • William Rees
  • Morris Edward
  • John and Margaret Evan
  • William David
  • Arthur Edward
  • William Thomas Hugh.

1722

A 28 foot square log Meeting House is erected on land that is now the northwest section of the cemetery.

1726

A few families withdraw over difference of proper Sabbath Day and establish the Seventh Day Baptist Church at French Creek, Pennsylvania.

1771

A Baptist Church at Chester Springs, Pennsylvania is established.

1776

The Rev. David Jones is granted a leave of absence to join the Continental Army and serve as Chaplain to General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

1777

During General Howe's march from Delaware to Philadelphia, British troops break into the Meeting House and Pastor's home stealing: "2 pewter dishes, 2 pewter pints, 1 diaper table cloth, 1 Bible of the British language, a change of raiment for the administration of Baptism; viz. 2 linen shirts, a pair of linen drawers; the lock of the chest the goods were in, the sexton's tools for burials; viz. 1 grubbing hoe, 1 spade."

1803

A Baptist Church in Lower Merion Township is established.

1805

Construction on the present Meeting House is started.

1810

The old log cabin Meeting House is dismantled and sold for $55.00. The logs are used to build a store in Devon (which is still standing as a house).

1816

A parsonage across the road from the Meeting House is erected. Though altered, it is still standing.

1821

Isaac and Rachel Cleaver leave to become medical missionaries to the Cherokee Indians in Tennessee.

1830

Baptist churches in Phoenixville (1830); Norristown (1832); West Chester and Malvern (1833); and Radnor (1841) are established.

1832

Begins the period of largest growth. Between 1832 and 1840, Rev. Leonard Fletcher baptizes 448 people and is one of the founders of the Wilberforce Society in Chester County.

1871

The Meeting House is renovated - steeple, choir loft, and present windows are added.

1886

A chapel is erected on Cassatt Avenue in Berwyn to take advantage of the population growth along the Pennsylvania Railroad.

1891

A portion of land, including the parsonage and farm, are sold to the Penna. R.R. for its "Trenton Cutoff."

1949

Beginning of program to make the Meeting House the center of activities. The Meeting House is renovated to include new lights and a central heating system.

1953

The chapel and parsonage in Berwyn are sold, and ground is broken for a new Church School building and parsonage on land to the north of the cemetery.

1954

Parsonage occupied January 1, 1954. The Church School building is dedicated on September 18, 1954.

1958

A new Möeller "Double-Artiste" pipe organ is installed in the Meeting House.

1959

Classrooms are added to the Church School building, doubling the size of the Church School facilities.

1960

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission designates the church as an historical site with a sign which reads: "The Baptist Church in the Great Valley - Organized in 1711 by Welsh families, it is the third oldest Baptist Church in the state and the mother of eight nearby congregations. The present building, the second, was erected in 1805."

1970

The Meeting House is renovated. A weathervane and bell are added to steeple. A balcony, choir dressing room and modern restrooms are added.

1996

A Cremains Garden is established in the far right corner of the cemetery.

2005

Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Meeting House. Read Reverend Namendorf's sermon, If These Walls Could Talk, (Read text here) given on that occasion.

2007

A Church Vision Committee is formed in May "to revitalize our efforts and reinvigorate the congregation."  Its report is adopted by the Congregation at the January 2008 Annual Meeting.

2010

The Congregation approves proposal to renovate and modernize the Scott Educational Building at a special Congregational meeting May 16, 2010.

2010

An Anniversary Celebration Committee is activated to plan community events to honor the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the Baptist Church in the Great Valley in April, 2011.