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Bethel Chapel, Bluetown

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colin haggart:
Where is or was the  Chapel?

Sheerness Bethel Chapel

The History of the Sheerness Congregational Church ,founded in 1725 ,is told in a volume " Congregational Churches ,Sheerness ,Queenborough , Minster and Grain 1725- 1898 "  by John Gordon and in that book much space is given to the life and work of the first pastor ,the Reverend  William Shrubsole .


In Mr. A T Sears  Private  Book “James Prankard” ,   among the records of the Bethel Independent Church  19h February 1811 to 11th January 1838  Printed in 1962 is the following letter and poster ;-

To the United Brethren of the Lodge of Freemasons Mile Town Sheerness
We, the undersigned ,  feeling  compassion for the moral degradation of those children who without restraint are permitted to range the streets on a Sabbath day, and growing up into life without that Institution ,which will form them useful and important members of society; have earnestly wished to contribute our humble endeavours to remove this growing evil ,by our gratuitous labours of a Sabbath day in instructing such children as shall be put under our tuition
The nature of the education which we intend to give , is to teach them to read, and to catechise them in the common principles of Christianity ; without any reference to sect or society. The doctrines we intend to inculcate are those of the Established Church of England or those of the Shorter  Catechism of the Assembly of Divines which  is precisely one with the former.
Knowing, Gentlemen  your philanthrophy to all classes of the community whose religious objects are unison with your own ; otherwise we would not have presumed. We ask the liberty of your lodge as a place of Instruction ; and we pledge ourselves not to  permit the children to be without some of the teachers ;and we will take every precaution that nothing shall be injured ,leaving it as clean as we find it.
         We are Gentlemen.
            Your humble servants.

This application was favourably entertained and the gratuitous use of the room was granted.
Woolworths store now stands on the site of the freemasons lodge hall
The school had started on Sunday August 15th at the residence of Mr.Harding; and the Freemasons Lodge was used on Sunday 12th September.It is interesting to note that the poster advertising the Sunday School   was  dated only two days before the opening.

This poster advertising the Sunday

On Sunday next , the 12th instant,  a school will be opened at the above place, for the Instruction of children of both sexes, in the Rudiments of Christianity .Those parents whose desire it is ,to keep their children from  the Paths of the Destroyer ,and to train them up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord , are requested to bring them to the school on
Sunday Morning next at Nine  o’clock. Sheerness 10th September 1813
1817 it was in this year that the church members began to extend the work of preaching in the new area of Mile Town ;the  opening of the Sunday School there has already been recorded , and once again the Deacons hired the freemasons lodge.



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