Stained glass window in the Sanctuary in the Lower Merion Baptist Church   Click here to see a full picture of the window


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Lower Merion Baptist Church
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania


by Gavin Morton Walker, D.D.


Meeting-House



 History
 Beginnings
 Creed
 Covenant
 Charles Thomson
 Horatio Gates Jones
 Gavin Morton Walker
 Meeting-House
 The Years Tell of Changes
 Rev. War Memorial
 Woodrow Wilson
Though few in numbers, under the energetic leadership of Pastor Jones the Church took up the task of getting a Meeting House, and their faith was rewarded. Merion Baptist Meeting House, built 1810 On May 6, 1809, a report was made that the subscription for a new Meeting House was amounted to $1800 (a large sum for a small rural congregation then), whereupon it was agreed that the house should be enclosed, etc., with said subscription. A lot of ground, of one acre, was presented to the Church for a Meeting House by Charles Thomson, Esq. The venerable Secretary of the Continental Congress was associated in this gift with his wife and their nephew and heir. Charles McClenachan. Having done their duty, the Church, on June 10, agreed "that Brother Jones should draw a letter to such Churches as he may think proper, requesting their pecuniary aid in erecting our Meeting House." On the fourth Lord's Day of April, 18108, our Meeting House was dedicated. William Staughton, D.D., Burgiss Allison, D.D., Rev. T. Fleeson, Rev. D. I. Swinney and Rev. David Jones, of Great Valley assisted in the exercises. The cornerstone of the Meeting House appropriately had been laid by Charles Thomson.

Our Meeting House was built on the same plan as that of the Lower Dublin Church. Miss A. E. Johnson gives an interesting description of the Meeting House, as in days of her childhood: "In the old times the Church fronted on the Gulph road. There were wooden steps up the bank, and there were two doors by which we entered directly into the Church. In winter there were green, baize-covered doors inside, three to each door. One opened down the aisle, the others into the pews of each side. In the middle, between two doors sat the choir of men and women singers, led my Mr. Joseph McClellen. His only musical instrument was a tuning fork, which he struck against something and got the right note to start the tune. The old pulpit opposite the entrance doors was high above the floor, with a flight of eight or more steps leading up to it on each side, with mahogany topped handrails. At the back of the pulpit was a dark brown background finished in mahogany; in front of it a haircloth sofa finished in mahogany. Two chairs to correspond were on the platform below, also the Communion table with dark marble top. Of course, there was also the reading desk with the large Bible. Beneath the pulpit was a small room with a wash-stand, pitcher and basin. The Communion service consisted of a large silver pitcher, two mugs with their stands, two plates and a bread basket, and these were kept in a small closet in the little room under the pulpit. The high-backed pews were of dark wood, topped with mahogany. They had doors, painted white on the outside, which fastened with buttons. There were two large square pews on each side of the pulpit which would seat 16 to 18 persons each. There were two rows of plain glass window. There were two big coal stoves, one on each side midway the length of the Church. They had long stove pipes to the end wall and each had two supports beneath them."

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