The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion is a small society of evangelical churches, founded in 1783 by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, as a result of the Evangelical Revival. For many years it was strongly associated with the Calvinist Methodist movement of George Whitefield.
The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion was founded in 1783 by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, as a result of the Evangelical Revival. It seceded from the Church of England, founded its own training establishment – Trevecca College – and built up a network of chapels across England in the late 18th century.
In 1785 John Marrant (1755–1791), an African American from New York and the South who settled in London after the American Revolutionary War, became ordained as a minister with the Connexion. He was supported in travel to Nova Scotia as a missionary to minister to the Black Loyalists who had been resettled there by the Crown. Many of the members of the congregation which he organized in Birchtown, Nova Scotia later chose to emigrate and resettle in Sierra Leone, the new British colony in West Africa. What was called a Province of Freedom was founded in 1792.Additional Connexion churches were founded in Sierra Leone (see below).
The Connexion had earlier efforts at congregation building in Canada. In the 1850s, the entrepreneur Thomas Molson built a church for the Connexion group near his brewery in Montreal. It was poorly attended as the city's population was predominantly Catholic. The building was adapted for use as a military barracks.
The Connexion gave strong support to the Calvinistic Methodist movement in Wales in the 18th and early 19th centuries, including the foundation of a theological college at Trefeca in 1760.
Today the Connexion has 22 congregations in England and "more than 30" in Sierra Leone.A UK-registered charity provides financial help with ministers' wages and training and for Connexion schools and teaching salaries in the latter country.
Of the UK churches, seven normally have full-time pastors: Eastbourne, Ely, Goring, Rosedale, St. Ives, Turners Hill and Ebley. Total regular attendance at all churches is approximately 1,000 adults and children.
|Bells Yew Green Chapel||Bells Yew Green, Kent|
|Bolney Village Chapel||Bolney, West Sussex||Simon Allaby|
|Broad Oak Chapel||Broad Oak, Kent||1867|
|Copthorne Chapel||Copthorne, West Sussex||1822|
|Cradley Chapel||Cradley, Herefordshire||1823||Ken Hart|
|South Street Free Church||Eastbourne, East Sussex||1897||David Batchelor|
|Ebley Chapel||Ebley, Stroud, Gloucestershire|
|Countess Free Church, Ely||Ely, Cambridgeshire||1785||Karl Relton|
|New Connexions Free Church, Ely||Ely, Cambridgeshire||Keith Waters|
|Goring Free Church||Goring-on-Thames, Berkshire||1788||Nigel Gordon-Potts|
|Hailsham Gospel Mission||Hailsham East Sussex|
|St Stephen's Church, Middleton||Middleton, Greater Manchester|
|Mortimer West End Chapel||Mortimer West End, Hampshire|
|Rosedale Community Church||Cheshunt, Hertfordshire||Bethany Green|
|Sheppey Evangelical Church||Leysdown-on-Sea, Kent||Joe Gregory|
|Shoreham Free Church||Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex|
|Slough Community Church||Slough, Berkshire|
|Zion Community Church St Ives||St Ives, Cornwall||Tim Dennick|
|Turners Hill Free Church||Turners Hill, West Sussex||Geoff Chapman|
|Ote Hall Chapel||Wivelsfield, East Sussex|
|Woodmancote Evangelical Free Church||Woodmancote, Gloucestershire||Andrew Hiscock|
|Wormley Free Church||Wormley, Hertfordshire||1834||Ben Quant|
Connexion churches were formerly active in:
Trefeca, located between Talgarth and Llangorse Lake in what is now south Powys in Wales, was the birthplace and home of the 18th-century Methodist leader Howell Harris. It was also the site of two Calvinistic Methodist colleges at different times; the first sponsored by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon in the late eighteenth century; the second supported by the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Connexion in the later nineteenth century.
Connexionalism, also spelled connectionalism, is the theological understanding and foundation of Methodist ecclesiastical polity, as practised in the Methodist Church in Britain, Methodist Church in Ireland, United Methodist Church, Free Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Bible Methodist Connection of Churches, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, and many of the countries where Methodism was established by missionaries sent out from these churches. The United Methodist Church defines connection as the principle that "all leaders and congregations are connected in a network of loyalties and commitments that support, yet supersede, local concerns." Accordingly, the primary decision-making bodies in Methodism are conferences, which serve to gather together representatives of various levels of church hierarchy.
Thomas Canry Caulker (1846–1859), (Sherbro) was born into a prominent African family, and his father ruled as King of Bompey, an African polity established in 1820 in what is now Sierra Leone. Caulker is among an early generation of West Africans sent to England for their education. His father wanted him prepared for demands for government and commerce in his homeland, before the Sierra Leone Protectorate was established by Great Britain. His father's ambition for him was influenced by the evangelical Christianity in the region, introduced largely by British abolitionists.
Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon was an English religious leader who played a prominent part in the religious revival of the 18th century and the Methodist movement in England and Wales. She founded an evangelical branch in England and Sierra Leone, known as the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion.
Lewes Free Presbyterian Church, based in the Jireh Chapel, is one of seven Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster places of worship in England. The Jireh Chapel is a former Calvinistic Independent chapel in the Cliffe area of Lewes, the county town of East Sussex and the main town in the local government district of Lewes. It is more than 200 years old and has been designated a Grade I Listed building.
The Tyldesley Top Chapel is a chapel in Tyldesley. It is a Grade II Listed building.
West Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church in East Grinstead, a town in the district of Mid Sussex, one of seven local government districts in the English county of West Sussex. Founded in 1810 as a chapel linked to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, it was the first Nonconformist place of worship in East Grinstead; the town's subsequent development made it a local centre of both Protestant Nonconformity and alternative religions. The red-brick building is still used by a Baptist community, and is protected as a Grade II listed building.
The Countess Free Church is a church based in the centre of Ely, Cambridgeshire, and holding events across the city. The church meets on a Sunday morning at 10.30am as well as activities and groups for people of all ages through the week, including a strong community focus by hosting various groups and activities mid-week. The church buildings are located in Chapel Street, near Ely Cathedral and the current pastor is Karl Relton.
William Aldridge was an English nonconformist minister.
Jehoiada Brewer (1752?–1817) was a Welsh dissenting minister. Refused ordination to the Church of England, he was known as a preacher, and hymn writer.
Jarvis Hall is a former Nonconformist chapel in the village of Steyning, in the Horsham district of the English county of West Sussex. Since its construction in 1835, the Classical-style building has been used by four different Nonconformist Christian denominations: the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Wesleyan Methodists, the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. The Brethren occupied it last and for the longest time. After about 150 years of religious use, it was sold for residential conversion. English Heritage has listed the former chapel at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.
Steyning Methodist Church is a Methodist place of worship serving Steyning and surrounding villages in the Horsham district of West Sussex, England. Built for a Wesleyan Methodist congregation who had outgrown an earlier chapel nearby, the Gothic Revival building opened in 1878 and has since been extended. The flint and yellow brick church is set back from Steyning's ancient High Street and is within the village conservation area. It is one of nine churches in the Worthing Methodist Circuit.
Henry Peckwell (1747–1787) was a Church of England clergyman of Methodist views.
Trinity Congregational Church, later known as Union Chapel, is a former place of worship for Congregationalists and Independent Christians in Arundel, an ancient town in the Arun district of West Sussex, England. Protestant Nonconformism has always been strong in the town, and the chapel's founding congregation emerged in the 1780s. After worshipping elsewhere in the town, they founded the present building in the 1830s and remained for many years. Former pastors included the poet George MacDonald. Robert Abraham's distinctive neo-Norman/Romanesque Revival building was converted into a market in the 1980s and has been renamed Nineveh House. The church is a Grade II Listed building.
John Eyre was an English evangelical clergyman. He helped in establishing some of the major national evangelical institutions.
Thomas Haweis (c.1734–1820), was born in Redruth, Cornwall, on 1 January 1734, where he was baptised on 20 February 1734. As a Church of England cleric he was one of the leading figures of the 18th century evangelical revival and a key figure in the histories of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, the Free Church of England and the London Missionary Society.
Bethel Baptist Chapel is a Strict Baptist place of worship in the village of Wivelsfield in East Sussex, England. The cause was founded in 1763 by members of a chapel at nearby Ditchling; Henry Booker and other worshippers seceded and began to meet at Wivelsfield after hearing a sermon by George Whitefield. Although some members of the new church soon returned to the Ditchling congregation, the cause thrived under Booker's leadership, and the present chapel—a building of "quiet and unassuming elegance" set in its own graveyard—was erected in 1780. It has served the Strict Baptist community continuously since then, and members founded other chapels elsewhere in Sussex during the 18th and 19th centuries. The chapel is a Grade II Listed building.
Thomas Wills (1740–1802) was an English evangelical preacher, a priest of the Church of England who became a Dissenter.
Plunket Street Meeting House, was the site of two churches, first a Presbyterian Church, then an independent reformed faith evangelical church on Plunket Street, Dublin. It was situated between Patrick's St. and Francis St. The Plunket Street Meeting house was established in 1692, from the presbyterian congregation in Bull Alley. The first minister of the church was a Rev. Alexander Sinclair who came to Dublin to take up the position in 1692. Rev. Matthew Chalmers was pastor for a short time, the Rev. John Alexander was minister from 1730 until his death in 1743. Rev. William Patten, who was minister from 1745 to 1749, he was succeeded by Rev. Ebenezer Kelburn, from 1749 until his death in 1773.
South Street Free Church is a church in the centre of Eastbourne, a town and seaside resort in the English county of East Sussex. Originally Congregational, it is now aligned to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion—a small group of Evangelical churches founded by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon during the 18th-century Evangelical Revival. The church was founded in 1897 as an offshoot from an earlier Congregational chapel, and initially met in hired premises. Local architect Henry Ward designed the present church in 1903; the "characterful" and "quirky" Arts and Crafts-style building has been listed at Grade II by Historic England for its architectural and historical importance.
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