A. B. Taylor. VIII
In 1840 A.B. Taylor had been called to the pastorate at what is now Peel Street Chapel, Accrington. For personal reasons, he declined. He felt that a pastor ought to be able to give himself fully to the work, but the Accrington church was unable to support a man with a family as large as his. He did however continue preaching.
The Gospel Standard denomination, if I may call it that, did not exist formally in the 1840s in the way it came to later. The founders of that denomination, William Gadsby, John Kershaw and John Warburton, were however influential Strict and Particular (Closed-communion Calvinistic, that is practising reSTRICTed communion and teaching a PARTICULAR atonement) Baptists and a network of churches was forming around them.
Then, as now, one way a man got invitations to preach was through a more influential minister mentioning his name in other places. There were few Strict Baptists as influential as William Gadsby. He secured an invitation to Taylor to preach at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London (the present Zoar Chapel, now used by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, is pictured). Taylor also had invitations to preach at the Baptist Church in Liverpool formerly pastored by Samuel Medley the hymn-writer, to Gower Street Chapel, London, and to Alfred Street Chapel, Leicester.
In 1844 William Gadsby died. The following year Accrington approached Taylor again with a call to the pastorate, and this time he accepted it. He began his ministry in July, running an engraving business as a 'tentmaker'.
But it was only a short ministry, for in 1848 William Gadsby's former Church, Rochdale Road chapel, Manchester, called Rev. Alexander Barrie Taylor to the pulpit in which he had once felt that he had Mr. Gadsby on his back! The church had suffered badly since Gadsby's death, and there had been one major split. It was not the sort of church where a young pastor would necessarily WANT to go. On the one hand Taylor had his people at Accrington and his little business, on the other a church with a large chapel, and some serious divisions.
But after much prayer A. B. Taylor felt the call of God to accept the Manchester pastorate, ad to try to stabilise a church that was on the verge of collapse.
How he went about that we shall, God willing, see next time.
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