Glen Osmond Baptist Church celebrates history alongside Bangladeshi church

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Church Anniversaries have their place in the memory-bank of followers of Jesus.

Last year I was invited to the 125th anniversary of the Pabna Baptist Church in Bangladesh. I had been a member there for just one year in 1967. I could not go, but they sent me so many photos of processions, cake, preachers, and festivities.

I was moved by the pictures of the leaders going to the grave of our first South Australian missionary, Ellen Arnold, in a village just a few kilometres away.

Then on 19 May, Glen Osmond Baptist had their 140th anniversary. My sister and I decided to return to roots. We had been nurtured there as children. The baptistry, used for my baptism, had been in a different place in those days.

Gone were the posters above the door by the pulpit, “every member a missionary”, but the windows were still there, “behold I stand at the door and knock,” as bright as ever. And there were friends to greet.

There is a link between the two. In 1896, when Glen Osmond church was in its second decade, they sent out a young missionary, William Goldsack, to Pabna, (then India now Bangladesh). He had got there two years before that church was formed. He was there for its formation.

Goldsack’s particular passion was seeing that Muslims had the chance to understand the identity and character of Jesus. One of his particular supporters was Richard Fowler, who kept him informed on what was happening in Glen Osmond Church.

Goldsack lived in 1896 with Fowler’s sister Laura and her husband, who were independent doctors in Pabna, working alongside the missionaries (Laura was the first woman doctor of Adelaide University). There are some great Baptist links.

Later, William married another member from Glen Osmond Baptist Church, Charlotte Somerville, and went on to be a specialist with the Baptist Missionary Society. They later retired to Adelaide and had an orchard in the Blackwood/Coromandel Valley area.

I’d promised my Pabna correspondent that I would convey their greetings.  I passed on to the pastor before the service, with a few pictures.

Dr Melinda Cousins, our Director of Ministries, preached a very moving message. She combined the remembering of our past with the responsibility of teaching children what God had done. Then there is the importance of living the story forward for the next generation with reminder stones, markers or Ebenezers.

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