They say that history is just one thing after another. For Pip n Jay's Discovery Team this was never truer than at our last meeting where we completed a whistle stop tour of the last 1200 years of British History in the form of our new Parish Timeline. While we sat in the Treehouse with coffee aplenty, dates flew through the air like arrows at Agincourt. The names of Kings, Queens and Preachers were remembered, lost, discounted, dated and, at last, recorded on a 6 foot roll of paper that forms the backbone of this putative timeline. At our next meeting we plan to populate this effort of memory and perseverance with Parish history, allowing us to see our place in Bristol and the world. Among the key dates the team picked out were the Abolition of Slavery in 1833, the death of Cromwell in 1540 and of course England's famous World Cup win in 1966.
The breadth of this work was complimented by a wonderful in depth analysis of The Great Awakening in 1740. This was a movement of faith the like of which Bristol had not seen before, typified by men like George Whitfield and John Wesley, who lived for a time in our Parish. Both men maintained links to Pip n Jay, despite their relationship with each other (and the church of England) not always being cordial. Their open air evangelism drew crowds of working people, and disapproval from the Church as it was deemed disrespectful to the Gospel. Despite this, Whitfield was recorded to have preached at Pip n Jay on the 17th of February 1739, raising £18 for the orphans of the parish. John Wesley, who for the love of Christ was reconciled to Whitfield before he died, is the next avenue under investigation, as we would dearly love to pin the great Methodist founder down to the pulpit in our parish at a specific date.
Aside from these great men, St Philip and St Jacob was playing its part in bringing people to the Lord, dividing to create the new church of St George at Kingswood in 1751. This evidence, taken from the Rev. M.E. Thorold's historical research, may be the first record of a church plant from our site, bringing to mind Confucius' words: if you would define the future, study the past.
Many thanks go to the delightful Discovery Team for their ongoing work, and of course we always have room for those of historical bent. Please get in contact with Tim Browne if you would like to get involved in any capacity.