Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Not surprisingly, the matter of the Rev, Thomas Parker's removal by the
Woodman faction eventually ended up in the colonial court.  It's a good thing
that this and the earlier chapters of the dispute were taken to court, because
otherwise the documents would have been completely lost. Many of the early
records of the Newbury Church were destroyed in a fire. So thanks to the court
we have the text of Rev.Parker's reply to those who were trying to dismiss him
from the church he had founded. He was not about to meekly give in:

"....Once more I earnestly desire you to consider yourselves, and not go on in
such irregular courses, which though you seem to justify yourselves in, yet assuredly
will prove evil in the end. Do not thinke it a light matter to break the unity and peace
of the church, hinder the edification of the church, cast contempt on the ministry, grieve
your pastor and brethren, give offence to other churches, and bring up an evil report
and cast reproach upon the government of the churches here, and once more I entreat
you to think of some way of reconciling our differences, which we think will only be by consenting with us to call a regular council, resolving to submit to their advice. If we
cannot prevail with you by this motion, we shall be forced to consider what courses
shall be taken to defend ourselves, and blame us not for using any lawful meanes
whereby we redress your sin and our distractions.

Thomas Parker"
-A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 
to 1845
,  by Joshua Coffin & Joseph Bartlett  (Sameul G Drake, Boston, 1845)

This was sent on March 16, 1670. Three days later, on March 19th, Rev. Parker held a
meeting with those in the congregation who supported him.  As a result, the following
decision was reached:

"...In consideration of which premises (to mention no more) we the pastor and brethren of the church of Newbury, in the name and fear of the Lord Jesus Christ in way of defence of his poor flock here that they may not be left as sheep without a shepherd, and in vindicating the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and his ordinances, not knowing any other regular way left according to the rule of the scripture, than to withdraw from them, who walk inordinately and cause division; we do hereby declare that for the future we do renounce communion with all those brethren that have so deeply violated the communion of Christ's church, nor shall we accept them as regular members of the church of Christ among us till God shall give them a mind to see and heart to acknowledge and confess their great offences, which we earnestly desire of him to grant through Jesus Christ."
-ibid p.85

On another document is the following list of those supporting Rev. Parker.The
names in red are my ancestors:
Names of those, who adhered to Mr. Parker and did not act in Mr. Parker's

Richard Dole.
John Kent.
Thomas Hale, senior.
John Knight, senior.
James Jackman.
Daniel Pierce, junior.
Nicholas Noyes.
Thomas Turvill.
Captain William Gerrish.
Tristram Coffin.

Nathaniel Clark.
Captain Paul White.
William Morse.
Jonathan Morse.
Abel Huse.
John Davis.
James Kent.
Richard Kent.
Richard Knight.
John Kelly.
Robert Long.
Henry Short, senior.
Samuel Moody.
Henry Jaques.
Robert Adams.
Joseph Muzzky.
William Chandler.
Mr. Richard Lowle.
Anthony Somerby.
Abiel Somerby.
Mr. Henry Sewall.
George Little.

Thirty-two regular members.

Mr. Joseph Hills.
Daniel Pierce, senior.
James Smith.
Mr. John Woodbridge.
Richard Pettingell.
John Smith.

Though no members"

-ibid p86

At this point it would seem the Newbury Church was irrevocably split. Amazingly,
it wasn't. A council of ministers and elders from nine neighboring towns tried once
more to bring the two sides together, and an agreement was reached.

It lasted for a year.

To be continued.

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