Editor's note: This is the first historical account of the Northbend Baptist Association written by one who had been there at its organization and was a key leader among the churches. - jrd
The North-Bend Association of Baptists, met at Ten Mile, Gallatin county, Ky. the third Friday in August, 1825.
Northbend Baptist Association
CIRCULAR LETTER, 1825
Written by Absalom Graves
Bullittsburg Baptist Church
To the Churches of whom we are composed, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
BRETHREN BELOVED IN THE LORD:
Having attended to the business before us, we are about closing our interview, which will terminate the 23rd of this association.
With peculiar pleasure, we express the satisfaction we have had, in seeing, and uniting with many of our kindred in Christ, in the work and worship of the Lord. Our interview has been comfortable, and harmonious. We esteem it a great blessing, that no jar, discord, or unpleasant feeling have ever been excited in the association, (we believe) from its formation to the present. Though we have not had the happiness of receiving the interesting intelligence of any unusual displays of divine mercy, in the salvation of sinners; yet rejoice to hear that in a good degree, peace and order are maintained in the churches generally; and that the Lord has extended the arm of his love and mercy, in delivering some, from the power of darkness, and translating them into the kingdom of his dear Son. The number baptised since our last, (as reported,) is 85: Though that number is not equal to the accounts received at some former meetings; yet it is sufficient to call forth our thanksgiving and praise.
When we contemplate on the course of divine providence towards us, since the organization of this body, which was in July, 1803, with propriety we may say, "The Lord hath done great things for us." At that time the association was formed of nine churches composed of 429 members. For the first seven years, no uncommon signal of divine approbation seemed to mark our course; only that as our acquaintance extended, affection and fellowship increased, which made every meeting happy and interesting. Though shortly after its formation, the great adversary, and roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour, assailed some of our churches, and with the fiery darts of discord and heresy produced great distress, until they thought it advisable, and two of them dissolved; but have since re-organized, and again united with us.
During the storm, the association sympathized with the distressed, but continued uniterrupted in her peace and fellowship, with small additions, until the set time to favor Zion had come; which began visibly, in the latter end of the year 1810; but more fully appeared in the former part of 1811. This refreshing season, will, we hope, be long remembered. The wilderness and the solitary place were made glad, and the desart rejoiced and blossomed as the rose, the languishing churches were revived; and sinners, aged and the young were bowing to the mild septre of the Redeemer's kingdom. By the returns to the ensuing association, 1811, there had been added by baptism, 277. New churches were soon organized and united to this body; which greatly increased her number and strength in council. Out of this revival grew several useful ministerial gifts, which were a considerable acquisition to the association, and churches. With this additional number and strength, the associaiton moved on with increasing zeal and affection. But soon the bloody contest between Great Britain and her allies, the Indian tribes, with the United States, produced a considerable check, in the exercise and progress of Religion; and for several years, additions were small: But to the praise and glory of his grace, it pleased the Lord, again in mercy to visit us. In the year 1817, this ever memorable period or revivals began: A few of our churches first shared largely of the drops of divine mercy; so that at the association that year, 117 had been baptized; and mostly in a few churches, and within a few months. But this was only the beginning of a bountiful harvest. Towards the close of that year, and the former part of the next, the work greatly increased, and spread generally through all the churches of this body, surpassing the most extensive calculation. Agreeably to the accounts, communicated to the ensuing association, 1818, there had been added by baptism, 611; making in the whole of this revival, including the two sessions of the association, 728. From this happy revival, also, arose several new churches, and valuable public gifts; which have, we believe, greatly promoted the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom. In the years 1820, '21, & '22, some of our churches were favored with merciful visitations and additions; so that in these three years, 183 were baptised:-- These additions have been a great blessing to the churches. Towards the close of the year 1823, but more particularly in the forepart of 1824, there appeared another revival, which arose as a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand, that increased and spread over several churches; from which they received a Heavenly rain, and comsiderable additions: according to the accounts reported to the ensuing association, 1824, there had been baptised 310. This addition will, we hope, contribute much to the glory of God, and the increase of his kingdom.
Two churches newly constituted, (Springfield & Salem,) have united with us at this meeting; which make 24 that have been added to the nine, that first united in forming this association; making in the whole, 33 churches. Four of them have been, at different times, dismissed, to join other associations; and four dissolved. The present number is 25 churches, composed of 1656 members.
Agreeably to the annual returns to this association, there have been, since its formation, 1929 baptised; added by letter, 1049; restored, 185; dismissed by letter, 989; excluded 480; deceased, 263.
Dear Brethren -- in this address, we have endeavored to lay before you a brief sketch of the rise and progress of this association; and some of the particular dealings of the Lord towards us, for 22 years; in which we discover his distinguished goodness in preserving us in peace and unity, and also in the additions made to the body; for which we desire to be unfeignedly thankful. For the continuance of these blessings, let us be actively employed in all Christian duties, so forcibly urged in the holy scriptures. And in order to promote that object, we recommend to your serious consideration, the propriety of keeping up in our churches, or other convenient places, weekly, or stated prayer meetings. To enumerate the advantages of that course, would be tedious, and protract this beyond the ordinary limits: Suffice it to say, that we believe they are great; and best realized by those who practice it. May the God of all Grace keep us, as an association, and churches, in peace; revive his work again among us; and long continue those blessings to us, our successors, and unborn posterity: And to his name be all the praise.
ABSALOM GRAVES, Moderator. MOSES SCOTT, Clerk.
[Taken from microfilm records at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Louisville, KY. Northbend is now known as the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association. The grammar and spelling are unchanged. - jrd]
For additional early histories of the Northebend Association go to: Go to History of Northbend Association written in 1840 and History of Northbend Association written in 1850.
Go to Bios of Absalom Graves
Return to Boone County Baptist Index
Return to Baptist History Homepage