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Baptist and Church of Christ

Churches in Fremantle


Baptist East

Church of Christ

Two other protestant congregations then met regularly in Fremantle, though neither had erected a place of worship. These were followers of the Baptist Church and Church of Christ, both of which differed from other Christian faiths in their practise of adult baptism by immersion. The Church of Christ had established a presence in Fremantle in 1892 after Brother Sam Thomson arrived in June. Thomson, later Mayor of East Fremantle, 'set up the Lord's Table' at a boarding house in Cliff Street. On 8 September a deputation (that included some Baptists 64) to preacher Thomas Bates and deacons of the newly-formed Church of Christ in Perth requested that a church be 'planted' in Fremantle. Bates preached in the Protestant Hall (formerly Henry Briggs' school) in High Street on 25 September. On 9 October, he conducted three services, including an afternoon baptism service on South Beach. Services then continued in the hall with Brother Henry Ford. In 1895, the Baptists withdrew to form their own church, and the present Church of Christ chapel opened in High Street on 6 March 1898.

In August 1895, Pastor James Cole of the Perth Baptist Church was given access to the Fremantle Town Hall supper room, commencing services on 22 September. Baptists living in the Fremantle district who wanted to become foundation members met the pastor at the Town Hall for a preliminary meeting on 3 October and the church was officially formed on Sunday 6 October with 23 foundation members. After meeting in the Town Hall and, from April 1899, at the new Literary Institute Hall in South Terrace, the Baptists began building a chapel in South Terrace (opposite Grey Street) in May 1899. The foundation tablet was affixed in July 1900 with the Congregational and Wesleyan Ministers taking part, and the Reverend George Rowe, president of the Wesleyan Conference, preached the afternoon the chapel opened on 26 August 1900. Seven days later a rival Baptist church formed after a service was held at the Fremantle Literary Institute. The original congregation favoured 'open' membership while the new group favoured 'close' membership, admitting only those who had been baptised as adults by immersion. The two groups re-united in 1902 and subsequently adopted close membership.

References and Links

Errington, Steve 2016, 'Places of worship in Fremantle, 1829 to 1900', Studies in Western Australian History, 31: 145-158.

Strong, Rowan 2012, 'Religious lives in Fremantle', in Paul Arthur Longley & Geoffrey Bolton, Voices from the West End: Stories, People and Events that Shaped Fremantle, WA Museum: 64-85.

Garry Gillard | New: 8 March, 2018 | Now: 18 April, 2022