Our church history trip really opened my eyes to the conditions of the new British converts. Some were like the Benbows, who were well-off landowners, but most were not. Most had very little and made due with what they had. Things such as the pond on the Benbow farm that they had to use instead of a formal font, and barns to congregate in instead of meeting houses really showed me the humble circumstances that were a way of life for them. How very proud thy must have been of their little chapel. Their converted farm building just went to show me that religion came first for these people– even if they had to make sacrifices elsewhere.
Additionally, I was struck by the sense of community in faith they exhibited. Even before they became members of the church they were all searching together– the Gadfield Elm chapel was just that. A place where a community searching for the truth could do so together. I imagine that once the first families heard the message of the gospel and realized it as what they were all looking for, they must have been so excited to share the news. And it was these wonderful sweet spirited people that was able to re-energize the membership of the church.