Two hundred years ago local farmers complained that unruly kids were vandalizing fences, and a magistrate called Baptist Sunday School teachers to appear in court on charges of inciting the children’s activities.
The Baptists explained they were trying to teach the children to read and be “good and obedient,” and the charges against the teachers were dismissed.
The story represents the intersection of the beginnings of the Sunday School movement and the birthing of a new Baptist congregation in Britain.
Prior to the twentieth century, the Sunday School movement was an effort, begun in Britain, to educate and train idle children in urban cities. No one knows how many churches may have started from this effort to educate children, but Halesowen Baptist Church was one such congregation.
Classes for children in local cottages eventually led to church meetings in the houses, and in 1811 a chapel was built to house the Halesowen congregation. Intially, some worshippers walked as many as 30 miles to and from the chapel for Sunday services.