“I cannot bear to leave!”

One of my favorite stories from church history is the story of John Fawcett, born in 1740 and converted to Christ through the ministry of George Whitefield. At 26 years of age, he accepted a call to pastor a small congregation in Wainsgate in Northern England. A few years into his ministry, the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London called him to succeed the well-known Dr. Gill.

The day approached when John Fawcett, his wife and children were to head off to London. Their bags were packed and the wagons were loaded. The people of the church surrounded the wagons with tears of farewell. Mrs. Fawcett broke down and said, “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” John Fawcett replied, “Nor can I.” They quickly ordered the wagons to be unpacked. The Fawcetts remained there at the church in Wainsgate for fifty years, serving the people they loved. (Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications], pp.45-46).

Soon afterwards, John Fawcett wrote, …

Blest be the tie that binds our heart in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

Such ought to be the feelings of pastor and church.

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