The Death of a Congregation?

I had decided a few weeks ago to take a drive along highway 910 going from Hillsborough New Brunswick to the Turtle Creek area. I have driven this road a few times and I especially enjoy doing this drive in the fall. The colours in the mountains are quite soothing and there are many old buildings along the way that generally peak my curiosity. One building in particular that I have seen a few times is an old abandoned little church in an area called “Berryton”.  The name of the church is  “The Berryton United Baptist Church”. There are a few abandoned churches along that road but this building always seemed to draw my interest for some reason.  I decided to stop on this occasion and go inside the deserted building to take a look around. Quite honestly, there wasn’t much to see since the building was quite empty with barely a trace of the former congregation that met there. The facility is in serious decay and it seems to have been out of use for quite some time. There was some vandalism inside including some anti-Christian propaganda and for the most part, it was what you would expect to see in a discarded building.

After my little excursion had ended, I sat inside my vehicle and began to ponder what had happened here. Many questions began running through my head. Has the congregation that met here moved on to another building somewhere else or has it ceased to exist? If the church is no longer functioning then what caused its demise? How long has this building been sitting there unused? Who were the people who met here at one time to worship? Was this church ever a thriving and growing church? How many people would have attended this church at its peak?Was it a strong, biblically focused assembly or was it a loose gathering of people? I made my way home that day and attempted to do some research online to see if I could come up with any information on the history of this congregation. I honestly couldn’t find much on the church except for an email address from a church historian in the area and a Youtube video which I will share at the end of this post. I attempted to contact this church historian however I have yet to receive a reply to my inquiry. To be quite honest, I hit a pretty hard dead end at this point on knowing anything further about this church.

There are many assumptions that I could make in regards to the fate of this church. This is not the first time a congregation no longer meets together in a particular building. Assuming the cessation is not due to moving to a new facility, I proposed to myself several options as to its demise. One of the most common reasons for dissolving a meeting is due to internal strife amongst congregants. There are times when this bickering gets very serious and it leaves the church crippled and unable to function. This is generally caused by prideful individuals or a few wolves that devour the flock. This can be due to dotrinal or moral disagreements especially if the beliefs of the church are not laid out clearly. Other reasons that a church disbands are that there is a lack of interest which causes a constant decrease in attendance. It can be that some congregants moved away for work not leaving enough member s to continue or even that such a secluded place did not have the population to help continue to grow the church. One main reason I have seen for a church congregation disbanding has been due to a lack in leadership especially in project planning. This has been the death blow of many christian meetings especially in recent years. I remember reading an article once that proposed that the most popular reason for a church dissolving was due to changing buildings. The leadership pushed the project down everyone’s throat and it ended up with a terrible taste in everyone’s mouth.

While my research is based on finding historical data on this congregation, I had another thought that came through my mind. I am approaching this from a human perspective in physical time but what about from the divine perspective? The God of the bible is a sovereign God who’se purposes cannot be thwarted (Job 42:1-2), who does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3; 135:6) and who accomplishes all His purposes (Isaiah 14:24-27; 46:9-11; 55:11). What purposes did He have in all this? What purposes does God have in the dissolving of any church meeting? I believe there are many instances when a church will cease to function because it has become unfaithful to its Lord. It has allowed for sin to enter into its doors without judging these sins biblically. The allowance of worldly means of worship dressed up as “Christian”, a lack of focus upon holiness and spiritual growth or simply the spiritual idolatry that we see rampant in many churches could be enough for the Lord to put an end to a meeting. The churches of Asia were warned as congregations to persevere and to severe the spiritual adultery that was raging in the churches. The command of the Lord of the churches was for them to repent and be faithful. The repercussion of their unfaithfulness was that their lampstand would be taken away. This is a warning that all churches should heed. The church as a corporate covenant community needs to be responsible for its Lord and to the people. The blending of foreign worship with biblical worship and the lack in judging sin leads to God’s taking away of the lampstand. The sin of not loving and caring for the poor, the widow and the orphan can see God take away His blessing upon it. It should be said that there are congregations in the Moncton area and elsewhere that have a beautiful building with many members but the glory they produce for the Lord is no different than what is inside Berrytone United Baptist Church. They have the appearance of a living and thriving congregation but the reality is that they are merely a modern day Sardis who have a name that they are alive but they are dead (Revelation 3:1). The God of the scriptures requires us to examine ourselves and we should spend time as well examining the church we are members of.

As I had mentioned, I am not stating that this is what happened to the Berryton United Baptist Church. I would appreciate it if anyone would be willing to share any information they might have on Berryton United Baptist Church. Whatever I find out from my readers I will share with you all.  Here is a video that someone had posted online awhile back showing a better view of the church.

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3 thoughts on “The Death of a Congregation?

  1. Excellent! If ever I’m in this area I will make an effort to see this church. I have witnessed churches split for many reasons. Everything from their not liking the pastor’s sermons, the time the service should start to what bible version should be read from the pulpit. Christians can sometimes be very petty.

  2. I too am curious about this church and cannot find any information on it. The stone foundation makes me think that it was originally built quite some time ago. There must be a record somewhere of the church being built. I wonder what year?

    1. Hi Wayne,

      I would agree that the stone foundation does seem to indicate that it was built awhile back and its location & size makes me think that it service only a small number of people. I contacted a lady who keeps historical records of various cemeteries in the area but she never did reply to my inquiry. It certainly looks like the church was abandoned some time ago.

      If you find out any further information, please feel free to communicate it with us!

      In Him,

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