Kekukey [Kehuky] Association had its beginning on Monday after the first Sunday in August, 1769, and held its first session with the old Kehukey church in Halifax county. The early Baptists practiced the Arminian or Free-Will doctrines upon which the early churches were founded, and they held to this faith until the old Philadelphia Association sent Revs. William VanHorn and Benjamin [Miller] out to visit the churches in the Southern Colonies. On their arrival in this State the people seemed to be afraid of them and called them New Lights. Through the earnest preaching of these two men, the people received the truth gladly and were convinced of their error, and some of the churches were organized upon the principles of grace. The first efforts to organize were gratifying, and at the time of Mr. [Morgan] Edward's visit (1772-73) the following churches, delegates and messengers were present:Pasquotank* — Henry Abbott and James Garnell.Messengers — William Burgess, William Sojouner, Joseph Parker, William Walker, John Moore, Thomas Tully, John Thomas, Joseph Willis.
Bartee* — James Abbington.
Kehukey* — William Burgess.
Tar River Falls* — John Moore.
Toisnot* — Jonathan Thomas.
Tar River — Henry Ledbetter.
Fishing Creek — William Walker.
Red Banks — Jeremy Rheames.
Great Cohara — Edward Brown.
Three Creeks — Thomas Sully.
Bladen County — Stephen Hollingsworth.
Stony Creek — George Graham.
Swift Creek — Joseph Willis.
Lower Fishing Creek — Charles Daniel.
Contentnea — Joseph Parker.
Pungo — William Parker.
Meherrin — Wingfleld.
The following evangelists were present:
Revs. Mr. Hart, Ledbetter and Smart.
At the instance of Messrs. VanHorn and Miller, the churches as there constituted adopted confessions of faith upon which the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations were founded, and each church, in order to keep up the discipline, solemnly agreed to the following compact covenant, which some of our latter-day churches would do well to embody in their church organizations:
"Forasmuch as Almighty God, by his grace, has been pleased to call: as out of darkness into his marvellous light, and all of us have been regularly baptized upon a profession of our faith in Christ Jesus, and have given up ourselves to the Lord and to one another, in a gospel church way, to be governed and guided by a proper discipline agreeable to the word of God; we do, therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by his assistance, covenant and agree to keep up the discipline of the church we are members of, in the most brotherly affection toward each other, while we endeavor punctually to observe the following rules:
"1st. In brotherly love to pray for each other, to watch over one another, and if need be, in the most tender and affectionate manner to reprove one another. That is, if we discover anything amiss in a brother, to go and tell him of his faults according to the direction given by our Lord, in the 18th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, and not to be whispering and backbiting. We also agree, with God's assistance, to pray in our families, attend out church meetings, to observe the Lord's day and keep it holy and not absent ourselves from the communion of the Lord's Supper without a lawful excuse; to be ready to communicate to the defraying of the church's expenses, and for the support of the ministry; not irregularly to depart from the fellowship of the church, nor remove to distant churches without a regular dismissal.
"These things we do covenant, and agree to observe and keep sacred, in the name of and by the assistance of the Holy Trinity. Amen."
Each and every member upon presenting themselves for membership were required to subscribe their name to this covenant before they were received into any Regular Baptist church.
J. C. B.
The first five churches marked with a * were the original churches which constituted this Association.
[From Biblical Recorder, November 20, 1889; On-line edition. This is article #8 in a series. Formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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