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Edward Mitchell (1842-1919)

Edward Mitchell
Edward Mitchell

Edward Mitchell (1842-1919), Pastor: at Guildford from 1878-1899, Chadwell Street (1899-1914). President of the MASBC 1893, 1915 and other years; President of SBM 1903.

Edward Mitchell was born in 1842 near Ebenezer Chapel, Brighton, where his mother was a member, and where he attended Sunday School. He was apprenticed at the age of 15 and drew away from the church, but when his apprenticeship ended he went to work in Boston, Lincolnshire, and began to read the Bible. He was baptised at Boston but shortly afterwards returned to Brighton, where friends persuaded him to preach, for the first time, at the little chapel at Poynings. He continued to preach in Brighton and the surrounding area.

In 1872 he moved to Battersea and joined the church at Clapham Junction and took services for them. In 1877 he received an invitation to preach at Guildford for six months, after which he was settled as the Pastor. His Pastorate of the church at Chadwell Street, Islington, began in 1889 and was to last for 24 years. This church was in the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches and Mitchell was soon asked to serve on the Committee; he was elected President of the Association in 1893 for the first time and was elected to the same role several more times. From 1893 he also assisted with the editorship of the Earthen Vessel magazine. In 1899 he took over full control of the editorship and also became Almoner of the Lord’s Poor Fund of the MASBC, in which he was deeply interested.

Mitchell continued to work for the Lord’s Poor Fund after he had relinquished the EV editorship in 1903, owing to pressure of work; James Flegg and William Jeyes Styles took over as Editors. However, when Styles became ill and died in 1914, Mitchell became editor again until 1915. He preached widely throughout the country and also entered fully into the work of the Strict Baptist Mission, of which he became President in 1903. He was present at the inaugural meeting of the Strict and Particular Baptist Society, served on the committee from the outset, and assisted in the preparation of the Society’s rules and articles of faith. A man with a cheerful disposition and keen sense of humour, Mitchell was warm in friendship. He was discerning, wise, and had a wide knowledge, but had a true humility. Following his retirement from Chadwell Street in 1914, he continued to serve the various Societies and to preach until early 1918. In early 1919 he moved from London for health reasons to his daughter’s home at Lowestoft, and died on 30th October 1919.

See EV 1919, pp. 269-274, ‘A brother beloved’ by James E. Flegg, from which these details are taken.

Judith James