Of the four ladies who play the organ, only one is a member. However, last month our '1st Sunday in the month' organist, who first came to the chapel as a babe in arms asked to become a member. She said that she had missed out as a teenager as she was so shy and hated being the centre of attraction so had never been baptised.
Although when I was on the Baptist Union Council, I could see no reason why anyone wanting to become a member should not be baptised first, I now realise that there are many reason why some people would love to become members without baptism first.
I checked the chapel's deeds and it seems that we are an open membership even though a hundred years ago there was a split over this, with many just assuming that we were a closed membership.
I then approached another shy lady who moved into the area a year ago and asked her if she would like to become a member. She too, thought that she would have to be baptised first, and was delighted to have been asked.
The following morning at our deacon's meeting they were delighted to hear that we would be having two new members. We then discussed the fact that it would be good to have some new deacons and one name kept coming up but it was some time before someone realised that she was not a member although she had been coming to Chapel for nearly thirty years, was a Sunday School teacher and at one time had run the youth club. So G. was duly asked if she too would like to become a member.
Having already prepared the sermon, I decided to omit it and instead encouraged the three ladies to say a little about themselves. All three said how nervous and scared they were but gave brilliant testimonies of their gentle, steady walk with God. None had had an overwhelming conversion experience but their faiths had grown over the years. Favourite hymns were sung and relevant Bible passages were read, concluding with communion and carried over into coffee and biscuits.
Feedback says that it was a wonderful service especially as two of the ladies have been worshipping here far longer than most of the other members!