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Rev Bartholomew Tealing Stannus


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RichardB

SETTLEMENT OF THE REV. B. T. STANNUS AT SHEFFIELD On Monday evening, May, 14th, 1838, the congregation at Sheffield belonging to the Unitarian interest, held a social tea meeting to welcome their newly elected pastor, the Rev. B. T. Stannus, who commenced his ministry at Sheffield on the preceding day.

The company met at the large Saloon in the Baths, and amounted to between, three and four hundred, amongst whom, besides avowed friends to the cause, were many strangers, Dr. Philipps, the late pastor, presided.

He opened the business of the meeting by several appropriate remarks, and by expressing his cordial wishes for the prosperous career of his successor. He then gave out a hymn, and the Rev. H. H. Piper offered a short introductory prayer. Mrs. Palfreyman then rose, and in a very neat speech, which we regret was not more generally heard in so large a room, welcomed their new minister ; and expressed the deep interest she felt on such an occasion, on her own account, and especially on account of her's, and the rising families of the congregation. The manner she dwelt on this part of her address, conveying her maternal feelings for the best interests of her children, was very beautiful and touching. She then presented to Mr. Stannus a very handsome surplice, the gift of the ladies of the congregation.

Mr. T. A. Ward then read a short address on the occasion of presenting the minister with a pulpit Bible and hymn-book. Mr. Ward eulogised the stile of the now venerable version, but referred with regret to the spurious passages and other imperfections which are allowed to remain and tarnish this important work. Of this he was glad that their pastor would be fully aware; and with the expression of affectionate wishes for his health and happiness, and of confidence that he would faithfully expound the word of God, concluded by presenting the Bible and hymn-book. Mr. Stannus responded to these addresses in a manner that interested all the company. He was deeply affected, and a general sympathy pervaded the room. He spoke of the solemn importance of the work he had undertaken, and of his confidence in the sincere and hearty co-operation of his people. His reception had filled him with gratitude, and his life, with the blessing of God, would be devoted to the interests of his flock.

The Rev. Peter Wright then shortly addressed the assembly—hailed the arrival of this able and honest champion of liberal view of Christian truth, and concluded with offering him publicly the right hand of fellowship. The effect of this truly Christian and simple act, was quite electric. Mr. Piper then briefly addressed the audience. He regarded the meeting as having all the solemnity of an ordination, with none of the superstition with which, in modern times, that ceremony is too frequently accompanied. He expressed his wish that the pleasures of anticipation, such as belong to a Christian's faith, as well as the pleasures of retrospect, might sooth the evening of the venerable chairman's days; and he spoke of the merciful provision of a new race of advocates springing up, when the growing infirmities of life removed the aged from the active scene. He then followed the example of Mr. Wright, in welcoming their new brother to the important sphere in which he is now about to move.

Mr. Palfreyman, solicitor, then addressed the audience, and after some lively remarks on his lady having been persuaded to become the public orator on this occasion, said, he hoped it would be

'long before we had such another meeting as this again.'

His anticipations were of an exhilarating character ; and he earnestly wished that Mr. Stannus might, more years than his predecessor, labour in this interesting field. Mr. Ryalls, a brother lawyer, disagreed, as is not uncommon, with the last speaker, and hoped that the success of Mr. Stannus would spread Unitarian opinions so widely, that another chapel, and another pastor would be soon necessary, and that we should meet to welcome him, as we now meet to give a cordial reception to our friend from the north. Mr. Francis Fisher, a young gentleman who has kindly and ably assisted the neighbouring ministers with his lay services, made a suitable address; and Mr. Hinde, who has long been an effective occasional lay preacher, spoke to the importance of the people strengthening the hands of the minister, by assisting him, especially in the important duties of visiting the poor and the sick.

Dr. Holland was anxious that by a liberal support of their minister, the necessity of dividing his attention between his pastoral duties, and the drudgery of keeping a school, might be avoided. Mr. Charles Fox responded to the sentiments of respect and admiration for Mr. Stannus; and Mr. James Fox, as a trustee, spoke of the unanimity of the trustees, in compliance with the wish of the congregation, in electing him. Mr. William Renton was thanked for his efficient services, and Mrs. Robert Renton for the management of the feast, and the venerable Dr. for his able and impressive conduct in the chair. The evening was truly serious and delightful. One feeling of cordial welcome pervaded the people and the minister. In writing this hasty sketch, several occurrences that added to the interest of the meeting, have been omitted, particularly that the Rev. George Hutton (now supplying Thorne, Stainforth, and Doncaster,) shortly addressed the meeting, and Mr. Palfreyman spoke in high terms of Mrs. Stannus, which Mr. Stannus acknowledged. In the course of the proceedings, a complimentary reference was made by one of the trustees, to the talent and character of the Rev. Dr. Montgomery, of Belfast, on whom the new appointed minister took occasion to pass a warm and deserved eulogium. A hymn, and a concluding prayer from Mr. Stannus, ended the service of one of the most delightful evenings ever spent in this or any other congregation—an evening that will not soon be forgotten, and that will, we trust, diffuse the odour of benevolence, cordiality, and zeal, over the many coming years, during which we pray that Mr. Stannus may be the happy and successful pastor of a large and united flock.

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