Richard Marsden, a Deacon, Engaged in Prayer

I’ve taken much interest in the old church Register of Members dating from 1817. A blog post from some weeks ago details the circumstances in which it was kindly donated.

It lists a Tabitha Marsden joining the church on 13th April 1823, and a Richard Marsden joining some fifteen years later. On subsequent pages, he is described as a deacon, ‘engaging in prayer’ presiding over the admission of new members.

Having the same name, I immediately contacted my mother, a veteran genealogist who, despite being thousands of miles away in Australia, was able to confirm that these Marsdens were relatives of ours. They were cousins of my 5x great grandparent.

I will be the first to testify to the tedium of listening to someone’s else’s family tree, so I’ll go no further. Suffice to say I feel pleased that relations of mine were converted people and connected to the very chapel at which I am pastor.

The Jews prided themselves on their ancestry, and kept meticulous records to prove, for example, their priestly status. Human ancestry, however interesting, accounts for nothing; spiritual ancestry, for everything. Paul describes Abraham as the ‘father of all who believe’; Genesis says that through him, ‘all nations on earth will be blessed’. Some of us don’t know our family trees; some don’t even know the identity of their own fathers. In Christ, however, you are part of the greatest family on earth, the family of God. Ephesians 2:19 says ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God’.