Historical PublicationsRe-imagining the Covenant Community: The Church Meeting and Baptist Congregational Life (M J Egner, April 2007)

This Masters dissertation examines an interesting phenomenon in the history of democracy in England: governance in the dissenting churches of Baptists. The heart of Baptist church life is the ‘church meeting’, however as this study reveals, the true essence is found not in democracy but in true community expressed through covenant.

Re-imagining the Covenant Community explores whether church meetings truly reflect the covenant community envisaged by the early Baptists from both an historical and contemporary perspective. It includes the results of original research into 19th century records showing how meetings changed, becoming far more procedural and thus more susceptible to conflict and abuse.

The dissertation also analyses the current state of the church meeting and assesses alternative methods of church governance, notably consensus and ‘ministry-led, accountable leadership’ models.

Vital reading for social and political historians, as well as ministers and leaders of Baptist churches, you can be downloaded the full dissertation as a pdf document (you will need Adobe Reader to view) by clicking here: Re-imagining the Covenant Community.

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