Mary Kemp, Biographical Sketch

With the combined energies and resources of a deacon belonging to Tilden Chapel in Smarden, and a farmer residing in Lashenden, a Strict and Particular Chapel was built in Biddenden, Kent, 1880. Two years after the chapel opened, a church was organized and John Kemp was appointed the first pastor. He served the fellowship until his death in 1932, a total of 52 years.

In 1873, John was married to Mary Baldock, 13 years his senior. Their union ended 26 years later, with Mary entering the presence of the Lord. In John’s Autobiography, he gives the following account of his courtship and marriage:

From the age of about sixteen to twenty I walked with a young woman who was three months my senior; but after being called by grace, I soon came to a fixed mind before the Lord to have a godly partner or none. This, with other things, caused me to give her up, sorrow on that account being felt by us both, our friendship having been sweet and long. After a time my affections settled on Mary Baldock, one of the members of Shovers Green Church, and thirteen years my senior. She was maintaining herself, and keeping a home over her aged parents by dressmaking. There seemed at that time an insurmountable difficulty in the way of my having her, but,

Thither my warm affections moved,
Nor could I call them thence,
(Gadsbys 1064)

and it became a matter of wrestling prayer before the Lord, who alone could manage all hearts and all circumstances. This went on for a long while, till one day when cutting wood in what is called “Dens Wood,” I felt such an earnest wrestling with the Lord, and so embraced the…

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