Frank Grimwood,  Jared Smith On Various Issues

The Life and Ministry Of Frank Grimwood

The congregation meeting at Bethesda Chapel, Notting Hill Gate, London, was organized in 1866 around the teachings of the Strict and Particular Baptists. The first pastor, Mr. David Crumpton, served the office for six years, during which time he partnered with Mr. John Hazelton when organizing the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches. Four more pastors followed before the turn of the century, leaving the office vacant between the years 1898-1907. It was then Mr. Frank Grimwood was appointed the pastor, serving the office for twenty-one years. In the year 1900, seven years before taking the oversight of Bethesda Chapel, Mr. Micthell, on behalf of the Earthen Vessel, requested Mr. Grimwood submit a short testimony of his life and ministry. This background may be of interest primarily to myself, as I served the pastorate of the same church. I hope, however, the reader will find something of God’s faithfulness and providential care over the little flock meeting at Notting Hill Gate, and of course, may also receive encouragement by the testimony of Mr. Frank Grimwood. 

Earthen Vessel 1900:

Mr. F. Grimwood

Dear Mr. Mitchell,—At your request I give herewith a brief account of the goodness of God toward me in providence and grace. Born January 6, 1875, at Ipswich. While still very young I had a fall resulting in a long illness and permanent affliction; this was a sore trial to my parents, but prayer was answered, and sorrow turned into joy by the preservation of life. I have since been enabled to believe “good,” though seeming evil, was designed by this dispensation.

Call By Grace

I am unable to give an exact date when for the first time my soul rejoiced in God my Saviour to the praise of “free grace.” I testify that the knowledge of Christ by the Gospel led to a trust in Him for deliverance from sin, death, and hell: being brought about the age of fourteen years, not only to believe “all had sinned and come short of the glory of God” but to feel in my heart the workings and power of sin, and to “fear” death, the wages of it. My prayer was “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Removed from all hope, save in Sovereign goodness, the blessing at length came, the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ shining within, the truth “The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” being applied. I then could heartily sing as often since,

“Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness, 

My beauty are, my glorious dress.”

Having stated the ground of my hope, I was baptized February 2nd, 1890, at Newbury. Here let me add, a mother’s fervent prayers at our bed-side, as also the faithfulness of a Sunday School teacher, were much blessed to me. After continuing some time at Newbury my soul longed for the companionship of lovers of the doctrines of grace of a faithful ministry of the Word and ordinances of the Gospel. My position being providentially changed, I was able to get to “Bucklebury Slade” every week, and having rehearsed God’s grace in my hope of salvation, became united with His people in Church fellowship under the pastoral care of Mr. Henry Coxeter. Here the Gospel was made very precious, and after three or four years I was removed to Basingstoke. By the continued kindness of friend and pastor arranging to meet me with trap part of the journey, and entertaining till Monday morning, I was still able to hear the preached word, and to labour in the cause. I had also the great joy of seeing the fruit of much and long perseverance by the Church–namely, the removal of the old wooden structure and a substantial brick building successfully erected and paid for.

Call To The Ministry

I was not anxious to preach, though full of desire for the spread of the Gospel. Having very solemn impressions respecting the nature and importance of this work, and believing it required knowledge and experience in divine things larger than mine, God gave me a strong love of His Word, and for reading, meditation, and prayer. To these exercises I retired every day as soon as business was over. One day a letter came from Marlborough to the pastor asking us to help the little cause there, during the illness of their leader; this was only possible by our going alternately. I was persuaded to go, and on the Wednesday eve preceding the Sunday, the Church made special prayer on my behalf, entreating the manifestation of the Divine will on the occasion of my attempting to preach. Space prevents detail of the services and personal experience: it will suffice to say, in speaking from Psalm 27, verse 4, “help was given.” I was called to serve here and at home on one or two subsequent occasions.

In September 1897, I was brought to London, and found and much enjoyed the ministry of Brother Dadswell, though eventually taking up the Sunday School work at Rehoboth, Bedford Road. In April 1898, a letter came from Carmel Chapel, Pimlico, desiring me to take the week evening service on several given dates. How I was known and found out was not understood till a long time after, being a stranger to almost all the Churches in London. I went, and was blessed on each occasion; this, with the exception of going to Eltham a few times, and once to Zion, Heaton Road, Peckham, for, and during the illness of my brother Roger, is all the “supplying” I was called to do until brought to Streatham.

Called To The Pastorate

In November, of the same year, being still laid aside, my brother asked me to take his appointment at “Providence,” Hambro Road; this I did, looking up to God, and received His gracious help. Requested by the Church, I was constrained to preach to them on several occasions. Afterwards, May 1899, brought a letter conveying the united desire of the Church for me to minister three months from July, with a view to becoming pastor. I need not tell with what amazement I read this. It cast me before my God, and with feelings not to be expressed. The matter was spread before Him. One way only was made plain-namely, to take up the work. At the end of September, receiving the unanimous call of the Church, and having manifestations of Divine favour in the blessings given, I answered, “I was their servant in the Gospel of Christ, for His truth’s sake.” Recognition services were held December 5th, 1899. From the first, till now, I gratefully testify, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Our message is as Ephesians 2, and our joyful song,

“Grace, till the tribes redeemed by blood,

Are brought to know themselves and God,

Her empire shall maintain,

To call when He appoints the day, 

And from the mighty take the prey,

Shall grace triumphant reign.”

Streatham, Sept., 1900.

Frank Grimwood (1875-?) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. In 1907 was appointed pastor of Bethesda Chapel, Notting Hill Gate, a position he held for twenty-one years.