On April 1, 1840 Bishop John L. Jenkins took the charge of the Hephzibah Baptist Church, Chester County, PA. The Lord’s blessing being mighty upon him, many souls were saved and the Lord directed those people to reach out and erect a meetinghouse near Wagontown, known as the West Caln Baptist Church. Both churches became a part of his pastoral charge. The Lord’s blessing continued in both ministries. Several souls were saved enlarging the believer’s vision to have a preaching station at Compassville, Pequea Valley. Here the Gospel was blessed from the occasional visits of Brother Jenkins until many were saved in the area and it was decided to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in a grove owned by Mr. William Skiles and his mother, Susannah Skiles. Frederick Ketchum, Bishop of Kensington Baptist Church of Philadelphia, responded to the call of Brother Jenkins to add in the meetings which began on August 29, 1843. Conviction of sin was heavy and there were many broken hearts in repentance as God’s Word was preached. Meetings lasted nine days and fourteen were publicly identified with Christ through baptism. Meetings were held from that time forward by Brother Jenkins with the help of neighboring pastors. God’s blessings continued. By October 29, 1843, one hundred baptisms were performed–55 men and 45 women. A meeting was held on November 2, 1843 to decide where the group would erect a meetinghouse. One and one quarter acres of land were purchased from Mr. Christian Oberholser for $125. A building (43 X 55 ft) with a basement and upper room along Old Lancaster Rd., Lancaster Co., was erected. On December 12, 1844, the building was dedicated to the service of the Lord. Brother Ketchum preached on this occasion. On Jan. 2, 1845 the first Baptist church in the Pequea Valley was constituted and publicly recognized as The First Baptist Church of Pequea.
Today, over 160 years later, God continues to raise up a people with a vision to share with this growing community the need and joy of having eternal life that He has so freely given through His Son’s death at Calvary. May He continue to do so until His Son returns for His church.