I enjoyed this short book on the history of Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario and highly recommend it.
I’ve often wondered whether Christian historians sometimes focus on personalities and movements at the expense of specific church histories. Of course none of these topics should be neglected, but aren’t church histories often neglected or done poorly? What of the congregations that outlive these personalities and movements by decades? While histories following the development of specific local churches may never be best sellers, I feel that more than ever they are important. And, quite frankly, they can be very interesting.
In my opinion, Michael Haykin and Ian Clary have succeeded in five ways. First, they’ve drawn me in—one who has never set foot in any Baptist church in Hamilton, let alone heard of this particular church—making me genuinely interested in its history and future prospects. Second, they’ve balanced scholarly vigor with a down-to-earth tone, giving the sense that they are plumbing depths without leaving a reader “out of their depth”. Third, they’ve tied in the history of a local church with broader currents, indirectly teaching history and showing the broader significance to this particular church. Fourth, they’ve avoided gushy sentimentalism, and while they’ve certainly tried to paint a warm portrait, they are obviously committed to being realistic and accurate. Fifth, they’ve apparently obtained great help in producing an attractive book, with a great cover design and fantastic pictures.
Though it has no ISBN and doesn’t seem to be widely available, this book is worth tracking down! It is a fantastic model of what authors of church histories can attain to. What a blessing it would be to see many similar histories written in the next few years!