Looking back to the early 90s, it made some sense. The suggestion was that if we constituted as ‘Midleton Baptist Church’ people may confuse us for St. John the Baptist Church of Ireland in the town. And so, in 1992, Midleton Evangelical Church was founded with 11 members meeting in a portable, prefab, preschool building with occasional visits from furry friends!
It was a courageous calling to be a founding member. It would require a total dependence on God and a willingness to ‘love each other deeply’ (1 Peter 4:8) while attempting to reach out ‘declaring the Good News of God’s Kingdom in Jesus to the people of Midleton, East Cork and beyond.’
By 1994, the Church had taken up tenancy of a stable block in the grounds of Midleton Town Council. More people attended with an increasing diversity as Cork become home for nationalities from around the globe. Mervyn and Karen Scott came in 1997 to reach out through Baptist Missions with a vision to see a further church planted in Youghal. Andy and Sharon Compton came in 2003 to help pastor a church in need of care and consecutive Bible teaching.
In 2018, we voted to change our name from ‘Evangelical’ to ‘Baptist.’ This was for a number of reasons, not least, because some of our first-generation, local members initiated it. ‘Evangelical’ wasn’t easily understood by their friends and family. Also, it had become rather negative due to the looser definition of ‘Evangelical’ and its derogatory use in the Irish media. The Cork/Kerry Project vision to plant churches clarified the need to adopt the same ‘Baptist’ name as our partner churches to avoid confusion. And, we felt there was an integrity issue as well. We are a Baptist church in governance and conviction that is part of an association of Irish Baptist churches on this island.
The conclusion in our meeting was, why would we call ourselves anything else?