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Henry's Alline's New Light revival had left fertile ground for Baptism in Nova Scotia. Both churches emphasized public faith, humility and total commitment before God. Strongly worded attacks were aimed at churches that were less faithful to the will of the Lord. The only key difference was the Baptist doctrine of baptism by total immersion. Alline preached mostly to the less fortunate elements in society, and he attracted a sizable number of slaves to his faith before he left Nova Scotia.

When David George arrived in Shelburne, he had been a Baptist minister for many years, and had in fact been ordained at the first black church in North America. His preaching style was similar to Alline; righteous, passionate, and filled with anger against the impure elements in society. At first he held services in the open woods near Shelburne, performing baptisms in nearby rivers. A white man who had known of his church in Georgia donated some land in Shelburne to him, and George quickly built a meeting house. As a black preacher, George attracted many blacks, but also some whites who had been influenced by the New Light church.

This started trouble. Where a black man baptizing and preaching to other blacks was accepted, a black man baptizing whites was intolerable. One woman from Liverpool who wished to be baptized by George had relatives in Shelburne who grabbed her by her hair and attempted to drag her away. Authorities intervened and indicated that the woman was free to choose any faith she wished to. This proved to be the trigger that set off the Shelburne Race Riot. George was the first target; his church was torn down, he was badly beaten, and subsequently chased out of town.

From there George graveled around Birchtown preaching to anybody who would listen and holding services in the woods. This quickly earned the persecution of blacks from other faiths like Stephen Blucke, who George regularly denounced. George was forced to return to Shelburne. In his absence, his meeting house had been made into a tavern; George soon began preaching there. Worshippers began to gather again, and his congregation grew. His passion and intensity soon became famous throughout the region, and he began to travel regularly and hold mass baptism ceremonies.

George endorsed the departure for Sierra Leone, and nearly his entire black congregation left with him. Once in Sierra Leone, the Baptists became one of the important factions in the colony, where they were surprisingly the moderates who counseled patience and compromise.

George's African Baptist Church was never subject to any white religious authority. He built his own church and made his own doctrines. Of course, he couldn't count on the charity of religious authorities as preachers from more established faiths could, but that independence spoke to the desire for freedom that had led the black Loyalists to where they were.

Anglicans go backgo upgo to next Huntingdonians
Baptism in Schuykill River, 1772
Baptism by full body immersion is a central part of the Baptist faith.

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