Octavius Winslow (1 August 1808 – 5 March 1878), also known as "The Pilgrim's Companion", was a prominent 19th-century evangelical preacher in England and America. A Baptist minister for most of his life and contemporary of Charles Spurgeon and J. C. Ryle, he seceded to the Anglican church in his last decade.
Historical family information
Winslow was a direct descendant of John Winslow and Mary Chilton who braved the Atlantic to travel to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Legend has it that Mary was the first female of the little band to set foot in the New World. In 1624 she married John, brother to Edward Winslow (1595–1655), a celebrated Pilgrim leader. [expand title="see more on Octavius Winslow"]
Education and American Ministry
It is suggested that Winslow began his ministerial training in Stepney, London, but then moved to Columbia College, New York. Twice he was granted the privilege of receiving honorary degrees. The first was a Masters of Arts (M.A.) by the University of the City of New York (NYU) in 1836. Secondly, in 1851, Columbia College in New York City conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). The second degree was given mostly because of the body and scope of his written works. Winslow's official ordination would later be on 21 July 1833 at the Oliver Street Baptist Church.
After completing a short service as a moderator at a Stanton Street church, he was dismissed on 18 May 1831 and he went on to found or "plant" the 20 members Bowery Baptist Church which was organized in March 1833 and met in the Military Hall on the Bowery. After meeting in this Hall for a year, they relocated to Broadway Hall and renamed the church Central Baptist Church. These years would bring the church a "moderate degree of prosperity" and would bring Winslow trials of depression. When Winslow would later leave this flock, there would be no written records as to why he left.
He is said to have ministered in the newly started Second Baptist Church there in Brooklyn on the corner of Tillary and Lawrence Streets in 1836 and 1837, the work sadly closing in 1838 and the church was sold to the Free Presbyterian congregation. In 1839 he moved back to England where he became one of the most valued ministers of his time. This was largely due to the earnestness of his preaching and the excellence of his prolific writings.
Ministry in England
Winslow spent most of his life in England. He pastored a Baptist church on Warwick Road in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire (1839–1858) where he followed Rev. D.J. East. In 1858 he became the founder and first minister of Kensington Chapel, Bath. In 1865 the church became a Union Church (mixed credobaptist and paedobaptist). This latter event probably marks a changing attitude in Winslow who in 1867 left the Baptist pastorate and in 1870 was ordained an Anglican deacon and priest by the Bishop of Chichester. For his remaining years, he served as minister of Emmanuel Church, Brighton, on the south coast. In 1868 he had produced a hymn book for this very congregation. This church was destroyed in 1965 and a Baptist church erected in its place.[/expand]