Elder Peter
Worden V [1728-1808]


Peter bought land in Coventry, R.I. in 1750 and 1752. In 1750, he also bought land in Warwick.

Peter Worden was ordained to the work of the ministry at Warwick, R.I., May 1757, in the 24th year of his age. When he began to preach, he was too much of a New Light, and too strongly attached to the doctrine of salvation by sovereign grace to be generally received among the old Baptist Churches in Rhode Island when the following event opened the door for him: A criminal by the name of Carter was to be executed at Tower Hill and the scene of his execution collected abundance of people from all parts of the colony. While the criminal stood under the gallows, young Worden felt such concern for his soul that he urged his way through the crowd and being assisted by the Sheriff, the preacher addressed the criminal as follows: "Sir, is your soul prepared for the awful eternity into which you will launch in a few minutes?"

"I don't know that it is, but I wish that you would pray for me."

In his prayer, Mr. Worden was so wonderfully assisted in spreading the young man's cause before the throne of God, that the whole assembly was awfully solemnized, and most of them wet their cheeks with tears.

This opened a great door for his ministrations. He preached at Warwick, Coventry and many other places with great success, about nineteen years; and then about 1770, moved into the town of Cheshire, Mass. where he lived and administered about thirty-eight years.

In him, young preachers found a father and friend: distressed churches, a healer of breaches, and tempted souls a sympathizing guide. From his first settling in Cheshire, until he was seventy years old, he was a father to the Baptist in Berkshire County and its environments, and in some sense, an apostle to them all.

His many painful labors for the salvation of sinners, the peace of churches and the purity of ministers will never be fully appreciated until the time when he shall stand before his judge and receive the words of his mouth, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The preceeding six paragraphs were extracts from Elder John Leland's funeral discourse.

Minutes of the Shaftsbury Association in 1808 mentions the death of Elder Peter Werden, and says" For dignity of nature, soundness of judgment, meekness of temper and unwearied labors in the ministry, but few have equalled him in his age. He was father, founder and guarding angel of this association, till his age prevented."

The inscription on his monument, prepared by himself, is as follows:

"Here lies the body of Peter Werden, late pastor of the Church of Christ in Cheshire."

On his monument is also the following inscription:

"His soul to God he used to send
To cry for grace for foe and friend:
But, blessed be the God of love,
His soul is now with Christ above.
This crumbling sculptur keeps the clay
That used to house his noble mind:
But at the resurrection day
A nobeler he shall find."


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SOURCE: Obtained at Worden Hall in East Dennis, Cape Cod, MA


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