Arthur Augustus Rees (1844-1884)


Rees began his life in ministry as a clergyman of the Church of England who became curate to the Rector of Sunderland in 1841. Poole-Connor writes:


“He was in great earnest to be a winner of souls, and his sailorly vigour in the pulpit alarmed his spiritual superiors, and he was given notice to quit, in spite of fourteen hundred of the parishioners signing a petition that he should stay on… His followers wished to purchase a chapel for him, but the Bishop refused to licence him for it. Later he was offered the charge of Episcopal chapel in Bath; he accepted, filled the church to overflowing, but again the Bishop interfered and refused him permission to continue: he was, in effect, driven out of the Established Church.”


He went on to build Bethesda Chapel in 1844 with a sum of money he came into on his father’s death. He began by using the prayer book and preached in a black gown, but gradually became more and more non-conformist in his views, and shortly afterwards was baptised by immersion by George Muller of Bristol.


Rees continued to faithfully pastor the flock of Bethesda until his death in 1884.


Works by/about Rees:

Midshipman and the Minister (Biography)

The Personal Reign of Christ



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Bethesda Free Church • Tatham Street • Sunderland • SR1 2QB

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