Written by Vicky Thompson
I have always been captivated by the great stories of revival, particularly those that have taken place within the United Kingdom. Coming to faith in my teens I became fascinated with the way in which God had used men such as Whitfield, Wesley and Roberts to proclaim the good news with significant consequences. Little did I know or comprehend the pivotal role played by women in these national moves of God. One such woman is Selina the countess of Huntingdon whom I have come to admire greatly not only for her achievements but also for the faithful way in which she sacrificially served Christ with her whole life, often in the face of sadness or opposition.
Selina was born in the early 1700’s the daughter of the second earl of Ferrers, and married the second earl of Huntingdon. Like the biblical story of Esther, Selina was in a position of great influence and power and chose to use that influence above all else for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. Selina had a significant conversion experience as an adult that impacted the focus and direction of the rest of her life. After her conversion and hearing the preaching of Whitfield and John Wesley she provided platforms for them to speak amongst the rich and famous and she became concerned with the state of her own household servants and family, teaching the Bible to them and encouraging them of their need of Christ.
A.H. New writes ‘she renounced the ease and splendour of the noble rank for the service of her saviour. She mingled with the world only that she might be useful in saving souls; and exerted all the influence she possessed to secure greater triumphs for the gospel.’
Selina petitioned the king for protection for the preaching dissenters securing their freedom to speak, established over 200 chapels and a theological college and began a mission in America, then Sierra Leone. Her legacy today is the remaining denomination ‘the countess of Huntingdon’s connection’. Through its preachers and congregations the connection made a significant contribution to the revival of dissent in England in the late 18th Century. Selina’s journey saw the death of her husband and three of her children, she was spoken badly of because of her passion for Christ and faced opposition, yet through all she experienced and achieved it is the very fact that her ordinary life was made extraordinary as she faithfully followed Christ where He led that inspires me. Selina reminds me in the midst of the ordinary moments of my life to faithfully follow Him making the most of and playing my part knowing that I was put in this place for such a time as this.
Vicky leads a Community Church in South Bucks and is Chair of the Sophia Network. She is passionate to see the Church become all it should be in Christ and loves to help people develop their ministry. Vicky holds a Masters Degree in Theology and is a Baptist Minister.