“It was in London, in Palestine Place, for so many years an oasis for wandering Israelites, that the first exclusively Hebrew Christian Association was formed.
Here in the Jews’ Chapel on September 9, 1813. a group of forty-one Jewish Christians met together to constitute themselves an association called Beni Avraham, Children of Abraham, who undertook to meet for prayer every Sunday morning and Friday evening: to attend divine worship at the chapel and to visit daily, two by two in rotation, any sick member, to pray with him and read the Bible to him; and on Sunday, all who could were to visit the sick one.” [Schonfield]
The recent 200th year anniversary of the Beni Abraham was celebrated in Christchurch, Spitalfields in 2013, by CMJ. It marks the occasion of on of the first Messianic groups, or Hebrew Christian brotherhoods, of modern times.
Assembled and led by that indefatigable and controversial character, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Frey, it comprised a mixed group of Jewish believers in Jesus, some genuine and faithful believers, others rogues and charlatans. Has anything changed today?
I attach my slide presentation from the 2013 celebrations, and continue to research what happened to some of the forty-one original members. Some of their descendants have been in contact with me since. The whole enterprise was rather short-lived, due to the nature of the group, Frey’s sudden departure to the USA, and the difficulties the London Society had with it. But in the 19th century, it was an early forerunner of the Messianic movement of the 20th and 21st centuries, and we have much to learn from this initial attempt.
Prayer: Lord, Thank you for this early expression of a congregation of Jewish believers in Jesus meeting together for worship, prayer, fellowship and mutual support. May the Messianic movement today provide a similar congregational expression of such aims, and in addition show by the character and integrity of its members the true nature of the indissoluble bond between the Church and Israel, and the vital part Jewish believers in Yeshua have to play within both communities. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.