The congregation at Gainsborough decided to leave England; in the process splitting into two groups. One group went to Holland and the other group went to Belgium. The group that went to Holland was led by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys. While in Holland they became convinced that the New Testament taught believer's baptism rather than infant baptism, and this group became the very first English-speaking Baptist church. They eventually returned to England, despite the threat of persecution. In fact, soon after their return, Helwys was imprisoned and there he died.
The second group decided against returning to England, and they eventually travelled to America. They made the perilous journey across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower and then formed a colony in Massachusetts. Of course, today we call them the “Pilgrims,” and every November we celebrate Thanksgiving in their honor. So Baptists and Pilgrims have their origins from the same Separatist congregation. Standing in Gainsborough Hall last month, I thanked God for our spiritual forefathers. They risked everything to follow Christ. May God give us the spiritual courage and faith to follow their example!