This week, leading up to Easter Weekend, it seems appropriate to do a special tribute to the religious heroes that sailed on Titanic and honored God until the bitter end. Today, I would like to introduce you to Reverend Robert Bateman. He was from Jacksonville, Florida and traveled 2nd Class aboard Titanic at age 52.
Hello there, I’m Reverend Robert Bateman, married, father of 7 and founder of the Central City Mission in Jacksonville, Florida. Before settling down here in this lovely city, I had lived where I was born, in Bristol, England, and later in Wales, Ireland, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
Early in life, I had felt a strong spiritual need to spread the gospel and to that end, became an ordained minister at the age of 21. I’ve been called a “fiery evangelist”, a champion of the poor and disadvantaged, and to the children I’ve served, I’m called, “Uncle Bob.”
In the late 1890’s, I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where I founded my own non-denominational Peoples Tabernacle Church. I also held well-attended evangelical meetings in the surrounding area. Later, when I heard there was a need for a mission in Jacksonville, Florida, I moved the family there and set up practice in one of the most downtrodden sections of the city.
I had been in England on church business and was booked to return to the States on Titanic, accompanied by my wife’s sister, Ada Balls, who had lost her husband and was considering a permanent move to America. There were 5 Protestant ministers and 3 Catholic priests on board. None of us could know that we would soon face the greatest test of faith we had ever experienced. When my time came, I placed Ada in a lifeboat, removed my black necktie and tossed it to her as a keepsake, saying, “Goodbye, God bless you!”
To discover Rev. Bateman’s fate, visit the Titanic Museum Attraction. See the only Bible from Titanic now on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tn.
May God Bless You and Keep You.