Sept 19, 1749. Philadelphia Baptist Association stated its support for local church autonomy. The Church of England and Methodist church had a defined hierarchy that left little local church autonomy, but the Baptists had only loose Associations, and a local church could choose which Association they wanted to join. Other decisions like which pastor to call, and who could join the church were decided by the local congregation. The Philadelphia Association was influential; ABHS has records from this association beginning in 1763.