The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 158th annual session with Richardson Chapel Church, Louisa, Kentucky.
The community of Richardson came about because of a man named George S. Richardson from New York. He, together with John Carlisle and his father; and later Colonel J. H. Northup, were pioneers in the Big Sandy Coal Business. He was greatly responsible for bringing the railroad to the area due to his coal business.
Mr. Richardson was also interested in education and the spiritual needs of the people. He had a big schoolhouse built that also was used as the church on Sundays and for revivals. Other churches were being built. Across the river from the depot, the Methodists, who immersed their converts, had a well attended church. In winter when the river froze, people crossed the river on foot, in sleds or wagons to attend. That church was later torn down and moved across the river to Richardson to a more convenient place. Around this time, the United Baptist Church appeared in the area.
After time, with the decline of the coal industry in the area, attendance to these churches began to decline. People would travel for miles to attend a Sunday service to find the doors of the churches closed because no one came to hold services.
It was about this time, in 1960; Elder Claude VanHoose was saved and baptized at Walnut Grove Church. Shortly afterwards, he was called by the Lord to preach His word. He held many revivals in homes and in different churches in the Richardson area. He was so happy with his conversion and wanted to tell everyone about the Lord that he would preach into the wee hours of the morning. Many a night he stayed until 4 a.m. with people praying on the altar at the old church at Patrick. Many souls were saved and a lot of preaching, singing, and shouting were going on.
The people in the Richardson area saw a need to form a new church. An arm was received from Rose Chapel in Ohio and on September 8th of 1962, Richardson Chapel was organized in an old church at Patrick.
Shortly after the church was organized, Sister Phyllis Price joined Richardson Chapel. A search was underway for property to build a church. Sister Phyllis was walking in the road below where the church now stands when the Lord clearly spoke to her and told her to look up. She looked up at what was a hillside then. The Lord spoke again to her and told her this was where He wanted His church built. The hillside was owned by Birdie Childers who was Sister Phyllis's aunt. Sister Phyllis went to her Aunt Birdie and asked her if the church could be built on that hillside. Aunt Birdie told Sister Phyllis she would think about it. Sister Phyllis went home and told her husband, Cecil and Elder Claude VanHoose about what had happened. A week or so later, Brother Cecil and Brother Claude went to Sister Birdie who not only let them build the church on the property, but gave the property to the Primitive Baptist Church as long as the church remains a Primitive Baptist Church.
In March of 1963, construction on the church began and in August of 1963, the first meeting was held at Richardson Chapel, although the building was not yet finished. Richardson was and remains a poor area in eastern Kentucky, but the love for the church was great. Many people past and present donated money, labor, and a lot of love to the church.
September 14, 1963 the church was dedicated and on the same day Cecil Price was ordained a deacon. Mike Laney was the other deacon and had been ordained when the church was organized at the old church at Patrick.
Sister Birdie Childers did not join the church until several years after the church was built, but rarely missed a meeting at the church. She was a faithful worker for the Lord and a hostess in her home to many who came from out of the area to church at Richardson Chapel.
In 1972, Richardson Chapel was host to the Eastern District Primitive Baptist Association. Those coming from Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia traveled muddy, gravel roads from Louisa to Richardson. Some, I believe, thought they had truly come to the end of the world when they reached Richardson. There was no 4 lane highway running beside the church in those days. Elder Lucian Lane led the delegation in prayer and Elder Bert Banks preached the introductory service. His text was the 8th chapter of Psalms and 2nd chapter of Hebrews.
Through the years, the church building has been renovated, Sunday school rooms added, and many other improvements made to the church which still stands on the hillside where the Lord told Sister Phyllis He wanted His church built.
After searching the records diligently and speaking with members present the day the church was organized, we reached the conclusion the following were the 13 charter members mentioned in the minutes: Mike Laney, Paul David Burgess, Nancy Boyd Cook, Katherine Boyd, Juanita Price Borders, Beatrice Laney Runyon, Sharlet Fitch Burke, Mabel Cook, Sharon Cook Ratliff, David Preston, Roberta Laney McKinnon, Myrtle Rice, and Mrs. Levita (Noah) Moore.
Elder Claude VanHoose served as pastor from the time the church was organized until his death in 1969. Others who have served as pastor are Elders Harold Shaw, Bert Banks, Clarence Slagle, Bill Meade, Darrell Ratliff, Cecil Price, and Brad Dutton. Tommy Meade is the present pastor.
The first deacon was Brother Mike Laney. Others who have served as deacons are Brothers Cecil Price, who was later called to preach, Adris Frazier, Virgil Wiley, Earl Dutton, Glen VanHoose, Hubert VanHoose, Mark Burgess, Shane Fyffe, and Paul Fitch. The present deacon is Brother John Borders. Brother Harold Sincell has been set aside to be ordained as deacon.
The first clerk of the church was Mabel Cook and the first treasurer was Kathy Boyd.
God has truly blessed Richardson Chapel since it began in 1962. We are honored to be host church this year. We truly want to be a light to the community from that hillside that Sister Phyllis saw so many years ago.
The association gathered for its 158th time on a beautiful fall day in Eastern Kentucky. Sister Zula McCullough led us in singing songs of praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is joy unspeakable and so full of glory, the half has never been told. When we behold His glorious face, how we will praise His wonderful grace. Our wonderful Jesus shows us the way into the blessed kingdom of day. It won't be very long until Jesus shall appear and our burdens will be laid down as all the saints get home. For all those that trust His matchless grace, there is an unseen hand that leads where e'er we go and while it leads we have no fear, for we're going to a land where neither sin nor sorrow can ever come. Let come what may in this life, anywhere is home sweet home if Jesus Christ is there. Our soul sings as His power throughout the universe is displayed, how great Thou art! He bled and died to take away our sin and He will come again with shouts of acclamation. Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service. Thank God for the power that created it all. What a wonderful time to worship Him. The indwelling of His will guides us, protects us and keeps us from the harms of this world. That which dwells within us will help us to glory in the cross. Let us honor the Lord Jesus Christ with everything that is within us. We pray that if there is one here that does not know the Lord, they may find Him precious to their soul and not leave in the condition they came in. May we always lift up and edify the cause of Christ. Search out that wonderful blessing He has for each of us. To gather in God's name is the only way.
Elder Sizemore mentioned the passing of Elders Eckel Head, Gale Derrick and Bazzle Manis since we last met. These brethren have been a blessing to this grand body and the association misses them, but we know they are at peace with our Heavenly Father.
Elder Sizemore asked that each minister in attendance at the association be sure to sign the minister's book located in front of the clerk's table.
Sister Zula led the congregation in singing the old song that is the association's standard song, "Brethren We Have Met Again." Since we met 12 months ago, some have gone to enjoy that heavenly land and when our work here is done, we will join them in that happy land.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which includes Billy Jack Johnson (chairman), Joe Horton and Gerald Moore.
He reminded everyone to turn in church letters and obituaries as soon as possible.
Mike Peterson came forward with a wonderful testimony and led the congregation in singing an old song of praise. Some day our trials here will cease and our soul will be set free from sin. No more in darkness to roam, but with Him in glory we shall be to live with Christ forever.
Tommy Meade, pastor of host church, welcomed everyone, thanking them and God for being here with us. Instead of mentioning names, he wanted to thank everyone, especially those of the church who have labored and worked so hard to make things ready for this blessed event. He also thanked the association for their prayers and what God did for his wife. He also asked us to remember his son, who had a massive stroke at 38 years old. He is having some major health problems due to the stroke, but their main concern is that he would be saved. Remember each other that His spirit and unity would keep us together. It is so wonderful to know the Lord in the free pardon of sin.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, our churches, those serving in the military, our country, Tommy Meade's son, Imogene McPherson, Harold Head, Woodrow and Barbara Fields, Kaden Sizemore, Jan Fowler, Maxine Nichols, Charlene Mitchell's grandson who was wounded in Iraq, Edgar Neeley and his family, Homer Falin, Patricia Leonard, Etta Tignor, Gerald and Lorena Jones, thank God for Josh and Justin Jones who have been saved and are in attendance, Carl Smith, Buddy, Donald and Lola Mae Sybert, the lost in Billy Jack Johnson's family, John Turner and his wife, Leon Ritchie and his wife, L. E. and Virgie Grace Hill and their children, Jamie Jarnigan's niece and her mom and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Bill VanHoose humbly led us to the throne of grace. How fitting for Elder VanHoose to lead the opening prayer as his father, Elder Claude VanHoose, was the pastor at Richardson Chapel Church when they entered the association.
Having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, Elder Neal Drinnon took the first part of the service. He encouraged everyone to be led by the Holy Spirit of God. He is our help in the time of need. Using as a text, "The Lord is my helper," Elder Drinnon preached Jesus. He will get hold of us to get our attention and He is truly the help in a troubled world. We all have a need. Jesus has brought us together in truth and spirit and He is the only way. He is that need we so desperately require. Anything done in the name of Jesus will be done in decency and order. Jesus quickens the soul of the lost. He will fill us with His spirit and we can accomplish all things in His name. We're brothers and sisters in Christ and we're going to heaven together. God doesn't make any mistakes; through Him all things are possible. Many of our elderly cannot travel, so we must pray that God will send younger people into our churches so this grand body can grow in the Lord. There is no other name than Jesus, and if man will call upon Him, in faith believing, He will save them. If you have a need, it can be fixed today. Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me! Elder Brad Dutton took the second part of the service. God settled this long ago and there is no need to add to it, or take anything away from it. He is the resurrection and if we have Jesus, we have life, for He is all we need. Life in Christ may not fit in something this world can measure, but it does fit deep down in our soul. What a blessed hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord! Whatsoever we ask in Jesus' name, He will deliver. Walk in the old paths, for they have been tested and were set up by Jesus Christ Himself. Obey the spirit and we can know we are truly blessed.
Elder Scott Tipton led us in song as we were dismissed for lunch.
Our afternoon service was opened with singing of praises to our blessed Redeemer. His matchless love was shown for everyone as He suffered all alone for our sake. His wonderful story of love is a comfort to His children. Oh sinner, please believe the story of love that has been with us from the dawn of creation. There's a land that is fairer than day where by faith we can see it afar. We shall meet on that beautiful shore in the sweet bye and bye.
We were so richly blessed by special singing from Aubra Hill, Verna Jerrell and Bill Winstead and his family. No sad goodbyes will be spoken in sweet Beulah Land. There's just a few more days to labor before we can take our heavenly flight home. We shall wear palms of victory and crowns of glory when deliverance comes. Our Father in heaven tells of the gift He has given. Just consider how much Jesus truly loves us.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service, thanking the church for the wonderful lunch and God for His bountiful blessings.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, those made during the morning service, Stella Sybert, Robbie Dotson, John Bowlin, Pauline Lawson, Flo Minton's niece, Copper Creek Church, lady's lost son, A. D Howington's family and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder A. D. Howington took our petitions to the Lord.
Brother Ralph Baker, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. A total of 64 churches were recommended by the committee to be accepted. The letter from Little Dove Church has not been received at this time. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by their respective churches as the voting body of the association.
The delegation was seated in order to conduct the business of the association. The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder Burnice Sybert was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. Elder Sybert came forward to serve during the election.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as clerk and treasurer of the association. A nomination was made and it was seconded for Brother Danny Lawson to serve as clerk and treasurer. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote by acclamation, he will serve for the ensuing year.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator of the association. Elder Terry Sizemore was nominated and it was seconded for him to serve as moderator of the association. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote by acclamation, Elder Sizemore will serve as moderator for the coming year.
Elder Sizemore thanked Elder Sybert for standing as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials.
Speaking for himself and the clerk, he thanked the delegation for the confidence placed in us to hold these positions and represent this grand body. We are truly humbled and privileged to serve this association and we deeply appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity for another year. We, as the officers of the association, covet your thoughts and prayers. Please remember us throughout the year as we strive to do God's will in every aspect of our service to God and the association.
Billy Jack Johnson, chairman of the Committee on Religious Exercises came forward to give the report.
Church: Frank Gilliam and Scott Tipton
Tent: Roger VanHoose and Bill VanHoose
Little United Valley Church: Daniel Smith and Joe Pitzer
Friday morning: October 1, 2010
Stand: Oscar Irvin and Lewis Baker
Church: Jim and Jamie Jarnigan
The moderator asked for a motion and second to allow him to appoint all committees necessary to carry on the business of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all such committees.
The moderator appointed the following committees:
Committee on Electrical and PA System: Delmer McPherson (chairman), Elders David Jerrell and Virgil Lipe, Scott Mellons, Bobby Caudill, Eric McPherson and Danny Lawson.
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers Shane Russell (chairman), Jim Lykins and Derrick Cantwell; Deacons Gene Ward and Larry Delph; Laymen Don Brown and Clifton Horne.
Committee on Finance: Mike Fullington (chairman), Bill Winstead and Glenn Cornett.
Committee on Obituaries: Daniel Smith (chairman), Jamie Jarnigan and Frank Gilliam.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: Burnice Sybert (chairman), Oscar Irvin, Lewis Baker, Gordon Justice, Richard Seiber, John Banks and Eddie Malone.
Since time was available, it was decided to move a few business items from Friday's afternoon service to today.
The moderator informed the delegation that excused absence forms for school are available from the clerk.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $1500 in appreciation for his services.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
The clerk reported all financial transactions to the delegation. He also explained that a new printing company had given an estimate for printing our minutes. The quality of their examples is equivalent to, or better than our existing minutes and the costs will save the association nearly $1000. The company is a Christian family-owned business who promise a shorter turnaround time for the work performed. Minutes will be delivered to the association clerk when they are finished. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow Superior Printing of Neon/Whitesburg, KY to print our minutes for this year.
The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed until Friday morning, October 1, 2010.
The Lord blessed us to gather on a beautiful day once again this side of eternity. As we journey through this land, many arrows pierce our soul, but the Lord leads what e'er betides. Oh, to see Him and look upon His face when our cares are past and we are home at last ever to rejoice. Just inside the eastern gate, we will meet in the morning. So keep your lamps trimmed and burning to watch and wait for the bridegroom. Oh, the joy of that glad meeting! If we will anchor our soul in the haven of rest, we will be safe evermore. No matter what this world may throw at us, that still small voice we hear whispers sweet peace. We may be cast down in spirit and soul, but if we trust Him by faith and by faith hold His hand; He will take command and calm our troubled world.
The congregation was blessed with special singing and testimony from Null Lawson, Roger and Janette Trent and Terry Sizemore. The only fire we'll ever feel is burning in our heart, for that tiny flame will keep us safe from all harm. We hear people talk about heaven, a place given to the believers which cost Him His blood, but we hold a clear title to a mansion Jesus has prepared which stands on the rock of ages. Thank God for salvation! The best day we've ever had on this earth won't compare to our heavenly home. Oh, what a city awaits all of God's children!
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to today's service. It is wonderful to know we have a God that is alive. God is seeking lost individuals that they may see His light and be saved. It is good to be on the grounds and feel His power among us. May everything we do be done to edify Him. Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, all the requests from yesterday, those serving our country in the military, our association, our country, Buford Ferguson, Oscar Irvin's neighbor, Tom Carter's wife who is lost, Vargo family and many unspoken requests signified with uplifted hands. Elder Scott Tipton took us to the throne of grace in a soul-stirring prayer.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Elder Oscar Irvin, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. The Lord knows what we stand in need of. The children of God will be fed, strengthened, filled and built up with His wonderful Holy Spirit. He walks and talks with us and He tells us we are His own. He read from the 15th chapter of St. John, verses 7-15, using as a text a portion of the 12th verse "That ye love one another, as I have loved you." God set forth the true example of what love really is. He created us in His own image. Adam knew better than to eat of the forbidden fruit, so Satan went to Eve; but their understanding was not opened until Adam ate of it, too, because the commandment was put in Adam's hands. They were ashamed of their nakedness before God. Except God calls, you'll never come to the knowing grace of God. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. He brought salvation to a lost and dying world. He didn't have to send His son here to be God, He was already God, and neither did He have to send His son down here for Him to be the son of God, for He was already the son of God. He sent Him that we might have eternal life. His blood that flowed down the old rugged cross makes you the son of God when it is applied. Christ purchased the church and that makes him the head of the body. So, what is love? Is it when we get what we want, or when we put our brother's needs before our own? His spirit will bear witness within the soul and it seals us until the day of redemption. By the love we have for one another, all men will know us. The scriptures tell us the Love of God will hide a multitude of sins. We must therefore love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Elder Lewis Baker followed with another wonderful message from God. God is love and we owe Him everything. Even the birds praise Him, so who are we not to praise Him in all that we do? There are no bounds to His amazing love. Seated on the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ still controls all things and without Him we have nothing. Love thy neighbor as thyself. His perfect love has been established in the hearts of God's children. The same Jesus they saw going away will come again in like manner. This old body will go down in corruption, but will be raised in immortality. This world is not our home, for we are merely pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. He deserves all the glory.
Brother Dan Cross led us in song as we were adjourned for lunch. Tears of joy and shouts of praise rang out over the grounds as God's children praised His name.
The congregation came together with songs of praise to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. As we come to the garden alone, He speaks and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing. When Jesus came and made us whole, we stood upon His word and we would not be denied. Satan may say God is gone, but the Lord hears our prayers as He sits at the right hand of the Father. God's promise of love says there shall be showers of blessings sent from the Savior above. Mercy drops 'round us are falling, but for the showers we plead. Some glad morning when this life is over, we'll fly away to our blessed home where joy shall never end. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that lets us know we have a home not made with hands. Once blind, now I see, for His grace relieved my fears. After we've been there ten thousand years, we've no less days to sing God's praise.
We were further blessed with special singing and testimony from Leona Kester, Ruth Ann Dalton Hood, Jerry Scalf, Clear Springs Church singers and the Kingswood Church singers. We have started out to find a better way to our home with the Lord. We shall be so happy in the presence of the Lord where we can put the world aside. Let us give Him the glory for all the great things He has done. Let the earth hear His voice as His people rejoice. This life is like a flower, here today and gone tomorrow; but when Jesus comes one day, like a bird we'll go home. It is then our soul will take a flight without man's wings and our Savior will guide us safely home. Remember the day when you were low and Jesus asked what sins are you talking about, I don't remember them anymore. He washed them all away, to be remembered no more. We're just a poor wayfaring stranger traveling thru this weary land, just going over Jordon, just going over home. The right words to describe our Lord are impossible to find, but the sum of it all is oh, what a Savior is mine. Giving us courage to do His will, His infinite grace will keep us throughout this journey, for our real home is up there on high. We belong to the King of Kings. Everything in His hand is secure. God's children have peace like a river, joy like a fountain and love like an ocean in their soul. There is nothing like being an old time Christian in this high tech world we live in. Praise God, for we are going home because there is nothing to hold us here. Just a glimpse of that heavenly home keeps us moving on, for every hope we have in this old world is anchored in the blood of the Lamb.
Elder Sizemore thanked the church for the wonderful lunch as he welcomed everyone back. Thank God for His wonderful spirit that is here with us! The wonderful service in the tent and church this morning is a blessing to us all. Our journey here may be rough, but God will smooth out the rough spots and make our way straight.
Prayer requests were made for all those in the previous services, the unsaved, all those serving our country in the military and their families, David Smith, Robert Carter and the men who help him, John Bowlin, Harold Head, John Arnott, Maxie Marcum, Jim and Doris Burke, Henry Wheeler, John Borders, Tommy Meade's son, Phil Crittenden's sister, A. D. Howington, Allen Hensley, Orbin Ward, Steve's brother and neighbor, Donald and Lola Mae Sybert, Daniel Hurd, Teddy Charles family, Jacob Raleigh, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Jerry Johnson took our petitions to the Lord.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Brother Ralph Baker came forward to give the final report of the Letter Committee. The letter from Little Dove has not been received. It was motioned, seconded and voted for the clerk and moderator to examine the letter when it is received and if everything is in order, to add their information to minutes.
Brother Billy Jack Johnson read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
Church: Richard Seiber, David Jerrell and Virgil Lipe
Tent: Jerry Johnson and Lowell Johnson
Saturday morning, October 2, 2010:
Stand: Terry Sizemore and Burnice Sybert
Roller's Chapel: Roger VanHoose and Joe Pitzer
The moderator reminded those serving on the committees that they were released when their final report is given.
Elder Sizemore appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 2011 which includes: David Horton (chairman), Bradley Bowen, Gene Ward and Steve Minton (alternate).
Delmer McPherson, chairman of the Electrical and PA Committee, came forward to speak to the delegation. He thanked God for saving him and thanked all the men on the committee for the work they do. He also thanked the host churches, both present and past for all the help they had shown the committee to help get the electrical and PA system set up.
The Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
The Committee on Finance reported $8,588.50 in receipts for the year. The chairman thanked each church and individual for their contributions.
Elder Neal Drinnon came forth and asked that we give Elder Sizemore $500.00 in appreciation for all he does for the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator this amount in appreciation for his services.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 77 have been received at this time. The chairman reminded everyone that certain things such as verses of songs and scripture, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, daughter-in-laws, son-in-laws, etc. cannot be included in the obituaries.
It was motioned, seconded and voted that the host church will be responsible for the maintenance of the kitchen, with any needed repair costs to be reimbursed by the clerk from association funds.
Larry Russell, Roy Jones and Elder Scott Tipton wrote the Circular Letter for this year. Brother Larry Russell was chosen to read the letter as the others looked on. Its message was to each of us as we are that city set upon a hill. Depend on God so we do not walk in darkness, but in the light of everlasting light. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read. Pastors are encouraged to read it to their congregation.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Circular Letters for 2011 which includes Pastors James Jarnigan, Neal Drinnon and Rod Raleigh.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that 3 queries had been received. Elder Sybert thanked God for the men appointed to this committee. He was reminded from our past that we will make mistakes. At Swan Creek church 50 years ago today, Elder J. P. Peters spoke concerning our older ministers. Elder Peters had been preaching for 48 years and was considered one of the best in church matters and discipline. It was noted that one thing which seemed to register with the delegation was "Our method of conducting business and the principles and practices which we teach and believe largely accounts for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit among us."
The 3 queries received were all in regard to same subject. It was decided to consider these as one query. Since the query from Oak Grove had the most detailed questions, it was decided to use it. Beech Grove and Flower Gap were similar in nature.
The query had five questions, so in the interest of time, it was decided to divide it into 2 sections. Section 1 will have 4 questions and Section 2 will have 1 question. The answers to each question were agreed to unanimously by the committee members.
Each question of the query was read three times to allow everyone to understand exactly what was involved. The questions are as follows:
1.) In reference to "Procedure for Ordination of Ministers or Deacons" (Section B) refers to observing gospel order according to Paul's instructions to Timothy and Titus. Adopted at Piney Grove in 1886; published in 1970. Paul's instructions were for Bishops and Deacons. Question: Who are the ordained Bishops of the Eastern District Primitive Baptist Association? (None are listed in the Minutes)
Several questions were asked concerning all of the queries and were all three queries similar enough to combine them? The questions in the queries from Flower Gap and Beech Grove were similar. Members of these churches were asked if it was alright to combine and they agreed it was okay. The moderator asked if anyone from those churches objected to combining the queries. None came forward. A move was made to combine and later withdrawn. The delegation was asked if it was okay to combine the questions of all 3 queries. All were in favor, with no objections. The delegation was then asked, "do we address this query?" It was motioned, seconded and voted to address or discuss the query. It was motioned, seconded and voted to hear the committee's answer. The committee's answer to question 1 was:
The meaning of the word "Bishop" is overseer. The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists has always accepted this to be the same as "pastor." Paul's instructions to the elders (our title for ministers) "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Article of Faith #15 states, "We believe God chooses, calls and qualifies those whom He would have to preach the gospel." In I Timothy 2:7 Apostle Paul states, "I am ordained a preacher" and in his instructions to Titus in Titus 1:5, "ordain elders in every city." Thus, we see that men who are chosen, called and qualified by God are to be ordained to both preach and pastor.
In the Minister's List in our minutes, names without an asterisk are those who have been ordained to preach. They are "eligible" to be a pastor, but the church who may consider them for that office must for themselves judge their qualifications.
After extensive discussion, it was motioned to accept the recommendation and print it as an answer to the first question of the query. Further discussion required that the committee's answer be read again, along with a portion of the church letter concerning that each church and its pastor believe, teach and practice according to the Articles of Faith, Rules of Decorum and Church Covenant. The Ordination of a Minister form was also read to the delegation. It is the desire of the committee to provide scripturally accurate answers where those are demanded. Some, however, are totally dependent on the relationship of association to church and the relationship of church to individual members.
First of all, it is necessary for everyone to understand that the association has no power or authority to deal with individual church members whether they be ministers, deacons or lay members. The church deals with individual members. The association deals with churches only in terms of fellowship. A church letter to the association will be received upon recommendation of the Letter Committee and no overriding objection from the floor of delegates. It may be tabled for a year, or even longer, if there is a question of association rules being broken and it being a known fact. If a church continually fails to observe gospel order, the association may withdraw fellowship from the church. This is a rare and drastic step, as ministers' and deacons' ordination papers are invalidated.
There is an excellent explanation of this relationship in the circular letter in the 1956 minute.
The motion to receive/accept the answer for question #1 was seconded. This question only addressed the definition of a Bishop. It was voted to accept the committee's answer to question 1 of the query.
2.) If a minister or deacon ordains a man with two living wives or the wife having two living men, (Section C) or step outside this association (Section E) to ordain men, what will be the consequences they will face? (Example: surrender papers, dismissed from association, etc.)
It was motioned, seconded and voted to discuss question 2 of the query. It was motioned, seconded and voted to hear the committee's answer to the question.
The committee's answer to question 2 was:
The church where the minister or deacon holds membership should reprove (tell him what he did wrong) and if deemed necessary, rebuke (publically censure) him. The act of rebuke may be necessary if he is not repentant.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendation of the committee as an answer to question 2.
3.) Will ministers that have more than one living wife continue to be listed in the minutes?
It was motioned, seconded and voted to discuss question 3 of the query. It was motioned, seconded and voted to hear the committee's answer to the question.
The committee's answer to question 3 was:
Yes, if their name is on the letter to the association from the church where they hold membership.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendation of the committee as an answer to question 3
4.) If yes is answer to question #3:
Can they be denoted with two asterisks (**) as unordained men are noted with one asterisk (*)?
Since yes was the answer to question #3, it was motioned, seconded and voted to discuss question 4 of the query. It was motioned, seconded and voted to hear the committee's answer to the question.
The committee's answer to question 4 was:
No, the association has no authority to mark an individual. The asterisk (*) noting an unordained person denotes his status in the ministry.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendation of the committee as an answer to question 4.
This concluded the questions from section one of the query. Section two, question 5 was addressed.
5.) Will the Eastern District Primitive Baptist Association continue to accept letters of churches with Pastors or Moderators with two or more living wives or their wives with two or more living men?
It was motioned, seconded and voted to discuss question 5 of the query. It was motioned, seconded and voted to hear the committee's answer to the question.
The committee's answer to question 5 was:
A number of years ago, the association had an Advisory Committee (established in 1963) which was appointed annually, consisting of 9 ministers and 6 deacons and the Association Moderator and Clerk as ex-officio members. During the time Brother Burnice Sybert was Association Clerk, the advisory committee was asked several times for assistance by churches having a problem, or appointed by the delegation to help resolve a problem within a church. During those times, the problem was caused by a church being out of order. In each case, the Advisory Committee ruled the church must rescind the action taken while out of order, return to the status preceding the out of order action, and begin anew from there.
In 1982, a query came before the Association. It follows in part:
We, the church of Jenkins' Chapel, would like for the delegates of the association to vote yes or no: Is it right, according to the Scriptures, to ordain a man with two living wives or the wife having two living men, and for their decision to be put in the minutes. The discussion began before the moderator could put it to a vote to see if the majority was for or against answering it. Following a great discussion, during which many people spoke their convictions on the subject, it was motioned, seconded and voted to put it to a vote. A large majority of the delegation voting gave an answer of no. The major points brought out during the discussion were as follows. The instructions given by Paul to Timothy and Titus deal with the ordination of men to the office of bishop (or pastor) and deacon. Men in the condition stated by the query who are called of God to preach can still exercise their gift. The decision of the delegation in no way affects those who have been ordained in the past.
In the next day's session, the business proceedings of yesterday were read by the clerk. The moderator asked if there were any corrections or objections to the minutes. There were none. He then explained, as pointed out in the minutes, that the discussion of the query the previous day should have followed a vote to see if it should be answered. If anyone felt the moderator had erred in the handling of the query, they should have called it to his attention at the time. This only serves to call our attention again to the fact that our Rules of Decorum can be followed much easier when the moderator is given time to consider the next course of action to be taken and ask for a motion from the floor to set such action into motion.
The committee's answer is in three parts:
1. In the answering of this query, Rules of Decorum 8 was broken, thus making the action of debating the query out of order, and the action of adopting the answer as a part of the ordination procedure invalid.
2. We find the strict answer of No to be scripturally incorrect according to Matthew 19:9 and I Corinthians 7:15. "And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."
3. Also, as the Eastern District Association is a chartered organization in Tennessee and therefore subject to law, the wording "two living wives or the wife having two living men" is not language which would stand in a legal case.
Therefore, the Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries, consisting of Elders Burnice Sybert (chairman), Oscar Irvin, Richard Seiber, Eddie Malone, Lewis Baker, Gordon Justice and John Banks as appointed by Elder Terry Sizemore, moderator, on 9/30/2010 do make the following recommendation:
a) Rescind the query of 1982, restoring the Association position of 1981, and
b) Appoint a committee to provide to the churches a scripturally correct set of guidelines for ordination.
It was motioned and seconded to accept the recommendation of the committee as an answer to question 5. Before the vote, the moderator asked for time to discuss a matter with the committee. He urged the pastors and churches not to rush things through before the newly to-be-appointed committee can address these recommendations. It was voted to accept the recommendation of the committee as an answer to question 5.
Henceforth, Query (C) will be removed from our minutes.
The moderator asked the delegation to give him some time to think and pray about the committee needed to carry out the recommendations just approved. There were no objections to him doing this.
The moderator reminded the delegation that only those chosen or appointed by their respective churches as delegates were allowed to vote. There were 8 churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are: Beech Grove, Clear Springs, House Chapel, Kingswood, Little Cowan, Richardson Chapel and Riverside. Before the process began for deciding where the association will meet next year, all but 2 churches withdrew. By a majority vote, the delegation sent the association to House Chapel, where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning, (September 29, 2011) before the first Saturday in October, 2011. Introductory Elder Fred Gilreath, Alternate Elder.Neal Drinnon.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 2, 2010.
The morning fog lifted, giving way to bright, beautiful sunshine as God's people gathered for our memorial service. This earth holds no treasure but perish with using, for Heaven holds all to us. Don't long for this world and its sorrows when joy without measure awaits us. Whatever our lot may be in this world, we can still say it is well with our soul. Our sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to His cross and we bear it no more. What a wonderful change has been wrought in our life since Jesus came into our heart! We have met to worship knowing all is vain unless the spirit of the Holy One comes down. Sweet is the song and great is our joy that makes our Savior so precious in our lives. Happy in glory some day we shall be for we have been redeemed. Shouts of praise rang out during the singing as God's people praised Him for being redeemed. We will meet in the morning by the bright river side where there'll be no disappointments as the ages shall roll. Wonderful testimonies blessed the hearts of God's children. God is from everlasting to everlasting, and somewhere in between he carved out time. Let us rejoice in knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Wonderful blessings were received from special singing and wonderful testimony from Joe Pitzer, Naomi Payne and Jason Robinette, Richardson Chapel Church singers and Virtie Williams. We have been brought from a dead state to a lively hope. When we were down in the valley with no hope, Jesus broke the chains of fear and sorrow and wrote our name way up in Glory. How about you, have you given your heart to Jesus? When trouble overtakes us and we don't know what to do, just take it all to Jesus. Be ready, thankful pilgrim to meet just inside the eastern gate over there. Though bent and battered from this life, the old ship of Zion will sail safely through, for at the stern is our Captain. Get on board, it may never sail this way again. Through sunshine and rain, sorrow and pain, His grace has set us free and we are truly blessed. Thank you, Lord for all your blessings on us. Trusting still His love, we seek that home above where we shall meet our loved ones once again. They will be there when God welcomes us to that eternal home of peace and cheer.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to our memorial service on this beautiful Saturday as he thanked God for the beautiful morning. Praising God for His wonderful story of love, we are truly thankful for the privilege of meeting together one more time.
Remember in prayer the requests made in previous services, our young people, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Wanda Malone, Clifton Horne's brothers, Tommy Meade's son, the lady's lost loved ones, the lost from all our church communities, Brandi and Cody Sammons, all of our preachers, Daniel Smith's father-in-law, Dustin and Adam Lawson and many unspoken requests. Elder Virgil Lipe led us to the throne of grace.
Elder Tommy Meade, pastor of the host church, came forward to thank everyone for allowing them to host the association. He thanked everyone for taking time out of their busy life and coming to the association. Thank God for being here with us and leading us thru this session. Thank God for everything. Bless all the church folks who put in many hours to prepare for our visit with them. Many people worry about crossing the river, but getting down to the river is the problem. We know the Lord is with us all the way and He will be there to help us safely cross. Salvation and His wonderful spirit keep us moving forward to that day when we will all be home for evermore. We certainly appreciate the host church and all they have done to help us.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
After reading the minutes of yesterday it was noted that a portion concerning the answer to the 5th question of the query needed to be reworded to refer to the Advisory Committee. It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read with the noted amendment.
Moderator Sizemore appointed the committee to develop a scripturally correct set of guidelines for ordination. This committee includes: Elders Roger Trent (chairman) and Brad Dutton and Brother Billy Jack Johnson. This committee may seek help from this year's Query Committee members, if needed.
The moderator reminded the delegation that Sister Eileen Brown still sends out notices of revivals and special services. Please let her know by the 20th of the month for the announcement to be included in the next month's announcements. Her contact information is as shown:
297 Turtle Pointe
Bean Station, TN 37708
It was also recommended from the delegation that individuals and churches should send a donation to help Sister Eileen with postage and handling.
The moderator noted the Letter from Little Dove Church was received at the association clerk's home on Friday and will be reviewed by the clerk and moderator.
The clerk read the Resolution of Thanks that he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
Since 1956, the Saturday service has been dedicated as a memorial service for those saints who have passed from among us. As a special hush fell over the grounds, the moderator read the list of names of those that have left our ranks since we last met. Thank God for the precious memories of these dear friends and loved ones that have gone on to their reward. These memories are precious in our hearts, but we know they are at peace with our Lord.
Elder Sizemore reminded us in song that Jesus came to show us the way, then He got on a cloud and went home. Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder Terry Sizemore took the first part of the service. He thanked God that on October 3, 2010 he will celebrate having been preaching for 28 years. He read St. John 12:20-22 and used as his text a portion of the 21st verse, "We would see Jesus." Our desire is that some lost soul would be saved. Our true understanding does not come until we are converted because it is not manifested in things of this world, but through His power of revelation that we may show forth in life that others can see and believe. We must follow examples of those who walk with God. We have the blessing to know Him and the privilege to tell Him about our lost people. May we never fall into the place of playing church, but let us stand up and tell our children, friends and loved ones the wonderful story of love. Blessed be His Holy name! We may stumble and fall, but we must be a light to those around us. Thank God for these saints who showed us Jesus in their daily lives. Instead of honoring these old saints, we know they would much prefer that we honor God. Seek Him and you will find Him. Remember the individuals that do not know Him. Pray for our children and friends and show them Jesus in our lives. If no one is asking you questions about the Lord, you may want to examine yourself, because they are not seeing anything there. Elder Burnice Sybert came forward to take the next part of the service. Recalling precious memories from services with some of those departed loved ones on the list today, we know we are blessed of the Lord. Preaching is of the Lord. We are thankful for the influence on our lives of good people in the Lord. What did the prophets think when God spoke to them in the same manner He speaks to us today? We have so many examples in the Bible to help us today. David described crucifixion way before His time; the Lord told Simeon he would not die until he saw the Christ child. When he took Him in his arms, he said, "Lord, let this servant depart in peace for I have seen Jesus." There was no way this could happen except God spoke to them. Aren't you glad you received an invitation to see Jesus? Behold the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world! Those people saw Jesus just as we can see Jesus in everything we do, if we trust in Him and keep Him first in our life. Take this good news of the One we found into the world and proclaim that what He did for us, He can do for them as well. The Lord is coming! Statistics in our records show our numbers of people saved have decreased drastically over the years. How many changed their minds when the rains began to fall in Noah's time? We have only the time left in our lifetime to do what we can do. Once He comes again, it will be too late. Today is the day of salvation. There is no other way to heaven, except through Jesus Christ. Except we believe upon Him, there is no life in us. Our time is short, so let us proclaim Jesus saves, Jesus saves!
These men preached so wonderfully and we thank God for them and all those who stand to preach His word. Thank God for His wonderful story of love.
Tears of joy filled the eyes of God's people as they rejoiced in knowing we are His and He is ours. We were adjourned with songs of praise.
God blessed on the last day of the association just as He did throughout the previous 3 days. What a privilege we have to serve an all-knowing God who is always there for us, in good times as well as bad. We have so much to be thankful for and we praise His Holy Name.
After singing and prayer, it was a time of thanksgiving and rejoicing for all the blessings of life, but especially for all God has done during the 158th seating of this grand old body.
There were no visiting preachers in today's service, but God was still in the midst of His children. Elder Tommy VanHoose came forward to bring the message in the service, using as a text, "The importance of brotherly love." God is not slack concerning His promise. He has always been there for His people and He will always be there to help us. We don't realize how important the love we show every day is to a lost person. The wonderful story of love must show forth in our daily walk if we are to see our people saved. Our time is running out, so we must not be slack in our love for each other and a lost and dying world.
Today's service was a time of reflection on all the blessings God has bestowed on His children. Realizing our work here is never done, just pause for a moment to truly reflect on the blessings sent down from our Savior above. What a week this has been of praising God with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank Him for each testimony and word of praise that was spoken. Please continue to pray for the lost in each of our churches.
Special thanks to Elder Tommy Meade for giving me the details of today's service.
Time passes so quickly during this week. Plans are made and details worked out for a year just to get ready, and before you know it our time has come and gone. I want to personally thank the Richardson Chapel Church for all they did to make our stay with them pleasant, enjoyable and just a wonderful time in the Lord. I know you have labored many hours, but I also know the Lord has blessed you many times over for all of your work.
It is sad when everything gets packed up and the crowd goes back to their home churches, but it is such a joy to serve the Lord in any capacity. I pray that God will continue to bless you in the manner in which you all so richly deserve. Our prayer is that before next year's gathering, we will see many souls saved and added to all of our churches. May God continue to bless and keep each one of you until we meet again.