I’m enjoying some research for the upcoming 50th year anniversary of the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. Like many other places, there is always a ‘back-story’ of the years before the formation. This history is not thoroughly documented, but what I have found has the framework of a faithful bible believing people who would clear a way for the coming 50 years of westward expansion of Southern Baptists.
The best resource I’ve found is written by E.W. Hunke Jr. In his book, “Southern Baptists in the Intermountain West” he documents the history of the early pioneers bringing the gospel west in the early 1900’s but notably, Southern Baptists coming in the 1940s and beyond.
Two Baptists of great interest to me as I begin the research is Harold Dillman and J.B. York.
J.B. York arrived in Idaho in 1887, but Southern Baptists wouldn’t begin planting churches until 1945.
In many places in the west pioneers investigated the new land, settlers cleared the land and planted crops, and naturally communities began to emerge. As the great westward expansion began to do all of this, churches were always quick to call for volunteers to go. People who sat in meetings hearing the invitation would move west with their family and a bible.
I’ll be sharing some of the discovery with you over the next few weeks. It’s a fun one.
“Please come over into the “Macedonia” of the West and help us – with your prayers, your preachers, and your purses!” (Fred McCaulley, 1949)