II. ASSOCIATIONAL WORK.
1. NEW ASSOCIATIONS
During this period two new Associations were organized, as follows:
- Name - - - - - - - Date - - - - - - Moderator - - - - - Clerk
- Middle Oregon- - Oct. 31, 1883 Rev. S. B. Phillips- J. B. Wheat
- Columbia River - July 12, 1885 Rev. P. H. Harper - W. H. Farlow
The Middle Oregon Association was organized at the house of Brother
Thomas Badger, near the present village of DeMoss Springs, in what is now Sherman county. It had three churches, 58 members and three ordained ministers. By its Constitution, its officers are chosen by ballot, without nominations. Rev. S. B. Phillips was chosen as an itinerant missionary. In 1884, a mission board was appointed and "ministers were forever debarred a membership on it."
Messengers from two churches in Oregon, and from four in Washington met with the Baptist church at Bethel, Multnomah county, Oregon, and organized the Columbia River Association. Aside from preaching, but little was done at this meeting except routine work.
The Associations generally, nearly every year, either by resolutions or reports, or both, recommended the most of our denominational interests such as:
2. THE CONVENTION WORK. COOPERATION
Cooperation was urged and committees and solicitors were appointed in nearly all the churches to collect funds for this work. In 1878 the Willamette Association asked for $2000 for it and took measures to secure the money. At that time the work of the A. B. H. M. Society and that of the convention were usually considered as substantially the same with us, and when in 1882 Rev. J. C. Baker was appointed as Superintendent of Missions by the Society, the churches were urged to contribute at least $ 1 for each member; also to take at least semi-annual collections for the work. The general plans of the Convention were usually approved, although details were sometimes modified a little by surrounding circumstances, and the interest grew and increased with an accelerated ratio. As a general rule, harmony prevailed in the most of the work, and as a body, the brethren rejoiced at the progress made.
Close akin to this, in fact a part of the Convention requirements was the consideration of our Home Destitution, and how to supply it. This furnished prolific themes for profound study, and occupied much of the time of nearly every Association. Committees were appointed and plans discussed; experiments were tried, efforts made, and a great deal of activity manifested in the efforts to solve the problem. Pastors were asked to preach on this subject frequently, work commenced was to be energetically prosecuted, and as acts of Christian liberality bring great blessings to the donor and serve to develop Christian strength, it was recommended that the churches establish and maintain religious services in the destitute places around them, by making appointments for meetings, and by sending out their members, hoping that by so doing the Lord would graciously revive the churches, and that Christ would be glorified in the salvation of many, and in the establishment of Bible principles in Oregon. So said the Willamette Association, and the other Associations were not a whit behind, according to their ability, but some of them were very poor. The Rogue River Association had only three ministers, and the field was very large, and very destitute. In the Mount Pleasant Association, in 1878, Rev. W. H. Bradford gave six months labor for $50, and the Association of 336 members, was planning to extend its work, and the Grande Ronde Association in 1879 raised $200 for mission work, whilst
"All the churches except Baker City are without pastoral labor. No regular preaching in Union county, and none in Baker county except at Baker City and Wingville. The Wallowa valley, in Union county contains 300 families, and is entirely destitute of Baptist preaching. How is it to be supplied?"
And in 1882 Rev. E. P. Waltz was the only Baptist minister in this Association giving his entire time to the work. He was serving two churches besides giving much time to the general work. Several churches had no pastors and some had no preaching except an occasional visit. The great need of the field was ministers and meeting houses. Baker City church was building a house, but there was no other Baptist meeting house in the Association. Notwithstanding all these wants, the net increase during the year was 27 per cent. Three churches reported revivals and ingatherings; the others were without pastors and much discouraged. So too in the Mount Pleasant Association. Two churches had preaching every Sabbath; some, once a month; others none at all except in chance visits. Pendleton and Weston had called a pastor; the country churches talked of forming groups to secure pastoral work. Yet it employed Rev. G. W. Clancy as an Associational missionary .and raised funds to assist the church at Walla Walla to build a meeting house. And it thus speaks of its work:
"If we understand the object of banding together as an Association, it is to do that by a combination of labor which we cannot accomplish by individual effort. Work, work, for the Master, the advancing of the interests of His cause, the conversion of sinners, the preaching of the Gospel in destitute places, the organization of churches, etc., this is Associational work. Whatever we can do toward carrying out the great Commission of Jesus to preach the Gospel within our own bounds, or beyond, which we might do by the combination of effort, that properly comes under this head."
The Central Association in 1883 first set forth the needs of the field, naming several very important locations that should be occupied at once; it recommended cooperation with the Convention and with the A. B. H. M. Society; the monthly concert of prayer for missions; regular contributions; taking the Home Mission Monthly; the appointment of solicitors in every church for missions; and that each church contribute not less than $1 for each member. Deacon W. H. Thompson was appointed as a Corresponding Secretary, who was to acquaint himself with the destitution and the wants of this field, report to the Mission Board of the Convention, and personally visit said Board at its quarterly meetings, if necessary, to more fully represent these interests. The Eastern Association of Oregon and California with its vast field recommended that the work be done with a view to permanency; therefore it should be concentrated upon a few of the more prominent points, which in their turn, would become helpful to other destitute places. Aid from the Convention was frequently asked by the Associations; sometimes two men were asked for the same field. In the Grande Ronde Association. $500 was pledged in 1883, and the general missionary was asked to spend at least two months on the field in developing the work. In 1884 there were perhaps twenty places of importance in the Rogue River Association that were not reached by the missionaries. Josephine county had no minister; it needed two. The Territory was divided between Revs. A. M. Russell and J. A. Slover, the State Board paying $600 of Brother Slover's salary. the balance to be raised on the field; subscriptions to be paid quarterly. In 1886 the opinion in the Mount Pleasant Association was that while the destitution on the field was so great none of the churches should claim the services of their pastor twice each Sunday, but should content themselves with one service. and send the pastor for the second service to some destitute field. The Willamette Association said that having no vital connection with the A. B. H. M. Society, and not being consulted as to any of its methods or appointments, the Baptists of Oregon had no responsibility for any of its work on this field; but deplored the indebtedness of the Society from Oregon, and advised its prompt payment. The responsibility of local missions was felt, especially that of mission work within the bounds of the Associations. The reports from the churches revealed unusual interest and activity in this line, more particularly in Portland, where two lady missionaries were regularly employed, and who were accomplishing much good. Hence the employment of an Associational missionary and a vigorous prosecution of the work in the most important centers of population and influence were recommended. Above all, the care of the destitute fields was not to be a spasmodic effort, but entered upon it with a determination to make it a permanent feature of denominational work. In accordance with these recommendations, the Association appointed a committee of three to take such steps as might be found practicable for supplying the Astoria church with preaching; or, if nothing could be done for this church, the same committee was to turn its attention to Vancouver, or LaCamas, in Washington, and do whatever might be practicable towards supplying one or both these places.
3. ASSOCIATIONAL EFFORTS
But independent of Convention aid the Associations themselves were very zealous in their efforts. Protracted meetings were common. Associational missionaries were more or less provided for. By will, Deacon Josiah Failing left $2000, the interest of which was to be applied to mission work in the Willamette Association. This, with other contributions, enabled it to cultivate Washington and Clackamas counties, East Portland and other points. The Mount Pleasant Association kept one or two missionaries in the field most of the time. To encourage spiritual life and activity, in 1878 it urged the following duties upon the churches and members: (1) To have our affections stayed upon God so that our daily cry shall be "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (2) The duty of family prayer, morning and evening. (3) The duty of sustaining weekly prayer meetings, and regular worship every Lord's day. (4) Making the Sunday school denominational, and all the members of the church to take an interest in it. (5) The bringing out of our own talent for the ministry. (6) The consecration of our means as God has prospered us to the service of the Master, that those who minister in spiritual things may not be compelled to leave that work for other employment to meet their temporal necessities. In 1880, it made its Moderator, Rev. W. H. Pruett, a life member of the State Convention. In 1882, it expressed thankfulness for the prosperity of the A. B. H. M. Society; for the wonderful growth of the Convention of the North Pacific Coast; for the enthusiastic progress of many of the churches; for the encouraging prospects at Walla Walla; it spoke of the need of a missionary at Lewiston, and at the Assotin, and Lewiston Flats, where 700 families resided without Baptist preaching; urged the grouping of churches; and finally asked the Convention to consider the practicability of appointing a district missionary east of the Cascade mountains, comprising over 30 churches with about 700 members, among a population of 100,000, two-thirds of whom had come to the country during the last decade. The Indian troubles interfered very much with the work in Eastern Oregon. In 1877-8, especially in the Grande Ronde Association, after quiet was established, the brethren were very active, and kept a missionary in the field much of the time. The Central Association occasionally had a missionary. In 1886, Rev. A. J. Hunsaker was the Associational missionary and reported 34 baptisms, six received otherwise, and $336.55 for 50 weeks of labor. He said the work should be continued and the present plan was the best, but that the Associational Board should assume a part of the salary, and the H. M. Society the balance. And that the destitution was very great. The Eastern Association of Oregon and California, with only four churches and 77 membership in 1878, agreed to support a missionary on that field, and in 1879, the Association ordained a brother for that purpose, (Rev. J. I. G. Stark). In 1883, its missionary says: "I find great destitution, and many very friendly invitations are given me to preach at different points impossible for me to attend." In 1885, the Association said that churches requiring the services of the missionary must circulate a subscription for the support of such missionary, said sum, or sums, to be paid during the Associational year, and that the letters from the churches state the amount of such pledges. The Middle Oregon Association had a missionary in the field the most of the time. The Rogue River Association, owing to its weakness, was unable to accomplish much, yet it occasionally had a man in the field, for a longer or shorter time. In the Columbia River Association no effort was made except by private individuals.
4. SUNDAY SCHOOL AND A. B. P. WORK
This work was regarded with much enthusiasm in all the Associations, more or less of the churches in each having flourishing schools. In 1878, Rev. W. E. M. James was appointed Sunday school missionary and colporteur by the Convention, and in 1879, the Willamette Association recommended that all Baptist Sunday schools designate one Sabbath in each month when a collection be taken for his support. And at a Convention held the day before the Association, a committee was arranged for having three Sunday School Institutes during the year. Nearly all the Associations had a day set apart for Sunday school work. The Central Association in 1880, acknowledged special obligations to the A. B. P. Society for a generous gift of over $ 1700 worth of stock to the missionary work of the North Pacific Coast, and recommended every church of the Association to render a thank offering to the Society during the year for its generous' gifts. Families, churches and Sunday schools were also recommended to purchase their supplies of denominational and family literature of the missionary board having this in charge. The churches were exhorted to sustain not only their own home schools, but also mission schools wherever practicable. It also agreed to pay one-fourth the salary of a colporteur missionary for the Willamette valley within the limits of $500 a year. The same year a Sunday School Convention, arranged by Rev J. H. Teal, chairman of the Sunday school, was held a Oregon City February 18th-19th, where 18 topics of deep interest were discussed, interspersed with teachers' drills and Institute exercises by Rev. J. C. Baker, Rev. W. E. M. James, of Washington, and W. T. Fisher, of Southern Oregon, gave some interesting information as to the work, its discouragements and hindrances in their respective fields, and Rev. B. S. McLafferty gave an address on "The Elements of successful teaching." Rev. A. D. McMichael, in Eastern Oregon and Washington, and Rev E. G. Wheeler, in Western Oregon, were both heartily endorsed. The Rogue River Association reported two "Union Schools" in 1883, but no Baptist school. "Spiritual ignorance" among the coming generation was the impending danger, and to avert this, the Association recommended, "(1) Each church to build its own meeting house. (2) Organize and conduct its own Sunday school. (3) Teach the Scriptures. (4) Circulate as much Baptist literature as possible." The Eastern Association of Oregon and California recommended that each church have at least one Sunday school, because it is our duty "to contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints," and this can be done most effectively by teaching the New Testament in a Baptist school. And to this the Central Association substantially agreed, and none demurred. In literature, Baptist books and papers were most heartily recommended, especially the Beacon, on all occasions.
5. FOREIGN MISSIONS
Foreign missions received an increased stimulus during this period. In 1880 a series of Foreign Missionary Articles of Faith were introduced by Rev. B. S. McLafferty, the substance of which was, that the world was a vast field for evangelization; that the Christians should cultivate this field; that it was a matter of humiliation that so little was being done; that the time had come when the standing of a church should be challenged if not contributing for foreign missions; that the minimum contributions should be $1 for each member; that with increased contributions the church might expect the speedy evangelization of the whole earth; that the reactionary influence of foreign missions stimulated home missions and church growth; and hence, the peremptory demands of today could not be ignored nor neglected. Ten more Articles were added in 1882. They were substantially a reiteration of previous utterances, together with a more strenuous urging of the duty and obligations of foreign missions, and the blessings and benefits of increased activity in this direction, and that the pastors should so inform themselves as to bring the condition and wants of the fields frequently before their congregations, thus awakening a lively and continuous interest in the work. These "Articles" were adopted by the Willamette Association, but the other Associations called for considerable changes before allowing them to pass. But the Central Association in 1882, "Declared that the failure of any child of God to give as the Lord had prospered him is covetousness, which is condemned by the word of God, and hence should be discountenanced by the churches." In the Rogue River Association every church but one had contributed for home missions, the aggregate being $150. But on foreign missions, the brethren rejoiced at the prosperity of the work, and regretted that they had been able to do so little, and recommended quarterly collections for this object.
The Women's Mission Work, both home and foreign, along certain well defined lines chosen by themselves, is really a part of the general mission work. It was most cordially endorsed by all the Associations, a place provided for it, its cause ably presented by its Associational Secretaries, advocated by our ablest men, liberal collections taken for it, and all rejoiced at its success. Fuller details are given in another place.
So too, education, which in 1886, means chiefly McMinnville College in Western Oregon, and Colfax Academy in Eastern Oregon and Washington, called for considerable attention, but the details are also given in another place.
In 1886, probably nearly all the Baptists of the Northwest coast would have claimed that they were practically prohibitionists, yet a very large number of them were very timid about having the fact appear on record. It was all right when some one else declared it. Yet some very strong temperance reports and resolutions had at some time passed nearly, if not all of our Associations. But the clearest and most out-spoken ones were at that time, those of the Willamette Association. In 1881, it says, "A lengthy discussion on the use of unfermented wine at the communion developed the fact, that as far as known, alcoholic wine was not used by any church of this Association, and a resolution recommending unfermented wine only, passed unanimously." In 1885, the Association "declared unanimously its hearty endorsement of the work of the W. C. T. U.; approved of legislative action compelling instruction in the public schools concerning the pernicious effects of alcoholic stimulants and tobacco, and believed that the time had come when all Christians should express at the polls their opposition to the traffic of intoxicants; declared that church members who electioneered for men known to be corrupt in principle and favorable to whiskey should be disciplined by the church, as well as those who practice drinking wine or other intoxicants; advised the teaching of total abstinence in the Sunday schools; and that it was the privilege and duty of Christian ministers to take an active part in this work, both in the pulpit and on the platform; and recommended that an address on total abstinence and for prohibition be given from the pulpit at least quarterly. And further, the Moderator and Clerk were instructed to sign, in behalf of the Association. the petition for the prohibitory amendment." In 1885, the Mount Pleasant Association pronounced prohibition "necessary to the well-being of our Nation."
7. SUNDRY, INCIDENTAL AND LOCAL MATTERS
The most of the Associations occasionally published a digest of the church letters, or a circular letter on some topic of interest and sometimes the history of some church. Occasionally the trend of the meeting was towards a revival. Persons rose for prayers. Candidates were baptized; ministers ordained, and funeral sermons preached. If the interest was very marked, perhaps one or two ministers would stay to assist the pastor in a protracted meeting with good results. Sometimes the church, where the Association was held, administered the Lord's Supper, and the visiting brethren responded to the invitation to participate. There were also some local or special matters, which concerned one or two Associations only, the others either acquiescing or being indifferent. Thus, in 1885, Rev. J. A. Wirth was heartily recommended by the Willamette Association as a suitable man for the mission at Kodiak, Alaska. The same Association in 1878.
"Resolved. That the time of the Association is too limited, and the space in its Minutes too precious to be occupied with high-sounding, but inoperative resolutions."
In 1881, the same Association left out the committee on resolutions. Some one said "we had got out of the chapter of resolutions and into the chapter of acts." And in 1884, this Association contributed $10 to assist the Beacon, the first help solicited by that paper aside from its patronage. In 1885, the Mount Pleasant Association was "profoundly grateful" because of a 50 per cent increase of the membership during the previous year. Petitions were also adopted protesting against carrying Sunday mails, and against Sunday parades. The Corvallis Association.
"Resolved, That we believe that it would be a good plan for all the brethren in all our churches to either discontinue the use of tobacco, or, if this does not seem wise, to lay aside for foreign missions the amount spent for tobacco."
The general condition of the churches was usually encouraging though some were only "holding the fort," but the most were prospering and growing. The Corvallis Association reported 57 baptisms in 1885.
The Eastern Association of Oregon and California, especially in 1886, showed vigorous and healthy growth. Five of the churches, numbering 118 members in the aggregate, were paying their pastors $1913; one of these with only nine members, and none of them wealthy, paying $300. The sessions were usually harmonious, and in some instances no negative vote being cast, but one of the sisters said "This was no sure sign of a unity of sentiment, because the weather was very warm. and the men so lazy and sleepy that they could not develop opposition." In 1888, the Central Association aided one of its churches $34 in building. Ministers' and deacons' meetings were held in connection with some of the Associations. Seven church were dismissed from the Mount Pleasant Association in 1881, to organize the Palouse Association of Washington. In 1875, the Central Association limited its representation to male members, and nearly every year afterwards an effort was made to expunge this word "male" from the Constitution, but it was not accomplished until 1882. The following "rule" was adopted by the Willamette Association in 1882.
"All churches applying for admission into this Association must accompany the application with a copy of the decision of a council called for the recognition of such a church."
This was the first rule of this kind adopted by any Association on the Northwest coast, and in accordance with this rule, one church was not received, but was advised to call a Council of Recognition and report next year. But it may not be out of place to say that this church had deviated somewhat from the recognized belief of Baptists, and the Association referred the matter to a Council of Recognition as the easiest way out of the difficulty. Provision was also made at this Association to secure more uniform statistics. In 1885, two churches of this Association asked to be dismissed to help organize another Association, but the movement was discouraged. The two churches, however, went, notwithstanding. In 1880, the Central Association, adopted a "Rule" providing for the appointment at each Association of a standing committee of three, whose duty it should be to secure a speaker and his alternate to present our leading denominational interests before the next Association in a speech of thirty minutes; to be followed by a discussion in five minute speeches. This was the first rule adopted by any Oregon Association for future speakers, except for the Annual Sermon, or for the appointments of the Ministerial Conference.
During this decade the denomination lost by death several very prominent workers. In 1881 the Willamette Association lost Rev. Geo. C. Chandler. D. D., and Deacon A. W. Kinney, both strong men. and zealous workers among the pioneers. In 1880 the Corvallis Association lost Rev. G. W. Bond, a pioneer leader, and a very influential man. Also Rev. Sterling Hill, an active pioneer worker, died in 1885. In the Central Association the deaths were Rev. Joab Powell and Deacon J. M. Fulkerson in 1884, and Revs. G. W. Warmouth, Hon. Henry Warren, and Deacon Claiborne Hill in 1886. Deacons John Koger and M. Jasper died in the Grande Ronde Association. All these, and perhaps others were men who were a power in their respective communities; active workers, wise in Counsel, pious in life, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; and their loss hard to be replaced.
Perhaps the loss which attracted the most attention, and was the most seriously felt, was that of Rev. S. S. Martin, in the Corvallis Association, who adopted the views of Swedenborg. He had been a very successful minister, his honesty and conscientiousness were unquestioned; he was universally beloved by all who knew him, for his amiability of character, and for his noble traits as a man, as a Christian, and as a minister. His loss was a serious one to his church, and to the denomination. Though not highly educated, he was well read, and regarded as a tower of strength to the Baptist cause, and stood among the leaders in Baptist influence. Genial and sociable with all, firm in what he considered truth, charitable with opponents, with nothing repulsive in his manners or deportment, it is not strange that he had many very warm friends; and rumors were so strong that it was greatly feared that some very prominent men among the Baptists of Southern Oregon might at least condone his defection, if not be led astray by him. Matters had almost reached fever heat when the Corvallis Association met at Looking Glass in 1880. Should the matter be brought up in the Association? If so, in what manner? Considering the character, standing, popularity, and strong hold that Martin had, the task of meeting the issues was not for a novice nor for a rash extremist to undertake. Some careless oversight, some unwise expression, some unguarded action, might work serious injury to the cause.
The Association met on Thursday, and for two days matters went on about as usual. Brother Martin was there, jovial, apparently unconcerned, but keenly on the alert. But another pair of eyes were as keenly on the alert as his, though no one would have suspected it. A Baptist minister; a visitor; he did not belong to the Association at all. He was on no committee, made no public speeches, nor even suggestions, so far as Martin's affairs were concerned. But he saw everything; heard everything; but with apparent indifference. On Friday morning the committee reported that a certain brother would preach at 11 a. m., Saturday. At the afternoon session, this brother got up and "stated to the Association that Elder S. S. Martin had changed his theological views, and that he no longer held to the doctrines that distinguished us as a denomination, and desiring to do the brother full justice, he wished to be excused from preaching tomorrow at 11 o'clock, and that Brother Martin be given that hour to present his views to the Association." This request was granted, and the hour was given to Brother Martin. Had a keen detective noticed the look of satisfaction that for an instant only the watcher manifested as Brother Martin accepted the arrangement, he might have thought of the old fable: "When the old gander saw the fox's tail he said he knew from a little what a great deal meant."
Brother Martin presented his views, and was given all the time he desired. The session was held in a grove, and whilst he was preaching a man walked carelessly along and whispered something to a man sitting on the platform behind the speaker. It was but a moment, and probably no one noticed it, for all were earnestly listening to what was being said. As soon as Brother Martin had finished, Brother Richardson moved "That a committee of five be appointed to take into consideration the case of our Brother, Elder S. S. Martin, and report to the .Association for its action in the premises, such disposition of the case as may to them seem expedient." The motion prevailed and again the twinkle in the eye might have. caused a detective to think, "I could guess pretty close who is pulling the wires!" The next instant the watcher's face was as grave as if he was at the funeral of his grandmother! But the Moderator was prepared. By some occult process he knew that the motion would be made, and that a second was ready, and the committee list was in his hands and he announced it at once. In due time their report was made as follows:
"We, your committee appointed to take into consideration the doctrinal views of Elder S. S. Martin, and to report action thereon, would respectfully submit the following:
"Whereas, We regard the Scriptural views of Swedenborg as wholly erroneous, and his methods of scriptural interpretation pernicious and subversive of that plain teaching of the Bible, which we, as Baptists, have ever held to be essential in doctrine and practice, and,
"Whereas, Elder S. S. Martin has accepted the teachings of Swedenborg, thereby severing himself from the Baptist denomination, therefore,
"Resolved, That this Association hereby express its unqualified disapproval of such views and teachings, and regard them as destructive of the peace and harmony existing among the members of our churches.
"Resolved. That this Association advise the church of which Elder S. S. Martin is a member, to call a Council immediately, and if, after a thorough and prayerful examination, said Brother Martin does not renounce the views and teachings of Swedenborg, he be forthwith required to surrender his credentials, and that the hand of fellowship be withdrawn from him.
"Resolved, That this action on our part, is not in the slightest degree from any ill feeling, but is done that the aforesaid doctrines may not be preached nor practiced under the sanction of any of our churches or members.
"Respectfully submitted, J. C. Richardson, G. J. Burchett, W. J. Crawford, Chas. P. Bailey, W. G. Miller."Rev. J. C. Richardson, as chairman of the committee, stated to the Association the leading points of difference between us as a denomination, and our dear, and, as we believe, erring brother.
In the discussion of the Report, Rev. G. J. Burchett made a most convincing speech on the logical aspect of the atonement; its necessity; its grandness; its completeness. Rev. W. J. Crawford presented the pathetic side; man's needs and God's love. At times, his emotions would overcome him, and once or twice he was compelled to stop to regain control of himself. Both addresses were masterpieces, each in its line of thought. The report of the committee was unanimously adopted by a rising vote. Brother Martin submitted gracefully. He could not conscientiously renounce his views, and the church was compelled to exclude him. But it was a mere form. They loved him none the less. But one remarkable feature of the case was, that with all his ability, influence, and popularity, Brother Martin did not take a single church with him. Perhaps did not try. He was no faction breeder.
The question of "Alien Immersion" was introduced into the Corvallis Association in 1877, and after some discussion, was deferred until the next annual session, and all the churches composing the Association were earnestly requested to prepare an opinion on the subject, and also to submit a reference to a passage of Scripture upon which their opinion is based. Only one answer was returned. Rev. S. Jenkins presented a reference to the Scriptures from the Palestine church. There was no discussion over it. Again in the Central Association in 1886, a request of the Scio church on the subject of "Alien Immersions" was referred to a committee, which reported that the subject was one "that the Association had no power to act upon." But the matter was referred back to the same committee with instructions to report the "Scriptural practice of the denomination on the subject." Sickness suddenly called two of the committee home to their families, and the other was out when the report was called for. So the matter was again left with the same committee with instructions to report next year. When that time arrived, a majority, and a minority report were presented, when a learned brother offered a substitute, which was adopted, in which, after some irrelevant preambles, he substantially advised the churches where such cases arose, to do the best they could, and to be very careful in the reception of members. It is not surprising that he was afterwards made a D. D.
8. CONVENTION WORK
The Baptist Convention of Oregon and Washington adjourned in 1874, to meet at the call of the President. That call was never made. After waiting for nearly three years, Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, Hon. Henry Warren and Rev. E. Russ, all members of the Board of Managers, individually called on the churches for the Convention to meet at Albany, Oregon, June 25, 1877, to consider the situation. A little prior to that time, Oregon had been blessed by the arrival of three new ministers, who, by their zeal and activity were a power in helping the cause to take a most decided forward movement, and infusing life into the nearly dead Convention. These brethren were Revs. J. C. Baker, G. J. Burchett and S. C. Price. One of these, Brother Baker, was a natural leader, and especially active, in arousing such activity among the Brethren generally, that a few words relative to his peculiar fitness and adaptation to the particular crisis then existing, appear to be very appropriate just now.
Rev. J. C. Baker was born of Baptist parents at Hoosic River, Renselaer county, N. Y., in 1838. He is self-educated. He experienced religion and united with the Middlebury Baptist church, Wyoming county, and was licensed to preach by the Farmington Baptist church in Illinois, in 1858, and was ordained the next year by the Littleton Baptist church of the same state. Between this time and 1875, when he came to California, he filled five successful pastorates, besides being a very efficient general missionary of the A. B. P. Society in the Northwest. In California he was appointed to take charge of the Pacific Coast Depository of that Society, located at San Francisco. He traveled extensively, visiting the most of the churches in California, Oregon and Washington in the Sunday school work. In 1877, he accepted the pastorate of the Baptist church at Salem, Oregon, which position he held until 1882. He also did much work for the A. B. P. Society, and established the Baptist Beacon, a small monthly paper, which has since developed into the Pacific Baptist, the denominational paper of the Pacific Coast. He was the editor about four years and a half, filling his position well; wise, prudent, careful; with a generous, respectful treatment of those who differed from him, that was very sensibly appreciated. He was the Sunday school missionary for two years and a half, and very active in organizing schools and in encouraging all kinds of Sunday school work. He is a live man in all kinds of mission work, effective in revivals, and influential in Councils, Associations, Conventions, etc. He prefers the pastorate, but is good anywhere. His preaching is either doctrinal or practical, usually from a skeleton, carefully studied and prepared.
He came to Oregon in 1876. He found the Convention about dead, and no effort being made to resuscitate it. All were discouraged, and outside of the local work, little or nothing was done for some time. The A. B. H. M. Society had two men commissioned, Rev. J. T. Huff, at Oregon City, and C. W. Rees, at Eugene. These were continued through 1877, but no additional man was appointed until 1878, when Rev. Dong Gong was appointed to labor among the Chinese of Oregon and Washington. But Brother Baker took up the work in earnest. He started his little "Beacon," and urged brethren to action. The old Convention was again called into life, and began to show signs of quickened vitality. Two of our best men were sent out to inform the brethren that we "again had commenced business, and did not know any such word as fail." But this is anticipating.
As already stated, the Baptist Convention of Oregon and Washington, and the Oregon Baptist State Sunday School Convention were called by Rev. A. J. Hunsaker and Hon. Henry Warren, to meet in conjunction, with the Baptist church at Albany, Oregon, beginning June 25, 1877. At that time, the question of perpetuating the Convention and sustaining its work was warmly discussed, and it was finally determined to reorganize the two conventions into one Society. A Constitution was adopted, calling it the Baptist Missionary and Educational Society of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
"The object of this Society shall be to foster and sustain the missionary and educational work of the Baptists on this field. It shall seek to unite our entire denomination in maintaining the missionaries, aiding feeble churches, promoting the Sunday school work and building up the cause of Christian education."
The membership was composed of annual members, $1; life members, $20 at one time, or by installments of $5 each. Three members from each church or Association contributing to its funds, and cooperating in its work. Its Boards were: The Board of Missions, a Sunday School Board and an Educational Board. Church membership was not named in the Constitution as a qualification for any position, except that "All missionaries under appointment of the Society shall be members in good standing in Baptist churches."
October 25, 1877, the first annual meeting was held at McMinnville. Hon. Henry Warren, President. The Missionary Board had organized and adopted a plan of work.
1. We will only employ missionaries as we have means to pay them. We will contract no debts.
2. We will ask for 100 men and women who will give $10 apiece to carry forward the work this year.
3. We will make an effort in all our churches to reach this amount, and also to obtain annual and life members.
4. That this be done by appointing one person in each church to solicit funds for this work.
The field was also divided as follows: The churches in the Corvallis Association, and all south of that line, to be under the supervision of B. F. Dorris, of Eugene, and David Hurst, of Oakland. The Central Association to be under the supervision of Rufus Thompson, of Albany, and Henry Warren, of McMinnville. The Willamette Association to be under the supervision of A. W. Kinney, of Salem, and S. J. Barbour, of Portland. The Territories and Eastern Oregon to be under the supervision of W. C. Johnson, of Oregon City.
The Board sent out the Constitution, and an appeal to the churches, but the time was so short that little was done. However, a beginning was made and the Society was urged to continue the work upon this general plan.
Beacon Report. We recommend: (1) The publication of a missionary sheet to be called one "Baptist Beacon." (2) That it be published by the missionary board of this Society. (3) That its design shall be to disseminate intelligence, and to foster the missionary and educational spirit among our churches. (4) That it be published monthly. (5) That the missionary board appoint one of its number to superintend its publication."
Rev. J. C. Baker was chosen editor. The paper was a monthly, three columns, four-page sheet, measuring about 9x12 inches to the page, but it was a most powerful stimulant to missionary work. Brother Baker had already issued one number, and he was perhaps the best man for the position that could have been selected at that time, and none of his successors have surpassed him in editorial skill. He was prudent, careful, experienced, conservative and mild, with an appreciative sense of the different views of brethren, and was well qualified to judge of the field and its surroundings, and of the best methods of supplying the same. The price of the paper was 50 cents a year.
The Sunday school board had held four Institutes with marked success at Eugene, Brownsville, Oregon City, and Albany. An excellent program, which presented five themes for discussion, was then presented to the Convention. After the services on Sunday morning, Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, pastor of the McMinnville church, baptized a convert. In the afternoon, the Lord's Supper was administered by the church, and visiting brethren invited to participate. On November 1st, it was announced that an appointment as general missionary had been accepted by Rev. J. C. Richardson at $800 a year, with the understanding that the work would cease whenever the money failed.
The Baptist Missionary and Educational Society met at Oregon City in 1878. Revs. J. C. Richardson, W. E. M. James, and J. T. Huff gave some interesting information relative to their work as missionaries. The name of the Society was changed to the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast; its territory and object the same as before. Its officers were directed to incorporate, and the Sunday School Board was instructed to hold institutes during the year at such times and places as they might determine. The management of the Beacon was highly commended and its enlargement ordered. Four ministers had died during the year; Revs. James Magers, R. Dickens, R. Miller, and H. G. Davenport. The W. B. F. M. Society held an interesting session, an account of which is given in the history of that Society.
Thanks were tendered to the A. B. P. Society for making Rev. J. C. Baker a depository for their books, and for the liberal donations made to churches and Sunday Schools, and individuals; and all were requested to order further supplies of him. Also to the A. B. H. M. Society for aid it was rendering to this field. The Executive Board of the Convention was urged to extend the work as rapidly as possible. The Women's work was heartily endorsed, and Christian Education regarded as "second to none in importance to our denominational interests." The outlook was encouraging, and President Burchett at McMinnville said to be "the right man in the right place." In their report the Missionary Board said:
"Prolonged discussion was held as to what the general policy of the Board should be, and it was universally concluded that the crying need was that the entirely destitute portions of our destitute field should first be answered, as far as possible, by our missionaries; that they should seek to lay foundations for churches where none exist, rather than act as evangelists in helping pastors of churches already established. It was voted that the missionary year should begin November 15th, and that the Board should hold its meetings quarterly. It was concluded that justice to all required our missionaries to distribute their labors over the entire field, so far as this could be done consistent with an economy of time and expense. All missionaries were instructed to take collections for their work wherever they held meetings."
In making his report as missionary, Brother Richardson said:
"Difficulties of long standing were settled in some of the churches, and other work accomplished for the Master, of which eternity alone can fully account. The money collected, with that paid in by the churches and individuals, more than paid the expenses of the first quarter, and greatly encouraged the Board. God had opened a large door. He had given the Baptists of Oregon and surrounding territories a great work to do, and He had given them a willingness to take hold of this work."
But the field was so large, and the calls so numerous and urgent, that Brother Richardson was often in a strait which way to turn. The Board left him to his own judgment, guided by the Holy Spirit. But Brother Baker said: "Our policy is to preach the Gospel to the destitute. That is what we are raising money for, and what we are employing missionaries for."
At the end of the second quarter there was "money enough and to spare." And the Board was so encouraged that Rev. W. E. M. James was appointed colporteur missionary in the southwestern part of Washington at $25 a month, and instructed to secure the entire amount on his field if possible. On June 22nd, the encouragement at the Willamette Association was such that Rev. J. T. Huff was employed as a second general missionary, at $800 a year and his traveling expenses, to labor at first, mostly in Washington and British Columbia. In speaking of the work, Brother Baker said:
"We are in the midst of one of the most remarkable missionary revivals ever witnessed on the coast. Even three years ago, brethren said, 'The Convention is dead, ' 'our missionary work is a failure. ' 'Nothing can be done.' When urged to attempt something, the general opinion was that it was useless. Indeed; one year ago, when the Convention work was reorganized, many of our brethren felt almost certain that we would fail; so much so at least, that they took hold of the work reluctantly. Now from all parts of Oregon, from Eastern and Western Washington, from Idaho and British Columbia, the money is coming, accompanied with prayers that God will bless the work, and we say, 'To His name be all the glory.' For many years, important points, and possibly, our people in general have been waiting for some society to come and take up the work, or for something to 'turn up' to help it on, or they did not know what. But now, God has poured His Spirit upon us, and is giving us a genuine missionary revival, under the influence of which we go to work ourselves, and under the Master's leadership, we are beginning to see that with His help we can do something ourselves. The purpose of the Society is not to interfere with any Association or church. We wish the cooperation of the Associations and churches in doing a general work which they cannot do. We are laboring to build up a Missionary Society, around which we can rally all our forces for all time. Such a Society as will rally to its aid, and serve to develop the latent energy of the denomination on this North Pacific coast. A Society so broad in its grasp, so concise in its plans, so judicious in its management, and so effective in its work, that it will grow in the hearts and consciences of our people. What we want, and what we are trying to do on the North Pacific coast, is to develop self-help; is to lay some plan by which we can develop our own strength and resources to carry forward the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the world."
The report of the Beacon showed that over 1000 copies a month had been issued; in round numbers 13000 during the year, and that all its expenses had been met, leaving the editor 70 cents for his services. He said, "from all parts of the field we have received unexpected encouragement, both personally and by letter, of deep and growing interest in our paper, and our work, and I am sure that among the agencies used during the year for promoting the interests of the Society, and uniting our people in the one great work the Baptist Beacon has borne a very conspicuous part, and perhaps has been an indispensable agency. The enlargement of the paper to double its previous size was recommended, and the price increased to $1 singly, $0.75 in clubs. The reports on Colporteur work, Education, and Sunday Schools were all encouraging. The Treasurer's receipts were $1453.71; expenditures, $795.38; balance, $658.33.
The Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast met at Brownsville in 1879. In presenting the needs of the denomination, Rev. A. S. Coats spoke of the field, its extent and destitution; Rev. S. C. Price spoke of the men needed and the demand for laborers; and Rev. J. C. Richardson spoke of the money and our ability to furnish it. The action of the Board in tendering the appointment of general missionary to Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, was most heartily endorsed by a rising vole. Again, a resolution of appreciation of the harmonious relations between the Convention and the A. B. H. M. Society, and asking for a continuation and increase from that Society was adopted. Rev. C. H. Mattoon was recommended as a suitable person to gather the statistical and historical data of the denomination, and his appointment as colporteur of the A. B. P. Society asked for, with the understanding that this work was to be carried on in connection with his colporteur work. The efforts of the trustees of McMinnville college to raise means for a new building to cost not less than $30,000 was most cordially endorsed. During the year Rev. C. P. Bailey had been appointed a missionary to labor in Coos county, at $150 a year, the brethren on the field to raise $300. His labors had been very acceptable to the brethren and community of that section. Rev. J. B. Jones was also appointed to labor in Clackamas county, at $ 100 a year, and he was said to be doing a good work. In all, five men had been kept in the field more or less of the time, at an expense of about $500 per quarter. Owing to the fact that blank forms were not furnished the missionaries till nearly the middle of the year, and to the fact that the work for some two or three quarters was not reported at all, or if reported, the Reports were lost in the mails, the Reports rendered do not furnish a full statement of the work accomplished by the missionaries during the year. But from the best data obtainable, the following approximate aggregate of the labor of all the missionaries of the Convention is given: miles traveled, 4103; expenses, $150.35; collected, $455.05; sermons and addresses, 554, prayer meetings, 121; religious visits, 859; inquirers, 51; conversions, 41; baptized, 18; churches organized, 2; churches visited, 29; received by letter and experience, 41 ; visited other fields, 24; S. S. organized, 12; grants of tracts, 3416; Bibles, 23; Testaments, 6. Some reported items of the Statistical Secretary are substantially embodied in other parts of this history.
The Beacon reported: expenses, $531.62; receipts, $469.63; special fund, $40; deficit, 21.99; due on subscriptions and advertisements, $163.25. Rev. J. C. Baker, being overburdened with labor, and also in consideration of his health, resigned the editorship of the Beacon, and Rev. W. J. Crawford was appointed editor, with Brother T. P. Hackleman as business manager. Some very complimentary resolutions were adopted relative to Brother Baker's management of the paper. It had no debt. Brother Baker also thought that the paper should be issued as a semi-monthly, and that it should take on a more general religious character, not being so strictly a newspaper. Also that it should pass into the hands of some party who would be interested in working it up to a paying basis as a weekly Journal, more as an individual enterprise. He then made a proposition to issue the paper as a semi- monthly after January 1, 1880, at $1.25 per annum in advance, for single subscribers; and in January, 1881, to commence a weekly issue at $2.00 in advance provided the Board would create a fund of $200 to aid in securing such help as he might need. The paper to remain the organ of the Convention, and under its patronage; the editor reporting through the Board, but making it more nearly a family paper. He also said: "I will be one of 20 to create the same fund for any other man who will take the paper upon this basis, provided he shall be acceptable to the Missionary Board of the convention, and shall be appointed by it to the work; or, if necessary, I will be one of 10 to create this fund with the above conditions." But Brother Baker's proposition did not prove a success, and the paper was moved to Albany.
The following changes were also made in the policy of the Missionary Board:
"1. The extension of help to such churches as are helping themselves, but which find themselves unable to support a pastor, such help to enable a man not merely to administer to a single church, but to supply destitute points surrounding.
"2. The appointment in destitute regions of local or colporteur missionaries who shall by visiting from house to house, preaching in school houses, etc., create a demand for religious advantages, and as far as possible supply the same.
"3. The appointment of a general missionary whose duties, besides preaching the Gospel to the destitute, shall be to manage the financial part of the work, by visiting the churches, engaging in the quarterly plan of contributions, and seeing to the collection of the offerings."
The Convention was reported clear of debt.
A Ministerial Conference was organized; Dr. R. C. Hill, President; Rev. W. J. Crawford, Secretary. Brother Crawford presented a paper on "The Atonement." A general discussion was had on the question of "How to meet the Advent movement." Two plans of sermons were submitted for criticism; one by Rev. E. Russ; the other by Rev. J. H. Teale.
In 1879-80 the Statistical Secretary of the Convention sent circulars all over the field for fuller data than previously had been attempted. A summary will show the condition of the churches at that time. Of the churches reporting, 38 were from Oregon, 7 in Washington, and 61 made no report. Of the following figures, those in parentheses are from Washington. Baptisms, (the previous year), 224, (45); other gains, 82, (3); losses 172, (11); total membership, 2095, (146). Meetinghouses, (several not reported), 31, (4); seating 6100, (850); cost, $64,900, ($4800); but requiring about $4000 to finish and the debts less than $2000. Of the Oregon churches, 35 had pastors; of salaries, First Portland paid $1620; Eugene, $1200; then 2 churches $600 each; one, $300; the others from $50 to $200. On receiving "Alien Immersions", 9, (3) said "Yes"; 34, (4) said "No"; and 2, (Oregon), did not reply. Mission stations, 15, (6); for F. M. $266.50, ($72.65); H. M. $1295.78, ($194.70); not classified, $20; Salem reported the only parsonage, worth $1500. Portland reported $1931.62 for Chinese Chapel and Chinese missionary. Sunday School Reports: Baptist schools, 34, (2); Union schools, 7, (4); Mission schools. 5. Chinese not included; at Portland and Salem. Enrollment, 1468, (291); expenses, $451.40, (72.50). Oregon City school reported $31.40 for missions.
The Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast met at Salem in 1880. The plan of cooperation with the A. B. H. M. Society was approved. On the Sunday School work three topics were presented, each followed by a general discussion and criticism. The needs of the field, both general, and in special localities, were presented by Revs. J. A. Wirth and A. J. Hunsaker, and Deacon Horace Root. In the Rogue River Association, covering a vast territory, were seven churches, not one of which had a pastor, and the only minister giving his entire time to the work was employed as an Associational missionary for the entire field. Puget Sound district was but little better. Other localities were exceedingly destitute. An Amendment was offered to the Constitution providing for a Board of Foreign missions; also a notice of an Amendment to be offered next year, reading as follows:
"The members, officers, and appointees of this Convention, shall be members in good and regular standing in some recognized missionary Baptist church, and all voting in this Convention shall be limited to the membership present in person when the vote is taken."
Collections to assist the church at Bethany in building its meeting house were recommended. The Beacon reported itself in a prosperous condition, and free from debt. The Report recommended the formation of a joint stock company, for the purpose of procuring a printer's outfit for it. By this means the paper could be published semi-monthly at about the cost of now publishing it monthly. It would also "place the paper on a firmer basis, increase the interest in it, and augment the subscription list--three very desirable things for the future welfare of the paper. The cost would probably be something over $400." Its statistics were: Receipts, $391.49; Paid for Printing, $273.72; Incidentals, $54.63; Balance on hand, $50.94; Due on advertisements, about $100; and considerable on subscription. The Minutes of the Women's Mission Societies, and of the Ministerial Conference were published; also an Essay by Sister Henry Warren, on "Foreign Mission Work in Sunday Schools," and an Exegesis of Matthew XXVIII, 18-20, by Rev. S. C. Price; besides voluminous tables of Statistics. The Treasurer reported receipts from 38 churches, with individuals, $2147.I7; from five Sunday Schools, $123.15; from legacy, (Failing Fund) $200; balance from last year, $139.44; total, $2609.76. Disbursements, paid missionaries, including traveling expenses, $1862.87 ; incidentals, $35; balance on hand, $711.89. No debt. Missionaries employed, 10. The A. B. P. Society had transferred to the Board $1772.42 worth of books, for which the Board agreed to give four years of faithful colporteur work on the field. The A. B. U. donated books worth $106. Aid had been rendered in supporting 11 missionaries on the field. The work was no longer an experiment. It had come to stay, and the question of means had been largely tested. Our appointees gave their entire time to the work. A plan of cooperation with the A. B. H. M. Society had been agreed upon, and is here presented.
Mrs. Ezra Fisher, more than 70 years old, presented a quilt to be sold for the Women's Foreign work. It brought $11, and was left with the W. B. F. M. Society of Salem, to be quilted and returned to the Convention next year and be again sold.
In his closing remarks, the President says:
"The interest in our Convention is widening and deepening in the hearts of our people all over our vast territory. We have occasion to 'Thank God and take courage.' Every year our work has shown substantial and encouraging increase. Our outlook for the future is bright. By the cooperation of the A. B. H. M. Society, we may expect that our work will go forward with ever increasing power. To this end let us hope, and labor, and pray."
PLAN OF COOPERATION WITH THE A. B. H. M. SOCIETY
"1. The Home Mission Society appropriates to mission work in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, at the rate of $2 additional for every $1 raised in said districts for Home and State Missions. It being distinctly understood that money paid by a church for services rendered to it by its pastor, or by a missionary, and money received and designated by an Association for a missionary not appointed by this Society, shall not be regarded nor recovered in the Convention quota of missionary contributions, for which the Home Mission Society shall pay $2 for $1.
"2. The Convention to adopt its own measures for the collection of funds, provided, however, that no general missionary or collecting agent shall be employed on a salary without the concurrence of the Board of the A. B. H. M. Society. The general work of the A. B. H. M. Society to be presented in the churches annually.
"3. All missionary money contributed by the churches, or by individuals, to be paid to the Treasurer of the Convention. The Treasurer to make quarterly reports and remittances to the Home Mission Society, and to be authorized by the Convention. in case the receipts at the end of any quarter are less than the portion of the appropriation for that quarter to borrow an amount sufficient to make up that deficiency.
"4. Appointments and appropriations to be made chiefly at the beginning of the year. and modified as experience and receipts suggest.
"5. The Home Mission Society to be responsible for no absolute amount, but merely for three times the amount actually paid into its treasury from the State, and all appointment of missionaries to be made with this understanding.
"6. The Convention to superintend the work in said district, select fields, nominate missionaries, name their salaries, and determine their time of labor. The Home Mission Society to appoint and pay those so nominated, so far as they approve of such nominations and terms.
"7. Reports of all missionaries to be made in duplicate to the Society and to the Convention, quarterly.
"8. The Home Mission Society to appoint, at its option, an advisory committee of three brethren, residents of the district, who shall be entitled to a seat in the Convention, and its Board, during any and all its deliberations. though without the privilege of voting unless members of the same.
"9. This plan to go into effect at the beginning of the Convention year for 1880; to be renewed, modified, or terminated yearly, according to mutual agreement."
The Ministerial Conference met the day before the Convention. Papers were read and discussed as follows:
- "The Pastoral Office and Work," by Rev. G. J. Burchett.
- "An Exegesis of Matthew XXVIII, 18-20," by Rev. S. C. Price.
- "The Progressive Nature of Revelation," by Rev. A. S. Coates.
- "Plans of Church Work," by B. S. McLafferty,
- "Sermonizing," by Rev. C. W, Rees.
- "Plan of a Sermon; Eph, II, 8," by Rev. J. C. Baker.
A general discussion led by Revs. A. J. Hunsaker, S. C. Price, and R. C, Hill, on "Ministerial Sympathy and Spirituality."
VIII. The State Convention. Early in 1881, the Convention, the Missionary Board, in fact the entire brotherhood of the Northwest coast suffered a severe loss in the death of Deacon A. W. Kinney. of whom a sketch is given in another place. A Sunday School Institute lasting two days was held in Albany in February, It had a most excellent program, and among the most important topics, "A Demand for an Instructed Church Membership," by Rev. S. C. Price; "The Sunday School a Conservative Force in Society," by Rev. J. A. Gray; and "Doctrinal Teaching in the Sunday School," by Rev. G. J. Burchett. At the Board meeting in April, Brethren Crawford and Hackleman resigned the charge of the Beacon, because Brother Crawford was about to leave the State, and Rev. J. C. Baker again took charge of it, publishing it in Salem. The following standing resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved: That we make all recommendations for aid in the support of pastors conditional: (1) Upon a faithful and vigorous prosecution of the pastoral work. (2) Upon a vigorous and faithful prosecution of a system of church finances, so arranged as to develop self-help. (3) That where any church so aided has not such a financial system, or seems to lack the ability to arrange one, we will furnish a plan upon application to any officer or member of the Board. (4) That we believe it a wasteful expenditure of the Lord's money placed in our hands to do His work except upon the foregoing resolutions; and that the same be printed in the next issue of The Baptist Beacon. and kept as standing matter for reference. Also that a copy be furnished each of our missionaries."
The annual meeting was held at Eugene October 27-30. There were 64 life members on the list; of these three had died. The Treasurer reported the total receipts of the year, including the balance of the previous year, $3630.38; disbursements, $2973.85; of the receipts, $291.71 was from the book fund; balance on hand, $656.53; 86 churches had contributed; 17 missionaries had been under employ all or a part of the year. A telegram was read from Rev. H. L. Morehouse, D. D., Secretary of the A. B. H. M. Society, stating that the New York Board had voted to continue the plan of cooperation upon the same basis as the last year, and the Convention was invited to represent itself in the "Jubilee Meeting" in New York, next May, with five delegates. This gave great pleasure, and Rev. J. C. Baker was elected to so represent the Convention, with Rev, A. J. Hunsaker, alternate. Mrs. A. W. Kinney was also afterwards chosen as a delegate. A memorial was also sent to the A. B. H, M. Society, asking the consideration of the propriety of establishing an Alaskan mission at an early day, pledging the Convention to second the effort, and render it all the assistance possible in all proper and legitimate ways. The Sunday School Board presented three topics for discussion. The Secretary of the A. B. M. U. reported that nearly $400 had been raised for the work during the year and resolutions were adopted approving the same, and recommending all the churches to make an effort for it some time in December. The Women's work was duly presented. The Beacon reported the paper prosperous, and no debt. The missionaries employed were 13, and their fields defined. Ashland, Astoria, The Dalles, McMinnville, Baker City, Heppner, and Prineville, were all spoken of as important points needing help. The Educational Report said:
"With the building enterprise assured, it will now be practicable to collect the endowment notes amounting to about $20,000, and permanently invest the fund. This will be done as rapidly as possible. Additions to this fund will need to be made in the future; perhaps in the near future. We may depend on the liberality and enterprise of the Baptists on this field to provide additions as they shall be called for. There is a floating debt of $1100 against the Institution, but to cover this there are reliable assets in unpaid interest on endowment notes whose collections it was not deemed advisable to urge while the building enterprise was being pressed upon the people and hanging in uncertainty. The unpaid interest amounts to $4561.20. Altogether, the promise of our educational interest is bright and full of hope; and to realize these promises it is only necessary that we go on in the work wisely and unitedly and determinedly, under the blessing of God. The work is vital to the interests of our denomination, and our people are awakening to this fact."
The Board said that the plan of cooperation with the A. B. H. M. Society had been entirely harmonious, and mutually satisfactory, and was promising good results by giving the work prominence all over the whole country, and bringing it within the sympathy and prayers of the denomination at large, as could not otherwise have been done. In the early part of the year, word was received that the New York Board had appropriated $2500 from the Benevolent department of the "Church Edifice Fund" for use on this field to aid in completing the payment of new houses of worship; to be appropriated on the recommendation of the Oregon Board, and to be used only in completing payment, leaving no other indebtedness. The grateful acknowledgement of this offer was sent to the Society, and the Board had recommended some money to be paid from this fund for the purpose intended. (See Statistical Tables). Of the field the Board says:
"Our field is new. It is on the borders. It has vast resources, fast developing. It is being rapidly filled with an exceptional class of immigrants. It has an area of 250,000 square miles; a population of 300,000, with room and undeveloped resources to accommodate 25,000,000 of population. And they are coming. Our climate is not excelled on the continent for variety, vigor, and health. Crops never fail. We are not subject to the terrible tornadoes and hurricanes of the East. With direct communication by rail, the influx of population which is now great, will be simply immense .We are living in times of marvelous opportunity and responsibility. To act well our part, to develop self-help, to meet the incoming tide of population with a pure Christianity, thoroughly organized, the foundation laid in heavenly wisdom, and the structure rising from the same, inspired by the full, and unadulterated teachings of the word of God, is our privilege and mission. In it the 100 Baptist churches, and the 30 ministers, now acting will find employment challenging their best and most consecrated efforts. To do this work well, is to write our names high up in the sympathy, love, and confidence of the Christian world, and what is still higher in attainment, have the approbation of the Master who has given us this high privilege and opportunity. Will each church and member do their part?"
The work of the Convention had grown to such magnitude that early in the year it had been found necessary to relieve Rev. J. C. Baker of a part of his labors, and the book department, and the missionary correspondence were turned over to Rev. A. J. Hunsaker. While attending the Jubilee meetings of the A. B. H. M. Society, Brother Baker said he had four things in mind: (1) A plan by which we might be able to purchase lots on which to build churches and parsonages in the new important towns which are rapidly growing up along our railroads. (2) To augment if possible. our present provisions for aid to build houses of worship and parsonages. (3) To open the way for the transportation of men to our field. (4) At the earliest possible day to open the way to occupy with strong men all the strategic points on this great field. He had not in mind any effort to raise money, but rather to bring the field and the work before the Societies, and the prominent brethren. and to lay such plans as would speedily reach the four things proposed. In July, the Board approved the appointment by the A. B. H. M. Society of Rev. J. C. Baker as "Superintendent of Missions for the Pacific coast."
The annual meeting was held at McMinnville. Dr. E. C. Anderson presented a paper on "The Relation of Colleges and Academies to the Public Schools." It was voted that money for annual members and Minute money should alone be used for printing Minutes and other incidental expenses; the surplus, if any, going to mission work. Brother Baker gave an account of his visit to the East, and hoped that good had been accomplished by his lectures in various places. The Ministers' Conference presented a sermon on Temperance by Dr. E. Nesbit; and "The Gradual Unfolding of God's Ancient Law to His People," by Dr. Anderson. The Board urged the following duties; establishing and sustaining churches in the centers of population; building houses of worship; sending out and supporting itinerant missionaries or evangelists; to preach the Gospel to the destitute, and thereby win the masses to the Lord Jesus Christ; and fostering and aiding the work of Christian Education, especially where young men can prepare to preach the Gospel.
Revs. S. C. Price, G. W. Black, J. T. Huff and Fung Chak, had closed their labors for various reasons. The following paragraph in the Report of the Board is worth studying:
"Our treasury is found to be overtaxed at the close of the year. It will be found necessary to take vigorous measures to increase the fund for our work immediately, or otherwise to dismiss some of the missionaries. We cannot possibly open new fields, nor enlarge the work, nor even carry it as projected, unless the people rally at once, and that with a liberality of no ordinary character."
The Convention was organized, or rather re-organized in 1877 with the belief that self-help should, and would be developed. Without going abroad, or waiting for foreign help to force or lure activity, it was believed that funds could be raised on the field for successful missionary work. And funds were raised. Self-help was developed. With the motto, "Faith in God, and cash in hand," there was enough secured from the field, where previously little or nothing had been done, to support one missionary the first year, three the second, and ten the third year. By that time, the receipts were nearly $3000, and the membership less than 4000. Not a dollar to cover arrearages had yet been called for at any annual meeting. At least two-thirds of the churches were responding nobly to the work. The Report says:
"The year has been a trying one in many respects. The draft upon our denomination to put up our college building at McMinnville. which has been so generally, and generously responded to has had some influence upon our finances in some of the heretofore prominent channels, the means have ceased to flow from other causes. The efforts of the year have been directed more to building and strengthening the things that be, and in some cases, of pruning, rather than a year of revivals. And yet, the general statistics of the year give totals of an encouraging character:.
The summary of these statistics is as follows: Associations, 9; churches, 103; ordained ministers, 74; churches having weekly preaching, 12; do. semi-monthly, 7; do. tri-monthly, 3; monthly, 38; ministers not actively engaged 35; missionaries appointed, 19; membership, 3024; Sunday Schools, 44; Officers and teachers, 300; pupils, 2500.
At the first meeting of the Board, correspondence was ordered relative to putting a Colporteur in Southern Oregon, and also for a missionary in Josephine county. The work having greatly increased, the field was divided into missionary districts; and it was proposed, as soon as means would justify, and the men could be found, to place at least one missionary in the several districts of Western Washington; Eastern Oregon; Western Oregon; and Southern Oregon; and the Superintendent of missions, and the President of the Board were instructed to open correspondence for such missionaries as might be required, and such other work as would, at an early day, carry to completion the plan of the Convention. In April, some donations and loans had been secured from the Church Edifice Fund for the meeting houses, and it was also recommended that with what could be secured on the field, a sufficient amount be appropriated to sustain a competent and efficient pastor at Albany; that efforts be made to secure such pastor by the time the house is ready for service; and that the Board assure the church of its purpose to hold the work until the church becomes self-supporting, provided always a proper effort at self-support is put forth by the church. Rev. J. W. Osborn was recommended as missionary for the Forks of the Santiam, at $650, provided the churches at Providence and Scio, pay him for the time they require his services; the Board paying him for the remainder of his time, so that he may devote himself entirely to the work; and provided further that these churches and the brethren on the field endeavor to pay into the hands of the mission work the sum of $200 during the year. This proposition was not carried out by the churches. Rev. A. J. Hunsaker was allowed three months vacation, to be taken at any time between April and October; his salary continued during that time. And he took his vacation by preaching each Sunday but one to poor churches unable to have a pastor, and off the line of general travel, where they seldom had a visitor, and each Sunday but three he preached twice, and spent his intervening time in labor among these poor churches.
The Annual meeting was at Brownsville. The committee on the Baptist Beacon recommended: (1) That Rev. G. J. Burchett be the editor, and that it be published semi-monthly; but this last item was not carried out for the want of funds. (2) That an advance fund of $3000 be raised in shares of $5 each, and that this sum be paid annually, in advance, for three years, and that the shares be paid in full by the first of January of each year. (Not successful.) (3) That $300 of this fund be allowed the Editor for his services. (4) That the paper be published at McMinnville or Portland at the direction of the Editor. A bill of $85 was presented for money advanced on Rev. J. C. Baker's trip to the Jubilee meetings, and the churches were urged to pay it. Several difficulties beset the work during the year: (1) The financial embarrassments at the close of the previous year. (2) The unprecedented drought, which extended over all the country, and which was so long continued as to make collections difficult: (3) The growth of the work exceeded the ability to meet it. (4) It was a year of spiritual dearth. (5) A movement was made in Washington to secure an independent work for that district; hence, contributions from that quarter fell off. The Board thus speaks of these difficulties:
"The extent of the field and its rapid growth rendered it quite impossible to aid and develop all sections of the great field as seemed to the general missionary and the Board needful. Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of missions, it was voted to divide the field into 'mission districts,' and the Superintendent was instructed to enter into correspondence with reference to supplying each district with a general missionary as soon as men could be found, and funds would justify. It was thought the plan would have a tendency to develop both resources and workers in each separate district, and where needed, to have a district committee to cooperate with the Board, thus preparing the way for enlargement and for final separate work, which the Board recognized as being not far in the future."
It however took some little time to get this plan into successful operation. Another important item demanded radical changes. Over 80 per cent of the money collected was from Oregon, whilst about 70 per cent of it was expended in Washington and Idaho. Regarding the work as one, the Board had been equally interested in all parts of the field. But now Oregon was increasing its demands for its own work, and the funds were not sufficient to meet the calls. For these causes, as well as others, the field was divided into three districts. under separate Boards of their own appointment, which should conduct and direct their own work. but give an annual summary to the Convention until they should organize their own Conventions. And the A. B. H. M. Society was asked to make the pro rata of aid for Oregon, $2 to $1; for Western Washington and British Columbia, $3 to $1, and for Eastern Washington and Western Idaho, $4 to $1; believing this to be the least possible sum that would meet the demands of the great Northwest. And furthermore, that the amount charged for the Superintendent of missions should be charged one-half to Oregon, and one fourth to each of the other districts. In addition to this the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved: That, recognizing the great prospective growth of British Columbia, upon the advent of the Canadian Pacific railroad opening a new and short route to the East, which will open a vast agricultural country, eight times the size of the State of New York, possessing rare commercial advantages, containing at present but three little churches with no house of worship, among 40,000 people, this Convention asks our Superintendent of Missions to memorialize the Canadian Baptist Convention concerning men and money for this destitute field."
The Sunday School Board was requested to try to secure cooperation with the A. B. P. Society upon the same basis as that with the A. B. H. M. Society. The different lines of labor were thus outlined:
The work of the Superintendent of missions was to conduct correspondence, raise money, plan work, visit different sections of the field, and report to the Board their wants. Accordingly he made an urgent appeal for help in January, and another the following November.
The work of the general missionary was reduced to three kinds: (1) Opening new fields. (2) Building meeting houses. (3) Opening the way for the settlement of pastors. His object was not to "get over the ground," but to do permanent work in the most important localities. At first, he was to awaken interest, stir up enthusiasm, raise money, hold meetings, etc.; now to use the accumulated capital; that is, of money, brains, sympathy, and everything combined. The Board thus speak of their first efforts:
"When we met at McMinnville in October, 1877, for our first annual meeting, we had $10 to begin with, paid our treasurer by A. W. Stanard, the treasurer of the old Convention. To this was added a collection of $46 taken by Rev. J. C. Baker, with additional pledges of nearly $300, and this was the basis upon which we started our missionary operation. At this meeting a missionary Board was constituted who offered the position of "General Missionary" to Rev. J. C. Richardson, which was finally accepted and so our work began."
"At this time the Home Mission Society had three missionaries upon the field, and the Publication Society one Colporteur, which was all the mission work of any kind done by our people on this great field."
And again, speaking of its development, the Board says:
"From the beginning of our work the development of the missionary spirit has been so rapid and general among our churches as to be cause of profound gratitude to our Heavenly father for four years nearly 90 per cent of our churches have been represented in the gifts of its members to the work. The gifts of many of our brethren and sisters have been generous, and in no small number of cases self-denying to an extent calling for our most hearty praise. During the progress of our work, there has been some opposition, but most of it in passive form; and where it has been active has measurably subsided and we believe would altogether cease upon a better understanding of our purpose and plans of work. On the whole, we have every reason to praise God for what He hath wrought, at the same time deploring that our fidelity and forecast has not rendered it possible for God to do more for us."
The receipts for the year were $2309.54; balance from last year, $310.50; Expenditures, $2620.04; debt, $596.98. The total amount raised in the six years since the Convention was organized; for Foreign missions not less than $4500; for the A. B. P. Society, not less than $1000; for Home mission work, $26,500.78; of this the A. B. H. M. Society had contributed $13,797.69, and the Convention had raised $12,703.09; the result of systematic work with a man of brains at the head.
Three years before, and three years after co-operation.
- Total paid Missionaries from
- Oct. 1877 to October 1883 . . $25,733.61 Paid by Con. $12,703.99
- Expense of Convention . . . . . . . . 757.17 Paid by A.B.H.M. Soc. $13,797.69
- _________ _________
- Total . . . . . $26,500.78 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $26,500.78
Rev. J. C. Baker thus sums up and condenses the work of 6 years: 1878-1883.
"When we began our work six years ago, there was comparatively very little of the missionary spirit, the real missionary conviction. Not more than three churches on the whole field were making yearly contributions to either the Home or Foreign work. The Home Mission Society had three missionaries upon our field covering an area of 400,000 square miles, and the Publication Society had one Colporteur whom they had supported nearly five years, but nothing was being done on the field for his support. I believe only one collection was taken as reported by the Society, and that at the Central Association at one of its annual gatherings. Now we have over 90 churches represented in the offerings to Home Missions, a large number to Foreign Missions and the Publication Society. There has been remarkable growth in the real missionary conviction. Six years ago a large per cent of our churches were without Sunday Schools; now most of the churches which have houses of worship of their own have Sunday Schools of their own.
"Then our Educational work was embarrassed by a debt of almost $1900, and we were in an old dilapidated building that some people said was liable to fall down on the students. Now that debt is paid and one of the finest educational buildings in the State is being occupied by the school with a faculty of double the number. This, at an outlay of $25,000, all provided upon our field. Then very little was done in supporting pastors. Only two churches supporting men all the time. There were only six ministers giving their whole time to the work, including pastors, ministers, and teachers, and $6000 would fully cover their salaries. Now we have 13 in Washington, 2 in Idaho, 22 in Oregon, making a total of 37 giving their whole time to the work of the Master, at a salary of not less than $20,000 annually, at least $13,000 of which is being paid by the churches. Six years ago we had only 22 houses of worship on the field, now we have, builded and in process of erection 57, at an average cost of not less than $1500, which would give $53,500 spent in this way when all are completed, upon which the Home Mission Society will have donated and loaned about $9000.
"This growth is simply marvelous! And is largely the outgrowth of this Convention in bringing together and organizing our forces in the different departments of Christian work in which we are engaged. We certainly have cause for gratitude to Almighty God for what He bath permitted us to achieve.
"And now for the future. My faith is that even this marvelous growth can be increased. Yea, that a large increase is demanded."
The Annual meeting was held at Springfield. A committee was appointed to ascertain during the coming year what legal steps were necessary to limit the area, and also to change the name of the Convention. The Ministerial Conference presented four topics which were ably discussed and criticized. This body decided to hold a semi-annual meeting, and a program was adopted for it as well as for the Annual meeting. In the Sunday School work no Institute had been held during the year; two were determined on for the ensuing year; one at Salem, the other at McMinnville. No plan of cooperation had been effected with the A. B. P. Society, because of a lack of funds. Two themes were discussed; one by Rev. M. L. Rugg, the other by Rev. J. C. Baker. The Sunday School Board was instructed to hold a Convention beginning on Tuesday evening previous to the Annual meeting of the Convention of the North Pacific Coast. The Editor of the Beacon reported a debt of $89 due him, with $400 of unpaid subscription; "value uncertain." The paper had 950 subscribers; of these, "fully 40 per cent were on the delinquent list." The committee found the time used by the Editor during the year to be equal to four months of 26 working days, 9 hours a day. The total yearly expense was $1118. It was recommended that the Beacon be continued; size and issue the same; that Brother Burchett be the Editor at $300 a year; that it be conducted on the basis of advance payments; that an effort be made for 1200 subscribers, and if these cannot be secured, that the subscription price be $1.25 per annum; that the Board of Publication be appointed to superintend the work; and that, since the Beacon is the property of the Convention, the Convention assume the financial responsibility.
The church Edifice Fund had donated to Oregon $1400; loaned $900. The total expenses for the year were $2654.35. The receipts were over $1 per member; $0.97 for Oregon; total, $2531.51; leaving a deficit of $122.84. In Oregon, the men employed, either in whole or in part, during the year, were 16; new men brought to the Oregon field, 6. The changes were, Rev. G. J. Burchett, from East Portland to McMinnville; Rev. G. Liljeroth moved to California; Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, general missionary, resigned; Rev. J. C. Baker, Superintendent of missions, field contracted to the North Pacific Coast by request of all Boards.
Loud calls were made from Astoria and the regions round about; Portland, a city missionary, under the supervision of the First Church; Umatilla county with one man with headquarters at Heppner; Baker county, two men, one at Baker City, the other at North Powder; Union County, one man located at Union as a central point; Wasco county and parts adjoining in Crook county, one man; a general missionary in Oregon, in Eastern Oregon, in Southern Oregon, and in the Willamette Valley. All these points needed help immediately, which could not be furnished. The expenditures in Oregon were $7,300, and the receipts from the churches and members on the field had been most generous, though some of the most able churches, and some of the brethren and sisters, who up to two years before, were among the most liberal contributors to the work, had made little or no offerings the preceding year. The Board depended upon receipts from these sources, and made recommendations accordingly. Had it not been disappointed in these expectations, the receipts of the year would have left the Convention with a surplus in the treasury.
"A look forward. The outlook! What of the night? Does the day dawn? Shall we arise in the strength of Israel's God and go forward? Or shall we yield to the pressure that is upon us and give up the battle? We have entered into the work of our Baptist fathers; shall we 'quit us like men'? Our God says: 'fear not thou, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness'. (Isa. XLI, 10) Trusting in him, and like true yoke-fellows working together, we can overcome all obstacles, and no man will be able to shut these doors which God has put ajar for us to enter." (J. C. B.)
In April, 1885, Brother E. G. Wheeler received a commission from the A. B. P. Society as general Sunday School Missionary and financial agent for the North Pacific Coast. The semi-annual meeting of the Ministerial Conference was held at East Portland, commencing May 4, 1885, and six themes were discussed and criticized. The Sunday School Convention was held at Portland, October 27, and 11 topics discussed, besides a general discussion on "Power in the Sunday School." The Ministerial Conference met October 29. Rev. A. J. Hunsaker and B. S. McLafferty gave skeletons of sermons, both subject to criticism. Rev. Walter Barss preached a sermon full of comfort and joy to God's people. Three topics were also discussed.
The Annual meeting of the Convention was held at Portland. After a full discussion, it was recommended that the Beacon with its assets, after all liabilities were met, should be turned over to private hands, requiring at the same time a sufficient guarantee for its being a Baptist paper, and for its being published in the interests of the Convention for at least five years. Its present size and frequency of issue were to be maintained. The account stood; Expense of publication, $413.50; Salary of Editor, $275; total. $688.50; Receipts, $640; Balance due Editor, $48.50. Rev. J. Q. A. Henry took charge of the paper. The Convention paid the balance due Brother Burchett. It was also voted to take steps looking to the dissolution of the Convention at as early a day as practicable, and that the three districts, Oregon, Western Washington and British Columbia, and Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, organize and incorporate under such names as may seem to them most suitable, provided that no one of the districts take the name of the existing Convention. The Board of the North Pacific Convention was asked to take all necessary steps to a final distribution of its property at the next annual meeting of the body.
A committee was appointed to take steps toward organizing a Society to aid students for the ministry at McMinnville College. A strong appeal was made for aid to remove a debt from the college building. Since the last meeting of the Convention, Dr. E. C. Anderson had secured $7000 in good negotiable notes for the endowment of the Josiah Failing Professorship. The Convention closed its year with only 7 missionaries in its employ, although 15 had been employed, more or less, during the year. Four churches had become self-sustaining; McMinnville, Carlton, East Portland, and The Dalles. By the death of his wife, and his own failing health, Rev. E. C. Hamilton had to resign at Roseburg; Rev. C. P. Bailey had removed to Eastern Oregon, and Rev. C. W. Rees had given up the work in Washington county. Help was recommended, but not obtained, for Marshfield and Mount Tabor in building. The total receipts were $1874.19. The A. B. H. M. Society commenced the year with an expenditure of $18,090 for the field, of which $7,300 was for Oregon, and its pro rata was $2432.33, besides the expense of the Convention; but it fell short $1015.91. A strong plea was urged by Brother Baker for work among the foreign population, which probably numbered nearly 50,000, and with whom nothing had been attempted, except a slight effort among the Scandinavians. The missionaries employed had been the same as in 1884, except that Brother Burchett and Tong Tsin Cheung were dropped out, and a slight reduction was made in some of the salaries. With reference to the outlook, Brother Baker thus appealed to the convention:
"The work is growing. The calls are more frequent and urgent, the open fields are more numerous and hopeful, God has blessed us and helped us in the past, the success of our work has, and will constantly call for enlargement. But can we go forward? Can we enlarge our work? Can we even carry it upon its present basis? 'Times are hard.' 'There is no money in the country.' 'Prices of grain are down.' 'The outlook is gloomy enough.' These and other expressions are poured into our ears constantly. Our answer is:
"1. The past year has been as difficult for raising money as any coming year is liable to be, and yet I believe we have in many respects had the most prosperous year of our history.
"2. If eight years ago, with only six men of our denomination on the N. P. Coast giving their whole time to the Lord's work we could go forward, what can hinder a forward movement now, with 45 men, leaders of God's people, who stand as peers of the ministry of any other denomination?
"3. The Master says, 'Go: We must go forward to please Him. The Master will stop for neither hard times nor discouraged churches. He will go on. He has promised to go with those who go on with Him 'even unto the end of the world.'"
Again; after saying that it became "evident that retrenchment on a large scale must come before the year was far advanced," and also, that "one-half or more of our missionaries were induced to come to this field under promise of good salaries and aid until their churches became self-sustaining," Brother Baker adds:
"But God has greatly helped us. When we have stood in dismay, He has opened up a highway and thrown along its track the light of divine truth and hath imparted strength to go forward, and we close the year with a deficit much smaller than has been feared by many during most of the year. And this fact must be borne in mind; we have lost only two men permanently from the field, though we have nine less under appointment. Only two new men have been commissioned during the year, against 14 of last year, leaving our whole ministerial force same as at last Convention numerically. This is no time for discouragement; the year has been one of real advancement in all permanent growth beyond any year of our history as a Convention. Our mission churches have been blessed with larger ingathering of souls; five of our mission churches have become self-sustaining, so far at least as to carry their own work without aid; all our mission churches are doing more towards the support of their pastors, and asking less from the Society; nearly all our mission churches are growing into a wide benevolence, and are taking up almost all departments of denominational work. When one of these churches becomes self-sustaining, it will be found in hearty and faithful accord with the great enterprises in which we as a denomination are engaged. The last has probably been the most marked of any previous year of our history. If there is a decrease in some missionary receipts it is more than made up in some other benevolence and to the work of Christian education. Really, the year has been crowned with success of the best possible type for the future intelligent occupancy of this great North West. But how? That the field is growing and making greater demands upon us is evident to all. Year by year this must be so if we are faithful. We can do more work on the field the coming year than ever before with the force we now have on the field. But this is not enough. We must bring several new men to the help of the present faithful corps. It can be done. This State, this Convention, is stronger to do for God than ever before. We urge a forward movement from this day. I can only trust God and pray for His blessing. I feel confident however, that a basis of retrenchment will have to be fixed by the Board itself. Our work was never more hopeful than at the present time; our field never so well manned; our ministry never standing better or more influential; and, barring the depression that forbids the Society going forward, greater results could be reached the next year than ever before. If our churches all through the East would do as much per capita as we have done on this field, we could pay up the debt and greatly enlarge our work."
The question of the advisability of continuing the office of Superintendent of Missions was very earnestly discussed, and finally the following action taken by a vote of 100 to 5.
"Whereas; The present plan of cooperation with the Home Mission Society has expired, and as the Home Mission Society is laboring under serious financial embarrassment, which has resulted in the material reduction of the amount allowed this field; and as the stringency of the times in our midst has increased the difficulty of raising the money demanded for our work; and as the field has been reduced on which the pro rata of expense of the Superintendent of Missions has to be raised, thereby doubling the amount required from this field; therefore
"Resolved: That we express our gratitude for the interest taken by the Home Mission Society in the work on this Convention field, and that we desire the continuation of the present plan of cooperation; provided,
"First: That we are assured that the judgment of the local Boards shall have due weight as to all appointments made.
"Secondly: That, as a Convention, we be relieved of the expenses of the Superintendent of Missions; believing that this amount will be more wisely expended in the employment of a general missionary for each district, who shall reside within its limits, thereby being more thoroughly conversant with its wants and resources; who, acting in concord with the District Board, shall, for his district, do the work of the Superintendent, of Missions."
The following action was also taken:
"Whereas: The course of circumstances renders it probable that the relation of Rev. J. C. Baker to this Convention as Superintendent of Missions will soon terminate; and,
"Whereas: During the years past, Brother Baker has done faithful and efficient work in organizing and strengthening our denominational interests within our bounds; Therefore, be it
"Resolved: That we express our appreciation of his fidelity and earnestness in the discharge of the duties of his office during these years.
"Resolved: That we extend to Brother Baker our best wishes that his labors may be successful in whatsoever fields of Christian effort his lot may be cast."
The Secretary was instructed to send a copy of this action to Rev. H. L. Morehouse, D. D., Secretary of the A. B. H. M. Society. Rev. J. C. Baker did not resign, and on December 21, 1885, the Executive Board of the A. B. H. M. Society of New York, after some preambles stating the reasons:
"Resolved: That further cooperation with these Conventions be discontinued, and that the Society prosecute its missionary work in these fields as formerly, directly through its own appointed agencies.
"Resolved: That so far as practicable, and within the limits of appropriations already made to these fields, the Society will continue the support of missionaries now at work.
"Resolved: That the churches which they serve be earnestly requested to assume a larger proportion of their pastors salaries than hitherto, in order that the Society may be able to devote more attention and means to newer and needier fields."
As this action of the Convention and of the Society completely revolutionized the work of missions on the North Pacific coast, at least for a time; and also created a direct antagonism between the Convention and the Society, it is of enough importance to demand further consideration, and the several facts strike immediate attention. (1) So far as openly expressed, no complaint is made against Brother Baker individually, nor against his work. Both himself and his work are commended. The objection therefore must be against his office. Let us look at its history on the Pacific coast.
In May, 1882, the A. B. H. M. Society appointed Rev. J. C. Baker Superintendent of Missions for the Pacific coast, but this was a new office, or at least a new name for an office, amongst the North Pacific Baptists, and many began to inquire what it meant. It was looked upon with a great deal of suspicion by some of the old Baptists, and regarded as of about as much use as a fifth wheel to a wagon. Explanations to a great extent were thrown away. "It cost too much." That the Home Mission Society needed, and in justice ought to have an agent here to look after their expenditures of money on this field could not be questioned by any reasonable man. Whether or not Brother Baker abused his authority and prerogatives, is not the province of this work to inquire into; especially as there were no accusations. Be this as it may, the popular sentiment was such, that by the influence of some prominent men, such measures were taken that in 1885, the Convention of the North Pacific Coast almost unanimously voted for a discontinuance of the office. Yet it was very generally admitted, even by many who disapproved of the office, that if such an office was needed, Brother Baker was the man for it. That at that time, there was not a man here so well qualified, so thoroughly posted, so good a manager, or so skillful a manipulator of the work so as to make it all effective as he. His position as Superintendent of missions, and also as President of the missionary Board of the Convention, gave him a tremendous influence and power, and this was enough to provoke the jealousy of incompetent and weak minded rivals, who possessed little or no qualifications for the work. He had abundant scope for all his wisdom, for all his tact, for all his ability; and certainly caused as little friction as has been developed since. As has already been said, if the office was a necessity, there was not then, nor has there been since, another man, better adapted to meet all the requirements at that time. And the A. B. H. M. Society retained Brother Baker for about a year and a half longer.
(2) The reasons assigned for the action of the Convention sound very plausible, but perhaps it may be well to examine the conditions attached thereto. Assurance is called for that the judgment of the local Boards shall have due weight in all appointments made." Where the necessity for such a condition. It is not to be supposed for a moment, that any Board with the standing and character of the H. M. Board would listen to any matter properly presented before them and belonging to its business, and not give it all the "weight" belonging to it. And even if anyone was even trying to exercise an undue influence upon such a body, they would spurn in indignantly. It is self-evident that the H. M. Board had full confidence in Brother Baker, or he never would have got his appointment, and just in proportion to that confidence would his recommendations have been heeded; and the same could be said of a recommendation from any man. The second condition, that the Superintendent of Missions be displaced for a "general missionary in each district" gives rise to the question, "Who shall appoint these general missionaries?" And if the answer be, "The Convention or District appoints them," it looks as if the Convention was saying, "We demand the right to appoint agents to look after your affairs!" Both conditions are insulting. That such was the real demand, is evident from the complaints made when the A. B. H. M. Board informed them that it intended to appoint its own agents. For thus deciding, the complaint says:
"The will and the godly judgment of the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast has been utterly ignored by the New York Board. The three local Missionary Boards of the three districts are robbed of the minimum of power which they previously had, and that in the future, all missionary recommendations and appointments are to be made entirely independent of their sanction and consent, and solely and exclusively on the authority of the Superintendent of Missions." And again,
"It does seem as if the Home Mission Society was determined to whip the Convention into line by shutting off the supply, and thereby compel the dependent churches to recognize an office thoroughly offensive to them, or see their pastors go, their services discontinued, and their churches closed."
One very prominent complaint urges that the Constitution of the Convention was "violated" and that "the independence of the Convention was unquestionably abridged." "Soul-liberty for the individual, and independence for the churches, are the glory of Baptists; rights the last to be relinquished." And the appeal by the H. M. Board to the churches for aid, he says; "Nothing could be more unreasonable. To rob churches, pastors, and Boards of the last vestige of consideration, and then appeal to them for enlarged contributions is absurd and unjust, unscriptural and unbaptistic." And another complaint, equally as prominent, talks of the local Boards being "coolly set aside," and the churches being "relieved of all voice in the appointment of their missionaries" of a "usurpation of authority," etc., and finally the complaints wind up by declaring that "every church, pastor, and member is forced to take a stand for the Convention, as against the Home Mission Society, or vice versa. In this instance there is no middle ground."
But all agreed that the debt due the Society (about $1800) should be paid, and after much hard work it was raised and paid.
But these were very serious charges to be brought against brethren who heretofore, we had supposed to be honorable and true. Will the history of the work here at that time justify such accusations? At least both sides should be presented--plain, simple facts; nothing else. In so doing, two questions arise. Was there usurpation of authority, and its accompanying evils? Did justice demand that the field pay a part of Brother Baker's expenses?A letter written by a very prominent Baptist minister about that time, a man having every opportunity to be fully posted as to every item of which he speaks, and who always had the fullest confidence of his brethren, thus wrote in relation to this "usurpation of authority."
"The A. B. H. M. Society prior to entering into cooperation with the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast, had her missionaries and mission stations dotted all over the coast, and no one thought, up to that time, that the Society sought to usurp any authority over any of the churches. The business was done by the Executive committee of the Society in cooperation with the churches aided. But in entering the cooperation with the convention, they accepted our missionaries, and we accepted theirs who were then under appointment, and the agreement between the Home Mission Society and our Board was, that we designate the field and name the man, and they would appoint and commission him; and for every dollar raised on our field and put into their treasury, they would put two more with it and expend it as we would direct. This plan of cooperation was followed until the recent action of the Convention of the N. P. C., when the said Convention asked to dictate the terms or further cooperation by virtually saying to the Society; 'You must remove your own agent from this field, or we will cease to cooperate with you.' The Home Mission Society expending so much money on this field, certainly have a right to see this field through their own agent, and has fallen back largely on the old basis of cooperation with the churches, and it certainly is unfair, to say the least of it, to charge them with 'whipping us into line by cutting off the supply,' when the Society has not withdrawn a dollar from the missionaries under appointment, but to the contrary says, 'That so far as practicable, and within the limits of the appropriations already made to the field, the Society will continue the support of the missionaries now at work.' Neither is it true that the will of the Baptists of the N. P. Coast is ignored by the N. Y. Board; but only the will of a Convention, the majority of the delegates to the same, coming from three or four churches; many of them self-constituted on the $1 membership, seemingly for no other purpose than to make a personal attack on the Superintendent of Missions, rather than on the office; and that too because he had the moral courage to carry out his convictions of duty, in matters where the interests of the Society, as well as individuals were invoked."
Further; at the first meeting of the Convention Board after their action in this matter, there were several applications for aid from the H. M. Society, and the question was raised whether, after such action, the Convention had any right to ask any aid from that Society until it had been heard from, and the reply was that the parent Society needed an agent to look after its interests in Oregon, and until this matter was adjusted it could only cooperate through its own Superintendent of Missions. So nothing was done by the N. P. C. Convention Board at that time, but afterwards it was very satisfactorily looked after during the year. In October, 1886, the N. P. C. Convention adjourned sine die, and the Oregon Baptist State Convention, just organized took up the work.
The allusion to the $1 membership refers to that clause of the old Constitution which says that anyone may become a member of the Convention by paying $1. The Convention of 1885 met at Portland, and the fact was notorious that before that Convention met, all the Baptist churches within easy reach of Portland were thoroughly canvassed for members for the Convention on the $1 plan, and a part of the canvassers were known, and a list of over forty names of those who did thus come in is still in existence. In a close vote, these would hold the balance of power. The published report gives Brother Baker only five votes out of over one hundred. It would be safe to say that it is very doubtful if more than twelve or fifteen per cent of the actual delegates fully understood what they were voting for. But even with no other data than this, it would afford a fairly good basis for the statement in the above letter.
But what did the H. M. Board actually do, or try to do? Let these terrible charges be condensely itemized. (1) It decided to have its own agent look after its own affairs. (2) It gave $2 for every one raised on the field for missions. (3) It had already expended about $15,000 on the field for missions. (4) It had spent about $5000 a year on the field for church edifice work. (5) It had loaned the Convention about $1800 to make up the quota due from the field. (6) It had charged Oregon $21.39 a month for two years as a part of the expenses of the Superintendent of Missions. (7) It had paid back all the collections to the field with twice as much added; and to much of it with three or four times as much added; and these larger sums on the recommendation of the Superintendent of Missions. (8) It promised the support of the missionaries on the field, according to the appropriations, until the end of the fiscal year; (March 31, 1886). (9) It desired to extend the work if means could be provided." [NOTE--If the reader desires fuller data, papers, letters, and documents, they can be found among the archives of McMinnville College.]
Now with all this to its credit, was it not right, was it not demanded, that the H. M. Board should have an agent of its own choosing on the field to look after all this expenditure? And should not the field aid in meeting the expenses of this agent? This leads to the inquiry, What did the agent do that was of genuine benefit to the field? To answer this inquiry, it is proper to look at the condition of the field before, and at the time of his arrival, the difficulties he had to encounter, and what aids and appliances he had for overcoming these difficulties and hindrances.
It has already been told how the churches and people had been aroused to the importance of missions, how a large number of the churches had their mission stations, how the preachers had their itinerant points, and there was much awakening among the Baptists all along the lines. But their work was mostly local. A State Convention had been organized, and a little work done for four or five years, and then its work was suspended. The churches worked on in the old way, "building over against their own house," as God gave them opportunity, but they did little else. Our prominent men thought it useless to do any thing. But Brother Baker thought otherwise, though his progress at first was slow. He was looked upon as only a common man, with but little prestige; "a fair preacher;" a home-educated, self-made man--only that. In education, talent, eloquence, logical ability, and in popular address, we had a dozen men his superiors. "What could he do?" When he called on these to help arouse the missionary spirit, they politely gave him "the cold shoulder," --"Nothing could be accomplished;"--or if some did help a little, they did it "reluctantly." They "expected it to die." They cried, "There is a lion in the way;" and the common people had no leader, and needed guidance and encouragement. And God says, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." And Brother Baker blew the trumpet. He called on the people to rally. If they could not do great things, they would do what they could. God would be with them. Their labors would be blessed. He urged faith in God, and to put forth their strength in His name, and this gave them self-confidence, and led to self-support. He united the forces of Eastern and Western Washington, Idaho and Oregon in the organization of the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast, which three years later culminated in the organic connection with the A. B. H. M. Society, to aid in the development of this important field, and brought us into active cooperation with all the great Societies of our denomination. This done, an era of growth began, than which, it has few equals in our country. We were made to feel strong and manly by the union of the North Coast forces, but when we became organically connected with these great Societies, and virtually with the whole Baptist constituency of America, we felt strong to accomplish any thing that God required of us. With this force, we must, and could, and would, move on. We believed we could do all things through Christ strengthening us.
Yet when Brother Baker began his work he says; "There was comparatively very little of the missionary spirit, the real missionary conviction. Not more than three churches on the whole field were making yearly missionary contributions to either Home or Foreign missions." That is, to the Societies. So said Elijah: "I, only, am left!" But the Almighty showed him that there were yet in Israel 7000 men, good and true. So Brother Baker said, "There are none left!" What mistakes good men will sometimes make! God sent him to blow the trumpet and rally God's people to conquest, and in three years he says:
"Three years of independent work under the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast, gave us one missionary supported the first year, three the second, ten the third, and an annual offering to the work of $5000, the total membership being less than 4000. The fourth year we entered into cooperation with the H. M. Society and supported 41 missionaries, and 90 per cent of the churches on the whole field became regular contributors to the home mission work, giving over $1 per capita for the entire membership; the rate for Oregon being $0.97; from Washington and British Columbia, $1.95 ; and from East Washington and Northern Idaho, $2.95."
No wonder he tells of a most wonderful missionary revival spreading all over the North Pacific Coast. And then he adds:
"The field was large, the country new, the churches small, the pastors widely separated, the expenses of traveling very high, the work to be done so great and varied. that no wonder it was difficult for these few laborers to carry forward this great work without much misgiving. But their devotion to the cause, their loyalty to Christ and the denomination, their love for each other, formed the bond of union in which the beginning of this Convention work found its basis and went forward to its future achievements."
But the statistical items of his work may be interesting. The H. M. Board, not thinking it wise to accept the terms of the Convention, decided to prosecute the work under the supervision of their own Superintendent of missions, Brother Baker; and instructed him to visit all parts of the field and personally ascertain its needs, and prospects, and requirements, and collect all the money possible to aid in supplying the great destitution. In this work, he was to consult and advise with brethren of long standing with the mission Board, and who were well acquainted with the field and its needs, and their counsel and advice was to have due weight. It is assumed that Brother Baker followed his instructions as far as possible.
As Superintendent, Brother Baker was also working in the interest of the Convention, and all collections he made on the field were credited to the Convention; hence, a pro rata of expense was charged to the Convention. For eighteen months before the Convention was divided into districts, the expense to the North Pacific Coast Convention, including salary, traveling expenses, postage, stationary, and printing, was $21.75 per month, or $391.50 for the entire period. During the two years, since the division of the Convention into districts, the expense to Oregon for the Superintendent for all expenses, was $21.39 per month. The total for two years was $513.36. During this time he collected and placed to the credit of the Convention, in New York, $5321.90, besides what passed through the hands of the treasurers, both of the Convention and the districts, and by the churches and individual brethren from the field. All this was being returned to the field, with $2 added for every $1 sent from all sources from the field; and on the recommendation of the Superintendent of missions, much of it had $3 or $4 returned for every $1 sent. In addition, he secured to pay for church property and church debts on the field more than $5000, and, by consent of the Society, he had given a part of three months to McMinnville College, and collected $3047.50 for it. And further, there was a larger percentage of contributing churches, and a larger amount per capita secured, than in any other Convention of Baptists in North America. And there has been no neglect of other benevolence, but they had been encouraged, fostered, helped by the Superintendent of missions. Hence, he did not resign, nor did the H. M. Board accept the terms of the Convention. Nor did Brother Baker, nor the H. M. Board even attempt to dictate who a missionary should be, nor in any way force anyone on the field against the wishes of the brethren of that field. They may have recommended a missionary for some field, as any brother might have done; but there was no dictation, much less insistence against serious objections from responsible sources entitled to recognition. From these facts the reader can form his own conclusions.
But the result of all this trouble was to spread consternation through all the Baptist ranks of the State, and almost paralyze all immediate activity in missionary work. But this was only temporary and brethren soon rallied, with as much zeal and determination for conquest as before.
In January 1886 Rev. J. Q. A. Henry took charge of the Beacon, changing its title to The North Pacific Baptist. Because of ill health and overwork, in March he turned it over to Rev. S. P. Davis of Oregon City. It then became an individual enterprise, and Brother Davis said he had taken it with a view of keeping it, and did so until 1890, when it was sold to a stock company, and Rev. C. A. Wooddy, the present Editor put in charge. Appeals were sent out by the Board for all aid to pay the debt due the H. M. Society, and also to get a general missionary in the field at once, but responses were slow in coming in. Also, upon the call of the Board, a mass meeting was held at McMinnville, June 6, 1886, and the Oregon Baptist State Convention was organized. Churches represented, 20; messengers, 62; A Constitution was adopted, and a Board appointed for Home Missions, for Foreign Missions, and for Education. Life members of the North Pacific Coast Convention, residing in Oregon, were considered life members of this Convention. Having organized, it adjourned to meet in Salem in October.
The Ministerial Conference met in Salem, October 18, 1886. The Convention of the North Pacific Coast met at the same place the next day. The balance of the debt due the A. B. H. M. Society was raised. The Report of the Home Mission Board deplored the condition of affairs, their inability to enlarge the work on account of the indebtedness, and a want of cooperation. But the debt being now secured, the Baptist Convention of the North Pacific Coast directed their records to be delivered to the Secretaries of the Oregon State Convention and its Mission Board, and adjourned Sine die.
The Oregon Baptist State Convention met at the same place on the day following. (21st). A Sunday School Board was created, and that work fully discussed. The Convention recommended systematic work in contributions; and as an earnest expression of its gratitude to the H. M. Society, declared joy at the prospect of renewed cooperation, and promised for themselves, and recommended to the churches more generous contributions to the Society; but the details of the arrangements were left with the Board of the Convention with power to act. Delegates were appointed to attend the National meetings at Minneapolis in May, 1887. Rev. J. C. Baker presented before the newly organized Convention the A. B. H. M. Society; Brethren E. G. Wheeler and A. D. McMichael the A. B. P. Society; Rev. T. G. Brownson the Foreign Mission work, reporting $674.77 collected. A long Report on Education (McMinnville College) was adopted, and measures recommended for increasing its endowment to at least $50,000. The North Pacific Baptist, Temperance, and other denominational interests were recommended. Rev. W. J. Crawford, Rev. J. C. Baker, and Rev. A. J. Hunsaker, were appointed a committee to gather and put in order material for a history of Baptist work on the North Pacific Coast.
A summary of a few statistics are added. In Oregon, at this time, there were 6 churches with preaching every Sunday; 5 with pastors one-half the time; about 40 with preaching once a month; the others, (about 75) were either in charge of missionaries, or destitute, except occasional visits of passers. Only two churches paid the entire salary of their pastor; and several pastors made up the deficit by farming, or by some other secular business. Nearly every minister was employed. Rev. J. C. Baker says there were not then on the field 7 available men not employed; and 40 were needed for immediate work. The foreign population was 50,000, with 3 ministers, and 5 churches, all told; 1 German, 4 Scandinavian, and one Chinese mission.
THE BAPTIST BEACON
An outline of the history of the Baptist Beacon is given in connection with the Convention work, but as it passed from the Convention into private hands at the close of 1886, a few words by way of summary up to this time maybe added here. The first issue was at Salem, October 1, 1877; four pages with four columns each; and the pages very small; the subscription price fifty cents a year; a monthly; Rev. J. C. Baker editor. This was the size for 13 months; then it was enlarged to five columns, 19 inches long. The paper was moved to Albany, and Rev. W. J. Crawford was the editor in 1880, but Rev. J. C. Baker again took it in 1881, publishing it at Salem; an 8 page paper, 12x13 inches, and the price was $1 a year. In 1884 it was moved to McMinnville, and Rev. G. J. Burchett was editor; 8 pages; 12x16. At the end of 1885 it was taken to Portland, and for two months, Rev. J. Q. A. Henry was editor. Rev. S. P. Davis then took it to Oregon City as a private enterprise, and was publishing it at the close of 1886.
What these editors believe was told in the first issue and is too good to be lost.
"We believe in the 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism, in the one church, the one communion, the oneness of the disciples with their Lord and with each other; in all people, and love them, but the Baptists in particular; in Christian work and workers, and have no love for drones; in earning a good living and paying the minister a good salary. In building good houses of worship without running in debt, and doing missionary work without asking the Society to make up large or small arrearages at the annual meetings; in Sunday Schools where all the members of the church attend and everybody else, and where the word of God is taught; in good music and congregational singing; in good choirs to lead without making a fuss; in every member bearing his share of the work of the church, including the expense, and attendance at the prayer meetings; in the disaffected members alternating with the pastors in resigning and seeking a new field; in a word in everything good and Scriptural. We don't believe in long sermons or long prayers; we don't believe in telling every body what we don't believe, and conclude the article by saying that we don't believe in a fuss, a quarrel or a critic; therefore it will be useless to reply to this 'Declaration of Belief;' or find fault with the editors, as the chances are that this edition will close the volume and they have no opportunity to defend themselves."
But the volume was not closed, and in the next period will be told how it attained its present growth and standing.