Miracle of the Bell that Rings Again!

Miracle of the Bell that Rings Again!

Nov 22, 2017

by Ida Gay McRoberts Council on History “What’s the story about that rusty old bell in the middle of the front lawn at the church? It sure is ugly. I notice it driving by all the time.” We may become accustomed to seeing things to the point of no longer seeing what things look like to other people. In a way, they become invisible. That comment helped me see how that bell at the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Albion looked. Although we moved it from the middle of the lawn to a concrete block by the ramp, we were at a standstill since we couldn’t agree on the next step. It is an old bell, aged more than rusted. And it had not always sat in the lawn. As the church prepared to celebrate 175 years (officially this coming year but with a party this past July), one member delved into the history of the bell. The SDB Church of Albion was formally organized in 1843 after the arrival the prior year of pioneer families who celebrated the Sabbath. But the meeting house wasn’t built or dedicated until 1861. We learned that the bell tower was not part of that structure until after 1881. The church body decided to purchase a bell and voted that Samuel Burdick be a committee to prepare a place for the bell. Note that often one person served as a committee in the early records — perhaps implying chairing the committee with others not named, or perhaps simply because one person could get the job done. Samuel Burdick was a carpenter. The bell the church purchased had been forged in 1881 at Blymyer Manufacturing Company out of the Cincinnati Bell Foundry. It was a specific church bell size and weighed 336 pounds. It probably arrived by train and was brought from Edgerton to Albion with a farm wagon and team of horses or oxen. It was placed in the bell tower where it could be rung by a rope going around a large wooden wheel and dropping from the belfry to an upper room along a column. It was rung to call people to Sabbath School, worship, and...

Remembrances of the Albion Seventh Day Baptist Church in Honor of its 175th Anniversary

Remembrances of the Albion Seventh Day Baptist Church in Honor of its 175th Anniversary

Sep 26, 2017

by Carole Loveless Jaworski My remembrances of the Albion Seventh Day Baptist Church go back to World War II. I was four years old in 1943 when I came to live with my grandma and grandpa, Ruby and Robert Gaines, in Albion, WI. By that time, my father, Robert Loveless, was serving in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, TX. My mother, Leora (Gaines) Loveless, had taken a war-time job at Borg Industries in Delevan, WI, to make home front ends meet. As part of the job, she and other war-time workers lived in a dormitory on site. At the time I came to live with my grandparents, my grandmother was the Albion SDB Church pianist — later to be the church organist when an organ was purchased for the church after the war. Ken Van Horn, the first pastor I remember, became the Albion SDB Church pastor in 1944, living in the parsonage with his wife, Doris, and son, Rodney Wayne, daughter, Arlouene, and son, Floyd, through the war until 1952. Sometime in 1944, my mother returned to Albion and she and I, and later my brother Allan, lived above Marsden’s General Store across the street from the parsonage. That same winter, Ken Van Horn began a yearly tradition of flooding the parsonage’s front lawn for an ice skating rink. I got my first pair of ice skates that year — strap-on-your-shoes, very flat, double-runner ice skates — about the same thickness as a pair of metal pie plates (with approximately the same performance) strapped to your feet. I remember each evening strapping on the skates, clunking down the second-story steps of our apartment, crossing the street to the parsonage, stepping over the low snow banks to the ice, and learning how to skate. Through the years it was awesome fun for all of us and so much better than ice skating on Saunders Creek — which was narrow and subject to patches of thin ice, often resulting in spills and wet feet. While I lived in Albion, from 1943 until I was a senior in high school in 1957 when we moved to Edgerton, the Albion...

Seventh Day Baptists in New Publications

Seventh Day Baptists in New Publications

Jun 23, 2017

by Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History   For many years, the Historical Society, and now the Council on History, has used the Historical Library and Archives to provide reference assistance to researchers. This research is provided to a few classes of people. The first group is to Seventh Day Baptists who are looking to better understand their own life and faith. Another group is academic researchers. A final group is those who are looking for genealogical information. For the past several years, the priority in the historical work among Seventh Day Baptists has been for research by academics and Seventh Day Baptists. We have had the opportunity and privilege to provide this service to hundreds of people. Sometimes, this work of reference assistance leads to written works which contribute to the broader understanding of Seventh Day Baptists and our history, not only among SDBs, but also in the broader world. This year, three new books have been or will be released which contribute to the understanding of Seventh Day Baptists in the broader world. The first of these books is The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries by George T. Kurian and Sarah C. Day. This book is, as the title suggests, a series of brief entries on the 200 largest Christian denominations in the country, along with many parachurch ministries. The entry on Seventh Day Baptists in this volume outlines our key organizational and doctrinal distinctives. The book is published by Baker Books, and was released earlier this year. The second book that relates an incident from SDB history is the forthcoming commentary on Micah from the The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary Series, by Stephen G. Dempster. Dr. Dempster is the Stuart E. Murray Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Dr. Dempster contacted us asking to confirm and document a story about SDB pastor Rev. Leon Maltby which has previously appeared in the pages of the Sabbath Recorder. Pastor Maltby, during his service in WWII as a chaplain in the Philippines, made a communion set out of unspent firearm cartridges. The reason he selected unspent cartridges was because he did not want...

A Short History of the Washington, DC, SDB Church

The substance of this article was taken from a pamphlet circulated by the church on the occasion of the dedication of their new building on October 15, 2016. It has been lightly edited for clarity and to fit into the space permitted. The founding pastor of the Washington Seventh Day Baptist Church was Harold E. Snide, who served from October 13, 1945, to September 13, 1947. Pastor Snide was leading an independent group of Sabbath-keepers before being encouraged by Pastor Leon Maltby to look into the Seventh Day Baptist denomination. The church became the Evangelical Seventh Day Baptist Church of Washington. Services were held at the Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church located at 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC. On November 9, 1948, the Evangelical Seventh Day Baptist Church of Washington was incorporated and eight years later, on January 8, 1956, a resolution was adopted by the Directors to rename the church the Washington SDB Church. It should be mentioned that in the early 1900s, there was another Sabbath-keeping church located at 10th and V Streets NW, Washington DC. This church would later become affiliated with the SDB denomination and have ties to the Washington SDB church. In a local newspaper, when the congregation moved to join SDBs, Elder Sheafe of the People’s Church explained why he joined the SDB denomination. He said the (Colored) People’s Church “wanted to affiliate with another body of Sabbath keepers.” He further explained that they were “established longer than any other, with origins stretching back to the 17th century.” Their doctrines, he said, “…are simple; the Bible and the Bible only is the rule of faith and practice.”1 An interesting period in Washington SDB history is the ordination of its first female minister, Rev. Elizabeth Fitz Randolph. It was said that she was “of superior intellect and highly educated.” She was equally passionate about attending “to the lonely, homeless, and disadvantaged people of all ages, classes, and races.”2 “She was a ‘Promoter of Evangelism’ who helped to organize and develop two churches: one of which was the Washington Seventh Day Baptist Church (1954-1962); and the other, the Colored People’s Seventh Day Independent Church at 10th and V Streets.”3...

New Auburn Builds a New Church

New Auburn Builds a New Church

Jan 23, 2017

This month, we are happy to print the first article submitted in response to our request for local church history stories! See the January 2017 Sabbath Recorder for more information or contact Nick Kersten if  you have your own story you would like to submit for consideration!” By Donna Sanford Bond SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ “Ilou,” Daddy said, “We’ve been called to New Auburn, Wisconsin, to help them build a new church. God is leading me to accept. I can keep writing The Helping Hand lessons there and we will have a real house with a new bathroom!” I was six years old and we lived in an upstairs apartment over a converted cheese factory in Independence, NY. The year was 1955. So we loaded up our Studebaker, a two-wheeled trailer and a top carrier, and started our three-leg journey to a place where icicles would soon reach from the porch roof to the ground. First stop was Mommy’s childhood home outside Jackson Center, OH, for Thanksgiving dinner. When we got ready to leave in the morning, Grandma Miars surprised us by adding her little suitcase and a bag lunch to the heap and piling in beside my brothers, Doug and Dean, ages 3 and 2, and me in the back seat. After a weekend in Milton, WI, where my parents had met, we headed up Highway 53 and approached our new hometown. When we saw the 20-by-30-foot white structure across the “frozen tundra” adjacent to a pig farm, we speculated on which house held our “new bathroom.” We were warmly welcomed by a work force, including Genny Pederson and her preschool daughters, Connie and Christine. Mommy’s greeting was, “We have come to build your church.” Upon examining the church record books, Daddy learned that the church had been talking about a new building for 40 years! At the first business meeting in 1956, the subject was again brought up. Elmer Nelson challenged the assembly: “Why don’t you just give up the idea of building? You know you can’t do it!” Was he using reverse psychology? Perhaps, for the church Moderator was his wife Helen! The motion to build was seconded and carried...

Storytellers Wanted!

Storytellers Wanted!

Dec 22, 2016

Council on History Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History   “Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory: you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” — George Washington to Alexander Hamilton in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” For most of my tenure doing historic work among Seventh Day Baptists, I have tried to frame my work publicly as both a ministry of memory and of storytelling. This has been very helpful for me, because as words increase, sometimes the real heart of a thing can be obscured. I know this from personal experience as someone who has been known to “increase words” from time to time! When most people think about history, they think about dusty books and dusty people recounting names and dates in a droll monotone voice. But this stereotype isn’t always true! And it’s especially untrue when the person with the grasp of history isn’t just recounting facts, but telling compelling stories. Seventh Day Baptists have been blessed for generations with gifted storytellers, and the stories have become part of what we are as a people. We don’t always get to choose who tells our stories, but there might be a choice for some of our storytellers in the coming months! Since its inception in 1844, the Sabbath Recorder has been a place where the stories of Seventh Day Baptists and our congregations have been told. One of the ways that this was accomplished was through original history writing which was published in the pages of the publication. Local church histories, family histories and important stories have routinely been told from these pages. These old stories are frequently referenced in our historical research here in Janesville and invaluable resources. For this reason, we are recruiting history writers to submit short or longer form pieces which may be selected for publication on this page in the Sabbath Recorder each month. We are hoping that interested historians will tell the stories of important people or churches in a way that will benefit all of us, as well as documenting history for future generations which may not be documented...