Filed under: History, roots of Willohroots | Tags: church, dayspring, pastor, preacher, SBC
Dayspring Bible Chapel does not readily fit in to any of the accepted categories. By that I mean, we’re not really an existing work as we have all new people, new name, we’re creating our own new traditions, but then again, we’re not a new start either. The branch that is Dayspring grew from the stump of something called the Wyoming Valley Baptist Church. Let me give you a quick history. In the seventies the SBC looked at a map and decided that Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, really needed a southern baptist work. Now the area had quite a few American Baptist churches and Independent Baptist churches, but was predominantly Roman Catholic with Methodist and Presbyterian presence. What church a person attended was by and large based upon his or her ancestry. Later european immigrants were RC, earlier English and German immigrants were not.
A tent revival was held and I’m told two hundred people walked the aisle. A church was needed to house these people so Wyoming Valley Baptist Church was formed. When the church’s temporary headquarters was leveled to put in a bypass a new building was sought for a permanent home. A fellow named Pacey ran a bar/shoe store on River Road in Plains. I find that an odd combination. Pacey was being charged by the stool (barstool) for his sewer hookup. He told the town fathers that he didn’t like that and for spite would sell his building to a religious organization that would not have to pay taxes just to teach them a lesson. He actually threatened to sell to a black religious organization but there were none in the market for a bar/shoe store at the time. The building was purchased and the SBC went to work.
I love how SBC churches work together when they have a mission, and the mission of destroying a bar, it seems, brought them great glee. They built a really nice meeting hall for approximately 100 people. They gave some donated bibles and hymnals from a church in Flordia that had upgraded, helped them call a pastor, prayed for them with loving hearts and turned them loose. While this was all done with the best of intentions, it didn’t work out. I can safely say that it didn’t work out because they went through twenty two pastors in twenty five years. What really had been built was a meat grinder for pastors, their families, and the believers who loved them. Put the latter into the mix, wait a little while, and watch the bleeding mangled mess that comes out the other side.
Now as all good southern baptists know, right next to the soverignty of God is the autonomy of the local church, so that when some mess like this exists the cure can only come from within. I admire the courage of the men who accepted the call to this work. I am forced to admire their courage else I would have to doubt their sanity. Through all of this a core group of “deacons” and key leaders hung in there. They prayed fervently that God would finally have mercy on them and send them a decent pastor instead of all the fellows they had put up with to date. That’s the origin.
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