THE NAME CHANGED TO GAINSVILLE
Transcribed by : My daughter
01/24/04 02:40 PM
The leaders of the Babtist work were to see the need of better educational facuilties for the training of young men who were preparing for the ministry. The Smithville institution of Smithville, Arkansas, was the only Babtist school in this part of the state, and its facilities were very limited. At the meeting in 1882, the matter of building of a school was taken up in open meeting, and after much favorable discussion, a resolution was adopted to established a high school or acadamy at Gainsville under the control of Babtists of Crowley's Ridge . A committe was appointed to carry out plans and report at the 1883 meeting. Everything pointed to success. Enthusiasm ran as high as the messengers saw the plans for the Gainsville school being worked out. At this time a motion was offered by Elder J.R. Holcomb to change the name of the association from Bethlehem to Gainsville, in honor of the proposed school. The motion was unanimously accepted.
It should be noted here that at this time Gainsville was the county seat of Greene County. The county seat was later moved to Paragould.
In spite of the faithful work of the communitee, a great calamity blasted the fondest hopes. "Mother Nature" sent a "cold wave" on May 22, 1884, and all vegetation was ruined. This left the entire country in destitute conditions. The Gainsville School was soon forgotten.
Also, in 1882, another resolution was passed giving the Executive Board more authority.
"Resolved, we fully recognize that there is great destitution within the bounds of the association, a destition that, owing to our imperfect organization and other causes, we have hitherto been unable to supply. We feel that the time has come for us to put forth all laudable and scriptual efforts to the end that every portion of our territory have the pure gospel of peace. We would therefor recommend that this association appoint five persons to act as an executive committee of the body and that they be requested to appoint some suitable person to lable as missionary at such places and in such manner they said board may direct so as to meet the demand of the field. We would furthermore recommend that the executive committee of this association confer with the Board of Missions of the Arkansas Babtist State Convention and request them to make the missionary of our association the missionary of the state Convention. We would further recommended that the missionary of Association report all labor performed to The Secretary of the State Board that it may be spread upon the minutes of the State Convention. We would further recommend that the several churches be requested to take up at quartely times special collections for the support of said missionary.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
John Underwood, Chairman of the Committe
In reviewing the records of the Gainsville Association, it appears that the association continued to follow the pattern of the Bethlehem Association. However, it seems they continued to drift toward the delegating of Church authority into the hands of a few. The following resolutions are some examples.
"Resolved, that, whereas this body has adopted a report on church disipline, a committee be appointed of three discreet brethren whose duty it shall be to look into the disipline of the various churches of this association, and report their discoveries to the next session of this body.
"There was not a regular routine of committees to make reports on various matters pertaining to the work of the association until 1874, when the first Executive Committee made this report . " The Executive Committee gave its report which showed that they have allowed T.D. Loyd $25.00 and D. Thorn $20.00 for their services in destitute places during the past associational year.......
" A resolution in 1885 passed that gave the Executive Committee the authority "to appoint some suitable person to labor as a missionary at such places and in such manner as said board may direct, so as to meet the demands of the field. We recommended further that the Executive Board confer with the Board of Missions of the Arkansas Babtist State Convention, and request said board to make the missionary of this association the missionary of the State Convention. We would further recommend that all labor performed by the missionary of this association be reported by him to the Secretary of the State Board, that it may be spread upon the minutes..... We would further recommend that the several churches be requested to take up at least quarerly collections for the support of said missionary." (theses are the quotes from the records.)
Then in the early 1900's the $75 Million Campain was instituted by the Southern Babtist Convention. This designated a specific amount to be raised by the State Convention who in turn set an amount for each church to raise and to raise and to notify the Secretary of General Assembly of their will to do so.
It appears that the Landmark cause was never permitted to be heard in the messenger body meetings. In the 1904 meeting, a resolution passed " that no report which has for its purpose the endorsement of the State Convention or General Association be considered by this body. Therefore, the mission program of the Orphans Home at Texarkana was never mentioned. After about 1912, the proceedings took on a definite "convention" format, and glowing reports were made in favor of the Convention Program.