The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph Historical Timeline

January, 1961
Southern Baptist Work Starts in Vermont

Vermont has lately developed the dubious reputation of being the first to institute radical changes in the law.  But in some things it has been last.   For example, Vermont became the last state in the Union to have a Walmart.  Some might think that is good and some might not.  They have another last as well.  Southern Baptist work was present in the other 49 states before it got a start in Vermont in 1961 with the beginning being a mission congregation that was formally constituted into the South Burlington Baptist Church in 1963.

January, 1961
Southern Baptist Work Starts in Vermont

In 1982 the Green Mountain Baptist Association formed and included 18 churches.  Bob Brindle was pastor of the South Burlington Baptist Church for 10 years and in 1970 Merwyn Borders was employed through a joint effort of the church and The Home Mission Board as a “church planter”.  Then in 1972, The Baptist Chapel of Montpelier was started.   The church was officially incorporated with the State of Vermont on July 4, 1976, the only corporation to have been registered in our state on that day, the 200th birthday of the birth of our Nation.  Bob Orleck, one of the church’s charter members who was an Assistant Attorney General with the State of Vermont had made those unique arrangements for this body.

Then work developed in Randolph and Randolph formally constituted into The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph on June 4, 1978.  This writing is not intended to go into the formation of other Southern Baptists Churches in Vermont because it is our timeline at The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph, but suffice it to say there has been a steady growth of churches all to the Glory and Honor of God.

(The above information is gleaned from a 12/4/1984 report by Merwyn Borders to the GMBA as well as from information known by the writer, Bob Orleck)


Merwyn Borders and Family Move to Randolph

Merwyn Borders and family moved to Randolph from Massachusetts as Southern Baptist Commission church starter in upper New England.  A recent contact with him brought this insightful response regarding our timeline project:

“… from my journals and checking the index references in The Circle for The Baptist Fellowship, I have come up with some items that might be helpful to you. The first Bible study that eventually led to the formation of The Baptist Fellowship was held in our Mound Street home in Randolph on May 4, 1972. As I recall, three families were present: the McLaughlins, the Farmers (Ed and Linda), and the Borders. Linda reminded me that at the Wednesday Bible studies that followed in our and other’s homes she and other ladies led the “Wednesday School” for the children. It was not long after that that Tom and Diane Lyons joined the group.  The first Sunday worship service for The Baptist Fellowship was held Sunday, February 10, 1974, in the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Braintree. Linda thinks it was in the afternoon and I thought it was in the evening, but that doesn’t matter. This was the first of six different locations before worship was held in the new building on Route 66 in September of 1981. From the Adventist church we moved to the Randolph Village School, next to the Randolph Masonic Temple, then to the small Catholic chapel on the south end of town, next to the third floor above the Randolph National Bank, and finally, to the Randolph Union High School library. Some compared us to Moses and the children of Israel and their wanderings. Though we hoped we were not as disobedient as they were. I said that an advantage to meeting on the third floor of the bank was that if the rapture occurred on a Sunday morning, we would ascend to Heaven ahead of anyone else in Randolph! The church constituted on June 4, 1978. An interesting tidbit is that the church was active in resort ministry early on. Campfire sing-a-longs were held at Lake Champagne in Randolph Center and Bible booths were staffed at the Tunbridge World’s Fair, Also summer missionaries and youth mission groups were a vital part of the early days. A couple of the index references are to items about Marge Hart that I especially enjoyed recalling. The church was very mission minded in that it sponsored the new churches in Springfield, Woodstock, Hanover, Barre, and Gaysville. Strong lay leadership has always been evident in The Baptist Fellowship. In the early days as the church planter I was involved in starting fellowships around the state so often I could not always be present at the worship services and Bible studies. Capable lay people filled in when I was absent or would be late arriving at a service due to speaking elsewhere. I hope these ramblings will be helpful.”

September, 1970
Merwyn Borders, Pastor (Sept 1970-1978)

Taken from a recent communication from Merwyn sent regarding the 35th anniversary:

“Linda and I loved living and ministering in Vermont and New England so much that we would gladly have paid someone for the privilege of serving there. I once said this to an unhappy US-2’er who had been appointed by the then Home Mission Board to serve in Vermont. He replied with, “You can’t expect everyone to have the same feeling that you do about Vermont.” He disliked living in Vermont so much that he had actually counted the number of cloudy days in Vermont since he came!

We appreciated the history and natural beauty of Vermont and the independent spirit and generosity of her people. We indeed were privileged to live and minister there for 36 years. And though we are no longer physically there, Vermont will always remain in our hearts.”

May, 1972
Baptist Work Starts with Home Bible Study

No better source for a discussion regarding the start of Southern Baptist work in New England and especially in Vermont than from the words of the first church planter in Vermont, Merwyn Borders.

“Vermont’s third church, The Baptist Fellowship, began as a home fellowship Bible study in Merwyn and Linda Borders’ home in Randolph.  Florence and “Mac” McLaughlin, a Southern Baptist couple living in Randolph, became part of the core group.  While serving as a supply and interim pastor in local churches, Borders met people who were interested in a new work.  As the adults met for study, “Wednesday School” was held for children is a separate. room.” (137)   His comments a few pages later reflect what some might indicate that the group was a nomadic one by saying: “The group met in six different locations before building a permanent facility on thirty-four acres of land which it purchased on a main highway. ” (142)  Merwyn mused: “Some members felt a kinship with the Old Testament patriarchs and their tents.” (177)   Borders, Merwyn. The Circle Comes Full.  Franklin, Tennessee:  Providence House Publishers, 1998.

Records show that early after his arrival in Vermont, Merwyn served as interim pastor at the Bethany Congregational Church.   The Borders started a home Bible study in their home that then continued at various homes and then in such locations as the Masonic Temple, the Seven Day Adventist Church, the Randolph Elementary School, the Randolph National Bank, The Randolph High School and Marie’s Castle Annex before the group acquired and located their  permanent building on approximately 33 acres of land off of Route 66 in Randolph.

In a conversation with Linda Farmer on May 30, 2013, it was learned that she met Merwyn at Bethany Church where she taught Sunday School.  After being told by Merwyn that there was going to be a Bible Study in his home, Linda and Ed Farmer began attending and were the first couple to come to the Lord and be baptized as the result of the work started in Randolph.

January, 1974
Baptist Fellowship Looking for a Home

Progress was made toward a more formal church group when Merwyn Borders called for an evening worship service.  From the Spring of 1974 until November 1974 the group met for such services at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Braintree on 12A outside of Randolph.  During that time there were “summer missionaries” sent by the Southern Baptist Convention Home Missions Board.  A group we called “The Alabama Five” conducted backyard Bible studies and they reached people that added to the Bible study and the evening worship.

If Randolph was going to be the place for this congregation, however, there was a need to conduct services in Randolph, so from November of 1974 to early in 1975 the group met at the Randolph Masonic Temple then moved onto the Randolph Elementary School in 1975.  Thanks to a little inside help from Tom Lyons, the group moved its digs to the third floor of the Randolph National Bank which the group referred to as “the upper room”.  Another move was made in 1977 and services were held at the Steven Patrick Christian Manor’s Chapel (formerly a Catholic priest retreat).  The congregation met there until sometime in 1978 when they moved their services to the Randolph Union High School.   During the time at the High School the group experienced a great growth, and the work was aided by many summer missionaries and youth choirs who came to do summer programs.

It was during this time period the BFR had a booth at the “Tunbridge World’s Fair” to hand out Bibles and Christian literature.  Merwyn reported in his book on page 147 that it was there that he and Linda, along with Tom and Diane Lyons met Fred and Eileen Blood from Woodstock who met David and Becky Waugh from the Baptist Chapel in Montpelier.   Merwyn suggested that the Bloods start a Bible Study in their home which they did, eventually employing David Waugh as pastor there.  Land was purchased and a building was built to house the Woodstock Baptist Fellowship.

Over the years many groups from down South have come and helped the BFR grow as it ministered to Randolph.  Help came in August 1976, when a youth choir from Rice Memorial Baptist Church became the first group from New England to come and assist in “backyard Bible studies” as well as to perform concerts.  This was the church that Merwyn Borders had pastored when he was in Massachusetts.

June, 1978
Church Secures Loan to Build Building

The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph secured a loan from the Cecil Day Foundation for $93265.92, interest free. The Baptist Convention of New England guaranteed the loan in case of default. The loan was conditioned upon the church remaining a Southern Baptist Church cooperating with the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE). Then there was a milestone in the life of the church when it became debt free in “93”.  A ceremony was held to commemorate the special day and Bob Brindle from the BCNE was present.

June, 1978
The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph Constitutes into a Church
September, 1979
Fall 1979- Early 1983
Ron Huffman, Pastor
September, 1981
Building Completed and Building Dedication Held!

It was earlier mentioned that the congregation that started with a home Bible study and then progressed to many varied locations for worship had been blessed by the Lord with great growth.  With such growth it became necessary to look for a permanent location and so a search for that special place began and resulted in the purchase of a tract of land on Route 66.  When a survey was done after the purchase, it showed that the Lord had given us 33 acres instead of “20 acres more or less’ as described in the Warranty Deed.  Praise the Lord!  Ground breaking ceremonies were held and construction began in on May 1, 1981.  Groups from down south from Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia came to help us build a building dedicated to the Lord.  Upon completion and dedication of its 200 seat church on September 20, 1981, the nomadic congregation now had a permanent home and established itself as God’s place right here in the geographical center of Vermont.  The stage had now been set for this church to become “salt and light” for Randolph and the surrounding area from this place that God had given them.

8The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.  Deuteronomy 28:8, King James Version (KJV)

October, 1982
Green Mountain Baptist Association (GMBA) Organized

Merwyn Borders became the director of missions for the Green Mountain Baptist Association. By this time in the history of Southern Baptist Work in Vermont, this included thirteen churches in Vermont, one in New Hampshire (Trinity) and four French speaking Haitian churches from Montreal, Canada.

August 1984
Aug 1984-June 1988
Steve Holbrook, Pastor

The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph.  Its’ task and vision.  By Stephen M. Holbrook.

The God of Heaven is almighty, all-powerful, all knowing and worthy of praise and adoration.  As the One who created us He has told us in His Holy Word that our primary task is that of declaring His glory and His marvelous deeds in all that we do and say.  Because man has chosen to go his own way rather than to live unto God, God, in His love for man, sent His one and only Son to live with man for a time and then to die in behalf of man so as to pay the penalty of man’s sin.  As a demonstration of His power over sin and death the Son of God, Jesus Christ, physically resurrected from the dead and has ascended to Heaven where He sits at the Father’s right hand.

This demonstration of love is an added reason why we should declare the glory of God and his marvelous deeds so that all peoples will know of their opportunity to turn from their sin and join together in declaring the praise of God.

As pastor of this fellowship, I have seen God unfold a vision before us.  That vision is to train God’s people of all ages to do the work of this ministry of declaring the glory of God to all men, believer and non-believer.

God is growing us and is bringing a unity to this body so that we can seek after Him for the fulfillment of His vision for us.  Let’s thank Him for His marvelous deeds!

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.”

June 1988
Tenth Year Celebration for BFR

A celebration to commemorate the 10th year since The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph was constituted into a church.

July, 1989
July 1989-Jan 1991
Mark McAllister, Pastor

The preparation of this timeline led to a contact with former Pastor Mark McAllister in May of 2013.  We are thankful that he provided us with an update on his and wife Bonnie’s lives as of 2013 along with some recollections.

“Bonnie retired in January from the local county health department but still works on occasion. She also is the substitute school nurse. Four years ago, I started a new church near where we live. I wanted to do something I enjoyed in retirement and the Lord opened up the opportunity to do what I love most. As to the timeline, there are only two events that I thought might be worthy of inclusion. The first was the ordination of Glen and Cliff Hatch to the gospel ministry. Of course, it was a great blessing to see father and son be called to serve. The second was our relationship with the Gaysville Church. Out of Merwyn’s concern, we helped them with the transition to become Southern Baptist. I enjoyed the opportunity to preach there early on Sunday morning before Randolph’s worship service. My short tenure at Baptist Fellowship was a time of great blessing and wonderful relationships.”

April, 1992
April 1992-September 1995
Mike Bone Pastor
September, 1995
Marge Hart (Prayer Warrior)

Those who were blessed to be a part of the BFR when Marge Hart was alive consider themselves to have been specially blessed by the Lord to know this great prayer warrior. Marge spent most of her time in her little apartment on Randolph Avenue sending up prayers for Southern Baptist missionaries at home and abroad. She kept their names on 3X5 cards and would write to over one hundred of them. She knew each and every one and she would pray for them specifically. She kept in telephone contact with the Foreign and Home Missions Boards to keep current on their problems and needs. Marge even prayed regularly (every day) for one missionary in a snake infested area to be protected from them and he was!  For a couple of years before leaving her earthly home, Marge mentored Meg Ellis and together they wrote to and prayed for missionaries so that Meg would be equipped to carry on this work which she did.   Meg shared that when Marge would get her card out with a missionary’s name on it, she knew so much about them through letters that she spoke as if they were next door neighbors even if she had never personally met them.

She also made time for the children. She conducted an after-school Bible class for children in her apartment. Marge would find time each day to come to the church and pray. The church dedicated the small room where she regularly prayed as the “Marge Hart prayer room” and placed a plaque on the door in her honor after she went to be with the Lord. She would write to missionaries from so many places, and they would write personal letters to her telling her what was going on and what their needs were. Then many would come to town to see Marge. Marge was known far and wide. They came from all over the world to visit Marge in her little apartment. At her funeral, Steve Holbrook noted how amazing it was who came to visit this little frail but powerful prayer warrior. Marge was a pianist and could really play “honkytonk”. Linda Border would play an instrument and Marge would play the keyboard and Merwyn, Linda and whoever was there would sing hymn after hymn. Such fun times even though Merwyn was so off key!

A 24 hour a day vigil was kept at the “Garden Room” at Gifford Memorial Hospital when it was time for Marge to go. It was such a joyous experience to just be with her as she transitioned from this life to the next. Amy St. Denis was with her when she passed. Bob Orleck was the last one to speak to her and get a response. Over the years a regular exchange between the two would be her saying “I love you” and him saying “I love you more than you love me!” and she would bristle. In that room that was the last contact, and she did indeed bristle. She knew the true meaning of the word, “Love”. Her funeral had been pre-planned by her, who would speak, the pastors who would be present and taking part, the hymns to be sung and who played the piano. She called it her “Graduation to Glory” and it was three hours long and was so joyous and yes even fun. Fun remembering such a loving, caring person and sharing all the good times. Merwyn Borders shared his deeply personal feelings for Marge saying, “Marge truly lived out the servant-life called for by Christ. Marge had so little materially, yet she gave so much, and, because of this, she was blessed with a joy few of us have known.”

The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph was Marge’s church and Marge was the churches secret weapon against the devil.

July, 1996
July 1996-April 2005
Jerry Smith, Pastor

On July 1, 1996, Jerry and Jane Smith and their two children, Jeremy and Julie, began their ministry at The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph.  On May 22, 2005, the church bid farewell to Pastor Jerry and Jane.  Jeremy and Julie are now married and on their own.  Pastor Jerry responded to a call to pastor a church in Santa Claus, Indiana.  To date, Pastor Jerry is the longest serving Pastor in the thirty-five-year history of the church.

Upon request for something to post about his ministry he replied on May 2, 2013, with the following points that he saw as some accomplishments while serving in Randolph.

  • Saw the church grow from 45 in attendance to over 100 in nine years.
  • Supervised 1 or 2 summer missionaries the first 4 summers and then supervised 2 semester missionaries for 2 years each the remaining 4 years.
  • Went on a mission trip to the Ukraine in 2001 with Bob Orleck.
  • Worked with church to build a new sanctuary and remodeled existing facility in 2003.
  • Worked with multiple mission teams doing VBS, backyard Bible clubs and sports camps and etc.  3 or 4 teams a year most years.
  • Ordained 3 new deacons:  Ben Sault, Bob Scully and Irwin Bohn.
  • Developed a Halloween Carnival as an evangelistic outreach and safe place for families to come and have fun.  This became a signature ministry in the community!
  • After using mission teams to conduct VBS for 7 years, Jane helped us organize and conduct our own VBS our final two years there.  You could see and feel the pride of maturity as a church following that first one.
June, 1998
BFR celebrates 20th Anniversary

“In June 1998, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the constituting of the church.  Three of the five former pastors attended, along with many former and present members.  It was an electrifying day of remembering the past, walking in the present and casting a vision for the future.  Rev. Bob Brindle was the key not speaker.”  Pastor Jerry Smith 1997-1998 yearly report to GMBA.  October 17, 1998.

June, 2003
New Sanctuary Built and Existing Building Remodeled
April, 2006
April 2006-January 2018
George Sweet, Pastor

Pastor George’s first Sunday – 2 April, 2006

Did you ever wonder how our trumpet playing pastor got started with the drums and where he got the drums from?  This burning question was answered by the Pastor George:

 “A group of churches from the Wilmington, N. C. area came to minister through music in the Randolph area in the summer of 2007.  They performed outdoor concerts in the town park adjoining the baseball and softball fields, and the Gazebo in the center of town.

In addition, a concert was performed at The Baptist Fellowship one night.  During this concert, a special guest was asked to perform – Pastor George on the drums!  (Pastor George had never played the drums with a group before).  Later, at the concert at the Gazebo, Pastor George was once-again asked to join the band for a couple of songs.

On the morning that the group was leaving, they called the pastor and told him they were on their way out, but had to leave some of their things here and hoped that we could use them.  The pastor was extremely surprised to find the group’s drum set when he arrived later in the day.  The pastor was extremely pleased for the church to have the drum set and prayed for God to send a drummer to play the drums.  After a year, God indicated to the pastor that he should play the drums.  As a result, the morning worship service now includes a drum-playing pastor.”

Philosophy of ministry

1) Preach and teach the Word of God.

2) Equip the church members to be missionaries wherever they are.

3) Share the truth of the gospel with everyone who will hear it.

4) Enjoy times of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

5) Worship God with everything that you’ve got.

November, 2006
Church Adopted the Hutsuli People of Ukraine

Understanding our need to make disciples in other nations as well as our community, we began to pray and study the process of adopting an unreached people group.  For several weeks, we studied the needs around the world and the ways that churches can be used to reach people who have no or limited access to the gospel. After this process, we took a closed-ballot vote to determine our mission field.  By a wide majority, the country of Ukraine was mentioned in this Spirit-led event.  After further investigation and prayer, we concluded that God was calling us to adopt the Hutsuli people of Western Ukraine.  Shortly after this decision, God called a couple, Emery and Clara Laszlo, to serve as IMB missionaries to the Hutsuli people.  We continue to pray the Hutsuli people and hope to visit them soon.

Our church has in the past reached out to the Ukraine when Pastor Jerry Smith and Bob Orleck went on a mission trip to Mirgorod, Ukraine in 2001.

May, 2008
Church Renewal Journey is ongoing

Pastor George believes that Church Renewal Journey (May 2-4, 2008) has had a major effect on how we do church here at the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph.   It resulted in the formation of small group, home Bible studies with the gathering in various homes for Bible study and fellowship!  We started with a course on Christian world views (Ergun Mehmet Caner, When Worldviews Collide, Lifeway, One Lifeway Plaza, Nashville, TN).  One thing we realized was that we did not know each other as well as we thought we did.  So we needed additional Bible Study and fellowship within the church.  It has worked out well.  The Scully group still meets as well as a women’s Bible study at the Randolph House.  It has impacted a lot of our committees and ministry teams as well.  This has shown by the way these gatherings have incorporated the prayer, Bible study and fellowship components of small group study into almost all of their meetings.  Praise the Lord!

March 5-7, 2010 was a weekend for “Prayer Empowering”. This weekend was the second stage in our Church Renewal Journey. A team led by Don Hanle came to our church and proved themselves to be outstanding lay ministers. The lessons on prayer were taught by Randy Sprinkle and Roy Lawrence. Two ministries were strengthened as a result of this weekend. First of all, the church began prayer walking with more urgency and purpose. Secondly, during our prayer walking one weekend, we delivered church invitations to nearly 1000 homes as part of the GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing) evangelism outreach.

September 21-23, 2012, was a weekend for “Marketplace Evangelism”. The fourth step on the Church Renewal Journey is known as the Marketplace Evangelism weekend. The team was once again led by Don Hanle and taught by C. L. Chappell (we like to keep a good thing going). The lessons were based on the book, “Made to Count,” by Bob Reccord and Randy Singer. At the Sunday morning worship invitation, 15 church members were commissioned as missionaries. These individuals have been consistently serving as missionaries on college campuses, schools, offices, hospitals, neighborhoods and churches.

October, 2010

After several attempts, the Shockwave youth ministry started up again in September 2010. The first series of meeting had a “Survivor” theme to them – complete with obstacle courses in the woods and messages that needed to be organized or decoded. Since then, they have participated in the BCNE YEC conference, a mission trip to Rhode Island, as well as several service projects. Gina Sweet, the pastor’s wife, provides excellent leadership and Bible teaching to this group.

September 2011
Homeschool Cooperative Begins

In the fall of 2011, by faith and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we started a Homeschool Cooperative, led by Maryann Davis, Andra Mills and Gina Sweet. It all started when parents began contacting Maryann in the early summer about homeschooling their children. However, soon Maryann had more students than she had room in her house. After much discussion and prayer, we felt God leading us to offer an alternative to the public and private schools in the area. Andra teaches the elementary school children, Maryann teaches the middle school children, and Gina teaches the high school children.

This educational ministry has transformed into the Randolph Educational Resource Center and provides more than home-school-style courses. Now educational therapy courses are offered by Andra Mills, public meetings are held to help parents in the education of their children, and high school science courses are offered by Gina Sweet.

June, 2013
Major Mac
Melvin McLaughlin’s Remembers the Beginning

Melvin McLaughlin, Marine Corp (ret) was there in Randolph right at the beginning of Southern Baptist in our town. Bob Orleck interviewed “Mac” in preparation of the timeline for the 35th anniversary of The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph. Here is what he had to say:

“We retired on April 1, 1967, and Florence and I first stayed with her grandmother while we were building the house in Randolph. It was the end of April and I asked Florence where we were going to church and Florence, who knew these things, said there was a Southern Baptist Church in Burlington. The reason Florence knew these things because she would always wind up as the Association Missions Chairman and she had all the information on missions. Now this was before the Interstate highway was built so we took off at about 8 AM in the morning, going up the back roads looking for this Southern Baptist church in Burlington. Finally, after looking all over the town, I inquired at the firehouse at the lake and one of the firemen said it was not in Burlington but was in South Burlington and he gave us a description where the house was. So about 11:30 AM we found the church and it was in the old carriage house behind this mansion up there where Bob Brindle had created a sanctuary or chapel.

We went in and sat in the back row (typical Baptist) and we knew right away that we were going to transfer our church membership there so when the hymn of invitation was announced we went down. When Bob found out we were from Randolph, it blew his mind. The day before he was told that a couple was looking for a Southern Baptist church and he thought it was us. Well Bob and his wife Susan took us home for lunch and of course they didn’t want to let us get away. Bob and Susan were both from Kentucky which resonated with me because my father was a Kentuckian. Susan showed me her Kentucky dulcimer and boy did I like it. So, I went home and made four of them but that’s another story.

I told Bob Brindle that I wasn’t sure how faithful we could be with our attendance, but we would send our tithe. Ten years later Bob kidded me at an association meeting and said, “Mac, I don’t care if you come, just send your money”. There was another couple from Springfield who were doing the same thing we were doing in support of the work there.  We joined the church that first Sunday and Bob asked if he could combine our offering with others to support a church planter in Vermont. We thought that would be fine.  A year or so later here comes Bob Brindle down and he has Merwyn Borders in tow with him. Merwyn spend that first night on our sofa out here and he left to go back to Massachusetts.

Six months later Bob picked me up at 4 AM and we drove to Massachusetts to move Merwyn to Randolph. I packed that U-Haul for Merwyn because I had a lot of practice moving and whenever we moved, I always kept my eye open about what they did. Heavy stuff in front and when Bob and I went through the house down there I packed it tight. You couldn’t get a postcard between things. As the morning went on, I went back in the house and looked, and I knew from what I had gotten into this large U-Haul that I still had oodles of space, so I asked Merwyn if that was it and he said “yes”. So, I started packing loosely because I had a lot of space. Then all of a sudden here came bicycles. He had all this stuff under the house, so I wound up taking the pedals and handlebars off to get them in. Later Merwyn blamed me for losing some of the parts and he had to take half of it to the dump up here. When we got to Randolph and up on the mound, he couldn’t find the key to the house. So, I had to do a B&E through the kitchen window.

The first expansion work was in Montpelier at the Elm Street Resurrection Baptist Church. The Home Mission Board wanted a Baptist work in the State Capital so that took priority. So that’s where I first crossed paths with Bob and Barb Orleck, and they have been following me around ever since.  Florence and I were in Bob’s Sunday School class there in Montpelier.  Meantime right in our living room we had Bible Studies and we met in various other homes such as Mary Ann and Andy Davis. At that time, we had an active group from down at Bethel and we would go to their homes on sleepy hollow road or someplace like that. There was Ruby Newcity and Glenn and Anita Burch. Florence was doing women’s Bible classes in Bethel. I seem to recall that the very first Bible Study evening was at our house. Merwyn, Linda, Andy and Maryanne, Malcolm and Geri Davis and Tom and Dianne Lyons were there.

Now that the Montpelier work had been started, we decided to attend there due to shorter distance to the Montpelier Church.  Merwyn decided to have communion that first Sunday and I had come to church in my relaxed shorts from Hawaii. Oh Boy, we were doing communion and I had to serve it in shorts. I was the only ordained deacon he had so Merwyn had no choice.

When Merwyn first started to have Church services down our way, the first church we met in was a little church on the left-hand side out on Route 12 A. (7th day Adventist) We met mainly during the summer there but afterwards we met in the high school, then over the top of the Randolph National Bank, thanks to the Lyons, and then onto the grade school. I believe it was about then that a member was very adamant that Randolph did not need another church. Merwyn stood right up to him. It was about then that we had a group come up for the South to help with VBS. Along the way we also met in the Marie Castle building and in the Masonic Temple. When the time came, we had contractor Jim Maloney build the first stage of our church building.”

June, 2013
Vision Statement 2013

Vision statement through 2020 (God willing)


– We will pray for a spiritual awakening in Randolph and revival in the evangelical churches.

– We will encourage other evangelical churches to grow through partnering with them on missions projects, and hosting attractional events.

– We will build relationships with the lost in our community.

– We will reach every household in the Randolph area by the year 2020.



– We will grow spiritually to be more like Jesus.

– We will experience a growing membership, and growing budget and mission’s offerings.

– We will offer discipleship experiences for people of all ages.

– We will seek to develop a biblical worldview in all of our members.

– We will train and disciple new leaders.

– We will seek to strengthen marriages and families.



– We will have worship services that exalt God and are filled with the presence of God.

– We will seek to have blended worship services in which people of all ages and levels of spiritual growth can worship in Spirit and in truth.



– Every member will be a witness of Jesus Christ.

– Every member will know and use his or her spiritual gifts.

– We will be a missional church that is mission-active, not just mission-minded.

– We will minister to the needy in a Biblical manner.

– We will be involved in planting at least one church or preaching point by 2020.



– There will be an obvious love and joy within the family of God.

– Every member of our church will be encouraged to participate in a small group.

– We will pray for one another on a regular basis.

June, 2013
BFR 35th Anniversary Celebrated

It was a real blessing to be present at the church today as the body celebrated the constituting of the church some 35 years ago on June 4, 1978.  The church still has come active members who were a part of that group and they were present. (Ken and Janice Brown, Andy and Maryann Davis, Malcolm Davis, Mac McLaughlin, Bob and Barb Orleck) (Tom and Diane Lyons were away)  It was a special surprise to have Ed and Linda Farmer visit with us as well.  They were not only members of the church at constituting but were the first to have been baptized in Randolph as the result of the work started by the Merwyn and Linda Borders and the Home Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  To memorialize that event, the Farmers were asked to cut the celebration cake.

We received the following nice greeting from Merwyn and Linda:

“Dear Members and Friends of The Baptist Fellowship,
          Linda and I send our congratulations as you celebrate today the 35th anniversary of your constituting as a church and mark 35 years of Christ led ministry in the Randolph and beyond communities. We know that it is truly a joyous occasion.
          As we have communicated back and forth with Bob Orleck recently about the early days of The Baptist Fellowship, our hearts have been stirred as we have recalled the commitment of the pioneer families and those who followed in establishing a solid, Bible based, evangelical church in the Randolph area. And since leaving Randolph in 2000 we have been excited to hear of the growth of the church and its continued strong ministry.
          The phrase “The Past is but Prelude” is especially true of The Baptist Fellowship in that no doubt your greatest days of servant ministry in the name of Christ lie ahead.
          Though here in Tennessee we are no longer physically with you, you are still very much in our hearts.
May God bless,
Merwyn and Linda Borders”

Melvin McLaughlin (Mac) shared his recollections about the start of Southern Baptist work in Vermont and his and Florence’s role.  You can read all about it in Mac’s interview found on the BFR Timeline.  Just go to the search function and type in Mac and any post he is involved in will show up for you to read.  The interview with Mac was filmed and can be seen on our Facebook page.

A delicious potluck luncheon was served as other from the past came to visit with us as well in addition to new visitors.  Bev and Cliff Hatch, members from the 90’s shared recollections from their time here and it was a joy to see and talk to them.

At the service we shared the new website during the Mission Moments time.  In addition we recognized the graduation of two of our seniors, Morgan Riddle and Lawrence Stalnaker.  It was a fine day.

For those who do not have a computer, a printout as follows was presented with the bulletin.  It is included here to give some background as well on the development of the website.

Currently pictures of the event can be seen on our Facebook page but will be posted on our website in the future as well.


The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph

35th Anniversary Celebration  

June 9, 2013 @ 12:15 PM – please stay and join us for a celebration luncheon

The Missions Committee, in recognition of the 35th Anniversary of The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph wished to have a timeline prepared covering the history of the church and they asked member Bob Orleck to prepare it.   Recognizing a need for a new website to better communicate the activities of the church and to project our Mission to the whole world (salt and light), Bob, with the great technical assistance of Thor Hansen from Thorworx, developed and launched a new website for the fellowship.  You can find it at  He also created a new Facebook page for the church that will serve as a tool to allow folks to post messages as well as to get relevant and real time information about things and especially about what is happening on the website.

The body of believers is and should be the way to get the word out about the ministry and activities of the church and the website can be the primary technological tool to help accomplish that.

More topics can and will be entered.  When you go to the website and select one of the timeline topics you will see the narrative information behind most of them.   So please take the time to go to the website.  I think you are going to like it and you will see it expand into many more areas that will promote the ministries of the church and get the message about them out.  There is much more to come as our website expands to offer more to help you in your daily walk with Christ so please come back and visit it often.  And if you are on Facebook, please go and “like” our Facebook page.

As a personal note, it was a real blessing to do this project.  Being a member who was here when the church was constituted, it was so good to go back and revisit the years and the blessings our family has received because of this church.  What a joy to reconnect with the former pastors and members who have moved away and in particular with Merwyn and Linda.  Merwyn has been so helpful in our communications in providing me with good information on the details.  The Circle Comes Full book he wrote regarding New England Southern Baptist from 1958-1998 was invaluable.  It was great to work again with Jim Wideman (BCNE) who helped me with key documents and who put me in touch with Sarah Killough (GMBA) to pull more documents together.  It was so sweet to remember those like Marge, who have gone to be with the Lord.   I know that much of what was done is based on the early part of the church’s history, but Pastor George did want to emphasize that since most are not too familiar with that period.  But this project is dynamic and is a work in progress so you will see more of the current times reported as well.  It is exciting to understand what potential lies out there for sharing the work of this church and for fulfilling the expectation that Jesus has for us to be “salt and light”.  Let us be thankful and give all the Glory and Honor to Jesus, our Creator and Savior.

Bob Orleck

June 9, 2013

December, 2013
Breaking News at BFR

George Sweet, a messenger from the Lord, made the following announcement this last Sunday evening 8 December 2013.  He proclaimed that on this next Friday evening, 13 December 2013 those who make their way to The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph will experience one of the most important events in the history of the world, the giving of the greatest gift ever given!  You can experience it, not just hear about it or read about it the next day in the newspaper.  Unfolding before your very eyes will be the greatest story that every happened, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  Meet Jesus, Mary and Joseph, angels, live animals and shepherds who have come to witness this miracle from God.

Notice to parents.  Be at the church located on Route 66, in Randolph at 6:30 PM.    If you bring your children and arrive at or before 6:30 PM your child can take part in this Living Nativity as a shepherd.     The church will have shepherd’s outfits for them to wear and they can take them home as a gift.  Be sure to dress warmly because most of the event will take place outside.

Hot chocolate and refreshments will be provided in the church.

February 2, 2013
Commendation from Franklin Graham

At the February 2, 2014 Sunday Morning Service, Alison, Ricka, Robin, Luke and Pastor George accepted a Franklin Graham commendation from Gaye Newlun, Operation Christmas Child, NE Regional Director, to The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph for six years of OCC involvement.

February, 2014
Teen Challenge at the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph

Teen Challenge was founded by David Wilkerson who is best known for being the author of “The Cross and the Switchblade.”  A fine recount of his life is found in the Wikipedia entry found on-line.  Just click on the word Wikipedia and you can read this short but enlightening history of a great man of God!

October, 2015
Andrea Eaton, Missionary to Romania, Speaks to BFR

Those that came Sunday evening to The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph to hear Andrea speak of her calling to and her work as a missionary to Romania were blessed beyond measure.  Andrea, her siblings and mother and father were integral parts of our youth group in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when Bob and Barb Orleck were youth leaders.  Then from 1997-1999 Andrea took on the role of youth leader for our church and did an amazing job.  She spoke primarily of her 2 1/2 years in Romania but also of her work in Rwanda.

September, 2019
Travis Moses called as Pastor of The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph

After hearing the pastoral candidate, Travis Moses, deliver a message Sunday Morning, September 8, 2019, The Baptist Fellowship of Randolph, in special business meeting immediately following the Sunday Morning Worship Service and by vote of the body called him to be pastor and he accepted.

October, 2019
Mortgage Burning Party

12:30 PM on Sunday October 27, 2019 – Mortgage Burning Party!! After the service we plan to have a bonfire and make s’mores and praise God for his gift of paying off the loan on the Sanctuary. We hope you can stick around and celebrate the end of one chapter and the start of a new chapter in the history of this church. If you want to help in this event, let Pastor or the Deacons know.

February, 2022
Pastor Billy Jones and Family

Pastor Billy Jones moved back to Vermont in February of 2022 after accepting the Senior Pastorate position at BFR.