"A Tribute -- To A Church, A Man, and A Denomination of Christians"
By Wendell H. Rone, Sr.
TO A CHURCH:
Calloway County, Kentucky, was formed from Hickmah County, on January 15, 1823. It was the second County to be formed in the Jackson Purchase. Its first County Seat was at Wadesboro. After the organization of Marshall County, in 1842, the County Seat was established at Murray. The community had no organized Baptist work at all at first. A small Primitive Baptist Church, known as Union, was located outside of the village to the southeast. The nearest Missionary Baptist Churches were at Sinking Spring (1831), Locust Grove (1841), and Jonathan Creek (Elm Grove - 1846). They received an appeal from some Baptist men and women in the village to help them to be organized into a New Testament Church. Those Churches responded, and six Ministers and a Deacon formed a Presbytery on April 23, 1846 and organized a Church of eleven members, with at least four of them coming from the Sinking Spring Church.
In this manner began the life and ministry of a congregation of Missionary Baptists in this now flourishing and significant area of Kentucky which was to be the "proving ground" for a "more excellent way" of supporting the Missionary and Benevolent work of the Southern Baptist Denomination of Christians. It was not originated in the headquarters of the Denomination or the State Conventions, as some believe; but, it actually came out of the "mill" of Church experience, and was utilized by the churches through their instruments of organized life -- the Association and Convention.
"The United Baptist Church of Christ at Murray," at it was first known, now the First Baptist Church; was from its beginning a strong doctrinal, missionary, and evangelistic body of Baptists. But, because of the slow numerical growth of the town prior to 1900, it had only 112 members in January, 1897, and 40 of them were non-resident. However, a new Pastor, fresh out of the Southern Baptist Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, had been called - "unseen, unsampled and unheard, at a salary of $400.00 per year." Thus began a relationship which was destined of the Lord to last for thirty-four years. All of Kentucky Baptists, and eventually Southern Baptists, would be blessed by that relationship. We pay a tribute of thanks to the First Baptist Church of Murray, Kentucky, this day for being the people in the place where a special person under the leadership of the Spirit of God could put into effect a plan to support world-wide Missions which would bless millions.
TO A PERSON:
HARVEY BOYCE TAYLOR (1870-1932) was the single young man who came to Murray to pastor the Baptist Church here on January 1, 1897. On September 29, 1897, he married Miss Mamie Peay, the daughter of Dr. J. M. Peay (1832-1888), outstanding Western Kentucky Baptist Minister. Their
first child, H. Boyce Taylor, Jr., was born on October 10, 1899. The second child, Frances Katherine Taylor, was born on December 30, 1901. Mrs. Taylor was born in 1876 and died in 1959, at age eighty-three. The son died in 1979. Brother and Mrs. Taylor are buried in the Murray Cemetery, north of the city.
Through the vigorous and prayerful leadership of the Pastor and Deacons the Church, in 1900, adopted a Budget Plan of support for Mission and Benevolent Causes and did away with many canvasses by many agents representing many causes. The great appeal was for a unified plan to support all the work. Brother Taylor preached and taught the Church, while Mrs. Taylor served as the W. M. U. President in the Church and in the Association in 1899-1903, teaching the women and leading them to give to Missions. By 1905 the Murray Church had led the whole Blood River Association to have a Budget for Missions, probably the first in the State of Kentucky. Brother Taylor served as the Treasurer of the Association for many years. Annual Associational Reports from 1905 through succeeding years show that District, State, Home, and Foreign Missions were receiving budgeted amounts by percentage in the Association. The plan was working in the Church and in the nearest District Association. And Pastors and Churches far and near were beginning to take note and inaugurate the plan elsewhere.
Brother Taylor began serving on the Kentucky Baptist State Board of Missions in 1905, and continued to do so through 1926. He attended the majority of sessions of the General Association (now State Convention) through 1925, and other members of the Murray Church attended on occasions where he did not. He constantly advocated by prayer, preaching and pleading that the Baptists of Kentucky adopt the "Budget Plan," as it was called. Other brethren, as wise and able as he, soon became ardent supporters. In 1913, Brother Taylor preached the Annual Sermon before the General Association at Somerset from John 2:25-3:8 and Matthew 6:33 on the Theme: "Kingdom Building." The Association voted that the Pastor furnish the denominational papers with copies of the sermon for publication in full. It was also passed at that session that the Moderator appoint a Committee of Five to consider the Unification of our work to cut down on unusually large representations of interests at our District Associations. Brother Taylor was made Chairman of the Committee. They reported in 1914, and the Plan was adopted in 1915 at Jellicoe, Tennessee-Kentucky, and the Committee of Nine appointed with instructions to fully implement the Plan by 1916, which they did. Brother Taylor continued as the Chairman of the "Budget Committee" in 1915-1918 in the early days of the Plan's operation in Kentucky. Rev. O. E. Bryan became Corresponding Secretary in 1916 and served through September, 1921, in Kentucky. He also implemented the Plan. His later connection with the Seventy-Five Million Campaign (1923-1924) and as Corresponding Secretary of the Tennessee Baptist Convention (1924-1933) enhanced it in Tennessee. In 1925, it became the Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists, the best plan ever devised among us to unify our efforts to "preach the Gospel to every creature."
We, therefore, this day, pay tribute to one of God's choice servants in whose dedicated mind and heart was planted the Plan; but, at the same time, we are aware that the Church he loved and served provided the place for it to reach fruition. We, in consequence, pay tribute today to both.
TO A DENOMINATION:
One of the major qualities of the life of Brother H. Boyce Taylor and the church he served, First Baptist of Murray, was loyalty to the Southern Baptist Denomination. The Convention is one year older than the Church, having been organized in 1845. Brother Taylor never at any time discouraged one bit the Church's support of the Denomination and its work. On the contrary, he led the way by example and precept in full support of our Baptist life and work. The Church's support of Missions was so great that Dr. J. F. Love, Executive Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, said at the Brazilian Baptist Convention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1922, when Brother Taylor was introduced, that "I want you to know that this man is Pastor of the greatest Missionary Church in the world." The support of extra missionaries at home and abroad was supplemental to the regular giving to Southern Baptists causes, as the record shows, including the Amazon Valley Baptist Faith Mission work of the 1920's. With joy, we pay tribute to our Denomination for its challenging Mission Program. May we, one and all, rededicate and reconsecrate ourselves to the ever-challenging task of World Missions. The Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ served as the "marching orders" of the First Baptist Church of Murray, Kentucky, and her Pastor, H. Boyce Taylor, in 1900 and on. May we continue what they so faithfully began, in this year of oiir Lord, 1985. Matthew 28:16-20.
Wendell H. Rone, Sr., Chairman
The Kentucky Baptist Historical Commission
[From Kentucky Baptist Heritage, July, 1985. Document provided by Ben Stratton. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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