by C.P. Stealey
(Editor’s note: The Baptist Messenger turned 99 years old on May 15. In observance of that milestone, we present the first editorial of founding editor C.P. Stealey as the newsjournal approaches its Centennial anniversary.)
We have been considering the paper proposition for some time and had about decided to take it up a little later, but the suggestion was made that this would be an opportune time. Many of the brethren feel that there is an imperative need for a state paper, also that it can succeed. Therefore in order to get out the first number for the Convention we have had to hurry our plans and the paper will doubtless indicate lack of careful preparation for which we beg the indulgence of the brotherhood and with your co-operation promise to make it more interesting and helpful soon. The difficulties of a church paper for Oklahoma now are many and serious, but if the need is as great as it seems and the brethren are willing to help solve them for the sake of the cause of Christ, the Messenger shall succeed. Do not wait to see how it will succeed, but—help now!
We want live interesting news items from all the churches. Pastors, a little item from you may cheer and inspire some other brother. Let us have it promptly.
We want a number of persons to represent the paper in different parts of the state. A liberal commission will be allowed to all who will give time to securing subscriptions. We would like two or three good parties to give all their time to the work. Let us hear from you.
We shall endeavor to avoid hereafter the over-burdening of these pages with so much that is of a personal nature; but as our acquaintance in this state is rather limited we feel that a few words by way of introduction may be pardoned. The Editor was for several years in Y. M. C. A. and evangelistic work, afterward attending the seminary at Louisville, Ky.; was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Martinsburg, W. Va. six years, of the Broadus Memorial Church, Richmond, Va., five years, and of the West Washington Baptist Church, Washington; D.C., for four years. Each of these churches are now supporting a missionary on the foreign field. Owing to health conditions in the family we retired from the pastorate three years ago and came to Oklahoma. In this time we have held several evangelistic meetings, supplied the church at Norman for one year, and frequently spoken for the Anti-Saloon League. The Lord has blessed us hitherto, and we trust that we shall have in greater measure His blessing in this new line of work that we undertake for His cause and glory.
WHY $2.00 A YEAR?
We are aware of the fact that many good people think that two dollars is too much for a religious paper. We are quite sure they do not realize the expense of the necessary items that are required to make a paper. The circulation must reach several thousand before it will pay expenses at two dollars. Once in a while under specially favorable circumstances a one dollar paper may exist, but the graveyard contains most of them. Baptists of Oklahoma, we believe you are loyal enough to give such support to a paper that it may hope to live. You do not want one man or a small company of men to make an unreasonable sacrifice and bear your share of the responsibility in meeting the crying need for a first class paper. You might be able to secure a larger and better paper in some respects for $2.00, but an outside paper can never build up our work and fully meet the needs of Oklahoma Baptists. Let us make our own paper.
The Baptist Messenger has no connection with any previous attempts to publish a paper for the Baptists of Oklahoma. Many good brethren have engaged in the work, but for various reasons, doubtless, the papers have not succeeded. There is, however, a deep consciousness of need and also a conviction on the part of many that a paper can be made to succeed. We have considered the many and serious difficulties, also the great need and large field for usefulness, as expressed in words from some of the brethren, and not being afraid of hard work, we are led to modestly confess that we believe the Messenger will succeed by the cooperation of the brotherhood. Do not put us on probation, brethren; we be Baptists. Let us have full fellowships at once. That means sympathetic cooperation and your subscription cash in advance.
This paper will earnestly support the organized work of the state and shall ever seek to be a helpful factor in solving the problems that are before us. We sincerely desire to be used for the glory of Christ and His cause in this state of abounding opportunity.
We make no claim of special ability as a writer but have hitherto had some little success in bringing things to pass. It is our purpose to enlist some of the strong men of the state to write for the Messenger frequently.
BAPTIST ORPHANS’ HOME
We are happy to report the health of our orphans the very best.
The school year has been one of profit and progress. The superintendent of the school to which they go reports that our orphan children are the best trained as to deportment of any in school; also that they are as neatly dressed as any.
This year has been one of financial pressure, but we are happy to report the children have had plenty to eat and wear.
We are in need of some money at present to meet bills. Any who read this and will send a contribution to the Orphans’ Home will help us meet the situation. Send all money to W.A. McKinney, 408 E. Park Place, Oklahoma City.