Our History

Growing an Identity: 1973-1983

On June 3, 1973, Rev. Brock Watson became the pastor and led the congregation for a little over nine years.

In addition to a strong educational program, worship services focused on scripture, music, meditation, prayer and the spoken presentation of the Good News during these years. Maxwell Worthley, Director of the University of Arkansas Opera Workshop, became the church Music Director on March 28, 1976 and served for the following ten years. Rev. Seibert H. Haley served as Associate Pastor from January 1, 1981-August 30, 1982. During that time he assisted in arranging the purchase of an organ of better quality than the church’s original instrument.

An annual series of in-depth Bible study led by outstanding theologians encouraged members to ask more thoughtful biblical questions. The result of the study one of these questions, “Do deacons always have to be men?” was that on March 12, 1980, all references to gender were deleted from the qualifications of deacons in the Church By-laws.

Members of the congregation enjoyed many recreational activities, two of which became annual events: a summer picnic and a spring camping and Buffalo River float trip. Because a number of the canoes usually overturned, this outing was often referred to as the “Great Baptismal Float.” A large straw hat became Pastor Watson’s trademark and one year it blew off as his canoe overturned. A spectator on the bluff above called out, “Save the hat; don’t worry about the preacher!”

Rev. Watson resigned on August 30 1982. A member described these years as, “Brock led us to perceive of ourselves as ‘people of the Book’ but more than that, as ‘growing people of the whole Book’ and as ‘people of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.’”

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