Reached by California Southern Baptists

I was raised in California by Southern parents. What a strange combination, I know!

My parents, Victor and Fluella Koone, were from Arkansas and went to California in the 1950s with plans to “make a fortune” and return to Arkansas. My mother was a Christian, a Southern Baptist, but my father didn’t find the Lord until a Southern Baptist missionary in northern California invited him to a revival. He let the fact that my mother was Southern Baptist slip out, and Bro. Kendall was at their house that evening. On the third day of the revival, my father accepted Jesus as his Savior!

Within two years, my father felt the call to the ministry. He spent the next 30 years spreading the gospel in northern California, planting churches and pastoring until the church could afford to hire a pastor, while making his living in the timber industry. I say all this to tell you that the name “Southern” in the Baptist is less of a problem than many people try to make it. I think that this subject is just one more way that Satan is using to get us away from the focus of winning souls to the Lord. By the way, my parents did finally get to retire to Arkansas, where he was active in many small churches around the Conway and Clinton areas.

Vicki Koone Coons


How ‘Southerners’ do it

May I add my two mites worth to the discussion about removing “Southern” from the name of our denomination? Supposedly, the term is regional and creates difficulty when planting churches outside the South. However, what is more positive than Southern hospitality, a Southern belle or a warm Southern afternoon?  

Imagine a long table under a brush arbor laden with garden vegetables, fried chicken and homemade bread all done Southern style. Imagine another table with sweating glasses of sweet iced tea and another with home-baked cakes and pies. A slab of Southern pecan pie is good anywhere!  

A preacher once spent a summer traveling the South preaching in Southern Baptist churches. In Southern Baptist fashion, he ate with the folks where he was preaching. By summer’s end, he had eaten so much Southern fried chicken that on his first night back home he just rolled up his mattress and roosted on the slats.  

The word “Southern” is synonymous with hospitality, kindness and warm friendship. It is the lifestyle Jesus advocated. If the sign over the door says “hen house,” you expect to find eggs inside. If the sign says “Southern Baptist,” you expect to find hospitality, kindness and warm friendship. No other word says it so well. 

I suggest that each church, association, state convention and our national convention calculate the costs of removing “Southern” from our name. There will be new signs, logos, letterheads, business cards and an advertising campaign to promote the change. Then, give that amount to our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering or our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. 

Finally, calculate the man hours needed to determine the new name and its implementation and apply those hours to doing the things that our name “Southern” implies – showing the hospitality, kindness and warm friendship of Jesus to a hurting world.

Bob Loyd


Blessed to read the ABN

I would like to continue to receive the Arkansas Baptist News, and would also like to have it sent to someone else, too.

We moved here from Alabama, and most all churches there provided The Alabama Baptist for all church members. I am saddened that some churches in this area do not seem to. And some of the churches are rather large churches. I am blessed to still receive The Alabama Baptist from First Baptist Church, Selma, Ala., where I served for several years on staff and grew up in that wonderful church. I have certainly been blessed by subscribing to the Arkansas Baptist News since moving here a few years ago. My husband and I are almost homebound, so we do treasure this way of “keeping up” with Southern Baptists!

Thank you again for your fine paper!

Norma Pee


Enjoy the ABN

I really enjoy the Baptist news and pass it on to someone else. Thanks for a great newspaper that has such interesting things other churches are doing.

Only a few in our church, First Baptist, get it, but it is nice to know how God is working in great ways so many places in our state. 

I lived in Greenville, Miss., had a great church and a great newspaper like this one. We have been gone from there 29 years, so the news would be much different, as we wouldn’t be acquainted with the church. Thanks again.

Wanda Blackman
First Baptist, Clarksville


Preserve church history

I appreciate the latest edition of the ABN article on the history of the magazine. P.S.G. Watson is mentioned as having edited a previous magazine in 1859. Rev. Watson came to Arkansas in 1853 and pastored the Liberty Baptist Church in Lee County, east of Marianna. He wrote an article for the American Baptist Memorial (I haven’t been able to find out much about this publication) in 1855 that Liberty was the oldest Baptist church in the county and was organized on June 25, 1848 on the St. Francis Road, northwest from Helena, 25 miles. It had 40 members, four of whom were black. This church belonged to the Rocky Bayou Association. Because of a distance of 160 miles, the Mt. Vernon Association was organized. I believe this might have been Missionary Baptist at that time.  

Recently, an old Liberty Church minute book was found at Tri-County genealogy in Marvell. Of course, Rev. Watson is mentioned. The minute book for present-day First Baptist Church in Marianna begins with this statement dated September 1868: “Marianna Baptist Church was organized from the scattered membership of what was formerly known as the Liberty Church located a few miles from this place. Our little village, promising to become a thriving inland town, was considered a much better location ... as the war had left us in a torn and broken-up condition.”  

The Liberty minute book mentions several votes taken to publish members’ obituaries in the Tennessee Baptist that is also mentioned in your article. Rev. Watson was in Kentucky in 1840, Independence County, Ark., in 1850, and in Pulaski County in 1860 and was back in Kentucky in 1870. He died in 1889 in McGregory, Texas. Our plans at First Baptist in Marianna are to celebrate our 165 years in June 2013. I encourage all churches to preserve their history. Your article is helping to do that.

Sue Moore