Thanks, Kentucky Baptists! This coming year is an important milestone for the Western Recorder: We’re celebrating a century of service as the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s official newspaper!
The Western Recorder actually traces its roots through predecessor publications all the way back to 1825, making it the second oldest Baptist newspaper in the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1919, though, the Western Recorder was purchased by the state convention and became a part of the KBC family.
For 100 years, we’ve taken seriously our mission of informing, inspiring, encouraging, and sharing ministry opportunities, in calling God’s people of the Commonwealth to a deeper commitment to missions, ministries and evangelism. And, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to remember the Baptist churchmen who have served as editors of the Western Recorder during the past century:
John Porter, (1909-1921) a distinguished former pastor of First Baptist Church of Lexington who was twice elected as moderator (president) of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, was also serving as editor of the Western Recorder when it was purchased by the state convention. Early Baptist leaders foresaw the essential role of a state newspaper in building unity among the churches and encouraging cooperative missions giving and support of Baptist ministries.
Victor Masters (1921-1942) was the first editor of the Western Recorder appointed after it became the official news journal of Kentucky Baptists. A native of South Carolina, Masters had been associate editor of The Baptist Courier in Greenville and of the Religious Herald in Virginia, before he joined the Home Mission Board’s staff.
John Freeman (1942-1946) was executive director of the Tennessee Mission Board immediately prior to becoming editor of the Western Recorder. Freeman also had served for eight years as editor of the Baptist & Reflector before becoming Tennessee’s executive director.
Ruel Tifton Skinner (1946-1957), was pastor of First Baptist Church of Bowling Green when he was called as editor. He had served on a KBC committee that began the Baptist pastor’s plan with the SBC Annuity Board.
Chauncey Daley (1957-1984) was known as “the dean” of state Baptist newspaper editors. During his 27-year tenure, his editorials, were some of the most well-read and highly influential of their day. He previously had served as pastor of several Kentucky congregations.
Jack Sanford (1984-1989), a former Memphis pastor, dreamed of achieving a strong endowment for the Western Recorder and worked to secure its future ministry. He also served as the KBC’s first vice president and as a member of its executive board.
Marvin Knox (1990-1995), a feature editor for Baptist Press, assumed the editorship in 1990. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he currently serves as editor of the Baptist Standard in Texas.
Mark Wingfield (1996-1998), who was then the paper’s news director, advanced to editor in 1996. Earlier, he had been associate director of news and information at the former Home Mission Board.
Trennis Henderson (1999-2008) was editor of the Arkansas Baptist newsmagazine for seven years before being named editor of the Western Recorder. He previously was managing editor of the Word & Way for Missouri Baptists.
The legacy of these capable editors and churchmen has made Western Recorder a respected news journal, and we are humbled to have the great privilege of following in their footsteps of serving the Lord and Kentucky Baptists.
Today, the Western Recorder faithfully continues its vital mission of publishing articles that focus Kentucky Baptists’ attention on national and international missions, evangelism, church revitalization, Christian education, community outreach, disaster relief efforts, prayer ministries, resort missions, military chaplaincy, and much more. In addition, the Western Recorder highlights practical ministry issues such as church growth, church finances, spiritual leadership, deacon ministry, discipleship, collegiate outreach, and senior adult, children’s and special needs ministries.
The newspaper is still a great way to encourage church members to be better connected to, aware of, and engaged in the cooperative missions and ministry efforts of Kentucky Baptists. No where will they read more articles about how Kentucky Baptists “bring Good News” to people every day than through the Western Recorder.
We’re starting our 100th anniversary celebration of our partnership with the Kentucky Baptist Convention a little early. If you are in Pikeville attending the KBC’s Annual Meeting this week, we invite you to drop by our booth in the exhibit hall and enjoy a piece of birthday cake with us. We promise we won’t make you sing “Happy Birthday” (but you can if you’d like).