No better source for a discussion regarding the start of Southern Baptist work in New England and especially in Vermont than from the words of the first church planter in Vermont, Merwyn Borders.
“Vermont’s third church, The Baptist Fellowship, began as a home fellowship Bible study in Merwyn and Linda Borders’ home in Randolph. Florence and “Mac” McLaughlin, a Southern Baptist couple living in Randolph, became part of the core group. While serving as a supply and interim pastor in local churches, Borders met people who were interested in a new work. As the adults met for study, “Wednesday School” was held for children is a separate. room.” (137) His comments a few pages later reflect what some might indicate that the group was a nomadic one by saying: “The group met in six different locations before building a permanent facility on thirty-four acres of land which it purchased on a main highway. ” (142) Merwyn mused: “Some members felt a kinship with the Old Testament patriarchs and their tents.” (177) Borders, Merwyn. The Circle Comes Full. Franklin, Tennessee: Providence House Publishers, 1998.
Records show that early after his arrival in Vermont, Merwyn served as interim pastor at the Bethany Congregational Church. The Borders started a home Bible study in their home that then continued at various homes and then in such locations as the Masonic Temple, the Seven Day Adventist Church, the Randolph Elementary School, the Randolph National Bank, The Randolph High School and Marie’s Castle Annex before the group acquired and located their permanent building on approximately 33 acres of land off of Route 66 in Randolph.
In a conversation with Linda Farmer on May 30, 2013, it was learned that she met Merwyn at Bethany Church where she taught Sunday School. After being told by Merwyn that there was going to be a Bible Study in his home, Linda and Ed Farmer began attending and were the first couple to come to the Lord and be baptized as the result of the work started in Randolph.