Humble Beginnings: Roscoe Anderson
Vermont was the last state to have a Southern Baptist presence. In 1960 Roscoe Anderson, a layman from Florida, was transferred by GE to work in Burlington, Vermont. Seeing the lack of Bible believing churches in general, and no Southern Baptist churches at all, he and his wife Daisy, felt led of the Lord to start a church in their living room. From that humble beginning by a layman in his living room, our entire association has sprung. In the early years we did not have enough churches for our own association and we were a part of the Upper New England Baptist Association, which included churches in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. But as the work grew, Vermont was able to form its own association in 1982.
The First Associational Missionary: Merwyn Borders
When the association was formed, Merwyn Borders became the first missionary. Previously he had spent several years as a church planter in Vermont. With a great heart for people and a passion to plant churches, Rev. Borders worked tirelessly across the mountains and valleys of Vermont to spread the love of Jesus. Rev. Borders served the association until his retirement in 1996. Under his leadership many new congregations were planted and evangelistic work was done across Vermont. He laid the groundwork on which the association was built. His wife Linda assisted him in many aspects of his mission work. Now retired to Tennessee, the Borders still have a great love for Vermont.
Expanding Territory: James Wideman
After Rev. Borders retirement, the association hired Dr. James Wideman to serve as their missionary. Dr. Wideman had served for many years at the Screven Memorial Baptist Church in Portsmouth, NH, which was the first SBC church in all of New England. He led that congregation to start mission work across much of New England. He then served for a time in Oklahoma, but could not get New England off his heart and returned as soon as a door opened. That door opened when Dr. Wideman came to lead the association from 1997-2001. During his time he opened up work in the Northeast Kingdom, a very rural part of the state. Dr. Wideman left the association to become the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England.
A Continuing Journey: Terry Dorsett
Terry W. Dorsett served as our missionary starting October 2001. He is a native of Illinois but moved to Virginia when he was 16. He graduated from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and worked for Dr. Jerry Falwell on his church staff for several years. He also served as a Minister of Education in South Carolina, where his wife is a native. While there he took a mission trip to Vermont and felt God calling him to leave the safety and security of large established churches in the south to come be involved in mission work in Vermont. In 1993 he and his family came to Vermont with the North American Mission Board to serve as a mission pastor in a small congregation of 15 people. After 8 years of ministry the church grew to 90 in worship. When his time of service was completed in that congregation, he was asked to serve as the missionary for the entire state. Terry now serves as the Executive Director of the New England Baptist Convention.
Our Three Missionaries
Terry W. Dorsett