Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages 469 - 470)
The following record marks the first appearance of Homer Sears in the State, so far as the writer has been able to discover: "March 23, 1844 -- It is unanimously resolved to call Rev. Homer Sears to the pastoral care of this church for the ensuing twelve months." (Records of the Baptist Church of Knoxville, now known as the First Church.) In this same year, one year after its organization, the Knoxville First Church represented the second time in the Tennessee Association, by her appointed messengers, Elders Homer Sears and William Rogers. In an old number of Dr. Howell's paper, The Baptist, dated Nashville, November 21, 1846, is found an editorial notice of a "new periodical in Tennessee, called the Christian Magazine, and monthly, located in Knoxville, with Rev. H. Sears, pastor of the church in Knoxville, as the editor, assisted by the Rev. William Cate, of Jonesboro, and Rev. J. A. Scruggs, of Madisonville, as corresponding editors." This makes Elder Sears a pioneer in Baptist religious journalism in Tennessee, especially in the eastern end of the State. During his six years' pastorate in Knoxville he was an active and influential preacher throughout the State, but more especially in East Tennessee, and particularly in the Tennessee Association, of which he was the efficient moderator for the years 1847 and 1848. As to his success in laying Baptist foundations in Knoxville and the appreciation in which he was held by his church, the following record is evidence: "Brother Sears, having offered his resignation of the pastoral care of our church, to take effect January 1, 1850, the church, in reluctantly accepting his resignation, desires to express her feeling of kind regard toward her late pastor; therefore, resolved, that Brother Sears in laboring with us five years (nearly six), under difficult circumstances, and in completing one of the best houses of worship in Tennessee, has manifested an unusual degree of self-sacrifice and of Christian faith and perseverance. Resolved, that we cordially commend Brother Sears to the favor of the denomination, believing that he will prove a faithful and successful laborer in whatsoever field Providence may cast his lot. Resolved, that this expression, etc., be published in the Tennessee Baptist."
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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