1918 to Today
Through the Years"
4996 County Road 226
Starting in about 1910, people of the Golden Prairie community met in the Close Schoolhouse for Sunday school. This building was located one mile south and about one-half mile east of the present church site.
In the spring of 1918, the feeling surfaced that there should be a church. Rev. Walter Lowrey, who farmed to the north, came occasionally to preach, bringing his family along and staying over the weekend in someone's home. On July 18, 1918, Rev. E.M. Stedman, Wyoming-Colorado Director of Evangelism, conducted the organizational meeting of Golden Prairie Baptist Church with fifteen charter members. The community was canvassed for pledges to build a church building which also could be used as a community center, and a building was dedicated June 8, 1919. The first outdoor baptismal service was held in Lodgepole Creek in the summer of 1919, and the first indoor baptismal service was held in the new sanctuary in August 1919.
One interesting item in the early church minutes notes, "Motion made, seconded and carried that we at least pay Rev. Bergstrom's travel expenses – many times the offering was a dollar or less." The records are rather sketchy, but by 1921 people were beginning to move away and membership letters were being requested.
There are long gaps in the records, but the church did not have regular services for some time.In the early 1930's Rev. and Mrs. Jesse Rickle, a Colporteur Ministry evangelist came on the field. They cleaned out the varmints that had moved in and thoroughly renovated the building with the help of some local ladies and girls. Once again some continuity was established, with several pastors and missionaries serving the church in the upcoming years.
In 1946, a Baptist World Mission Crusade was presented at Golden Prairie. The Crusade funds would be used to help rebuild mission property destroyed during World War II. Golden Prairie's quota was $175, but God inspired people and $1048 was pledged and raised – an unbelievable sum that made front-page news in the national Baptist newspaper. This seemed to stir the people. Interest was again revived and several people came to know Christ. Golden Prairie was incorporated, a constitution was adopted and the church was able to support it's pastor.
Rev. & Mrs. Wesley Dice came in August 1949, and much growth, both spiritual and material, occurred during their five years at the church. Outside leaders previously led Vacation Bible School at Golden Prairie a couple times, but under Rev. Dice's leadership, the church led it's own and has regularly since then. Many were led to Christ during these years. The women and girls began leading Bible Schools at the J.D.F. Community House at Meriden. An interesting event during this time was a hailstorm that broke every west window. The stones then bounced and broke out several east windows. The piano and floor bore scars for many years.
The need for a parsonage became evident, and a building committee was appointed. Construction funds were borrowed from the Wyoming Baptist edifice funds and repaid with Thanksgiving offerings. However, the parsonage was not finished until the Rev. and Mrs. J.A. Nordstrom came on the field in 1954.
When the First Baptist Church of Laramie moved into a new sanctuary, Golden Prairie bought their pews and pulpit furniture. Then the church's sanctuary needed a face lifting. The front of the sanctuary took on a new look with paneling, a lowered ceiling and new lighting. An organ was purchased and pews were installed to replace the fold-up seats that were originally purchased from an old Denver opera house in 1919.
Pastor Jim Brown and Linda came to Golden Prairie in 1976, serving the church 28 years until 2004. Several people found Christ under Rev. Brown's ministry and joined the church.
In 2005, a decision was made to cease affiliation with American Baptist Churches USA, and affiliate with Rocky Mountain Conservative Baptist Association.
In 2005, Pastor Jon Shepherd (and Kris) became pastor of the church, until 2009.During Jon's pastorate, God brought about an increased awareness of opportunities to share the Gospel with people in our community.
In 2009, Golden Prairie, with the aid of transitional pastor Leon Chriestenson (and Lynn), worked though an envisioning process of defining core beliefs and values, and developing Mission and Vision Statements (located elsewhere on our website).
Pastor Jeff Giles is currently serving as pastor of Golden Prairie. His ministry has a strong emphasis on deepening the church members' relationship with Jesus, and helping every church member become involved in the ministry of the church according to God's gifting of them.
There have been many pastors with Golden Prairie over the years, and as each pastor has served and moved on, and as members have served as part of the church body here, each has shared part of themselves with others. And because of each one's faithfulness, all have grown and Golden Prairie has become a far-reaching influence in it's community and the world. May the years ahead prove us faithful, as we serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this community and wherever He calls us.