Dimock Baptist Church turns 180

Pastor Tim Skopic and his wife Linza stand outside the Dimock Baptist Church, which will celebrate its 180th anniversary with a special service on Sunday, June 8. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

Pastor Tim Skopic and his wife Linza stand outside the Dimock Baptist Church, which will celebrate its 180th anniversary with a special service on Sunday, June 8. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

A little white church near a crossroads has endured for 180 years of continuous worship and service. On June 8, the Dimock Baptist Church will celebrate its 180th anniversary with a special service and luncheon starting at 11 a.m.

John Scondras of Dalton, a church builder and Baptist home missionary, will be the guest speaker.

According to longtime member Laura Wells, the church was affiliated with the Regular Baptist Church, PARBC. The congregation numbers about 30 most Sundays. Pastor Tim Skopic has been preaching on Sundays for the past seven years.

“The pastor and the church family have invited the community, neighbors, former members, and friends to join us for the special worship service and lunch to follow,” said Linza Skopic.

Parishioner Jean Carter remembered a favorite pastor from her younger days named John Powell, who pastored the Dimock Baptist Church while living in Johnson City, N.Y., and working full time at the Sears department store there.

“Pastor Powell loved kids. He visited the church families and knocked on doors around Dimock. He was a friendly man of God, and a good pastor. He had a cottage at Lake Carey, and in the summers he and the church families had great big church picnics at parks in Binghamton or Lackawanna State Park,” she said.

She remembers her father-in-law, Ray Carter, and Guy Ely having leadership roles in the church back then.

“My mother-in-law, Caroline Carter Strait, was Sunday School Superintendent for more than 40 years,” Carter said. “Laura Wells was a Sunday school teacher for many years.”

One long time attendee Rick Baker was a Sunday School pupil of Mrs. Wells, as were his children and grandchildren, on occasion.

According to historical records, the Dimock Baptist Church was organized June 3, 1834, about a year and a half after Dimock Township itself was formed during the December Session of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1832, and named in honor of Elder Davis Dimock.

The church was built in 1851. In the early 1900s, that building was destroyed by fire, and the present structure was rebuilt shortly thereafter.

Although the church was named after a Baptist preacher who kept a careful record of historical events, baptisms, marriages, births, and deaths, there are few documents available about the Baptist congregation in Dimock.

Little records remain in the church building, most destroyed by a fire, according to several longtime members.

Elder Davis Dimock was a well regarded clergyman who traveled by horseback through what was then Luzerne County was involved in the founding of churches in Montrose, Bridgewater, Dimock, Auburn, Middletown, Jackson, Choconut, and elsewhere.

He distinguished himself as a church planter and a keeper of historical records. In addition to preaching, Elder Dimock kept a diary of his activities, recording many marriages, births and deaths. His diary is available as part of a free electronic book available through the Wyoming County Historical Society’s website.

Anyone with historical documents or photographs pertaining to the Dimock Baptist Church can contact the pastor at (570)836-8715 or bring them to the church.