The Christadelphians of the Sacramento Mountains and the Pioneer Christadelphian Bible School
On December 8, 1887, a group of Christadelphian Brethren established an ecclesia in 16 Springs Canyon. The Walker, Posey, and Campbell families were the originators of this ecclesia. They had no chapel except the open spaces; however, they had their memorial services each first day of the week and decided to have a formal gathering of three days in August of each year. At this gathering, they would have preaching in the mornings and afternoons with camping and cooking by the pioneer sisters.
In 1890, the settlers in 16 Springs Canyon built a log schoolhouse. The Christadelphians got permission to have their services in the schoolhouse. At the summer gathering, they could then have three services each day with the third one by lamplight. Brother Haley, who came from Blanco County, Texas, where the three families came from, and one of the Walker brothers, John Walker, conducted the services beginning on Friday and ending with the Memorial Service on Sunday. It was called the “Summer’s Meeting.” Another instrumental brother during this time was Brother C.O. Walker (Uncle Charlie).
In 1914, Otero County built a schoolhouse about ½ mile east of the log schoolhouse on one acre of land donated to the county by Charles C. and Bessie Walker, and services were held here. In 1932, the 16 Springs school consolidated with the Cloudcroft school, and the land reverted back to the original owner. In the late 1950’s, Brother Walt Lind, who came here from Chicago, had the dream of having a week-long summer meeting. Brother Charles C. Walker and Sister Bessie Walker offered to donate five acres of land by the schoolhouse to be used for it. But because of the road conditions, it was suggested that the property for the meeting be located off a better road. Brother Walt Lind then approached Brother Will and Sister Maude Parker about donating land for a Bible School. They donated five acres just off Highway 82 in James Canyon to the Unamended Christadelphians to be used for a meeting place. It was decided to go ahead and extend the three day meeting to one week, and their son, Brother L.E. Parker was superintendent. He and Will asked that the gathering be named “The Pioneer Christadelphian Bible School.” It was held the last full week in July. There were three Bible classes in the morning, one in the afternoon (or a lecture) and a sermon after dark. Brother Walt Lind, Brother George Brazeal Senior, Brother Herb Bouma, Brother Wilson Brazeal, and Brother Bob Johnson, were among some of our past brethren who built the original chapel, kitchen, dining room and bathrooms with the help of other local brethren. These buildings were started in 1959. Brother Lind, Brother L.E. Parker, Brother Willie Walker, Brother George Brazeal Senior, Brother Albert Walker, Brother Hal Tanner, and Brother Alton Cooper were among the first speakers. The brethren started meeting at the current Bible School grounds in 1960.
Later, additional acreage was purchased from Brother L.E. and Sister Lena Mae Parker to comprise what is currently the 7 ½ acres belonging to the Bible School. We have since enlarged the chapel and dining room. Recreation for the young folks on the grounds was developed. We now hire a cook with helpers each year. Over the years we have built dormitories, teachers’ cabins, extra classrooms, a pavilion, and made other improvements. Reservations are taken for attendance. Cabins built on the grounds are governed by the managing brethren who also arrange the speakers and teachers. Brethren from the USA and Canada have been teachers and speakers with classes for all ages.– By Brother Charles R. Walker