Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Modern-day Circuit Rider

Since the birth of our nation, a rugged breed of men have traveled America's wilderness to present the gospel to isolated parts of the frontier. Carrying only the possessions they could stuff in their saddlebags, they spread Christianity across the wild West, preaching where there was a need--as well as officiating baptisms, weddings, and funerals--traveling in circuits that ranged form 200-500 miles. Their pay was meager, if they received any at all. Many paid with their lives before reaching the age of 35. Since farms were wide-spread and travel wasn't as convenient as it is today, churches and meetinghouses were scarce--one serving a fifty-mile radius, for example. Circuit riders traveled from place to place, preaching in a church one Sunday then moving on to another meetinghouse to preach the next Sunday. When their circuit was complete, they'd begin again. Folks knew which Sunday to expect their pastor, and many would make the long journey each month to be fed.
Though I write contemporary, I love reading historical romance. This is where I was first introduced to the circuit rider. Upon research, I was delighted to find circuit riders still exist today.
For 54 years, Reverend David Iverson (80) and his wife Ella (77) have traveled their 200-mile circuit to three different churches in rural Montana. Once church still lacks plumbing and electricity. Iverson "preaches salvation and is faithful to the Bible's teachings," says one parishioner. Iverson's other occupation as a rancher helps him connect to his flock. "Sheep and people can be easily misled," says Iverson. "They both have to have care."

What a great ministry! For the full story of Reverend Iverson and his modern-day circuit-riding ministry, visit

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