Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with J. Gordon Bechtel, August 19, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Family and education background

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Partial Transcript: Today is Sunday, August the 19th, 1990.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. J. Gordon Bechtel describes his family and his father's early career. Bechtel also shares about his education and early work in ministry.

Keywords: Careers; Family background; Latrobe (Pa.); Latrobe Presbyterian Church; Marriage; McCormick Theological Seminary; Ministry; Music; Musicians; Professions; Wooster College

Subjects: Education, Higher; Family--history

GPS: Durango (Co.)
Map Coordinates: 37.274596, -107.876286
00:06:11 - Coming to Second Presbyterian Church / church programs

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Partial Transcript: So in 1980 you and Meredith came to Lexington. 1970. I'm sorry 1970.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel recalls his first impression of Lexington and Second Presbyterian Church. He highlights the programs that he aided in during his time as associate minister.

Keywords: Christian education; Church youth activities; Community service; Early childhood; Housing; Ministry; Missions; Youth programs

Subjects: Church work; Church youth workers; Clergy--Kentucky; Community life; Presbyterians--Kentucky--Lexington; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039727, -84.490615
00:12:00 - Importance of Camp Burnamwood

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Partial Transcript: Was, uh, Burnamwood, um, a growing concern?And children went there for summer activities?

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel explains the importance of Burnamwood camp to the church's youth programs. He shares his own experiences at the camp with the children of the church.

Keywords: Church worship; Church youth activities; Class work; Construction; Doctorate; Fall retreats; Junior department; Seminars; Summer programs; Westminster Village; Youth programs

Subjects: Children.; Church camps; Church youth workers.; Clergy--Kentucky; Religious facilities.

GPS: Camp Burnamwood (Irvine, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.769975, -83.987431
00:17:05 - Involvement with youth at Second Presbyterian

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Partial Transcript: Well, can you think of any other, uh, special experiences with the young people?

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel describes his involvement in the church's youth programs. He highlights the changes in their Christian education curriculum.

Keywords: Bible study; Children; Convent schools; Faith and action materials; Henry Clay High School; Jan Crowe; Jim Crowe; Junior high schools; Ministers; Teachers; Youth groups; Youth programs

Subjects: Children.; Christian education.; Church youth workers; Clergy--Kentucky; Religious educators; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

Map Coordinates: 38.039727, -84.490615
00:23:36 - Work in community outreach

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Partial Transcript: Gordon I know that you were quite involved with things outside the church. Which, uh, related to our community and was Christian service probably.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel shares about his community service outside the church. He describes the founding of St. Andrew's House. He discusses the different organizations he was involved in.

Keywords: Awareness; Community outreach; Community service; Community support; Hospice; Nontraditional; Outlook House; Political support; Poverty; Recycling; St. Andrew's house; Teenagers; Teens; The Kentucky Organization (TKO); Worship service

Subjects: Community life; Volunteers

00:33:01 - Second Presbyterian ministry and ministers

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Partial Transcript: In terms in mission and outreach, uh, Second Church historically was, uh, a kind of breaking off point toward ministry in Eastern Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel discusses the individuals on staff while he was at Second Presbyterian Church. He recalls the church work they were a part of.

Keywords: Burnamwood Camp; Camp Burnamwood; Community outreach; Community service; Director of Christian Education; Eastern Kentucky; Ministry; Missions; Pastors; Senior ministers; Staff; Women clergy; Women's role in the church

Subjects: Christian education.; Church management; Clergy--Kentucky; Presbyterian Church; Religious educators; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039727, -84.490615
00:40:42 - Receiving doctorate in ministry / move to Kansas

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Partial Transcript: I think, um, you received your, uh, doctorate in ministry from McCormick while you were here in 1980.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel describes the writing of his dissertation. He shares about his move to Kansas and being a lead pastor. He highlights some programs at the church in Kansas.

Keywords: Adult Christian education; Bible studies; Campus ministry; Central Kansas; Church members; Doctorate; Seminary

Subjects: Clergy; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Presbyterian Church

GPS: First Presbyterian Church (Emporia, Kan.)
Map Coordinates: 38.407535, -96.179729
00:44:25 - Family achievements / union of denominations

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Partial Transcript: Our son Craig was born in Lexington. He is, uh, nineteen now and a student at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel shares the educational achievements of his family. He remembers the union of two Presbyterian denominations.

Keywords: Choirs; Church unions; Mergers; Music; Northern Presbyterian; Reunions; Southern Presbyterian; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Children of clergy; Education, Higher; Families.; Family life; Presbyterian Church; Religion

GPS: Knox College (Galesburg, Ill.)
Map Coordinates: 40.941651, -90.371218
00:48:27 - Future of the Presbyterian Church

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Partial Transcript: I enjoyed your sermon this morning, and especially the thoughts on, um, ecology and problem we have with planet Earth.

Segment Synopsis: Bechtel reflects on his future hopes for the Presbyterian Church.

Keywords: Church future; Church growth; Church life; Church members; Cultural changes; Diversity; Environmental work

Subjects: Church membership; Clergy; Presbyterian Church; Presbyterian Church--Membership; Religion