Dick Maples and Dorso Maciel honored at 2023 Texas Baptists Legacy Awards

by George Schroeder on June 8, 2023 in News

INDEPENDENCE – Dick Maples, a longtime pastor and devoted Baptist denominational leader, and Dorso Maciel, a faithful pastor and community leader, were recipients of the 2023 Texas Baptists Legacy Award. The awards were presented during a worship service on June 4 at Independence Baptist Church.

Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptist Historical Collection, preached from Joshua 4 on the importance of remembering. The passage tells of the moment when, as the children of Israel were entering the Promised Land, God directed Joshua to have 12 men take 12 stones from the Jordan River to construct a memorial so their children would know he had parted the waters, so they could cross on dry ground, as a sign that God is faithful.

“It’s all about remembering,” Lefever said of the passage. “We need to see the legacy and recognize that we are who we are because of what God has done and who God has sent before us.”

Lefever said the 12 stones became a “conspicuous” monument and noted that monuments or memorials “tell a vivid story.”

“Long after that monument (in the book of Joshua) was gone, the story has been told over and over and over again to generations, reminding us that our God is faithful. Today we honor two men who … are a sign that our God is faithful.”

Lefever said Maples’ and Maciel’s ministries had produced an impact like that highlighted by the poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote: “[T]o know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

“Texas Baptists breathe easier today because of these men,” Lefever said. “Their legacy will continue to impact people who will never know their names but will be affected by their faithfulness. … We thank you today not for what you have done, but for what God has done through you.”

Commitment to personal ministry

Maples, who pastored several churches and served in various positions with Texas Baptists, was introduced by Dowell Loftis, director of Texas Baptists’ Center for Ministerial Health. Loftis read personal reflections from several men who had been profoundly impacted by Maples’ mentoring and care – including Loftis himself, who first met Maples as a Texas A&M freshman in 1979, when Maples was pastor of First Baptist Church of Bryan.

“Quite honestly I was having a pretty rough time that first semester,” Loftis said. “I was just one of hundreds of students that went to First Baptist Bryan, and yet Dick took time to care for me. He took time to care for me. And since then, he’s been a confidant, a mentor and a great friend.”

Loftis said throughout Maples’ ministry, he has touched many others in a similar fashion. If “all politics is local,” he said, “I believe that all ministry is personal,” and added: “Dick, you’ve made an impact for the kingdom.”

Along with First Baptist Bryan, Maples pastored at First Baptist churches of Waynesville, N.C., Texas City and El Paso, where he is also pastor emeritus. He also served in Texas Baptists staff roles including coordinator of minister/church relations and associate executive director, and served Texas Baptists as BGCT president and a member of the executive board, as well as on various trustee boards in state and national Baptist life.

“What an impressive resumé,” Loftis said. “What an impressive life of impact.”

Loftis said Bill Wiman, who served with Maples at First Baptist Bryan, called Maples “a man of impeccable integrity who loves God deeply (and) serves others sacrificially. Wherever he has served, he was a true pastor to pastors and church staff members. He loves deeply, prays earnestly, serves tirelessly and is an encourager always.”

Quoting from Philippians 1, Loftis said, “I thank my God for every remembrance of you – and I’m not the only one. There’s a whole bunch of us.”

Pointing others to Christ rather than himself

Maciel was introduced by Ruben Harrison Jr., associate pastor at Primera Iglesia Bautista in Laredo, where Maciel is in his 31st year as senior pastor. On May 30, Maciel celebrated 64 years as a pastor, having started as pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Marlin in 1959.

His first pastorate came while Maciel was a student at Baylor University, where he met and married his wife, Stella; they will celebrate their 63rd anniversary on June 15. Harrison said Maciel never finished at Baylor because he “got distracted by his marriage and ministry.”

Both of which, Harrison said, have been transformative and impactful for many lives. He noted that Dorso and Stella are known to children at Primera Iglesia Bautista Laredo as “grandpa and grandma,” and that he is known throughout Laredo, a city of almost 300,000 people, as “Reverend Dorso.”

“The legacy he has built for us (is) everybody is family and we need to take care of each other,” Harrison said.

Along with Marlin and Laredo, Maciel, 84, has pastored churches in Goliad, Mathis, McAllen and Beeville. He has served on the Texas Baptists Executive Board, in Baptist associational life and in several civic leadership roles, including school boards and other civic boards.

“He lives an example of 1 Peter 4:10-11,” Harrison said, “always seeking to point others to Christ and not draw attention to himself but to God.”

Harrison drew laughs when he said Maciel does bilingual services by himself.

“He preaches in English and Spanish at the same time,” Harrison said. “It’s like regular conversations with our kids on the border. They speak ‘Spanglish,’ and he preaches ‘Spanglish’ – and it’s great because that way all generations in the congregation can understand what he’s preaching. … He keeps everybody engaged that way.”

Enduring Legacy

Maples and Maciel were chosen by a selection committee for their lifelong Christian service. Pavers commemorating Maples and Maciel were laid in the courtyard of Independence Baptist Church.

The historic church, organized in 1839, is the oldest continuously active Baptist church in Texas. The church annually hosts the Legacy Awards and is home to the Texas Baptists Historical Museum.

Dylan Price, pastor of Independence Baptist and curator of the museum, welcomed Maples, Maciel and the other visitors to the church’s Sunday service. He also invited Texas Baptists to visit the museum, which is open year-round.

To make a gift in support of Legacy Day, click here. To nominate recipients for the 2024 Texas Baptists Legacy Award, email Becky Brown at becky.brown[at]txb.org.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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