HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
Elfers Baptist Churches
Much of the information for this page is taken from a history of Westside Baptist Church by Judith R. Jolly, Chair, Board of Directors, Florida Baptist Historical Society. This page was last revised on Jan. 2, 2017.
Jan. 8, 1876. Rev. John W. Wells begins serving as pastor of the newly organized Union Church, according to a local church register. This church is believed to be the first Baptist church in western Pasco county. The six charter members were W. F. Baillie and his wife, Allen Hill and his wife, Rosanne Baillie and Mr. Cobb. It was built where the West Elfers Cemetery is now located.
Oct. 19-21, 1878. “Petitionary letters from . . . Anclote, Hernando County.” Delegate W.A. Cobb; Members 15; SFBA Contribution 50 cents. [South Florida Baptist Association]
Oct. 15-17, 1881. Represented by letter; No pastor; Baptisms 1; Letters 2; Members 17; SFBA Contribution 50 cents. [South Florida Baptist Association]
1882. The history provided by the Elfers Baptist Church for the WPA survey has: “Constituted in 1882 in a log church a short distance west of Elfers. ... First settled pastor, Rev. Robert E. Bell, 1882-86.”
1885. Webb’s Historical, Industrial and Biographical Florida has, in its entry for Anclote: “There are two churches, the Anclote Baptist, Rev. Mr. Cadden, pastor, and the Methodist, Rev. Mr. Miller.”
October 14-18, 1885. Withdrawn from SFBA membership to become organizing member of Hernando Baptist Association. [South Florida Baptist Association]
1885. Pastor, J. T. Pittman; Delegates B. Bailey, J. O. Brown; Baptisms 4; Letters 5; Expelled 2; Dismissed 14; Members 24; HBA Contribution $1. [Hernando Baptist Association]
1885. West Pasco’s Heritage has:
In 1885 differences of opinion resulted in a split of the Union Church. The Methodists left and started the Sapling Woods Methodist Church; and those who remained became the Anclote Baptist Church, which flourished for a while and then ceased to exist. The new Methodist Church was built on five acres of land donated by the Lake Butler Villa Company, near the Cotee River on East Trouble Creek Road, known to- day as the East Elfers Cemetery.
1885. The historic marker at West Elfers Cemetery has, “When a fire destroyed the church in 1885, the Methodists established their own church and a cemetery, now known as East Elfers Cemetery.”
1886 or 1888. “In 1886, Baptist church building was burned and services were held in the school building on Bert Baillie’s place, now known as Spring Hill Lake Estates, until a new church building could be completed. (Source: Florida Cracker Days.) However, according to a 2001 Tampa Tribune article, the church building was lost to fire in 1888.
1886-87. Florida State Gazetteer in its entry for Anclote says that Anclote has Baptist and Methodist churches. It lists Rev. Parker, pastor M. E. church, and Rev. Pittman, pastor Baptist church.
1889. Florida Cracker Days has: “In 1889, the church moved to a new building on property owned by P. J. Baillie and was presided by the Reverend J. T. Pittman.”
1890. The history provided by the Elfers Baptist Church for the WPA survey has: “In 1890 this building burned and for a few months services were held in the home of one of the members during the construction of another building located one mile south of Elfers.”
Aug. 25, 1890. According to this web page: “August 25, 1890 - William J. Baillie and Sarah A. Baillie sell property to: B.B. Baillie and John M. Baillie, Trustees of the Anclote Missionary Baptist Church - for the sum of one dollar. The deed is recorded April 20th, 1892. This property would be located off S. R. 54 Approximately where the entrance of the Tanglewood Terrace subdivision is presently located.”(In a 1978 interview, Peter Joseph “Uncle Joe” Baillie recalled that his father, William John Baillie, purchased 80 acres of land and donated one acre to the Anclote Baptist Church as a site for a church building. He recalled that when Elfers began to grow, the church moved to Elfers and returned Baillie’s land to him.)
1891. The 1891 American Baptist Yearbook lists West Anclote as a new church.
Oct. 30 to Nov 1, 1891. No pastor; Messengers, J.J. Stevens, B.B. Bailey; PBA $2; Baptisms 1; Letter 1; Restoration 2; Exclusion 1; Males 11; Females 14; Members 25; Clerk, W.J. Baillie, Tarpon Springs; Meeting House, $150; Ministry $1; Miscellaneous $1. [Pasco Baptist Association]
1891. The historic marker at West Elfers Cemetery has, “In 1891, the Baptists relocated to become the Anclote Missionary Baptist Church.”
Sept. 26, 1892. The History of the First Baptist Church of Tarpon Springs has: “On September 26, 1892, a little band of Baptist Believers in Christ met for worship in a small school house in Anclote, Florida. Bro. A. L. Randall conducted the preaching service and Bro. T. M. McGill, acting as moderator called the body to order, stating the purpose of the meeting was to form a new and independent church, where upon three brothers and five sisters presented letters for that Purpose. Thus, the West Anclote Baptist Church came into existence. After prayer, Mrs., Sarah Thompson presented herself for Baptism. The charter members were Brothers E. A. Hill, W. A. Cobb, A. Z. Dekleand Sisters Eunicie A. Hill, Mary T. Hill, T. Gause, Lettie Dekleand Sarah A. Meyer.
Sept. 16, 1894. The History of the First Baptist Church of Tarpon Springs has: “On September 16, 1894, the West Anclote Church was dissolved and reorganized as the Baptist Church of Tarpon Springs.”
Nov. 3-6, 1898. No pastor; Messengers, J. T. Pittman, W. J. Bailey; Clerk, W. J. Bailey, Tarpon Springs; Letter 2; Died 1; Males 18; Females 14; Total 27. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, 1902. Pastor, J. I. Spivey, Pasco; Clerk, W. J. Baillie, Tarpon Springs; Messengers, Thomas Pinder, William J. Baillie; Members 22; PBA $1.35. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, 1907. Pastor, J. W. Gideon, Lacoochee; Clerk, W. J. Baillie, Tarpon Springs; Messengers, J. I. Spivey, A. J. Stevens; SS Superintendent, Thomas Pinder, Tarpon Springs; SS Officers/Teachers 3; Pupils 24; Expenses $4.45; Literature, SBC; PBA $2.50; Organized 1876; Property $300; Pastor’s Salary $63.06; AM .50; HM $1; FM $2; Orphanage $3.45; Education .50; Minutes $1; Letters 3; Baptisms 3; Membership 35. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Jan. 26-28, 1909. Pastor, C. H. Edwards (“Pastor for 1908, but not now”); Baptisms 2; Membership 34; Expenses, Including Pastor’s Salary $60; Associational Missions $10.75; Foreign Board $3; Orphanage $2.10; 1st Sunday Preaching. [Florida Baptist Convention Annual]
Dec. 10-12, 1909. Pastor, S.S. Pickett, Tarpon Springs; Clerk, W.J. Baillie, Tarpon Springs; Baptisms 9; Erasures 6; Members 40; Visiting Ministers $50; PBA $2; Property $300. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Dec. 14, 1909. The place name “Elfers” comes into being with the establishment of a post office with that name.
1912. “In 1912, a new building, valued at $1,200, was constructed on Orange Street in Elfers. In 1913 the church was listed on the Associational records as the as Elfers Baptist Church.” (Source: Florida Cracker Days)
Sept. 11, 1913. Florida Baptist Witness has:
1914. The history provided by the Elfers Baptist Church for the WPA survey has: “In 1914 this building was torn sold and torn down and the present white, rectangular frame building was erected ¼ mile east of Highway 19 in Elfers.”
June 11, 1914. Florida Baptist Witness has:
Nov. 6-8, 1914. Pastor, O.N. Williams, Dade City; Clerk, W.J. Baillie, Elfers; Messengers, J.J. Stephens, S.S. Brown, Sister Maud Blitch; Baptisms 3; Restoration 3; Letters -5; Expulsion 11; Death 16; Members 67; Pastor’s Salary $80; Incidentals $3; Visiting Ministers $42; Minutes $2; Missions $25; Property $1695; Meeting 1st Sunday; SS Superintendent, George Gaines, Elfers; Pupils 96; Teachers 9; Expenses $22.72; Missions/Benevolence $53.74; PBA $2; “Elfers church was selected as the home of the next Association, and Brother J.W. Gideon was elected to preach the Introductory Sermon.” [Pasco Baptist Association]
Nov. 9-11, 1916. Pastor, J.W. Tucker, Kathleen; Clerk, W.J. Baillie, Elfers; Messengers, J.J. Stephens, J.W. Tucker; Baptisms 2; Letters -1; Members 61; 1st Sunday; SS Superintendent, L.L. Anderson, Elfers; Expenses $4.28; Missions/Benevolence $11.32; Pastor’s Salary $129; Incidentals/Improving $8.80; PBA $2.05; FM $5; Orphans Home $1.90; Minutes/Clerk $2.40; Property $1500. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Dec. 14, 1916. Florida Baptist Witness has:
Nov. 26, 1920. The Dade City Banner has:
1921. A newspaper article refers to Rev. A. E. Gammage, pastor of the Baptist church.
Nov. 11-12, 1921. Represented by Letter; Pastor, A.E. Gammage, Tarpon Springs; Clerk, J.R. Eikel, Elfers; Baptisms 4; Letters 2; Letters -10; Death -1; Members 131. 2nd and 4th Sundays; SS Superintendent, L.L. Anderson; Pupils 80; Teachers 6.
1922. “In 1922, while the Rev. R.C. Alderman was pastor, five new Sunday School rooms were added to the church building at a cost of $300.” (Florida Cracker Days)
Jan. 16, 1932. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent reports, “Revival services are being held at the Elfers Baptist church. The Rev. Mr. Leslie Smith is the preacher and Ed Vaughn, soloist. His daughter, Miss Mildred, is the pianist. The trio come from Sulphur Springs.”
Jan. 14-16, 1936. Pastor, A.E. Young; Members 138; Baptisms 2; SS Enrollment 66; BTU Enrollment 29; WMU Organizations 1; Pastor’s Salary $308.91; Raised for Home Expense, Including Building $580.89; Missions/Benevolence $33.71; Gifts $614.60;Property $2500. [Pasco Baptist Association]
Oct. 6-7, 1938. Pastor, A.E. Young; Clerk, Mrs. P.E. Raymond; SS Superintendent, R.V. Gaston; SS Enrollment 127; Average Attendance 85; WMU President, Mrs. P.E. Raymond; Women’s and Children’s Organizations 5; Women’s Gifts $63.64; Baptisms 23; Other 15; Members 173; Pastor’s Salary $583.47; CP $85.58; Expenses $864.59; Missions/Schools/Orphanage $170.53; Property $4000. [Pasco Baptist Association]
1939. All church records are destroyed when the home of Mrs. Sarah Raymond was burned, according to Florida Cracker Days.
Aug. 19, 1941. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent has:
Aug. 14, 1942. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent has:
Aug. 20, 1942. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent has:
Nov. 4, 1943. Pastor, George T. Evans, Elfers; (“The moderator introduced Bro. George Evans, new pastor of the Elfers Church. . .appointed for a committee on memorials.”) (George Evans also gave CP, Hundred Thousand, Missions, and Memorials reports); Clerk, Mrs. Mable Stevens; Treasurer, Mrs. Ethel Stevens; Baptisms 5; Members 151; SS Superintendent, R.L. Burney; Enrollment 83; BTU Director, Calhoun Clark; BTU Organizations 4; WMU President, Mrs. Eva Harper; WMU Organizations 3; Tithers 25; Pastor’s Salary $1137.81; Expenses $506.21; CP $70.84; Designated $44.76; All Contributions $1759.62; Property $4500. [Pasco Baptist Association]
1944. “In 1944 the [Methodist church] building was leased for a year to be used as a Baptist Church and was then sold to the Baptists. The parish has prospered as is now known as the First Baptist Church of Elfers.”—West Pasco’s Heritage
The Church Splits into Two Baptist Churches
This building was also the Methodist church at times. larger picture
In 1945, there became two Baptist churches in Elfers.
May 4, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports: “The First Missionary Baptist church in executive meeting voted unanimously to invite the pastors and deacons of the Pasco Baptist association to meet with the church on May 10 to assist in matters of importance. There was a goodly number in attendance at both Sunday school and preaching at the First Missionary Baptist church Sunday morning. The sermon by the pastor, Rev. A. J. Wacaster, was both interesting and edifying.”
May 18, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports:
Mother’s Day was fittingly observed at the Missionary Baptist church with a special service by the pastor, Rev. A. J. Wacaster.
(Elfers) July 27, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports that Elfers Baptist church pastor, Rev. George T. Evans, invites the public to a revival to be conducted by Rev. P. R. (Pat) Wimberly.
(Elfers) Aug. 17, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports that a revival is continuing at the Elfers Baptist Church.
(Elfers) Aug. 21, 1945. The St. Petersburg Independent has:
(Anclote) Aug. 24, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports that the regular missionary program meeting for August was held at Anclote Baptist Church in Elfers on Tuesday. It also reports, “Services were held last Wednesday at ten o’clock at the Anclote Baptist church, giving thanks and praise for the victory over Japan.”
(Anclote) Sept. 14, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports, “The Anclote Baptist Sunday school reached their goal of 75 in Sunday school last Sunday with 77 present so the officers and teachers are entertaining the entire school Friday night with an ice cream social.”
(Elfers) Sept. 21, 1945. The New Port Richey Press reports, “The Elfers Baptist Church entertained last Wednesday evening after the Prayer Meeting hours with an ice cream supper honoring one of their members, Pvt. James Russ.”
(Anclote) Oct. 10-11, 1945. “The Anclote Baptist Church of Elfers was accepted into the Pasco Baptist Association.” (Page 3); Pastor, E.E. Haney, Port Richey; SS Superintendent, W.G. Raymond, Elfers; BTU Director, J.C. Clark, Elfers; WMS President, Mrs. C.E. Harper, Elfers; Clerk, R.L. Burney, Elfers; Treasurer, Chas. C. Gause, Tarpon Springs; Constituted 1944; Baptisms 6; Membership 57; Revivals 1; Lord’s Supper 4; State Paper Families 16; SS Enrollment 95; Number of Training Unions 4; Enrolled 50; Women’s and Children’s Organizations 3; Women’s Contributions $158.34; Pastor’s Salary $321.20; Expenses $729.76; CP $12.25; Missions Total $158.34;
(Elfers) Oct. 10-11, 1945. Pastor, G.T. Evans, Elfers; SS Superintendent, Chas. S. Stephens, Elfers; BTU Director, A.B. Townsend, Elfers; WMS President, Mrs. R.L. Moore, Elfers; Brotherhood, Chas. S. Stephens; Clerk (listed as Elfers First), Mrs. Florence Townsend, Elfers; Treasurer, Mrs. Ethel Stephens; Christian Literature Report by Geo. T. Evans, Pastor Elfers Baptist Church; Constituted 1896; Baptisms 19; Membership 92 (19 N-R); Revivals 3; Lord’s Supper 4; State Paper Families 6; SS Enrollment 62; VBS Enrollment 23; Average Attendance 20; Baptist Training Unions 4; Enrolled 42; Women’s and Children’s Organizations 4; Women’s Contributions $86.45; Church House/Grounds $2500; Pastor’s Home $2000; All Property $4500; Pastor’s Salary $1325; Expenses $2634.43; Missions Total $243.45; Tithers 20.
(Anclote) Feb. 3, 1947. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent has:
(Anclote) July 22, 1947. The St. Petersburg Evening Independent reports, “The Anclote Baptist church of Elfers has begun a ten-day revival, with Rev. Elwood Rawls of the Spencer Memorial Baptist church, Tampa, as visiting evangelist. Rev. Clifford Hoolsema of the Carrolton Avenue Baptist church, New Orleans, La., will be in charge of the music and be the soloist.”
(Anclote) Oct. 28-29, 1947. Pastor, V.E. Cox, Elfers; Clerk, Arthur L. Baker; SS Superintendent, Merrel Baker; Treasurer, Arthur L. Baker; TU Director, R.E. Baillie, WMS President, Mrs. C.E. Harper; Messengers, R.E. Baillie, Calhoun Clark, Mrs. C.E. Harper, Mrs. Alex Cannon; “New pastors introduced ... Rev. V.E. Cox, Anclote, Elfers” (Page 10/Item 4); Baptisms 35; Other 14; Membership 133; Revivals 1; SS Enrollment 122; BTU Enrollment 79; WMU Enrollment 76; Brotherhood Enrollment 20; Church Property $10,000; Building Funds On Hand $674.08; Pastor’s Salary $1945; Expenses $3477.25; CP $305.31;All Missions $379.28; All Gifts $3856.53.
(Elfers) Oct. 28-29, 1947. “Motion was made and adopted that the Elfers Baptist Church, upon their request, be granted a letter of dismissal from the Pasco Baptist Association, that they might unite with the Pinellas Association. The clerk was instructed to write a letter of transfer. ... The Elfers church sent a request to the executive committee some months ago for a letter of dismission to unite with the Pinellas Association. Your committee passes the request on to the association for action.”
Oct. 4-5, 1948. Pastor, H.M. Wright, Elfers; Clerk, Mrs. Alma Burney, Elfers; SS Superintendent, J.M. Hill, Tarpon Springs; Treasurer, Mrs. Jim Hill, Tarpon Springs; TU Director, Alex Cannon, Tarpon Springs; WMS President, Mrs. Ruby Gause, Tarpon Springs; Brotherhood President, P.J. Baillie, Elfers; WMS President, Mrs. C. Gause; PBA WMU President, Mrs. H.M. Wright; PBA Brotherhood President, P.J. Baillie recommended/adopted (Page 12); PBA Budget Gift $5; Memorials, Mr. J.M. Baillie, Mr. T.J. Hill (Deacon), Mr. David Hogan; Members 142; Baptisms 14; Letters 10; Losses 16; SS Enrollment 115; Pastor’s Salary $1957.50; Expenses $4424.15; CP $189.25; Designated $207.14; All Gifts $4820.54.
1949. “In 1949, the church records were destroyed by fire.” (Source: History, Westside Baptist Church; Published 1995 Pasco Baptist Association Minutes)
Oct. 13, 1950. The New Port Richey Press reports, “The Anclote Baptist church has completed an addition to the church as a Sunday school. Baptism was held for 15 persons of the church at Anclote river.”
Oct. 9-10, 1951. Pastor, Rev. E.L. Buzbee, Elfers (PBA Music Director, Brotherhood, Resolutions, West Side Evangelistic Committee); Clerk, John T. Baker, Jr., Elfers; SS Superintendent, Charles Butler, Tarpon Springs; Treasurer, Roy Butler, Tarpon Springs; Messengers, Mrs. J.D. Raussum, Mrs. Melvin Harper, R.T. Burney, Mrs. C.I. Gause, Mrs. Roy Butler, Mrs. Edith Snyder, Billy Harper, M/M P.J. Baillie, Rev. E.L. Buzbee, Gussie Cannon, Johnnie Baker, Mrs. T.L. Daviston, Mrs. J.A. Burney; “Resolved - that we welcome the new pastors . . . Anclote, Brother E.L. Buzbee . . .” (Page 19); Baptisms 24; Membership 166; SS enrollment 140; VBS Enrollment 86; TU Enrollment 77; Average Attendance 68; WMU Enrollment 37; Brotherhood Enrollment 18; Property $10,000; Receipts $6261; Pastor’s Salary $2851; CP $555.06; Missions $58.
Elfers Baptist Churches Effect Merger
This article appeared in the New Port Richey Press on June 20, 1952. The merger apparently did not occur or did not last very long.
For the past seven years there did exist in Elfers, two Baptist Churches. The two being located on the same street in the same block, were known as the Anclote Baptist Church and the Elfers Baptist Church. The Anclote church was affiliated with the Pasco association and the Elfers church in the Pinellas association.
On December 1, 1951, at the close of the Sunday school hour, the Anclote church, under the leadership of their pastor, Rev. E. L. Buzby, went in a body to the Elfers church. After the two congregations were happily seated together, order was called by the Elfers pastor, Rev. R. C. Burns. At which time, all who were present, expressed the desire, by a standing vote, for the two churches to become one. Extreme joy sprang from the hearts of all, while they joined hands, and marched up and down the streets, singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love.”
On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10, 1952, the consolidated group met and organized a new church. “The First Baptist Church,” Elfers, Fla. Visiting ministers and deacons who had a part in the reorganizing were as follows: Rev. B. D. Locke, Ocala; Rev. Don Seitman, Tarpon Springs; Rev. Warren Nubern, Odessa; Rev. Kenneth Thompson, Citra Park; Bro. Alex Cannon, Anclote; Bro. Floyd McCullom, Anclote; Bro. Charles Stephens, Tarpon Springs; and Bro. Phil Anderson, Odessa.
On Wednesday night, March 19, the new organization met and extended a unanimous call for Rev. J. R. Vassar, of Summerfield, Fla., to be their pastor. He has accepted, and is now at work in the field. “Let brotherly love continue,” Heb. 13:1.
1952-2017 — Elfers Missionary Baptist Church/Westside Baptist Church
Oct. 17, 1952. A church directory has: First Missionary Baptist Church, Elfers, pastor Jack Martin.
July 10, 1953. A photograph in the New Port Richey Press has the caption: “This is a picture of the Vacation Bible School, First Missionary Baptist Church. It is the largest class ever held at this Church, since it was organized in 1876. Total enrollment of 72 and the average attendance was 56 for the 10 days. Mrs. J. R. Martin was the principal. The faculty were Mrs. R. L. Moore, Mrs. Pitman, Mrs. Carl Dingman, Mrs. Jerry Swan, Mrs. Tom Herndon, Mrs. Lucy Baillie, Mrs. Mark Anderson, Miss Murlie Herndon, Mr. Fred Townsend, Rev. Martin. There were eight decisions for Christ. The transportation committee included Mrs. V. Adamek, Mrs. Gerald Baillie, Mrs. Lester Edenfield, Mrs. Lois Edster.”
Aug. 3, 1953. A church directory has: First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor J. R. Martin. “Friends, we invite you to come worship with us each and every service. We don’t have a big choir with robes but we guarantee that you will know that you have been to church, not to some opera house, after singing the good old songs that have thrilled the hearts of young and old for many years.”
Jan. 13, 1955. A church directory has: First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Jack Martin.
Dec. 5, 1957. A church directory has: First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Rev. W. W. Lavender, organized 1876.
Aug. 17, 1961. A church directory has: First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Rev. W. W. Lavender.
Nov. 23, 1961. The New Port Richey Press reports: “Rev. John W. Parkes has accepted a unanimous call to the pastorate of First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers and assumed his new duties last Sunday, preaching at both morning and evening services. ... While there are two Southern Baptist churches in Elfers, First Missionary is the original Baptist Church there, and numbers among its pastors in past years Rev. Ralph Bellwood and later Rev. Ralph Acree, now pastor of First Baptist Church of this city.”
Dec. 28, 1961. A church directory has: Elfers Baptist Church, pastor John W. Parkes.
Jan. 17, 1963. A church directory has: Elfers Baptist Church, pastor Jack Martin.
Nov. 14, 1963. West Pasco’s Heritage has: “The Elfers Baptist Church building was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Douglas when the church voted to move to a new location on Trouble Creek Road November 14, 1963.”
Groundbreaking for the church on Trouble Creek Rd., May 1964. St. Petersburg Times photo with this caption: “Ground-breaking services for a new church were held Sunday by Elfers Baptist Church. The new facility will be built on about two acres of ground on Trouble Creek Road between U. S. 19 and Alt. 19. Construction is to begin immediately on the church sanctuary, which will be 37 by 85 feet and foundations will be poured for two educational wings to be built later. Principals in the service were Mrs. Emma Pittman and W. J. Baillie, two of the oldest members of the church, in the foreground. Church officials participating were from left: The Rev. G. E. Tadlock, moderator of the Pasco Baptist Association; the Rev. John Parkes, Orange Heights Baptist Chapel, New Port Richey; the Rev. Lamar J. Brooks, First Baptist Church Dade City; the Rev. Jack Martin (with shovel) of Elfers Baptist Church; the Rev. Wilton A. Porter, First Baptist Church, Elfers; the Rev. Warren Capell, Northeast Baptist Church, Dade City; and the Rev. Amon Powell. St. Petersburg.”
Nov. 15, 1964. The first service in the new building on Trouble Creek Road is held, according to Florida Cracker Days.
Oct. 21-22, 1965. The church is listed for the first time as Westside Baptist Church in Pasco Baptist Association records.
Nov. 24, 1973. The St. Petersburg Times has:
July 13, 1974. The St. Petersburg Times has:
Nov. 1985. Records show that William Houck is the pastor. He served until June 1988.
June 1988. Thomas Buck becomes pastor interim pastor. He served until August 1989.
Aug. 5, 1989. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Rev. Gary Haygood is the new pastor of Westside Baptist Church, 5228 Trouble Creek Road. Rev. Buck is leaving for the Dallas Theological Seminary.
Sept. 23, 2000. The St. Petersburg Times reports: “Westside Baptist Church, 5228 Trouble Creek Road, will hold a special service at 11 a.m. Sunday to celebrate the final service in its current facility, which has been used since 1965. The family of former pastor Jack Martin will be honored for his 27 years of ministry. Former members or anyone wishing to pay tribute to Pastor Martin are welcome to attend. A special offering will be taken for a memorial to Pastor Martin in the church’s new building. The church also will hold a picnic at 5 p.m. Sunday at Starkey Park, pavilion A, for all members and guests. Westside will be holding services at Seven Springs Middle School beginning Oct. 1 while construction on the new facility on Perrine Road begins. For information, call (727) 848-6720.”
Sept. 1, 2001. The Tampa Tribune has:
In 2009 about 100-150 Riverside members founded Cornerstone Community Church of Pasco County.
1952-2017 — First Baptist Church of Elfers
Aug. 15, 1952. The New Port Richey Press reports, “Revival services begin at Elfers, in the old Methodist building, ‘First Baptist Church’ is starting this Sunday, August 17, and running through Sunday, August 24. ... Rev. J. [James] R. Vasser is the pastor.”
Oct. 17, 1952. A church directory has Rev. J. R. Vasser, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Elfers.
July 3, 1953. A church directory has: First Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor J. R. Vasser, “An independent Baptist Church, enjoying the advantage of working with all other independent Baptist Churches, through the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.” (The same listing occurs on Sept. 17.)
Jan. 13, 1955. A church directory has: First Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor (newly appointed) Rev. Marvin P. Kolb. A brochure from about this period advertising the church is here.
Dec. 28, 1957. A church directory has: First Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Rev. Len Spotts.
Aug. 17, 1961. First Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Rev. Len Spotts.
March 28, 1963. First Baptist Church of Elfers, pastor Rev. Wilton Porter.
March 4, 1965. This photo from the New Port Richey Press of March 4, 1965, shows the groundbreaking for the new church. The caption reads, “First Baptist Church of Elfers held groundbreaking ceremonies for its new $30,000 sanctuary last Sunday afternoon at the site on Orange and Pine Street, with the above dignitaries on hand for the occasion. They are, front row (with shovels) from left: G. H. Hicks, chairman of the planning committee, and Charles Gause, chairman of the building committee. Back row, from left: the Rev. Arthur Nelson, pastor First Baptist Church, Ozona, principal speaker; the Rev. Ralph W. Acree, pastor, First Baptist Church, NPR; J. A. Wiggins; the Rev. Wilton A. Porter, pastor, First Baptist Church, Elfers; John Earl Larson, builder; and Newton Butler, chairman of Deacons.”
This photo appeared in the St. Petersburg Times on July 8, 1965, with the following caption: “The new sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Elfers was dedicated Sunday, July 11th. The new building is located on church property adjoining the site of the old building built in 1918 on Pine Street. The Rev. Wilton Porter is pastor of the church, which has a resident membership of 165. John Earl Larson, New Port Richey builder, was the contractor and the cost of the building was about $35,000.” Photo by Ruby Carley. larger photo
July 15, 1965. This photo appeared in the New Port Richey Press of July 15, 1965, showing the dedication of the new sanctuary. The caption reads, “The above group of dignitaries were prominent figures at last Sunday’s dedication of the First Baptist Church of Elfers’ new sanctuary, located at the corner of Orange and Pine Streets. Shown standing behind a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the pulpit are, from left: G. H. Hicks, chairman of the church planning committee; C. I. Gause, chairman of the building committee; the Rev. Wilton A Porter, pastor; the Rev. Don Sietman, pastor of the North East Park Baptist Church of St. Petersburg and featured speaker; the Rev. Frank Armstrong, field secretary of the Florida Baptist Convention; and Dr. John Price, featured speaker at the evening service. General contractor was John Earl Larson of New Port Richey.”
Jan. 9, 1969. A church directory shows Rev. Charles R. Etherton as pastor.
Sept. 2011. Rev. Jim Prose is appointed senior pastor. (He had served as associate pastor from 1994 to 1998. Since 1998, he had been pastor of First Baptist Church of Keystone Heights, Florida.)
Jan. 1, 2017. On Jan. 1, 2017, the church website showed that Jim Prose was Senior Pastor, Charlie Jones was Music Pastor, and Bryan Kowal was Student Pastor.