In the early
1990’s, First Baptist Church of Panama City and First Baptist Church of
Defuniak Springs teamed together to survey the people in the community of
Seagrove Beach regarding the feasibility of starting a Baptist Mission. Pastor at Panama City was Dr. Langford and
the pastor at Defuniak Springs was Rev. Veron Harkey.
1993 An original meeting
was formed as a result of the results of the survey. The meeting was held at the fire station on 395
just north of The Seagrove Market. 20 to
25 people attended the meeting. Some
were representatives of sponsoring the churches and some were local residents
Robert and June Pender, Tarver & Sara Roundtree and Sami Samora. A prayer
group was formed and led by various representatives of the two churches and the
Walton County Baptist Association. The
regular meetings were at the home of Robert and June Pender.
churches authorized the Mission to begin searching for property in the Seagrove
area to build a permanent church. After much prayer and searching, the Mission located
the 3.6 acres where we are presently. The property was purchased by the First Baptist
Church of Panama City for $100,000. The
property has an interesting history. It
was originally homesteaded in the 1920’s by Clifford And Annie E. Williams of
Bonifay, Florida as part of a larger 40- acre plot. The property was then sold in
the late 30’s to B.W. And Ida Dalton for less than $20 an acre. Here is the
interesting part: Mrs. Dalton always
wanted a church to be built on the property. But during her lifetime no church
was ever built. Mr. and Mrs. Dalton eventually
deeded the property to their son, P.E. Dalton.
He eventually sold it to Jerry Dalhover and Jack Simmons. And then eventually sold it to the First
Baptist Church of Panama City. And for
what purpose? For a church to be
built! Mrs. Dalton’s dream was finally
going to come true. Plans were set in motion to build a facility including a
sanctuary, nursery, toddler room, two adult classrooms and a kitchen.
1994 The prayer
group became an official mission of the two sponsoring churches. Sunday morning worship services were conducted
in the Pender garage, often called “the garage cathedral.” Ben Agee came from
Panama City Church to serve as the first pastor. Brother J.C. McLendon replaced
Ben Agee in the late summer of 1994. He
served through the construction until 1995.
1995 A new 125 seat
auditorium and additional educational space of Sunday School rooms, a nursery
and a kitchen, were designed and built.
The Mission moved into the new facilities in December of 1995. Dr. Jerry Lee came in 1995 as the next
Mission Pastor and served through 1996.
1996 The new facilities
were dedicated on January 14, 1996. Rev.
James Mixon preached the first service in the new sanctuary. He also contracted
and helped construct the new facility.
In 1997 Brother Bill Stephens came and served
until early 1998. Brother David Duvall
1998 The Lord sent
Dr. Jerome Barnes and his wife Marlene as Mission Pastor and to rebuild the
broken relationships. The “crowds” were small, starting with about nine. They
grew each week until two worship services were necessary to seat the crowds on
Sunday mornings. The Mission had come a long
way since the early days. On most
Sundays, the Mission would be an average between 125 to 160 people in
attendance and growing about 30+ people each year.
2002 the Seagrove
Baptist Mission was constituted as a church. Dr. Jerome Barnes led as Father of
the Constitution and by-laws. A week-end
celebration was set up with a concert given by former pianist, Susan Kerley and
former Music Director, Roger Estes. Dr.
Craig Conner, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Panama City delivered the
address. Sixty-eight members’ names were read by Maureen Thweatt, the church
Easter 2005 On that morning, a record 470
worshippers came to the small facility. May 2005 John Stitt came as Music Director.
2005 Dr. Jerome
Barnes resigned as Pastor of Seagrove Baptist Church. After six years and 8 months of his
leadership, it was a sad time for the congregation to see this Godly man leave.
October 2006 Brother Stanley
Durham came as Pastor, along with his wife, Joyce, and was here through
2007 saw continued growth and Brother Durham led the Vision to begin
planning the new Sanctuary, classrooms and offices; in September 2010 it was
dedicated. Within 6 months, the balcony had to be finished for more seating,
bringing our total to over 400 seats.
2015 Brother Mike Thornton came as
Associate Pastor for Families and Discipleship.
2017 Brother Gary Wiggins
came as Pastor, and his wife, Cindy. Brother Richard Coe came in 2018 as
2019 John Stitt
retired, and in February 2019 Dennis Kirkland was hired as Music
continues to bless Seagrove Baptist Church,
all for your part in growing our church!