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The Church at Deerfield Beach © 2017

HISTORY

Beginnings

The year was 1912 and a small group of believers banded together to organize as the First Baptist Church of Deerfield.  The church called Rev. Samuel S. Gibson to be its first pastor.  Under his leadership, the church entered the Miami Baptist Association becoming the 9th Southern Baptist Church in South Florida (Fort Pierce to Key West).  It was a humble beginning but this small group of believers began to grow.

 

The Early Days

The church met in the public school from the church's organization in 1912 until 1914.  In 1914, the church built it's first sanctuary for $1,640 including lot, carbide lights, bell, and organ.  The first sanctuary was located behind the present site of Kraeer Funeral Home, a block from the center of town (the FEC Railway depot).  The first Sunday School class had 33 pupils.  Growth was steady during this time with many ministries started and numerous missionaries supported.  In 1928, the first sanctuary was destroyed by a hurricane.

 

Under the leadership of Rev. Taylor, First Baptist's second sanctuary was constructed during the early days of the Great Depression, at 621 N.E. 2nd Street, southeast of Pioneer Park.  Wth the financial aid of W.L. Kester, of Pompano supplying land and materials, and with good people of the town furnishing practically all the labor, this wooden structure was completed in the summer of 1932.  Seven years later, on January 1, 1941, convicts clearing palm fronds from the public cemetery saw one of the burning cabbage palmetto fronds waft skyward and land on the dry roof of the new sanctuary.  Soon the sanctuary was ablaze.  Severely damaged, the structure would be renovated to become the church's first parsonage.  Worship services again were held in the elementary school.

 

Rebuilding and Growth

The church's third sanctuary was built at the intersection of N.E. 2nd Street and the entrance to Pioneer Park.  It was in use by September 6th, 1941.  Less than two decades later the third sanctuary was discovered to have an extensive termite infestation and the structure was bulldozed into rubble.  The fourth and current church sanctuary was constructed in 1960 at a total cost of $150,000.  The ground breaking for the auditorium was held on March 13, 1960.  Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Butler, the only remaining founding members, assisted Pastor G. Robert Row by turning the first shovels of dirt.

 

In 1976, the church started construction on the Christian Life Center (CLC), which included a gymnasium, kitchen, and classrooms, for Bible Study and recreation.  This expansion was completed without a mortgage, largely with funds donated from Mrs. Alice Butler.  In 1992, a successful campaign was conducted to build the offices and second floor of the Chirstian Life Center in order to expand the Biblical education and activities of the church.