Church History

The church was started as a Sunday School Mission of Lockhart Baptist Church by Ray and Donna Kennedy.  After their baptism at Lockhart Baptist he soon became the Sunday School Superintendant.  He later, with the approval of Lockhart Baptist, began a Sunday School Mission in the garage of Bob and Nita Gibbs home on Wekiwa Springs Road.  The Sunday School Mission grew and on November 9, 1953  eight people were baptized by the Pastor of Lockhart Baptist.  There were other baptisms and the Sunday School Mission began to grow.  They soon out grew the garage and needed a larger space.

A new Chapel was built in 1954 and Ray Kennedy was ordained as the new Pastor of Wekiwa Springs Baptist Mission. The Mission soon out grew the chapel and Milford White and his wife donated the present property (now owned by Wekiwa Springs Baptist Church) to the church.  The Chapel was moved to the back of the property and used as a fellowship hall and nursery and a tent was erected on the front of the property for the congregation.  The congregation filled the tent.  God's blessings were flowing and soon the need for a new building was evident.  Lockhart Baptist borrowed $2,000 from the Baptist State Board in Jacksonville without interest to help the new Mission.  The congregation met the need and paid it back the loan in full, and the work began.

Most of the work was done by the members and their families.  The men would work on their jobs all day and then would work on the church until late at night.  Many a Friday night those who did not have to work on Saturday toiled all night with the women serving them breakfast the next morning along with lunch on Saturday.  The children who were old enough to do so helped carry material to the men.  It was an effort of the entire church family.

There was also help by others.  A man by the name of C. W. Rakes installed all the wiring without charge.  Another man named Elmer Jones  who was known for lending a helping hand to many churches in the area came to help and he spread the word to others.  Mrs. L. C. Newton gave us our first piano.

On April 2, 1957 Wekiwa Springs Baptist Mission became Wekiwa Springs Baptist Church.  The membership was 63.  The Lord was blessing and we were growing.

In the summer of 1958 Pastor Kennedy and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky so he could continue his education in the ministry and attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

After Pastor Kennedy left, Pastor Kenneth Magilliean served as pastor for a short term in 1958. When he left Pastor Bob Lingel came and finished the year in 1958 and served until 1962.  At this time we had several other interim pastors while we were waiting for God to send us the pastor he wanted for our church.  In 1964 Pastor Brantley West came and served until 1966.  In 1966 Pastor Marvin Spivey came and served until 1968.  Then a young man named Louis Crenshaw was called to be our pastor from 1968 until 1970.  Joel Wade, a retired minister who was also an active member of our church was called to serve as our pastor.  Pastor Joel Wade served from 1971 until 1973.

In March 1974 Pastor David S Martin was called to be our pastor.  He and his lovely wife Elaine with their children came and began their ministry with our church family.  Pastor Martin retired  in March 2005.  As with all churches there were good times and bad times.  The biggest hardship the church suffered was a fire on April 18, 1975 that burned the church to the ground.  The church building was completely destroyed....but not the church.  The church is the people and the people stuck together and continued to have faith.  It wasn't easy but the church was rebuilt.  During reconstruction the church services were held in many different locations. 

In September 2005 Pastor Mike Davis was called to be our pastor.  He and his wife Rhonda are serving our church as God directs.  With God's leading we have many things happening within our church.  In March 2006 the church launched its first website, this was a new technology for outreach for our church.  We also joined Facebook in September 2010 to further our outreach.  We have a Health Ministry that covers all aspects of a person's health.  We have a new Youth Ministry that is going strong.  We have remodeled and enlarged the Fellowship Hall.  As we continue to follow as God directs, many great and wonderful things will continue to happen to Wekiwa Springs Baptist Church.  Please join us and become a part of our church family.

The following is a chronological listing of the men who have served as pastor of our church with faithfulness doing as God directed them.

  • 1953-1958        Ray Kennedy
  • 1958 Interim   Kenneth Magilliean
  • 1958-1962        Robert Lingle
  • 1962-1964        Interim Pastors
  • 1964-1966        Brantley West
  • 1966-1968        Marvin Spivey
  • 1968-1970        Lewis Crenshaw
  • 1971-1973         Joel Wade
  • 1974-2005        David Martin
  • 2005-Present  Michael Davis

 

Footnote:

Wekiwa - Wekiva

Have you ever wondered if that was a spelling error and if not what's the difference between the two words.  Well let me answer that question.  No, it's not a spelling error.

Wekiwa Springs, for which the park is named, is one of the region's familiar and popular geologic features. The spring's name is derived from the Creek Indian word "Wekiwa" meaning "spring of water" or "bubbling water."  Wekiwa Springs is the headwaters for the Wekiva River. "Wekiva" means "flowing water." Springs commonly occur along each side of Florida central ridge. The streams created by two such springs form the northern and eastern park boundaries. Rock Springs Run and Wekiwa Springs Run merge to form the Wekiva River, which flows into the St. Johns River fifteen miles to the northeast. Witherington Springs, located near the center of the park, forms Mill Creek, which flows into the swamp bordering Rock Springs Run.

So "Wekiwa" in Wekiwa Springs Baptist Church represents the well from which God's Word bubbles up from.  We teach directly from God's Word...the Holy Bible.