1890-1907

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1890-1907
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By 1893 Bethel J. Stewart was serving as church clerk. Services were held both morning and evening.  The minutes of the Church for February 1893 record that "Brother D. E. Smith presented his letter and was duly received to membership." S. F. Gove remained the pastor until 1897.  The first trustees were elected by the Church on April 9, 1893 and consisted of Brother H. M. Prince, Brother D. C. Smith, and Brother B. J. Stewart.  Obviously, business was conducted after the preaching service when the pastor, who was the moderator, could be present.  The 1894 minutes of the Church reveal that the pastor met with the Church for preaching on the second Sunday in each month.  Evidently Brother H. M. Prince preached part of the time when Gove was not present.

The October 8, 1894 Church minutes record that Brother H. M. Prince was elected to go as a "delegate" (this was an individual interpretation because Baptists have traditionally referred to representatives from the church to Associations and Conventions as "messengers") to DeLand Association in November.

The Church minutes for June 10, 1894 show that Sister Amelia E. Valentine presented her church letter dated February 7, 1894 from the First Baptist Church of St. Paul, Minnesota.  The minutes for August 12, 1894 also show the addition to the Church of Sister Elizabeth C. Gundy by letter from Lillington Baptist Church, Lillington, North Carolina.  Thus the membership for the church year 1893-1894 stood at 10.  There is no record of the Sunday School enrollment at that time.

The Church minutes for May 10, 1896 reveal that services were held at 11:00 a.m. and 7-1/2 (7:30) p.m.  On that date Sister Nannie Toombs presented herself for membership by letter. A very interesting note on that date reads as follows:  "Service has been held regularly each month by the pastor and occasionally by Brother Prince on the fourth Sunday."  This provides clear insight into the relationship of Pastor Cove and Brother Prince as to preaching responsibilities.

The period from 1902-1904 was probably the hardest time in the life of the Church.  There was no report made to the Indian River Baptist Association and no Church minutes are available.  The Association report shows 1 member for 1904-1905.  The author had a conversation with Mrs. A. O. Frink, Jr. of Fort Pierce.  Her father-in-law was A. O. Frink, Sr. who came to Eau Gallie with his family in 1905.  She recalled his telling the story that when he first went to the Baptist Church in Eau Gallie there was just one dear Christian lady sitting in the church building in a spirit of worship.  He brought his family into the membership of the Church and soon others joined him.  J. R. Geiger became pastor, followed the same year by J. S. Geiger. The records show In 1905-1906 there were 30 additions by baptisms, 24 by letter for a total membership of 55 with 76 enrolled in Sunday School.

What a lesson in faithfulness this dear lady has given to us all. Obviously, the Church almost died.  But because of one dear Christian lady who refused to give up and continued steadfast in the faith, the Eau Gallie First Baptist Church can celebrate 100 years of service to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We may never know her name but her record of faithfulness is not forgotten by the  Lord.  The lamp flickered, but it never went out.  God rewarded that faithfulness with a great resurgence of growth and energy by 1906.  Mission giving had reached a total of $93.68 which was an God rewarded all-time high.

The April 15, 1906 Church minutes show that J. Roy Geiger was a student at Stetson University. Through the years several of the pastors were students at Stetson.  The minutes read "and the church saw proper (being guided by the Holy Spirit) to call J. Roy Geiger to serve us two Sundays in each month." From time to time there is mention of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the decision-making process.

The Church minutes of October 7, 1906 provide interesting historical insight and read as follows:  "After the morning service conducted by the pastor, Bro. J. S. Geiger, an invitation was extended for the reception of members.  Albert Mathers, Jr. came forward.  After due examination he was received as a candidate for baptism.  On Sunday afternoon the following named candidates, Miss Sallie Simmons, Albert Mathers, Jr. met the pastor, Bro. J. S. Geiger at the Indian River near Bro. John Mather's store to be baptized, at which place the door of the church was opened for the reception of members, and Sister Clara Houston came forward and on profession of faith was received for baptism and was baptized together with the above named candidates."

"Sunday night, October 7th after preaching by Bro. J. S. Geiger the door of the church was opened and Sister Rutch came forward on profession of faith, her examination being satisfactory to the Brethren, she was unanimously received for baptism and given the right hand of fellowship, together with Sister Simmons, Sister Clara Houston and Bro. Albert Mathers, Jr. who received the right hand of church fellowship."

In June of 1907 Brother R. W. Thiat led a revival that resulted in several baptisms among whom was Callie Livingston.  The offering for Brother Thiat was $41.00.  It is interesting to note that R. W. Thiat was later to become pastor.

Callie Livingston was a very dear lady who was still a member when the author became pastor.  For many years she cleaned the church for a very meager sum.  When Callie died she had vary few material resources, but First Baptist was her love.  The Church performed a gracious act and provided a granite headstone for her grave located in the old Eau Gallie Cemetery.

The Church minutes of August 18, 1907 states that "the following names were presented for membership on their statement that the old Baptist Church out from Melbourne of which they were members had gone down. Brother Hiram Platt, Sister Hiram Platt were unanimously received."

First Baptist has always had a heart for the orphans.  The record shows that a total of $18.00 was raised for the orphanage at Arcadia.

Church discipline was practiced in those early years.  An interesting statement is made in the church minutes of October 6, 1907. "Preaching by pastor Geiger, after which the church went into conference for the purpose of appointing committees to see members guilty of unchristian conduct.  It was reported that Bro. had been dancing and a committee composed of  W. A. Hoffman and J. R. Mathers were appointed to investigate this report. Committee composed of Mrs. A.O. Frink and Mrs. John Simmons were appointed to see Sister relative to reports of unchristian conduct.  A committee of Sister Albert Mathers end Sister Hoffman were appointed to see Sister as to her coolness to the church and influence she is yielding to by worldly people.  All committees to report at prayer meeting Thursday night the 1Oth.  Bro. Geiger reported he had received  letter from Sister and daughters and asking that their names be stricken from our church books, but had since seen Sister and she requested that her name remain, but and wished theirs withdrawn as they were not living in accordance with church discipline. Their names were ordered stricken."

These minutes show that the Church and members were taking their membership seriously. Names have purposely been omitted, but the but the account has been preserved to give us a peek at how the Church  was functioning in 1907.