1960-1964

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The Church minutes of March 9, 1960 show that the Bowe Gardens Chapel was very near completion.  A pulpit committee for Bowe Gardens was formed.  It was comprised of Mr. and Mrs. Thurman Cobb, Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Layne, and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bond.  The same minutes for March 9 also show that the deacons at First Baptist were on a rotating basis.

Also at the March 9 business meeting, Mr. Robert Eubanks was elected Superintendent of the Extension Department.  It is interesting to note that in the next decade, both Mr. and Mrs. Eubanks would be ably ministered to by that department under the direction of Mr. Roy Forsythe.

The Missions Committee report on April 13, 1960 reads as follows:

"We had an attendance of 105 in Sunday School our first Sunday. We still need a piano. A Hammond organ has been loaned us. We need help of anyone to help us in the mission."  The Pulpit Committee for Bowe Gardens unanimously recommended that Rev. John C. Wells be called as interim pastor at a salary of $40.00 per week.

Buel Sapp was ordained as a deacon at First Baptist on May 15, 1960.  The account reads as follows:  "Act of ordination:

Brother Sapp called to kneel before Reverend West, all ordained men kneeling around Brother Sapp.  Reverend G. C. Hodge, visiting pastor, prayed the prayer of ordination, followed by all deacons and pastors laying on the hands.  Those present were R. L. Free, Jr., Paul Cook, Raymond Layne, Reverend G. C. Hodge, visiting. pastor and Reverend G. R. West   Reverend G. R. West asked that all wives take their places by their husbands and that the congregation give a hearty welcome to these that serve us so faithfully; while singing 'Bless be the Tie'.  Our service was closed with prayer by Cecil Alford."

It must be noted that up until the formation of Bowe Gardens, First Baptist of Eau Gallie was the only Southern Baptist church in the Eau Gallie area.  Thus people from the beaches as well as the mainland met to worship there. In the next few years the Church would scatter many of the members throughout the area. Looking ahead to 1973-1974 the Church would have a Sunday School enrollment of 310 with an average attendance of 152.

In June 1960 the trustees recommended to purchase the property at 327 Montreal Avenue for $7,500.00 The payments of $50 00 per month were to be paid to the seller, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Turpin. A down payment of $100.00 was to be made.  There is no record as to whether or not the recommendation was adopted.

Under new business at the August 10, 1960 business meeting "Dick  Free brought before the church that this church does not have a constitution and by-laws, which it needs very much.  He moved a committee be formed tonight by church to draw up and present a progress report on Constitution and By-laws for approval at next conference.  Seconded by Pete Gibson, approved and carried."

Bill Price recommended that Dick Free serve as chairman and the committee should not exceed a total of seven (7) members.  This was approved.

The Girls' Auxiliary was very active in 1960 and a very lovely Mother-Daughter Banquet was held. Those participating on the program were Mrs. J. E. Grantham, Rev. John Wells. Mrs. John Rose,  Arlinda Rethwisch, Dorothy Coggins, Sue Layne, Mrs. G. C. Hedge, and Rev. G. R. West.

In October 1960 the Church collected Bibles for use at the State Prison in Raiford.  Royal Ambassador Focus week was to be observed in November in keeping with the southwide R. A. program.

At a meeting held on October 23, 1960, Mr. B. B. Nelson, Chairman of the Pulpit Committee at Bowe Gardens Chapel moved that Rev. Clayton Robert Barker, Jr. be called as pastor of Bowe Gardens Chapel.  This was seconded by Dick Free and carried.  On November 16, 1960 Mr. Herb Jungbluth reported that "we have been working for three weeks now and have 9 members.  There is a greet need for help with these boys (R.A.'s).  The Jr. R.A. 's need a counselor."

On March 12, 1961 the Bowe Gardens Baptist Chapel operated by the First Baptist Church of Eau Gallie  was constituted as a Church, namely, Bowe Gardens Baptist Church. There were 116 members from First Baptist who became members of Bowe Gardens  when it was constituted.

At the business meeting on July 5, 1961 the Church voted to purchase the two vacant lots north of the sanctuary from Mr. Reynolds for $12.500.  A Building Committee was authorized to be formed with no less than 21 people including the Pastor, all members of the Planning and Survey Committee and any other member that the pastor may appoint. This Committee was given the responsibility to plan, design, construct, equip and finance a new education building. This was the start of the three-story education building.

Those chosen to serve on the Building Committee were approved at the August 9, 1961 business meeting. The members were Buel Sapp, R. H. Graham, T. C. Hobbs, R. W. Layne, W. E. Broome, William Price, Aubert Deck, Ken Sumner, Marvin Vann, John Downs, Roy Aiken, W. S. Gibson, Vance Bell, Earl Higgins, William Thurman, R. L. Free, Gilbert Thomas, James Watson, L. H. Farley, Ollie Watkins and the pastor, G. R. West. Jessie Abbott was licensed to preach and do prison work in Florida on August 16, 1961.  Pastor West asked God's presence and Holy Spirit be with Brother Abbott.

On September 6, 1961 the Church adopted the following resolution: "Be it resolved that we go on official record as opposing the extension of the hours for the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city of Eau Gallie, Florida, and especially the encroachment of this traffic upon the Lord's Day."

The church camp was the site for many wonderful outings by the members.  Groundbreaking for the building was held in October 1961 with about 125 people present. The camp was also used by Lakecrest Community Church during their formative years as a meeting place. The camp was not used much after about 1970 and was pretty much vandalized and grown up with bushes by 1975.  It was then that a lovely new pastorium would be constructed on the property.

Also on October 29, 1961 the note on the sanctuary was burned in a very impressive service.  The minutes record that "there were tears in the eyes and on the cheeks of members, deacons, trustees, and others for the memories of a dream that had come to pass."

The Church approved a recommendation on January 17, 1962 that "the Trustees of the First Baptist Church of Eau Gallie be designated by the church to sign the contract with the architect for the new educational unit as recommended and approved by the building committee."

In April and May of 1962 the Church went through a very difficult time of adjustment due to the loss of many leaders.  It was at this time that the Harbor City Baptist Chapel was formed under the sponsorship of Melbourne First Baptist Church.  In July there were 140 members of Eau Gallie First Baptist that requested their letters moved to Melbourne First for the purpose of joining the Harbor City Chapel later to become the Harbor City Baptist Church.  This required a lot of reorganization at Eau Gallie.  A steering Committee was formed to guide the Church.

Groundbreaking Service / Dinner for 3 story educational building 1963

     

Brother Laster F. Gayton was called as Associate Pastor and Minister of Education.  He served in this capacity until his resignation to be effective May 1, 1963.  He stated, "I offer this resignation so that I might return to the pastorate and follow the leadership of God In my life."

A resolution was adopted on September 4, 1963 which read:  "Be it resolved that the Board of Trustees of the First Baptist Church of Eau Gallie is authorized and directed to borrow from the First National Bank of Eau Gallie, the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars, ($100,000.00) on an open-end mortgage at an interest rate not exceeding six percent (6%) per annum on the unpaid monthly balance for a period not exceeding fifteen (15) years, payable in equal monthly installments for the purpose of completing the Educational Building now under construction."

During this time the Church was strongly opposed to the Jai Alai issue and worked with United Christian Action in this matter.

G. R. West resigned in March 1964.   He stated that "he had served nearly 10 years as pastor of our church and that we would always have a big place in his heart.  He said he hoped that the church would progress as much in the next 10 years as it has in the past 10 years."

A pulpit committee was formed consisting of Paul Harton, W. H. Price, Gordon Knight. John Downs and Elmo Beighle. Dr. Harrison Griffin was called in June to serve as Interim Pastor until the call of Jack T. Bryant on December 2, 1964. A dedication service was held for the three-story education building on the 75th Anniversary of the Church, October 24. 1964. G. R. West was invited to be the guest speaker.

The Pulpit Committee recommended to the Church in a special business meeting on December 2, 1964 that a call be extended to Rev. Jack T. Bryant to become pastor.  The vote to call Brother Bryant was unanimous.  He would begin his ministry on the first Sunday of January 1965.