Our History

A Vision Inspired by the Holy Spirit

In the year 1875, a few pioneers of this community became concerned over the fact that they had no established place for official worship. Out of those concerned hearts came varied discussions and prayers for guidance of the Holy Spirit, which resulted in the decision to build a place of worship. With the assistance from many friends, a small building was erected. Then with jubilant hearts and expressing prayers of thanksgiving, those pioneers dedicated that small building as their first official House of Worship.

Recognizing the ever pressing need for a leader, this group of dedicated Christians secured the services of the Reverend R. W. Lawton as an advisor. He worked with them for a while and then recommended to them the Rev. Amos Laster, who became the first Pastor of the Church. Under his leadership, the Church membership increased as a result of new converts as well as members who moved to Oviedo from other sections of Florida, and from other states. In 1892, the First South Florida Association was organized. Antioch was one of the Churches in its organization.

The Seed Was Planted - Then Grew

The inflow of many people from different backgrounds not only added to the membership roll, but inspired new visions resulting in the birth the Fountain Head Missionary Baptist Church in 1923 while Rev. J. W. McIntosh was the Pastor of Antioch.

The Bell - A New Voice in the Community

Antioch became an icon for the community with the sounding of the church bell. The Church had a belfry and a large bell. When a member died, the Sexton tolled the bell as notice to the community that someone had died. It was a primary duty of the Sexton to ring the bell before each Sunday and weekly meeting. Each Sunday Morning the Sexton sounded two bells at thirty-minute intervals to remind the members to come to Sunday School. Another was rung to announce the beginning of the Morning Worship. Mr. McCray, the Sexton of many years did this duty until Mr. Charlie Williams assumed this responsibility. They will be remembered for their faithfulness to this task.

Prince Butler Boston:
Setting The Standard For Dedication To Church, Family & Community

One of the pioneers of Oviedo became one of Antioch’s most outstanding servants as well as an outstanding Civic Leader, therefore, mention is made here of a few of his contributions. Mr. P. B. Boston united himself with the Church in 1886, and remained until his death in 1947. His membership expanded over a period of sixty-one years. Fifty-six of those years, he was Superintendent of the Sunday School and was ordained and served as a Deacon for forty-five years. During the decades of the sixties when the membership recognized the need to expand the existing facility, Deacon Boston drew the plans and built a choir stand and two classrooms. His concern for people in general was shown through his gift of five acres of land to the community to serve as a cemetery. He served on the local School Board and also on the Trustee Board of the Hungerford School in Eatonville. Another example of his devotion and concern is that he made provisions in his Will for one thousand dollars to be given to the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. The following are names of several other pioneers who served with distinction according to the records: Ed Garvin, Noah Siplin, Lewis Jones, Martin Powell and others.

Antioch Continues To Grow

It was early in the 1900’s when the membership saw a need for a home for its Pastor, so a Parsonage was built and was used until it was destroyed by fire in the early nineteen sixties.

The Sunday School, now called the Baptist Training Union (B. T. U.), has always been a strong auxiliary of the Church. For many years the entire Church family looked forward to the annual picnic planned by these departments. This event provided a day of inspiring fellowship for both young and old away from the City at some prearranged spot. In the early years the favorite spot was at “White Wharf’ on Lake Jessup in the vicinity of the present location of “Hiley’s Fish Camp.” A committee always provided a variety of refreshments for all. As the years passed, the emphasis shifted from that type of activity to that of providing educational trips for the younger people. At present, we are providing a wide scope of literature and audio visual aids for continuous growth of the entire Church family and continuing to provide an occasional trip that provides educationally religious experiences.

The Sunday School is credited with initiating the idea and making it possible for the first piano to be purchased for Church use. This occurred in the early twenties. Mrs. Julia C. Boston served faithfully as Musician of the Church for many years. Our records do not carry the names of all of the succeeding Musicians but since through the 1960’s, we had the services of Mrs. Mae F. Muller, a former Public School Music Teacher who did an outstanding job of training both the young and the adult choirs whose singing does much to enhance our worshipping services.

The structure of our Church had encountered several changes since 1875. The last major change took place in the early forties. In 1942, the Florida state Road Department made plans to straighten several curves and widen Highway 419. It became necessary to move several buildings near the highway. Antioch was one of those buildings.
In moving the structure, irreparable damage was done, so under the dynamic leadership of Rev. R. B. Black plans were set in motion and in 1948, the present Sanctuary with Baptismal Pool and rest rooms included was completed and the Cornerstone laid. Too much cannot be said in our efforts to express our gratitude to Rev. Black for his dedicated and forceful leadership during those trying years of material shortage of all kinds.

The decade of the 1960’s under the leadership of Rev. W. Don Pelham proved to be another period when much was done to enhance Antioch’s physical facilities. We built a Parsonage and an Educational Building, acquired an Organ and installed new pews.

Rev. James DeVante Hagin succeeded Rev. W. Don Pelham as Pastor in 1969, and served until his death in November of 1992. During the tenure of Rev. Hagin, the achievements were many. A Fellowship Hall was built and the Cornerstone laid. This Fellowship Hall housed several Sunday School Classed, serves as the site of many Church sponsored activities such as Banquets, Children Church, Exercise Classes, Small Group Meetings and other activities.

Shortly after the passing of Rev. Hagin in 1992, another Pastor was called. Rev. George Williams started his tenure in 1992. During his administration, the Church became incorporated in 1994. Also in 1994, the Nursery Building was purchased to provide additional classroom space. In 1995, the Church acquired a bus for transporting members and people in the community to attend Sunday School, Church Services and other Church events. Rev. Williams’ Pastorage ended in April, 1997.

Antioch Welcomes The Jones Family & Many More Worshippers

In October 1997, our current Pastor, Rev. Charles Jones, was called. The membership had grown so significantly that it then required two Morning Worship Services: one at 8 AM and one at 11 AM. Recognizing the growth and economic changes in the community, the church decided to expand for more worshippers. The Planning and Research Ministry took the lead in planning and constructing a new facility which would be ample for housing the extensively growing parish. Fundraising activities and building fund pledges contributed to a successful construction of our new multifunctional facility that provides for Worship, Sunday School, baptism, administrative offices and fellowship. The Antioch Family praised and worshipped in the new facility on its dedication in February 2006. We praise God that after one year, the seating capacity of over 500 for each worship service has reached attendance capacity at several services.

While attention has been called to the changes and improvements made to our physical plant and surroundings, it is not our intent to forget the continuous spiritual growth and development and our ever present concern for the souls of all mankind and our constant efforts to expand the Christian Community through our influence as members.

Final Words of Gratitude

Our records reveal that the first Minister Ordained by Antioch was F. R. Miller. The last Ordination was U. S. G. (Peter) Cobb. The Rev. Cobb served faithfully in Antioch for many years and was always concerned about the development of young people. He worked many years with the Boy Scout Organization. His services ended in 1971 after a prolonged illness.

We honor the following list of members who are the oldest among us in age and membership: Deacon J. I. Boston, Sister Maude Lee, Sister Mamie Allen, Sister Rosa Smith, and Brother Henry Jackson. In that same vein of thought, it is befitting what we point out the fact that one of our current members, Rec. S. W. Washington, worked very closely with Rev. Black during his pastorate. He, too, served Antioch faithfully, until he became pastor of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Geneva. He served that Church for 20 years. He is currently the pastor of St. Matthew Missionary Baptist, East Sanford. He was elected President of Congress Number One in 1951, and is still serving in that capacity.