HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
History of First Baptist Church of Port Richey
This official history was supplied by the church and was last revised on Jan. 24, 1998.
The New Testament Baptist Church of New Port Richey was organized and chartered on Jan. 27, 1963, in the VFW hall which is now the WestMinister Presbyterian Church behind Sambo’s (which is now Somebody’s House) on US Hwy 19 South. Near Elfers, near SR 54. The Founder of the Church was William Chappel. Rev. Van Doren was called as Pastor. He was the first Pastor of the church. On that date the church had 14 people in the church. Now for two years prior to that charted date, the church members met in William Chappel’s house. They lived on Gulf Dr. The VFW hall was also used by the Presbyterian Church as well as New Testament Baptist. On August 25, 1963, the church moved to property which was purchased by the Florida Baptist Bible Fellowship in Port Richey, Fla.
The building that was purchased was an old garage. The church have had notices in the newspaper, New Port Richey Press, of when the services were. The notices dated back in 1961. At the stated address (from the paper) on Gulf Dr. The Chappel’s home. That’s where they use to meet at. In the ads in the newspaper and the city directories, it was called was the New Testament Missionary Baptist Church. These ads can be found in the copies of the New Port Richey Press in the New Port Richey Public Library.
So after the church had moved to the River Gulf Dr. location in Port Richey, Rev. William F. Chappell was called as Pastor. On September 26, 1965, the name of the church was changed to First Baptist Church of Port Richey. He pastored the church until his death in 1972. During the years of Pastor Chappel’s service at the church, a number of men served as active preachers, but Pastor Chappell continued to oversee the work. In April of 1967, Edward Wineborg served as Pastor of the church. Sometime during 1958, Rev. William Chappel served as Pastor once again. On Sept. 6, 1972, on the death of Rev. Chappell, Dow Baker was called as temporary pastor and was made pastor on October 4, 1972. A great deal of information concerning the church was lost at this time.
Then Rev. Billy Hale served as Pastor starting July 3rd of 1974, and served as Pastor July, August, September, and October of 1974. After him, Mike Sutphin, a recent graduate of Baptist Bible College, was called as Pastor on November 3. 1974. During March of 1975, Rev. Jerry Brown served as interim Pastor. And then was called as Pastor on April 2, 1975. During those three years, a parsonage was purchased, and the building was also remodeled, and then on October 12, 1976, the name was changed to Victory Baptist Church of Port Richey.
Then Rev. Jerry Brown, on February 19, 1978, resigned, upon the call of his home church. On the call of the church, Rev. Frank Taylor was then Pastor of the church. And he pastored until Dec. 1979. After him, Rev. Don Manley was asked to help out at this time, and agreed to fill in as interim Pastor. After a few months, Rev. Manley agreed to accept the call to be the Pastor of the church. In January of 1982, the church was remodeled again.
A break in the history (for now) to list events of the church through the years.
On Sunday, January 17, 1982, the church held a Dedication Service at 3 pm. “Dedication Sunday”
On January of 1990, there was a celebration service for the Manleys, for their 10 years of service there at the church.
Victory Baptist Church has had ministries, such as radio ministries and newspaper ministries. Both ministries were called “The Voice of Victory”!
During the years of Pastor Manley’s Service, a youth group was started. The youth group has had many exciting activities through the years. Three of the past youth pastors are as follows in order, the first youth pastor, which was Randy Manley, Pastor Manley’s son, the second was Joe Gauthier (who was later on called to he a minister at a church in Warner Robins, Ga.), and the third was Sean Cox.
A Choir has been started at First Baptist Church of Port Richey.
On Wednesday night, May 19, 1995, the church congregation had a business meeting to change the name back to First Baptist Church of Port Richey. So then they had a vote. The majority of the congregation voted to change the name. Victory Baptist Church was now known as First Baptist Church of Port Richey, once again.
In 1995, First Baptist Church merged with Community Baptist Church of New Port Richey. On Sept. 10, 1995, an invitation was given to the church of Community Baptist to join and merge with First Baptist. Rev. Ellis Band was the Pastor of that church. So the merger happened and new for the first time in this church’s history they 2 Co-Pastors. Pastor Don Manley and Pastor Ellis Bond. A note on Community Baptist Church, Pastor Ellis Bond was one of the men that started that church. This is the first merger of the First Baptist Church.
On March 2nd, 1997, Pastor Don Manley resigned. He was called for more of the LORD’s Work elsewhere! Pastor Ellis Bond took over as the only pastor of the church. On March 23, the church held a Appreciation Day for Don Manley and his wife Anne. Pastor Don Manley served at that church for 17 years.
In August of 1997, First Baptist was given 2 portable classroom trailers. They were donated by the Moon Lake Fire Dept. The buildings give the church more space they need.
Thanks to the church’s founders GOD, Jesus Christ, and William Chappel, there is a First Baptist Church of Port Richey. So now this concludes the history of First Baptist Church of Port Richey.