FB History

Our church history books date back to 1952; the beginning of our church.

Please feel free to come and browse the stacks and look at any of the books when you have a chance. The books are in order by calendar year. Each book includes: bulletins, sermon notes, pictures, flyers about the activities for the month, and the monthly calendar.

Brief History: Our Beginning


  When Rev. Hubert M. Thomas his wife Gwendolyn and two daughters, Gloria and Phyllis, came into the small but fast growing town of DeBary whose population was something less than 300 souls: mostly retirees. Here they found a Post Office, and a few businesses already established, but no Church. The Thomas’, had in their earlier years, established churches in other states, and although now 61 years of age, Rev. Thomas and his wife were again challenged by God. After much knocking on doors they became encouraged to proceed with the help of some of the local residents to establish the first church in DeBary. Because of the persistence and faith of many born again Christians, dedicated to work for the Glory of God, and the Grace of God good progress was made. 

During the last week of August and the first week of September, 1952, a religious census was taken to ascertain the religious status of the community. A number of people, repre­senting a number of different denominations had also taken such a census prior to this time but no one went further in their efforts.

Rev. Hubert Thomas and his family began to invite people in the community to come to the DeBary Manson.  On September 14, 1952 the first Protestant Church service was held in the old Count DeBary Mansion - known now as the “Club House” of the town. The service was opened with the hymn “My Faith Looks up to Thee.” The title of Rev. Thomas’ first message was “Beginnings” based on the scripture taken from John 1:1 - 12 and Genesis 1:1 - 8. There were 22 persons present on that day.

On Palm Sunday, March 29, 1953, the group was organized into a church congregation called the DeBary Baptist Chapel. At that time the thinking was that the church would be a community church. However on April 18, 1953 the congregation had its first business meeting and Rev. Thomas agreed to be the Pastor. 

The church (then known as the DeBary Chapel) was built on land donated by George Stedronsky of Mount Dora and W.G. Miller of DeBary.

It was announced that the Seminole Baptist Association, along with the First Baptist Church of DeLand would sponsor the church. Thus the church became a Mission church. 

After becoming a Mission church in early 1953 services continued to be held regularly in private homes and in the DeBary Civic Building, but the desire for their own church building became more and more pronounced, and at a regular meeting of the church held January 7, 1954 it was agreed by motion that a goal of $7,500 by Easter for building fund be set. Good progress was made toward the building project and on October 23, 1955 the congregation of the DeBary Chapel moved into its own building. On that date some 400 members and friends attended two dedication services.

The church records show that the book for charter members was closed in February, the fellowship numbering thirty four (34) are recorded as charter members.

On January 1, 1957 the church, became known as, the First Baptist Church of DeBary and became a self supporting church.



We were the First Church in DeBary (DeBary was only 2 years old)

First called: DeBary Baptist Chapel

First meeting: September 14, 1952 - in the Count DeBary Mansion

First Hymn sung: "My Faith Looks up to Thee"

First Sermon: "The Beginnings"

First reading from the Bible: John 1:1-12; Genesis1:18

First Sunday school: October 12, 1952

First Sunday school sessions had eight children

First Baptism: at Gem Lake

First Service: 22 people were present

First 6 weeks: The average attendance was 25


Our Pastors

June 22, 2003 - current Pastor; Pastor Chris Rottenberger and Sherry Dale Rottenberger

October 10, 2001 - December 29, 2002; Pastor Mike Wicker and Kelly Wicker

2001- October 2001 - Harold Mullins served as Interim Pastor

October 4, 1987 - 2001; Pastor Larry Weiss and Cees Weiss

1974 - August 16, 1987; Dr. Gordon L. Beck and Evelyn Beck

January 11, 1966 - December 7, 1973; Pastor William E. Bennett and Ruth Bennett

September 14, 1952 - September 18, 1965; Pastor Hubert M. Thomas and Gwendolyn Thomas

Harold Mullins served as Interim Pastor from 2001 - October 2001



Our Church started as a Mission Church of the FBC of DeLand.

Here are some postcard views of their church

First Baptist Church of DeLand

Baptist Links

Baptist Faith and Mission

The First Century Church

Baptist Beginnings

Southern Baptist Beginnings

Baptists and Their Theology


Florida Baptist Historical Society Newsletters

Here & Now Newsletter/Then and Now


 Coloring book for the Children

Florida Baptist Historical Society - Coloring Book