Florida General Baptist Convention, Inc.
Records of the
organization of a state convention in
Florida began with a resolution by the Rev
James Page of the Bethlehem Association
during its 1873 Association meeting in
March. This resolution called for the
formation of a convention five months later,
and comprised of “two Associations instead
The records show that
the convention was organized in March, 1874,
in keeping with the above, and adopted the
name “Florida Bethlehem Baptist State
Convention.” The elected officers
were: President, Elder John A. Potter, of
Monticello; Secretary, Elder John N.
Stokes, Sr. of Tallahassee, and
Treasurer, Elder C. B.
Simmons of Jacksonville. At the March
meeting a total of 56 churches were
In 1875, at the
session of the Convention held at the
African Baptist Church, in Live Oak,
February 12 – 13, the name was changed to
the “Convention of the Missionary Baptist
Churches of Florida.” This was to help
with distinguishing between the Bethlehem
Association and the Convention.
associations were formed following the 1873
resolution calling for the formation of more
associations. Among these in 1874 was
Jerusalem Baptist Association, covering
chiefly Alachua County with Gainesville as
the center, and Rev.
Frank Dansey serving as its first
moderator. In 1875 the Second Bethlehem
Baptist Association was formed, covering
territory primarily of Marion County, with
Ocala as the headquarters, and Rev. Samuel
Small serving as its first moderator.
formed between 1874 and 1879 included the
Nazarene Association, comprising a territory
extending from Putnam County to as far South
as Hillsborough County. This Association
later merged with the Second Bethlehem, and
the name “Nazarene” was dropped. The
Central Association’s territory included
Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee Counties
with headquarters in Lake City. The First
West Florida Association was headed by Rev.
Robert Ahrens and included the churches in
Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, with
Pensacola as headquarters. The Second West
Florida Association, formed in 1874, had its
headquarters in Marianna and included
churches in Jackson and Gadsden Counties.
The Rev. Richard Ellis of Greenwood served
as its first moderator. Each of these
associations extended its territory as
churches developed in adjacent counties.
At the 1880 session of
the Convention, the name was changed again.
This time the name became
State Convention of Florida.”
In 1881, an invitation
was sent Second Baptist, Nazarene, Jerusalem
and East Florida Associations, asking them
to meet at the State Convention convening at
the Bethel Baptist Church in Jacksonville,
on Thursday before the second Lord’s Day in
February. The purpose was to form a general
Convention for the
State of Florida to work for
increased support of the newly established
school, Florida Institute at Live Oak and
also the work of extending the Master’s
Kingdom. This meeting was not to form a new
Convention, but to revise the name and
constitution of the Florida Baptist State
April 30, 1909,
Certificate No. 21025 was filed and the
Baptist General State Convention of Florida
became Incorporation. The name of the
Corporation was the “Baptist General
State Convention of Florida.” The
names on the application for the Corporation
were: Frank W. Lancaster, Jacksonville; J.
O. Brooks, Jacksonville; G. W.
Brooks, Jacksonville; N. W. Collier,
Jacksonville; and C. S. Daniels,
On January 6, 1984 a
name change amendment was filed and the
“Baptist General State Convention of
Florida,” became “The Florida General
Baptist Convention, Inc.” during the
presidency of Dr. Henry J. Lyons.
Rev. John A.
Rev. John N.
Stokes, Sr. Tallahassee
Rev. John A.
Rev. John N.
Stokes, Sr., Tallahassee
Ashbury Wilkerson, Flemington
Rev. Joseph P.
Rev. George W.
Rev. Joseph P.
Dr. George P.
McKinney, Live Oak
Rev. W. C.
John N. Stokes, Jr., Deland
A. F. Finlayson, Daytona Beach
Dr. A. B.
Dr. George E.
Weaver, Ft. Lauderdale
Dr. Henry J.
Lyons, St. Petersburg
Dr. James C.
George McRae, Miami
Dr. James B.
1874 - 1881
1881 - 1883
1883 - 1883
1883 - 1884
1884 - 1887
1887 - 1890
1890 - 1894
1894 - 1899
1899 - 1903
1903 - 1909
1909 - 1919
1919 - 1930
1930 - 1941
1941 - 1969
1969 - 1977
1977 - 1981
1981 - 1996
1996 - 2002
2002 - 2002
2002 - 2003
2003 - 2007
2007 - present
SERVING “WOMEN’S AUXILIARY” PRESIDENTS
Mrs. E. M.
Mrs. A. A.
Mrs. Anna M.
Mrs. Susie M.
Mrs. Pennie A.
James, St. Petersburg
Mrs. Viola T.
Mrs. Susie C.
Holley, Ft. Lauderdale
Mrs. Naomi W,
Bentley, Daytona Beach
T. Carter, Ft. Lauderdale
1890 – 1891
1891 – 1893
1893 – 1903
1903 – 1909
1909 – 1919
1919 – 1955
1955 – 1980
1980 – 1984
1984 – 1996
1996 – 2005
2005 – present
The Florida General
Baptist Convention, Inc.
purchased land in 1984 in Putnam County for
a retreat site under the administration of
Dr. Henry J. Lyons. The retreat site is
known as the Indian Lake Retreat.
The headquarters for
the Florida General Baptist Convention is
located in Daytona Beach, FL. The building
was purchased during the administration of
Dr. James C. Wise.
Rev. Dr. James B. Sampson was elected the
president during its Annual Session in
April, 2007 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Dr.
Sampson is the 3rd pastor from
the city of Jacksonville to serve as
President of this great convention.