First Baptist Church of Pensacola
|First Baptist Church of Pensacola|
The Palafox Street entrance of the First Baptist Church sanctuary
|Organized||May 2, 1847|
|Senior Pastor||Dr. Barry Howard|
|Location||500 North Palafox Street|
|Previous locations||224 East Government Street|
The First Baptist Church of Pensacola is the oldest Baptist congregation in the Pensacola area, dating back to 1847. The main church building (the congregation's third) is located on Gage Hill at 500 North Palafox Street, with several ancillary buildings and parking lots adjacent. The current senior pastor is Dr. Barry Howard.
First Baptist Church was organized as the Pensacola Baptist Church of Christ on May 2, 1847 by Alexander Travis and Joseph Mitchell. The first congregation included "fifty white men and seventy-three white women as well as one hundred and twenty-four Negro men and ninety-eight Negro women." Early church leaders had difficulty establishing a foothold in the area — records from the time repeatedly say the "Lord's Day service was a disappointment" — but in 1852 the congregation built its first building on Government Street, just west of Seville Square.
The current senior pastor of First Baptist Church is Dr. Barry Howard, who gave his first sermon on July 10, 2005 — the morning that Hurricane Dennis made landfall near Navarre Beach — to a crowd seeking shelter from the storm.