Rev. Carlton Abney, Pastor
Rev. Daniel E. Roberson, Youth Minister/Director

Historic John the Baptist Church

Historic John the Baptist Church
Celebrating 167 Years of GOD's Goodness!


History of John the Baptist Church
Established 1846

In 1846, the First Baptist Colored Church of Pensacola was erected at Seville Square by free People of Color and slaves.  Before the Civil War, slaves and masters worshiped together at this church, but during the war a conflict developed between the white and black members.  When rumor spread that the town would be burned, all except 72 whites and ten colored people fled war torn Pensacola.  Most of these people took the train to Greenville, Alabama where the government of Pensacola operated in exile.  When the war ended in 1865, many people eventually returned to Pensacola.  While all the white churches locked their doors, the ten colored people kept the doors of the Baptist Church opened.  Thus, the First Baptist Colored Church was the lone Civil War survivor of Pensacola’s Protestant churches.  Earlier, these colored Baptist had encountered problems when the Florida territorial law enabled the newly organized white Baptist to take control of the church.  The law required white trustees in black churches and prohibited blacks from, assembling without the presence of a white man.  The law brought a monumental change to Pensacola where little slavery existed.  In fact, many runaway slaves sought freedom in Spanish Pensacola.  Some became property owners as many of the black Baptists did.  Free blacks enjoyed almost as much freedom as whites. Pensacola was once a town of freedom in a land of slavery.  By 1847, white Americans from Alabama organized Pensacola Baptist Church in Christ, the original name of First Baptist Church.  These white Baptists moved in the Black Baptist Church.  Eventually, the white trustees took complete control of the Black Baptist Church. Ownership of the property became theirs when the white trustees recorded their name on the colored church deed.  Documentation of colored ownership of the Baptist Church of Seville Square is shown in an 1866 Freedmen’s Bureau letter which is kept in the National Archives.  In 1872, the John the Baptist Church was erected at the corner of 10th Avenue and Salamanica Streets.  The membership of the new church consisted of all blacks which included a group from Old Warrington, who came by boat.  Since the members were compassionate souls, aid was given toward the erection of St. John the Baptist in the Warrington area for these members.  Until 1886 there were no written records found.  In 1886 there were many members from the west side of town who lacked transportation, therefore, Antioch Baptist Church was erected and chartered on the corner of “C” and Brainerd Streets.  This agreement was made out of compassion and not strife. 
No split was made and the bonds of fellowship remained closely tied.  No dates were cited again until 1891.  In 1896, the John the Baptist Church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1897.  In 1906, the church was destroyed by storm and in 1907 it was again rebuilt.  In 1916, the church was sold at an auction and was repurchased for $3,500.00.  In 1921, the church was split and had only a membership of fifty to sixty members.  The Church was in debt with a threat of foreclosure hanging in the balance.  Under new administration, all indebtedness was resold after a period of nine months.  Later the church purchased a parsonage valued at $3,000.00.  The membership continued to grow.  In 1941, an annex, another valuable asset was erected and added to the church site.  In 1989, the church annex was torn down and the Fellowship Hall was constructed at that site.  On August 19, 2001, the church stood, and is still standing today, August 26, 2007 under the Divine Christian Leadership of the Almighty God and Reverend Carlton Abney, known as Historic John the Baptist Church.  John the Baptist Church continues to spread the Gospel through Christian Teachings and Fellowship.

1st Pastor                      Reverend Jacob Abrams
2nd Pastor                     Reverend Moody
3rd Pastor                      Reverend John Lewis
4th Pastor                      Reverend Phillip Travis
5th Pastor                      Reverend Felder
6th Pastor                      Reverend James Banks
7th Pastor                      Reverend M.S.G. Abbott
8th Pastor                      Reverend J.B. Green
9th Pastor                      Reverend C.J. Hardy
10th Pastor                    Reverend J.B. Lake
11th Pastor                    Reverend John Scott
12th Pastor                    Reverend P.H. Nay
13th Pastor                    Reverend George O. Summer
14th Pastor                    Reverend J.P. Prichett
15th Pastor                    Reverend S. Siplin
16th Pastor                    Reverend J.M. Royster
17th Pastor                    Reverend James Hamilton
18th Pastor                    Reverend Lewis Goram
19th Pastor                    Reverend Hosea Montgomery
20th Pastor                    Reverend R. Maurice Roland
21st & current Pastor     Reverend Carlton Abney