Greater St. Paul

Baptist Church

Greater St. Paul Baptist Church

The renowned and aggressive Rev. William L. Baxter accepted the call from St. Paul in 1931. Since the existence of this church, baptismal services had been held in the Indian River near the Brevard Hotel. Under Rev. Baxter’s leadership, a baptismal pool was built. This was a very colorful period in the life of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, and Rev. Baxter served with dignity and honor. Rev. Baxter departed in 1935 to pastor the Tabernacle Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. Next came the Rev. H. D. Parker. Rev. Parker, a forceful, dynamic, fundamental Gospel minister, was concerned with all phases of the life of his people. He accepted the call to Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church in the year 1936 and served until 1947. During his pastorate, he bagan the remodeling of the church building from a seating capacity of 150 of 385. As the struggle for progress continued, dissension set in, and Rev. Parker left in the year 1947 to organize the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church of Cocoa. The wife of this renowned minister received recognition by being elected President of the Women’s Convention of the Florida East Coast Association in 1941. She served until her death in October, 1971: a period of 30 years.

Still looking and moving forward, the Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church extended the “Call to Service” to the Rev. G. E. Bradley. He accepted the call and became the ninth pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in June, 1948. The unassuming, modest, philosophical, and sincere minister completed the remodeling of the church in 1949. He dedicated the new church, Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist church, on November 13, 1949. The wife of this great minister organized the No. 2 Usher Board, which remains a stalwart auxiliary of the church today. Rev. Bradley, through mutual agreement with the church, laid down the scepter in 1958.

In 1959 on February 10th, the Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church extended the “Call to Service” to the youngest of her historical ministers: the Rev. W. O. Wells, Sr., son of the late Rev. O. W. Wells, Sr. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rev. W. O. Wells, Sr. Is a native of Florida, born in Miami, He is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee (Bachelor of Theology Degree) and the Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee (Bachelor of Arts Degree). He has received the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Conroe Normal and Industrial College in Conroe, Texas. He is married to the former Ann Collins of Cocoa and the father of four children: Rev. Willie Oliver Wells, Jr., Pastor Oliver Warren Wells, Annette Olivetta Wells White and Dee Dee Antionette Wells Lassiter.

Under the leadership and pastorate of this erudite and dynamic minister, the Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church has recaptured its place as one of the leading churches on the East Coast of Florida, as well as in the State of Florida.

During Pastor Wells’ tenure of service as Shepherd to the great flock of the greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, much has been accomplished:

• initiated a new financial system - consisting of all heads of auxiliaries acting as a financial board, and the Biblical method of church support through tithing.

• Organized one of the greatest Gospel Choirs in the State: The W. O. Wells Special Choir. The Chapel and Cherub Choirs were oragnaized by the Pastor’s wife.

• The entire interior of the former church was re-decorated.

• A complete heating and air conditioning system was installed in the former church.

• A new piano and organ were purchased. The organ is still used in our present edifice.

• A modern, fifteen-room parsonage was built in 1960 and completely paid for at that time at a cost of $24,000. The old parsonage was renovated and gutted to serve as a fellowship hall, housing a kitchen, dining room, two Sunday School rooms, and the home for Boy Scout Troop 221. In later years, the building was completely demolished and the church’s Educational Building now stands in its place.

• A 75’ X 66’ parcel of land at the rear of the church was purchased for $6,800 in 1961.

• A 100’ X 75 parcel of land on the corner of Stone Street (formerly Magnolia Street) which presently houses the church Annex (formerly a dry goods store and dry cleaning plant) was purchased in 1966 at a cost of $15,000. The said mortgage was liquidated in 1974. Property purchased from Harold Shackelford, 405 Brevard Avenue, Cocoa, Florida.

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Greater St. Paul Baptist Church
213 Stone Street
Cocoa, FL 32922
(321) 636-7178