Our historic chapel is the oldest existing church building in the Pine Island / Matlacha area. On March 19, 1939; Mr. & Mrs. George
E. Holland started a Sunday School class for the children of Pine Island. From this emerged a group of people desiring to establish
a Baptist Church. Mr. & Mrs. G.H. Allen donated a parcel of land on Matlacha upon which this building was erected. Building materials
were purchased from "Bowling & Camp Lumber Company” in Slater, Florida. And the first service was held in the new building on Feburary
25, 1940. The church was organized as the Pine Island Bridge Baptist Church, an Independent, Missionary Church.
Originally the church
was illuminated by kerosene lamps and sat partially on the water, just west of where "Island Decor & More" stands today (where the
big fish hang). Many came to the church by boat and there were many distractions as fishermen sailed by with their catches on the
way to the fish house.
The first pastor was J.W. Hinton who was a Sergeant in the Army, stationed at Buckingham Air Base in Ft. Myers.
Charles L. Miller, educated at Bob Jones University, served as pastor from august 1952 to July 1956. Many said; that he was the heart
and soul of this little church. The church stood at the same location until 1962 when pastor Alton Mash directed the church to acquire
the property where it is currently located. This land was obtained from a local businessman named Bradshaw. The purchase price was
the former land on Matlacha and one thousand dollars. Two weeks later, Mr. Bradshaw donated the $1,000.00 back to the church. The
congregation secured a loan from First Federal Savings and Loan for ten thousand dollars and engaged "Flint & Doyle Moving Company"
to relocate the church building to its current location. Under the leadership of Pastor Mash, the garage was built in 1965 and on
August 6, 1966, the Sunday School Building was dedicated. Pastor Mash served until December of 1968.
Several men served as Interim
Pastors until Marion Cobb was called as Pastor on April 23, 1972.
On August 9, 1972 the name of Pine Island Baptist Church was changed
to First Baptist Church of Matlacha. The Parsonage was built on the property in 1974. Pastor Cobb served until August of 1977. Glenn
Conner was pastor from September of 1977 until September of 1979. From April 1980 until June 1984 the church took the name of True
Gospel Baptist Church. During this time, in November of 1981, Marvin Royse was called to Pastor and served until his retirement in
November of 2006. Under his watch, in 1984, the Fellowship Hall was completed. Greg Wilmore from Indiana served as pastor from July
of 2007 until January 2009 and set the church on course to grow. In April 2009, Mark Holland of Spartanburg, South Carolina was called
as pastor. Interestingly, Pastor Holland, who comes from a family of many Baptist preachers, is related to the George Holland who
was instrumental in starting this church. In 2012, Pastor Holland led the church to contract with Fowler Construction of Ft. Myers
and to secure the designation as a "Historic Structure" in order to facilitate the repair, restoration and updating of the chapel.
Church members and friends contributed finances, many hours and much skill to the project. The renovated church building was rededicated
on December 2, 2012.
May God continue to bless the vision of Mr. & Mrs. George Holland and the labors of all who have served the Lord
here. May Christ be glorified by the past, present and future of the First Baptist Church of Matlacha.
First Baptist Church of Matlacha
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