The Rich History of Baptist Associations in Valrico, Florida

The James McCabe Theater in Valrico, Florida is a reminder of the deep-rooted history of Baptist associations in the area. In 2001, Pat Andrews, who was the pastor of West Pensacola Baptist Church, was appointed mission director of the Esambia Baptist Association in Flomation, Alabama. This association was established in 1707 and was striving to create a national organization when Southern Baptists split in 1845. Andrews studied at Mercer University, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2004, Dr. Daniel Akin was chosen as the sixth president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with the unanimous vote of the seminary's board of trustees.

He had previously served as director of evangelism in California and director of missions for the Palm Lake Baptist Association (1971-1977) in Florida. Howard Adams was pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Madison and LaCrosse Baptist Church in Alachua. Chuck Auschwitz graduated from Florida Baptist College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Samoset (1936-1943), First Baptist Church of New Port Richey (1937-1944), First Baptist Church of Okeechobee (1941-1944), and field secretary of the Florida Baptist Convention. Miller was president of the Valrico Improvement Association, an organization that worked closely with locals to raise funds. He served at many churches in the Tampa area and, after his death, he was pastor emeritus of West Broad Street Baptist Church in Tampa.

Dora from 1938 to 1940, Blountstown from 1944 to 1948, and Stuart First Baptist Church from 1948 to 1955. Ashurst was the sole owner and publisher of Florida Baptist Witness in 1884, but he sold half of his stake to S. Hershel Adams, a graduate from Samford University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The Florida Baptist Association has a long history that includes the beginning of the Florida Baptist State Convention. This organization works to strengthen churches in the area and spread Jesus' name throughout the Sunshine State and beyond. In just ten years after its formation, there were 40 churches that wanted to be part of what God was doing in Florida, including churches in Leon and Madison counties, Apalachicola and Jacksonville.