Detailed History of Frederica Baptist Church

June 25, 2002 | A group of 39 interested individuals met with Rev. John Carr, Missionary, Southeast Georgia Baptist Association at the Days Inn on St. Simons Island, Georgia to discuss the feasibility of starting a new Baptist church on the north end of St. Simons Island.

July 14, 2002  | We celebrated our first worship service at Lovely Lane Chapel, Epworth By the Sea.  Dr. Earl L. Boyette brought the message. 

August 4, 2002  | We shared our first communion service.  We would continue to have The Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of each month.

August 4, 2002  | We began our Sunday School program.  We met in homes for Sunday School until we moved to Oglethorpe Point Elementary School.

August 25, 2002  | Our first baptismal service was held at Glynn Haven Baptist Church.

September 22, 2002  | This particular Sunday was designated as membership Sunday.  Seventy-five (75) people went forward indicating their desire to be a vital part of this new body of Christ on St. Simons Island.

July 28, 2002  | We selected our name, Frederica Baptist Church.  From the 25 suggested names, the votes for “Frederica Baptist Church” won by a large margin. 

August 28, 2002  | We voted to affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention.

August 30, 2002  | Frederica Baptist Church was incorporated.

September 29, 2002  | We moved to Oglethorpe Point Elementary School for our second temporary church home.

October 16, 2002  | The officers of the church called a special business meeting.  The church members voted to accept the nominations for a Pastor Search Committee. 

October 27, 2002  | Dr. Earl L. Boyette was called as the interim pastor of Frederica Baptist Church by an overwhelming majority.

January 5, 2003  | Gloria Haskins joined us as our pianist. She was our first staff member and continues playing for Frederica Baptist today.

January 2003  | We completed our mission and vision statements and our church covenant.

February 2, 2003  | In a special called conference, Frederica Baptist Church voted to purchase 1700 Frederica Road for 4.1 million dollars.

April 27, 2003  | The church voted to extend a call to Reverend Lon Harbin as Minister of Music and Youth.  We voted that night to call Reverend Harbin, and he began his ministry with us on June 1, 2003.

May 4, 2003  | The church adopted our constitution and by-laws.

June 23-27, 2003  | We held our first Vacation Bible School, “Son Harvest,” at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School.

August 3, 2003  | Reverend James D. Davis was presented to the church for consideration as Senior Pastor.  At the close of morning worship, the fellowship voted to call Reverend Davis as Senior Pastor, and he accepted the call.

Sunday, April 25, 2004  | Dr. Boyette, founding pastor, and Reverend John Carr, Southeast Baptist Associational Missionary, joined Pastor Davis as we constituted as Frederica Baptist Church and dedicated ourselves to further the kingdom of God on St. Simons Island, Brunswick, and Glynn County.  We elected to affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Georgia Baptist Convention, and the Southeast Baptist Association.

September 8, 2004  | We began our Wednesday Night Fellowship Supper and “G-Force” for children K-5th grade began as part of our Wednesday night program.  The youth, under the leadership of Lisa Warren as chair of the youth committee, began having fellowship activities almost immediately.  Activities included midnight bowling and go-carting.  Several youth attended Mission Fuge at West Palm Beach, Florida. Lisa continues her ministry to youth today.

Fall of 2004 | Billy Gibson had approached Bill Jones, III, concerning the possibility of a plot of land. Mr. Jones said that, at that particular time, he did not have land that Sea Island Company had planned to donate to churches.  Billy asked that we make the issue of land a priority in our prayers.  Several months later, Mr. Jones told Billy he had identified some land for our church, and it is the present 13 acres on Marshes Edge Lane.  We thank God for His answer to our prayers through the generosity of Mr. Bill Jones, III and Sea Island Company.  What an absolutely wonderful gift.

2005 | Gary Thorsen was hired on a part time basis as the Business Administrator. Pastor J.D. presented the names of six men who had met all of the qualifications to be a deacon and who had felt God’s call upon their lives to serve our church family.  The men who were elected to serve as our first servant deacons were as follows: Frank Mead, Charlie Philips, Jim Schriber, Rick Shelnutt, Richard Stager, and Don Varnadoe.

Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005 | The 8:30 a.m. contemporary service began. At church conference on March 24, 2005, the church voted unanimously to support this new service.

Spring 2005 | Church members blitzed the island with information about Frederica Baptist Church.  Members gathered on four Saturday mornings and went into neighborhoods with door hangers and handouts.

April 9, 2006 | The church was called into conference to vote on calling Reverend Whitlow Chapman as Minister of Students.  The church voted by an overwhelming majority to call Reverend Chapman.

July 2006 | A beautiful cross was raised on our property on Marshes Edge Lane. We gathered as a church in the evening of July 14, 2006 to dedicate the land God had provided to his glory and honor.

March 11, 2007 | Reverend Lon Harbin answered a call to Atco Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia. 

May 2007 | Dr. J. D. Davis was called to First Baptist Church, Sparta, Tennessee.

June 10, 2007 | The church had a covered dish farewell dinner for the Davis’.  Pastor J.D. ministered to our congregation through strong Biblical preaching. 

July 14-15, 2007 | Frederica Baptist Church celebrated its anniversary of five wonderful years of worship and fellowship. God’s provision for His church had been phenomenal, and His church celebrated. With hearts overflowing with love for God and each other, with tables overflowing with scrumptious food, with music to inspire the soul, and with a challenging message from Whit Chapman, our minister to students, we worshipped in spirit and in truth.

November 4, 2007 | At our church conference, the Senior Pastor Search Committee recommended that Reverend Whitlow Edwin Chapman be called as senior pastor.  The church body rejoiced in this decision as Whit had faithfully led us while we were without a pastor.

August 3, 2008 | The church voted unanimously to call Reverend Paul Reed as minister of music. Paul, Debbie, Cameron, and Connor’s first Sunday with us was September 7, 2008.

September 2012 | Frederica Baptist Church celebrated ten years of worship and fellowship.  God’s provision for His church has continued to be phenomenal! Again with hearts overflowing with love for God and each other, with tables overflowing with scrumptious food, with music to inspire the soul, and with a challenging message from Whit Chapman, our Senior Pastor, we worshipped in spirit and in truth.

2007 through 2012 | The nation’s economy was in a recession and only through God’s provision did Frederica Baptist stay solvent. This was a time for us to hang tight, put our building plans on hold and pray that God’s plan was for us to wait.

Summer 2013 | The church, in conference, formally approved the formation of a long-range planning committee (LRPC) to develop a plan for the relocation of Frederica Baptist Church to the property God has provided for us on the North End.  The committee met on a regular basis and consulted with representatives from the Georgia Baptist Convention to look at who we are as a church and what our attributes are, evaluating meeting usage and space planning, and looking at architectural design from 2006 and 2007.  With this information, two local architects were contacted and given the most information we could on what we need.  Steve Newton, Lifeway, was also contacted.  Steve came to St. Simons and spent two days.  He walked the property, talked with the pastor and the committee about our needs before making his recommendations.

Summer 2014 | The church transitioned from two services on Sunday mornings to one blended service.  In the fall, leadership decided to try a new schedule for Sunday worship.  Sunday School would begin at 9:15 a.m. with worship beginning at 10:30 a.m.  It was agreed that when attendance reached 80% of the church capacity, we would return to two services. 

Fall 2014 | The Media Team took on the task of updating and implementing a new church website.  When asked how they knew about FrBC, many of our visitors indicate they found us on the internet.  As more and more people rely on the internet to find information, it is important that our presence there is effective. 

February 2015 | At the annual church conference, Pastor Whit recognized Gary Thorsen for serving ten years as the Business Administrator. He was presented with a beautiful stained-glass cross. 

April 2015 | The Long-Range Planning Committee agreed that the church should move ahead with clearing the Marshes Edge property.  The committee presented to the Administrative Committee a request to fund this next step with funds in the Capital Building Fund.  The request was granted and the clearing was completed by the end of the summer of 2015.  R.L. Construction completed the work under budget.

February 2016 | At our Annual Conference, the Long-Range Planning Committee shared with the membership that Steve Newton strongly recommended the church have a Capital Campaign to raise money for the new church building.  He also recommended John Burke with ReThink Ministries to guide us through the process.  The church voted to approve.

April 2016 | The capital campaign called “Built Together” started for a three-year duration.

August 2016 | Upon the recommendation of the Administrative Committee, the Long Range Planning Committee transitioned into a Building Team. This committee will exist until all components of the new campus are built.The Building Team met with Steve Newton and Gary Nicholson and planned to recommend using them as the architects for our new church.  Johnathan Roberts, civil engineer, was hired to pull together the plans and necessary permits to proceed with land preparation.

February 2017 | At our annual church conference, Pastor Whit presented Janet Mead with a beautiful stained-glass cross and a plaque signed by church members.  He thanked her for fourteen years of taking exceptional care of our children as Preschool Director.

August 2018 | Pastor Whit Chapman was called to pastor Covenant Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee.  An appreciation dinner was held on August 5th in the fellowship hall to recognize Whit’s eleven years on our staff and his many contributions.

August 2018 | The pastor search committee was voted on and approved.  The members of the committee were Brenda Clifton, Rod Lane, Monty Henderson, Becky Parker, Mel Prescott,  Jane Thorsen, and Bart Wagner. The deacons searched and found Dr. Jim Staubes to fill the pulpit on an interim basis while the Pastor search committee conducted their search.

February 2019 | During the Annual Church Conference, the church agreed to hire a part time Business Administrator.  After a search, Michael Larson was hired and began work in April 2019.

July 27, 2019 | Mike Bowles came and preached in view of a call as Senior Pastor.  The church voted immediately following the service and approved his hiring.  Pastor Mike’s first day on the job was September 1, 2019.  Hurricane Dorian came too close on September 4 and he and his family evacuated.  Thanks to the good Lord, we escaped any damage to our area and Pastor Mike was ready to come back to his new home and begin his work here.
March 22, 2020  |  Covid 19 swept the USA and we closed Frederica Baptist Church to in-person services and began immediately filming on-line services. Shortly thereafter we began livestreaming for our online congregation. We continue to livestream both for our local and long distance congregations. 
June 7, 2020  | What a day of rejoicing that was as we cautiously re-opened Frederica Baptist Church for in person worship services. Pastor Mike insisted on strict safety protocols for all attending and for the church facility.  With much prayer and wisdom we forged our way through many regulations, guidelines and protocols, both federal and local. 
December 20, 2020 | God gave us a wonderful Christmas gift this year – our slab for our new building was reported completely poured by Building Team Chairman, Rick Shelnutt. The year proved challenging in every way; however God helped us move forward in a time of great uncertainty. His plans for us never fail! 
March 25, 2021 | We just kept going forward into our next steps of building – going vertical. Lumber was delivered (before prices skyrocketed) and the walls and roof trusses of our new building went UP! Part of the roof was blanketed with plywood – with the front area left open due to the beginnings of a lumber shortage. 
A sudden storm with a powerful microburst pressed our uncovered roof trusses flat inside the front walls of our building, which flayed our walls outward. It was a setback for sure, but thanks to the wise leadership of our financial team, we had secured insurance prior to the storm and it was completely covered. 
July 12, 2021 | The building awaited a special fire door to be set in order to complete an important firewall. After that the windows and doors in storage were brought out to completely dry in the building.  We waited on the Lord for our next step in our building process. He has been faithful to us without fail! 
September 15, 2021 What progress has been made! We have a roof on the building and all of the trades are working to complete their portion of the interior of our building! What exciting times these are for us! With much prayer, planning and hard work, our dream was taking shape. 
January 1, 2022 | Contractor staffing issues presented themselves and other barriers, however, we knew God is in control and this building would be completed in His timing. All of the sheetrock has been installed and the ceiling grids also have been installed. The exterior glass doors are all installed but the glass for the Family Center area was delayed. Plywood was installed in the meantime so we could secure the building.

The electricians began installing the light fixtures, outlets, and switches and were on a fast track to completion. The HVAC techs began completing the installation of all of the units and connecting all ductwork. The interior painting would begin soon after the HVAC and electrical work was finished.

In the kitchen and bathrooms, the floors are complete. For the rest of the building, the flooring installer waited for all HVAC and activity that requires scaffolding to be completed. The vinyl flooring shrinks when it’s cold and the warranty is voided if laid on a cold slab.

An interior design team was established and met to give guidance for furnishings and recommend policy for what is suitable for wall hangings, window treatments, etc.

Exterior painting was delayed by weather. The plan was to begin as soon as weather permitted. Prayers were offered for the safety and health of our workers and we all gave thanks to our GREAT GOD for His provision.