Information submitted by Lucressie McGriff
The New Jacob’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 115th Anniversary on Sunday, September 17 at 11 am. The church was organized in 1902 when a group of Christians felt it necessary to establish a Black Baptist Church in Clermont. Several families met and decided to undertake the great responsibility of building a church. This small body of members contacted the Rev. J.R. Brown who accepted the call to be the first Pastor. Services were held in a small building on Chestnut Street that was owned by G.W. Townsend. This building served as a meeting place for community events, church services, school, and other important community meetings.
This first Missionary Baptist Church began to grow and prosper. Pioneer members were John Trusdell, Elijah Bullard, J.W. Cooper, Joe and Amy Odum, John R. Jones, Sr., Jennie Byrel, The Hilton family, and J.R. Brown. The members decided it was time to purchase the property so a new edifice could one day be constructed. The property was purchased on the corner of Highway 50 and Fourth Street at a very low cost. Each of these pioneer families had responsibilities to fulfill if this vision of a new church was to become a reality. The ladies carried water from the lake, cooked and served the meals, while the men measured, sawed, and hammered until the one-room building was completed. The year was 1904. The name for the church was given to a member in a vision, “Jacob Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.”
As the congregation increased, a larger edifice was needed. Two additions were made to the single room building under the management of Rev. W.H. Bagley. It was suggested by Deacon J.W. Cooper to change the name of the church to New Jacob ’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. (The name has remained the same throughout the years.)
The congregation at this Missionary Baptist Church continued to increase.
On July 5, 1976, the members were faced with the decision of renovating the old building once again or building a new one. It was voted 22 – 15 to construct a new building. In April of 1977, the members voted to purchase the property next to the existing building. Construction on the new edifice began a few years later!
On the fifth Sunday in January 1983, under the leadership of Rev. W.N. McKinney, the membership of New Jacob’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church marched into the new building dedicating it to the glory of God. The mortgage burning was held on the 3rd Sunday in August 1986. In January 1984, the Oakridge Masonic Lodge #613 laid the cornerstone.
The church has had 17 pastors:
- Rev. J. R Brown (1st Pastor)
- Rev. Granville James
- Rev. O. J. W. Ford
- Rev. D.J. Hamton
- Rev. I.C. Brown
- Rev. T. Littles
- Rev. G.W. Jones
- Rev. A.C. Crooms
- Rev. W.H. Bagley
- Rev. W. L. Webb
- Rev. B.J. Jones
- Rev. G.W. Clark
- Rev. C.H. Blakley
- Rev. W.N. McKinney
- Rev. Henry Davis
- Rev. Rex Anderson
Under the leadership of Pastor Rex Anderson for 19 years, the church continued to prosper and attract new members as Clermont became the largest city in Lake County.
Upon the departure of Pastor Anderson to a new calling in December 2013, the church membership agreed almost unanimously to call Assistant Pastor Darryl Church as its leader. Pastor Church was installed as the new Pastor of “The Chapel” on April 13, 2014. With the calling of Pastor Church, New Jacob’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is “Raising the Standard of Excellence in Christ” and is the largest and most progressive predominately Black Church in South Lake County!
Congratulations and Blessings to the congregation of New Jacob’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
Thank you Lucressie McGriff and the members of the congregation for providing the information to the SOUTH LAKE TABLET.