Our History

The history of the Booth Street Church of Christ is quite unique in that it has grown from a small, yet humble, beginning to become a strong active force for the purpose of saving souls in the vineyard of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

According to faithful members, some who are still on the battlefield for the Lord,(Jimmie and Willie Lane, Larry Darling) and those who have gone on before (Powell Lumpkin, Lillie Bell Lumpkin,Eva Harris) it is said that in 1955, the 20th Street Church of Christ in St. Petersburg, Florida (under the leadership of Brother Dudley) decided to have a tent meeting and invited Brother John Vaughner to be the speaker. Sister Rosa Darling, Esther Shaw and wife Lila Shaw attended that meeting and became Christians.

Sister Darling, Brother and Sister Shaw continued to worship at 20th Street until Brother Robert V. Simmons became the minister at that congregation. He and the elders there decided to start a mission work in Clearwater, Florida. Sister Darling's home was the meeting place until the building was completed at 1151 Engman Street in Clearwater, Florida. The first there converts now had a place to worship, and Brother Swanson became their minister.

Soon thereafter, Brother and Sister Charlie Cook were invited to services by Brother Fred Booker, Brother Marshal Keeble was the speaker that night and they obeyed the gospel. Sister Amy Cook was the first convert to be baptized in the pool at the new building, followed by Brother Cook. The church on Engman Street was busy teaching and evangelizing. Therefore, as a result of their labor, Larry Darling, Willie Lane, Jimmie Lane, Lillie Bell Lumpkin, Powell Lumpkin, Eva Harris, George Green, Mary Frances Green, Viola Shaw, Linda Shaw, Henry Shaw, Juanita Davis, Jimmie Davis and Betty Duncan were added to the Lord.

During this time, Brother Martin also labored with the congregation and contributed to its growth. Brother Booker preached at the congregation for a period of time and did much good for the Lord's cause. Brother Broomfield, who was then worshipping at 20th Street Church of Christ, served faithfully with this congregation for over three years; during this time many more souls were added to the church.

Though confronted with many obstacles presented by other local religious bodies, through the gospel, Brother Johnny Harmon (now deceased) was able to convince others to obey the truth. Brother Harmon was a dedicated soldier who loved and worked for the Lord diligently as the minister for over three years.

The 20th Street Church of Christ continued to support this work, and now they would have their full-time minister, who would labor for many years in the vineyard for the Lord at the congregation. Brother Leroy Burton faithfully served the work until he returned home to Texas in the late 1970's.

During the many changes that the congregation found itself involved in, there were many who loved Engman Street and gave freely of their time and talents, as well as support, to assure that the work would not die. They made many sacrifices for the work by preaching whenever needed. These great men were: Brother Johnny Harmon, Brother Broomfield, Brother Fred Booker and his brother Wonderful Booker, Brother Swain, Brother Johnny Robertson, and Brother Roscoe Prince.

After Brother Burton left the congregation, Brother Harmon once again preached for the congregation for two years until Brother William Ponder became minister. The Lord continued to bless the work and placed him there for the continued success of the work.

Brother William Ponder who was very knowledgeable in the Bible and deeply devoted to the cause of Christ, preached for three to four years. Because of Brother Ponder, many brethren were encouraged to go to school and become ministers. He started the church's first radio program and newsletter.

The building at 1151 Engman Street was now at its full capacity, and Brother Ponder, along with the leadership, decided to raise funds in order to secure another meeting place. It was through his wisdom and foresight that preparation was made to buy land for a new building. This was the first phase completed under his leadership. He had paved the way for the next minister.

In April 1981 Daniel McCollum would take his rightful place as minister. From 1981 to the spring of 1986, Brother Daniel McCollum faithfully served as minister. It was during his tenure with the congregation (after much fasting and praying), that land was purchased and the building and parsonage was built. Churches who contributed to the building fund was: Highland Avenue Church of Christ, Tampa Florida High Springs Church of Christ, High Springs, Florida, 20th Street Church of Christ, St. Pete, Florida, Winter Haven Church of Christ, Winter Haven, Florida.

Individuals who contributed to the Building Fund: Brother Don Brooks,Brother Dunn, Sister Debra Gray, Ms. Hatten, Brother Leach, Brother and Sister Elijah Little, Sister Malissie Rountree, Brother James T. and Mattie Suttle, Sr.

The first service was held in the new building on May 20, 1984. Many souls were won to Christ during his stay with the congregation, and many were made stronger Christians under his teaching.

Months after Brother Daniel McCollum's departure, brethren stood each Sunday and proclaimed God's truths until another minister was found. God continued to bless the work and sent Brother James T. Suttle Sr. of Tampa, Florida to labor at the congregation in 1987. Under his guidance and leadership, souls were added and many returned to the fold. The extended paving of the parking lot, and may other accomplishments the congregation now enjoy is accredited to his vision and foresight. His labor with the congregation ended in 1990. Just before the summer of 1990, Brother Glenn Burgess, Sr. accepted the responsibility of the work and faithfully served as minister. Because of his never tiring efforts, his many sacrifices, and his love for the Lord, the saints at the Booth Street continued to prosper and grow. He continued to make the congregation aware of the need to be faithful servants for the Lord, to be involved in the community, and to be a loving and caring church.

Many rewarding programs for the church, as well as community involvement, was implemented under Brother Burgess's leadership. Today there stands a Neighborhood Family Center in the city of Safety Harbor with he and other members of the church and community started, that now services hundreds and hundreds of families each year. His greatest gift to Booth Street was his sharing of his knowledge, so that all would be better "Soul Winners for the Lord". In the year of 2008, he decided to take another work in Paris, Texas.

Our history would not be complete if we did not mention Brother Menford Bellamy and Brother Willie Lane, who stood Sunday after Sunday for over one and one half years teaching and preaching God's word and encouraging the church to put God first in their lives. We truly love and appreciate them, along with all the brethren who worked so diligently along with them while praying and searching for another minister who would be willing to take on the work here.

After much prayer, the Lord sent to us the son of the great James T. Suttle Sr, James T Suttle Jr. in November 2009. He came with fire and a motivating spirit. He came with a mind to work and set in order the things that we were wanting. Yes, God has truly blessed the church here. Under his leadership, the church now flourishes in the area of evangelism, education, fellowship and many others. We are so thankful to God for all the accomplishments of this year and past years. The Lord has blessed and continues to bless this church that started out some fifty plus years ago: FOR WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.