First Baptist Newsletter | March 28, 2024

The First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg exists to help people experience God's gift of life in Jesus.

A Note from the Pastor:

First Baptist Family,

I want you to know I am proud to be your pastor. Like Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, "I often boast about you; I have great pride in you ..." This is for a multitude of reasons, and today, I thought I might highlight a couple.

First, I'm reflecting on Sunday. Thank you. Palm Sunday was a wonderful time for our church family. From the procession of palms in worship to the people bingo during lunch to the egg hunt for the kids there was so much joy and obvious growing depth of intergenerational rooted relationships. Thank you for donating candy & eggs, donning name tags, and committing to being together. As you heard, parts of the experience Sunday were small, initial "holy experiments" from our Thriving Congregations team, and there's more where those came from, so be on the lookout for additional updates soon. Well done, y'all! Thank you.

Second, looking over the newsletter today, I'm reminded of this congregation's passion for being about God's mission in so many ways. You generously share our facilities to make ministry possible - as highlighted by our upcoming hosting this Spring of both the FAST Nehemiah Action and the CBF of Florida and the Caribbean Islands Spring Celebration. You also faithfully invest yourselves and your resources in God's mission - as highlighted by our mission partner updates from around the world and our upcoming Serve St Pete Day. Well done. Let's keep it up so folks both here in St Petersburg and around the world may experience God's gift of life in Jesus.

Speaking of, it is of course, Holy Week, and I look forward to being with many of you tonight for Maundy Thursday and tomorrow for Stations of the Cross, both of which, I'm certain, will help enrich our Easter experience together on Sunday. So let us walk through these days together, to prepare ourselves to experience the Easter miracle once again, and marvel that God has given us the gift of life in Jesus. Thanks be to God!

Perhaps there's someone you know who might need to hear about this beautiful gift. Why not tell them about it? Why not invite them to join you in worship, even this week?

It is likely we will have some extra guests this week in worship. Let's stand ready to welcome them in and invite them to join us as we continue our journey walking the way of Jesus together. I know you will do so; yet one more reason I'm proud to be your pastor.



Maundy Thursday Dinner & Communion

Tonight, 6 p.m. | Narthex

Tonight, on the day known as Maundy Thursday, we will gather in the Narthex to remember Jesus' final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion where he washed their feet and established the ordinance of the Lord's Supper.

We'll share a meal and communion together around the tables, and a meaningful, intimate time of worship.

Good Friday Stations of the Cross

March 29, 6 p.m. | Begin in Prayer Garden

Tomorrow evening, we will remember the passion and crucifixion of Jesus through an experiential worship experience. We will walk together around our church campus from station to station, each sequentially telling the story of Good Friday and providing an hands-on activity to aid reflection on the story of Jesus betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. With its movement and activity, this is a great event for folks of all ages to prepare for Easter. We invite you to wear comfortable clothes/shoes for walking (walkers, wheelchairs and strollers welcome!), and join us in the Prayer Garden (behind the big window at the foot of the cross) at 6 p.m. to join us on this journey.

Easter Sunday Worship

March 31, 2024 | 10:30 a.m.

Songs of Worship

Were You There

Low in the Grave He Lay

Because He Lives

This Glorious Easter Day w/ Christ Is Risen

Come Alive (Resurrection Power)

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)


"What God Has Done"

Acts 10:34-43

Ben Winder

God has raised Jesus from the dead, Lord of All, so that everyone who believes receives forgiveness of sins and life in his name.

Preschool Worship

For Easter Sunday our Preschoolers will study Matthew 26:26-28:10, in which they'll learn that Jesus is alive!

Kids Worship

For Easter Sunday our Elementary school kids will dive into Luke 24:1-12, 36-49; they, too, will learn that Jesus is alive!


Sunday Mornings Before Worship

9 a.m. Bible Studies & Choirs

If you're not here on Sundays at 9 a.m., you're missing out!

We have great offerings for all ages. Here's what's going on:

Preschool Choir (2-PreK) | Room 109

Music and fun for preschoolers.

Kids Choir (K-5th) | Room 206

Music and fun for elementary-aged students.

FirstYOUTH Bible Study | Multipurpose Room

A weekly gathering for Middle and High School students.

Digging Deeper Class | Room 204 [NOT MEETING THIS SUNDAY]

A co-ed group of adults of all ages currently studying the Book of Romans.

Masters Class | Conference Room

A co-ed group of adults of all ages, utilizing the Formations curriculum to facilitate class discussion.

Raising Adults Class | Room 205

A co-ed group for adults in the stage of life with kids in their home.

Sonshine Class | Heritage Hall

A co-ed group composed primarily of retired adults, utilizing the Formations curriculum to facilitate class discussion.

Special Needs Class | Heritage Hall Room 2

This co-ed group for adults with intellectual disabilities is part of our Special Needs Ministry.

10 a.m. Intergenerational Fellowship in the Narthex

Between our 9 a.m. offerings and the beginning of worship each Sunday we offer coffee, juice, and other goodies for you to enjoy in the Narthex. We encourage you to come a few minutes early or stop by after your 9 a.m. activity to spend some time getting to know other members of your church family of all ages. We'll see you Sunday!

Monday Fun Day - Juanita Lolita Comedy Show

April 1 - 10:30 a.m. | Heritage Hall

April's Monday Fun Day is a Comedian show with Juanita Lolita - no joke! Join us and bring a friend for laugher, lunch, and fellowship. Please sign up at the link below!


April Senior Adult Day Trip

April 9 - 9 a.m.

Join us for April's Senior Adult Day Trip to Plant City. For those who love trains there will be a train scavenger hunt and museum to see. For those who love antiques and interesting shops you can enjoy that before we reunite for lunch at Fred's Market. The bus will leave the church at 9 a.m. Cost is $20 with lunch on your own. Sign up at the link below!


FAST Justice Ministry Update

FAST Rally - April 11

Nehemiah Action - April 30

Through Faith & Action Through Strength Together (FAST) we partner with 50+ other faith communities in our county to find solutions to issues of injustice in Pinellas County through research, then ask our public officials to implement those solutions.

Currently FAST is targeting three issues:

Affordable Housing

Our community is experiencing a housing affordability crisis, and those hardest hit are those with lowest household incomes (95% of the families in Pinellas county who pay more than half their income on rent, 95% make $65,000 or less). FAST is asking the City of St. Petersburg to set a goal to create 5,000 new units of affordable housing for those making 80% or less of the Area Median Income by the end of Mayor Welch's first term in 2026.

Water Quality

Many in our community have experienced negative health outcomes and economic hardship caused by Red Tide. A huge driver of Red Tide is unfiltered stormwater runoff which pushes nitrogen into our water bodies feeding the Red Tide. FAST is asking the City of Clearwater to include Green Stormwater Infrastructure requirements in the new water management master plan on which they are currently working, to reduce stormwater runoff and serve as a model for the rest of Pinellas County.

Criminal Justice

Currently, those who commit non-dangerous driving offenses in Pinellas County are subject to arrest, which leaves them with a life-long arrest record. Since many of these infractions have to do with minor, sometimes unknown paperwork issues or unpaid fees & fines, such a severe and permanently damaging punishment is unjust and often criminalizing poverty. FAST is asking local law enforcement to expand the adult arrest diversion program to include non-dangerous driving offenses so that folks can be penalized for their wrongdoings without being marked for life with an arrest record.


These are each important issues, and we want our public officials to act on them. To make that happen, we need YOUR help! FAST has been successful in getting big things accomplished in the past when we have organized people-power to demonstrate to our public officials the significant desire for action in our community. The best way you can help ensure our public officials take action is by showing up!

FAST Rally

Thursday, April 11 - 7 p.m. | St Michael the Archangel

A gathering for Justice Ministry Network Members, and others to hear about plans for Nehemiah Action and learn tools to help with inviting others to attend.

FAST Nehemiah Action

Tuesday, April 30 - 7 p.m. | First Baptist Church of St Petersburg

We are hosting this gathering this year, to which public officials are invited and asked to implement solutions FAST has researched. We need EVERYONE to show up in order to show our public officials how seriously we take these issues! Please make plans to attend.

If you have any questions about FAST, issues on which we're working, or anything else about our Justice Ministry, feel free to connect with our Justice Ministry Team Leaders - Doug Harrell, Joye Quire, and Ben Winder.

Serve St Pete Day | May 18

A few times a year we take a day as a church family to serve our community in Jesus' name. We start the day at various locations around our city working alongside mission partners and others to make positive impact. Then we meet at the church for lunch together to cap off the morning of service. There are opportunities to serve for all ages and abilities. Please sign up at the link below to join us for our next Serve St Pete Day on Saturday, May 18!


CBF of Florida & Caribbean Islands

Spring Celebration

Saturday, May 4 | 8:30 a.m - 3 p.m.

First Baptist is hosting the Spring Celebration for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida and the Caribbean Islands. This year's one-day event celebrates mission engagement and will feature Trina Harris (Touching Miami with Love), Rick & Ellen Burnette (Cultivate Abundance), Jason Coker (Together for Hope), and Francis & Missy Angalla (Amani Sasa). Along with learning from these experienced mission practitioners, we'll also worship together, led by Francis Angalla with Xiomara Reboyras preaching. It will be a wonderful day celebrating missions!

This is a great opportunity to learn more about CBF of Florida and the Caribbean Islands and many of our mission partners right here on our own campus! Please register at the link below by April 26. Registration is free; lunch is available $15 the day of the event.

Learn more & register here.


Mission Partners Update

Cultivate Abundance

We are a CBF Encourager Church for Rick & Ellen Burnette who work alongside migrant farm workers in Immokalee, Florida ensuring they have food and know the love of Christ. They recently provide the following prayer updates:

Ellen’s dad, Joe Holley, passed away on March 5 after a long struggle with cancer. A celebration of life service for Joe will be held on April 6 at First Baptist Church Huntsville, AL.

We are grateful for the recent involvement of volunteer teams from First Baptist Rome, GA and a Missouri team coordinated by Mark Buhlig, pastor of Englewood Baptist, near Kansas City, to assist Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana in LaBelle, FL to improve their facilities to accommodate future volunteer and disaster response teams.

More teams and resources are needed to complete the Primera project. The remaining work includes finishing the exterior and interior walls, installation of more windows, plumbing and installation of shower and toilet fixtures, installation of the A.C. system and installation of tiles.

Amani Sasa

We are a CBF Encourager Church for Francis & Missy Angalla who work alongside refugees in Kampala, Uganda. They recently provide the following prayer & praises updates:

Amani Sasa Staff: Please pray for the 38 staff at Amani Sasa who we minister alongside. Please pray for God to open doors and ministry opportunities within our refugee community. 

New program participants and shelter residents: Please pray for for the new basket program participants and shelter residents. Please pray for God's healing, transformation and opportunities for them to experience the hope and love of Jesus. 

Shelter graduates being resettled to Miami: Agnes and Natalie are 2015 graduates of the women's shelter. They have been notified that they are going to be resettled to Miami in the next few months. Please pray for God's provision for them as they prepare for and arrive in the US. Please pray for God's provision for community when they arrive. Please also pray for our community as we say goodbyes. They will be deeply missed. 

Refugees experiencing healing and transformation: We are so grateful for your prayers and partnership! God has provided many refugees within our community hope, healing and transformation. We are grateful to continue to hear testimonies from our graduates of the long-term impact that your partnership has had.

University graduations: We recently had 3 students in our scholarship program and 1 shelter alumnae graduate from college. It's amazing to see the transformation that has taken place in their lives.

If you would like to receive more regular updates from Francis & Missy, you can sign up for Amani Sasa email newsletter.

And check out this 2023 Amani Sasa Ministry Highlight Video:

2023 Highlights at Amani Sasa

Zanglais Baptist Church

We partner with Zanglais Baptist Church in Zanglais, Haiti through Reciprocal Ministries International including providing funding for a daily hot lunch for the 500+ kids in their school. Haiti is in an extreme state of unrest currently, but God is still at work in Zanglais. Pastor Sylveste Monlouis recently provided the following updates:

During Easter, the church is organizing a spiritual conference to reflect on the death, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We thank you so much for your help with the school kids. Because of your generosity, our school is still open. We are so grateful to God for our partnership in the gospel.

Please pray that God would provide peace in the hearts of His children in this world of trouble.

Pray That the Lord will continue to bless our country.

Pray for spiritual blessing and financial support for the people of Zanglais and the satellite churches.

Church Office & Promiseland Closed Monday

Our church staff will have the day off Monday in recognition of the Easter holiday.

Regular office hours & school hours will resume on Tuesday.

Upcoming Schedule


28 - Maundy Thursday | Dinner & Communion (6 p.m.)

29 - Good Friday | Stations of the Cross (6 p.m.)

31 - Easter Sunday


1 - Monday Fun Day | Church Office & Promiseland Preschool Closed

7 - Fellowship Lunch

9 - Senior Adult Day Trip

11 - FAST Rally (7 p.m. | St Michael the Archangel)

21 - After Party (Following Worship)

30 - FAST Nehemiah Action (7 p.m. | First Baptist)


4 - CBF of Florida & the Caribbean Spring Gathering (9 a.m. | First Baptist)

5 - Fellowship Lunch | Aimee Hobbs Installation (6 p.m. | FBC Rutherfordton, NC)

18 - Serve St Pete Day

Contact Us

First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg

1900 Gandy Blvd N

St. Petersburg, FL 33702