March 1973 to March 1998 We had the same spirit of Nehemiah 4:6, “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof for the people had a mind to work.” During this twenty-five year period, we made giant steps. We purchased the property where our first sanctuary was built, now known as the Charles F. Bennett Hall. The construction of the building started in March 1973. Six months later, we held our first worship service in the new sanctuary on the third Sunday in September 1973. God blessed our efforts and dedication and our membership grew to over 1,500 members.
Due to the growth of the membership, Palma Ceia had two worship services, at 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. to accommodate our expanding church family. Pastor Bennett had a desire for the entire church family to worship together at one worship service, and God saw our need to bring the church family together and blessed us with a larger building. We had our first worship service in our new and present sanctuary in January 1987. Today our church family, worship together at our main worship service at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday morning. We’ve worked hard, faithfully, and God has truly blessed Palma Ceia Baptist Church.
1998 – The Present and Our Future
After 30 long, faithful and spirit-filled years of dedicated service to the Palma Ceia Church Family, Pastor Bennett retired on March 13, 1998 and was appointed Pastor Emeritus of Palma Ceia Baptist Church. In April 2000, Reverend Ronald Coleman was elected to the position of Interim Pastor.
In September 2001, Reverend Paul A.W. McKery was elected and served as the second Pastor in the history of Palma Ceia Baptist Church until July 2008. While serving at Palma Ceia, Pastor McKery established a weekly Television Ministry entitled “Good News From Palma Ceia” and employed a new Youth and Young Adult Pastor, enhanced our weekly Bible studies and had a vision that seeked to help and care for people of all walks and ages of life. In July 2011, Reverend Tommy E. Smith Jr., returned to serve again as Pastor. For 13 years he faithfully served Palma Ceia Baptist Church as a member and as an Associate Minister. Also, he served as interim pastor in 1993 and co-interim pastor from 1998-2000. In addition to being a Bible Teacher and speaker, Reverend Smith published his first book, titled “In Spirit and In Truth – Rediscovering the Message of Jesus.”
Our continuing creed: Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethen, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Today, as we press toward the mark, Palma Ceia remains firm in its stand on the Rock of Christ.