Church History 

130 Years and Counting…


Tradition has provided us with information that in 1886, a group of Christian men and women, in the area of West DeLand, Volusia County, saw the need for Christian fellowship.  Out of this great need, Saint Annis Primitive Baptist Church was born.  They worshipped there for several years.

In 1900 the church was moved to its’ present location, which is the corner of South Orange and West Division Streets.

Under the pastorate of Reverend Clarence Francis Sams, this Christian body continued to grow and increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Succeeding Reverend Sams (with some wives listed beside them) were the Reverends George S. Crawford, Gibson, T. Davenport, L. Royal Shine, A. Robinson, C. P. Allen, A. J. Williams, A. J. Everett, C. S. Wilson, A. Martin, Allan R. Wynn(Mo. Willie Mae), Washington, Comarti, Harrison, Thurman, J. Everett, James S. McClendon(Mo. Bernice A.), T.R. Griffin(Mo. Viola), R. A. Bell, Payton Lester Jones Jr.(Mo. Carrie Mae), Johnnie Lee Canady(Mo. Clara), Namon Elton Rodgers(Sis. Annette), James Thompson(Mo. Elnora), Eugene Johnson(Mo. Georgia) and currently, Wilbert A. Ridgley Jr.(Sis. Sundria R.).

During the 25-year pastorate of Elder T.R. Griffin, the church was completely remodeled. More land was purchased, and a parsonage and dining hall were built. In June 1966, Elder P.L. Jones, Jr., became pastor.  In 1967 the parsonage was moved to face Division Street, making room for a new church.  It was built in 1968.  Elder Jones completely reorganized the Junior Department.

In 1974, Elder John A. Canady was called to lead the congregation.  Three deacons were ordained:  Deacons Charlie Wyche, Sylvester Bruten Jr., and George Robinson. Three clubs were organized: the Matron Society, Fellowship Club, and L.M. Fisher Club.  A window inscription and seat plaque were donated in honor of the memory of the late Mother Lillie Mae Fisher.

In 1977, Elder Namon Rodgers was called to lead the congregation.  Under his pastorate more property was purchased. Three deacons were ordained: Deacons John McKiver, Roosevelt Nealy, and James Akins.  Construction on the Fellowship Hall began.

In 1983 Elder James Thompson became the shepherd of St. Annis.  During his pastorate, the church was paneled, the pews were covered, and a remembrance table and chairs were donated to the church. The Prayer Band and Women’s Auxiliary were organized.

In 1986, God heard the prayers of the St. Annis Family and sent Elder Eugene Johnson.  Elder Johnson was new in the ministry.  He was ordained during the Midterm session meeting in February of 1987 and installed as pastor of St. Annis. By God’s grace, St Annis grew under Elder Johnson’s leadership, both spiritually and financially.  
On February 23 2014, Elder Eugene Johnson officially retired as Pastor of St. Annis after 27 years of faithful service. The Church hosted a retirement banquet in our Fellowship Hall to honor Elder Johnson for his longstanding service and commitment to St. Annis.
On March 30, 2014, the members of St. Annis met and voted unanimously to call Elder Wilbert A. Ridgley Jr. as its new Pastor.  This historic vote marked the first time in St. Annis’ recorded history that (i) a pastor was elected by the unanimous vote of the congregation, (ii) a pastor was chosen from the local DeLand community, and (iii) a daughter of St. Annis, Sundria Ruth Ridgley (née Lake), who was reared and baptized at St. Annis, was named its First Lady.
On May 3, 2014, Elder Ridgley was installed by Moderator Charles L. Hendley as the new Pastor of St. Annis.  Under Elder Ridgley’s leadership, St. Annis has continued to grow in grace and numbers.  The Lord is adding to the church daily as He sees fit, and St. Annis’ Bible Study on Tuesday nights has grown into one of the largest Bible Study fellowships in the entire City of DeLand.

God has blessed and kept St. Annis through the years, and we know and believe that the best is yet to come.