The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners has honored Beulah First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach on its 85th anniversary. The board approved a proclamation Tuesday recognizing the church’s longevity and importance in the community.
Beulah First Baptist Church began in 1938 as the First Community Church, when a group began holding Bible classes in homes. It later became the Colored Community Baptist Church before adopting its current name.
- It is the second oldest in Fort Walton Beach and the first black church in the local community. The church also housed the first public school for black children and provided adult education classes for veterans.
Over the decades, Beulah First Baptist has expanded with additional property, vehicles, a larger sanctuary, children’s ministries and the creation of an academy and outreach center.
Beulah has been under the leadership of ten pastors: Rev. W. Garrett, Rev. H. McNeil, Rev. O. R. Robinson, Rev. E. W. Thomson, Rev. Fitzchew, Rev. A.D. Bell, Sr., Rev. David Savage, Rev Matthew Payne, Jr., Rev. Scottie L. Thigpen, and Rev Felix L. Cole.
“I have been to this church recently and it is one of the most alive and spiritual churches,” said Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel during the proclamation reading. “If you don’t have a church home you might want to consider this church.”