Welcome Baptist History

Welcome Baptist Church was founded by Rev. L.P. Thomas and a small band of members during the Thanksgiving weekend of 1952. The members of this group wanted to give the community of Harlem McBride; now known as Oakland Park a place to worship where they could feel free and welcomed to serve the Lord.  Sister Hattie Grant was one of the members of this small group who suggested the name “Welcome Baptist.”  The group agreed and planted their once small church.

At the time of its founding, there was no building to worship, so Rev. Wright and members of the Mt. Zion A.M.E Church shared their facilities with Welcome Baptist, only having service at that time on second and fourth Sundays’ of each month. In no time, the church started to prosper and grow, which incited two of the founding members; Deacon Willie Tharpe and Sister Annie Tharpe to sell the church their property. Welcome Baptist Church is still currently located on the late Deacon Willie Tharpe and Sister Tharpe’s
property today.

Through hard work, dedication and faith, Welcome Baptist became more than just a dream to these seven founding members. Those seven, spirit-filled members consisted of Sister Ruby Thomas, Sister Lottie Daniels, Sister Annie Tharpe, Sister Marie Woodard, Deacon Willie Tharpe and Deacon Willie Woodard (Treasurer), and Sister Hattie Grant (Church Mother). The first ordained deacons were Deacon Willie Tharpe, Deacon Willie Woodard and Deacon Walter Isaac under the leadership of Rev. L.P. Thomas. Pastor Thomas continued
to serve his congregation diligently until his death in 1961.

Since Rev. Thomas’s death, Welcome has had seven pastors. These pastors consisted of Rev. Jimmie Staten (1961- 1963); Rev. Randolph Dunmore (1963-1965); Rev. Arthur Jackson Jr. (1965-1972); Rev. Otis Sample (1972-1979); Rev. Floyd Larkin (1979-1985); Rev. James Allen (1985-2007) and Rev. James G. Dye Sr. (2007-Present). Assistant Ministers have been Rev. Otis Allen, Rev. H. Harris, Rev. W.J. Jackson,
Rev. Larcelous Edwards, Rev. E.A. Gelsey, Minister Priscilla Price, Minister Debra Carrol Allen, Minister
Derrick Webb and currently Minister Tiqkia Barrow-Dye (2010-Present).

Welcome has licensed five ministers: Rev. Otis Allen, Rev. Larcelous Edwards, Rev. E.A. Gelsey, Rev. Willie Thomas, and Rev. Milton Harris. The church has also ordained twenty deacons: Noah Edwards, C. Griffin, Ulysses Edwards, Larcelous Edwards, Adam Thompson, Dave Perry, John K. Breedlove, Louis Clark, Clyde Smith, Daniel Moody, Ernest Covin, Deacon Bobby G. Glenn, Deacon Kevin Davidson, Deacon James Isaac, Deacon David Blands, Deacon Eddie Breedlove, Deacon Eddie Brown, Deacon Dave Perry, Deacon Clyde Smith and Deacon William White. As well as, twelve deaconesses- Mother Fannie Ruth Jones, Mother Mary Cox, Mother Janie Perry, Mother Magnolia Isaac, Deaconess Shirley Blands, Deaconess Elizabeth Davidson, Deaconess Shirley Hart, Deaconess Bernice Jacobs, Deaconess Cora Covin, Deaconess Elizabeth Edwards, Deaconess Iola D. Glenn, and Deaconess Camilla Isaac.

Under the administration of Rev. Arthur Jackson, a building fund was begun. Rev. Otis Sample laid the foundation for the new building. Then Rev. Floyd Larkin came along and finished the edifice. The mirror over the baptismal pool was donated by Sis Estelle Merrick. As Welcome continued to experience spiritual growth under the leadership of Rev. James Allen, Welcome began another building fund initiative to start an educational building and facility to follow the mandate God gave to “Study to shew thyself approved…”

Under the administration of Rev. James E. Allen, the church was enhanced by the organization of the Christian Education Department, purchasing of an organ, van, carpet, drums and P.A. System. During the year of 2000, the Christian Education Department organized a New Members Ministry, Senior’s Ministry, known as the Golden Years’ Ministry, a Twenty to Fifty-five years old Ministry and a Spiritual Enrichment class for young adults during Sunday School that started with five students, the youngest student being our very own First Lady
Tiqkia Barrow-Dye at the age of sixteen and the oldest student being fifty-five years old.

During the years of 2001-2003, Welcome Baptist was blessed to have the bathrooms remodeled and the church painted. In September of 2004, Sister Sheila White and Brother Bobby Glenn were key people in the purchase of Welcome Baptist’s first van, which became the catalyst of starting a Transportation Ministry.

May 2007, Rev. Allen’s predecessor Rev. James Dye Sr. came on the scene to serve as Welcome’s Interim Pastor. While eleven candidates applied for the position, only four candidates were chosen to be considered by the congregation: Rev. Lazarous Dawson, Rev. Felipe Jackson, Rev. Nathan Austin and Rev. James Dye Sr. From those four, only two were selected to run for election. On November 6, 2007, Rev. James Dye Sr. was elected and appointed pastor of Welcome Baptist. Since Pastor Dye’s leadership, Welcome has obtained a new roof, communion table, podium, painted the inside and outside of the church, purchased a new set of drums, a new organ, began a new reconstruction project to beautify the church property and facilities. Purchased the late Sister Elizabeth Tharpe’s property (2010) with the help of many of Welcome Baptist members financially and prayerfully, located right beside the church, in addition to obtaining a 501c3 for the ministry. With the help and assistance of Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Welcome Baptist Church received a total make-over from the inside-out; old pews removed, new chairs added, new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. Additionally, Christ Fellowship of West Palm Beach, FL, donated 100 chairs to the fellowship Hall.

In closing, in 2011 Welcome began a Sister to Sister Mentoring Ministry, Men Empowering Men Mentoring Ministry and Marriage Ministry, a free Florida Standardized Testing and Education Tutoring initiative was began for the furtherance of youth and adult education (affectionately called “Homework Happy Hour”) by Lady Tiqkia Barrow-Dye. Homework Happy Hour later morphed into a full time learning center and over the summer ran as a Bible Summer Camp(Vacation Bible School to the Tenth Power, June 2012) in the property purchased. Since then the learning center had its grand opening on July 22, 2012, where city officials of Oakland Park (Mayor Anne Sallee, Vice Mayor John Adornato, City Commissioner Jed Shank and City Commissioner Shari McCartney) attended and did the honors of the Ribbon Cutting. The purpose of the learning center at Welcome Baptist is to create a warm, enriching place within the Oakland Park community, where adolescents as well as teens or adults in crisis would have a place to play, learn and have fun, all in the name of Christ. The WBCLearning Center is a function of the Welcome Baptist Church dedicated to healing the mind, body and spirit of children & families in the Oakland Park community. The Welcome Baptist mission is to prevent children from getting involved in riotous activities that could eventually lead down a path of destruction, promote higher education, and strengthen teen and adolescent respect for themselves and others. Welcome decided to create an atmosphere where teens and adolescents can have meaningful, age appropriate interactions beyond the church. On November 11, 2012; Mayor Sallee and the city officials of the Oakland Park community presented Welcome Baptist with a proclamation to the church declaring November 11th- Welcome Baptist Day, due to the hard work and commitment Welcome Baptist has displayed in the Oakland Park community under the leadership of Pastor James Dye Sr.