Church History

Church History Summary

A little history…
The Spanish first settled the area sometime after 1513 when Ponce De Leon and his entourage braved the shores in search of the fountain of youth. A Spaniard named Don Diego Espinosa is reputed to have made his home in this area and the community became know as Diego Plains. Some of those who later came to the valley were conscious of God’s blessings on them and felt a desire to return honor and praise to Him. In a quiet place beneath the old oak trees on these grounds, William DeGrove, Thomas Patton and Thomas McClamma met with friends and families to worship God in 1902.

Soon, Mr. and Mrs. DeGrove conveyed the land beneath the oaks to the church, and it is on this ground where our sanctuary still stands. The DeGroves were the owners of the parsonage, which has now been restored to glory after many years of neglect. On January 24, 1903 the church was named Baptist Church of Diego.

The first pastor was Reverend Andrews, and In the beginning , services were held once a month. Gradually the church’s ministries grew and by the conclusion of WW 11 in 1945, weekly services were in place. Other pastors to serve the pulpit include the Reverends Jones, Gibson, Barrow, Safret, O’Kelly, Richardson, Finch, Carmichael, McKenzie, Renfroe, Courts, Mcleod, Lovelady, Morgan, Turner, Wilson, Richards, Witt and Stuckey.

A charter member of the church, and Diego’s postmaster R. J. Henson, Sr. petitioned Washington D.C. to change the name of the community to Palm Valley, and soon the church was renamed Palm Valley Baptist church.

Over time the sanctuary was remodeled and new classrooms were added. Yet the membership felt led to have a larger facility and moved to highway AIA in 1980. But many members wanted to return to the little church in the valley. On Mother’s day on 1981 a group of charter members re- opened the facility on Palm Valley Road. Since that time the church has evolved into what it is today– a fellowship of believers committed to sharing the love of God through a meaningful program of ministries. The church was renamed Diego and that remained the name until the Palm Valley Baptist on A1A united with Ponte Vedra Baptist and became New Beginnings. In 1999, our congregation decided to reclaim its name Palm Valley Baptist.

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