BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - The Eden Baptist Church was full of excitement on Oct. 16. It was the 171st anniversary of one of the oldest churches in the state of Florida.
“Very impressive. It’s something that you want to be a part of,” said Betty Foradas, who has been attending for over 20 years.
There is a lot of history in Brooksville and many say it starts at the entrance to Eden Baptist.
“I don’t have any family in the state of Florida besides my church family, and they’re closer to me than my family," said the pastor’s wife, Kathie Drake. “This is a very loving church.”
With a lot of history.
“My great grandparents are buried across the road. They went here. My grandparents are buried across the road. They went here. My momma and daddy are buried across the road. They went here,” said Joyce Hunnicutt. “My plot’s across the road so it goes back a long ways.”
Yes, there is a ton of history.
“We just celebrated 171 years,” said Demont Drake, who has been leading the church since August 1999. “It’s the oldest church in Hernando County and it does have a very long history.”
Did we mention the history?
“Yes, it’s home,” said Hunnicutt, who was baptized as a child in the lake behind the church. She carefully scanned the table in front of her that was full of black and white photos spanning part of that history.
““That was in 1945,” she said, pointing to a photo of herself. “I was 4 years old.”
Eden Baptist survived two fires, one of which was started by Indians, according to church historian Berry Snow, and a tornado in 1993 that ripped the roof off of the building. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the insurance money to fix the roof also covered the debt the church needed to settle.
How’s that for history?