Historic Markers Across Florida



Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church



Marker ID:  
Location: 1206 N Jefferson St, Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 57.305    W 082° 27.385
  27.95508333    -82.45641666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMK4TT
 



Text:

The Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church originated in 1893 as the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Reorganized in a newly constructed wooden church during the first decade of the 20th Century. It became known as the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Jacob Wesley Rhodes headed the church from 1936 through 1959. Under his leadership, the name was changed to Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. A new brick church was completed in 1949. The church's facilities were expanded in 2001 to include the Rev. Oscar Johnson Jr. Fellowship and Educational Center, named after the church's pastor who was appointed in 1978.

Greater Bethel's location on the western edge of Tampa's black neighborhood then known as the "Scrub" and near the Central Avenue business district made it a focal point for many of the city's African Americans. In 2004, the City of Tampa recognized the long-standing importance of the church when it designated it as one of the local landmarks in the historic Central Avenue area. Greater Bethel has served Tampa's African American community for over a century. Although the neighborhood around it has changed, the church continues to play a vital role for many of the city's black population.

Hillsborough County Historical Advisory Council