The History of Bayshore Baptist Church
1944-1968 REVEREND ROBERT E. LEE
Native of Mississippi, named for the Confederate General
Wife: Theo Thomas Lee
Children: James Theodore, Gaines Thomas, Robert Chapman
Education: Bachelor’s Degree: Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi
Master of Divinity: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
“My father completed all the work toward his doctrine except the dissertation, but financially was unable to finish.” -Gaines Lee.
March of 1944 Rev. Robert E. Lee was called to be the pastor of Bayshore. He came from Fort Lauderdale on the first of June to be the fourth pastor. Theo Thomas Lee was his wife.
The church, located at Howard, Dekle and Desoto, was in a struggle to pay off its debts. On November 10, 1944 the debt was paid in full!
Quoting Rev. Lee from the Dedication Program November 26, 1944:
“I trust we shall try to make real Paul’s conception of the function of the church: ‘Ye are the Body of Christ’. Certainly, there is nothing so calculated to deliver us from unconcern or failure as the discovery of what it means to be the ‘Body of Christ’. We can dedicate ourselves to our Lord and His Christ.”
The church, in June 1945, launched a new building program to reloate the church to the corner of Mac Dill and Morrison Avenues.
In the early 1940′s Dr. John A. Gaines and his sister Addie C. Gaines placed Bayshore in their wills because it was their desire that Bayshore erect a building that would allow the church to grow.
The lots on Morrison and Mac Dill that were chosen were in a highly restricted zoning area. We fought for rezoning for a period of seven years. We won in Circuit Court but lost in the Supreme Court. In 1953, it was resubmitted to the State Legislature and through a local bill, the zoning were lifted.
After the death of the Gaines in 1948, $400,000 was given to the church.
In 1955 afer a successful building fund campaign of $200,000, building plans were turned over to the building committee and B. Earl Mathews, Sr., the chairman.
The building contract was given to Paul Smith Construction Company on June 1, 1955.