By Kelly Legg

Hillsborough County has its fair-share of churches in the area of all sizes and all denominations. However, not many have stood the test of welcoming worshippers for 100 years. First Baptist Church in Brandon can now count itself among the centennials, and to achieve such an honor deserves a celebration.

First Baptist Church in Brandon held its 100-year anniversary celebration early last month. This well-attended event included afternoon festivities on Saturday with food, entertainment, bounce-houses and many family-friendly activities.

To add to the excitement of this centennial event, a time capsule reveal took place as well as a dedication of the much-anticipated Centennial Plaza, which was constructed along the north side of the sanctuary.

The Plaza was a vision that took place with full participation of the church families. The plaza-area was constructed with the personalized pavers that were purchased over the last several months with special messages and dedications engraved on each piece. Many church families took the opportunity to purchase a paver to honor the memory of a loved-one and recognition of special individuals.

In addition, parents and grandparents were given an opportunity to purchase a “children’s paver” where a child’s name could be engraved in a paving stone. These children’s names were placed together in the Plaza.

Following the Centennial Family Celebration, First Baptist held one worship service followed by the Centennial Plaza dedication and group photo. During this service, former pastor, Tommy Green, returned to take part during worship. Green recently accepted an appointment in May as executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention, overseeing 3,000 Baptist churches in Florida. He served at First Baptist of Brandon for more than 19 years where his inspirational sermons doubled the size of the congregation from 2,700 to more than 5,700.

First Baptist Church of Brandon has many ongoing activities including a large activity center (the MAC) where the public can sign up for various sporting activities and exercise classes. With the holidays right around the corner, the church is organizing a Living Christmas Tree program that will take place on Sunday, December 6; Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13 at 6 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Brandon is located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. For more information, visit www.fbcbrandon.org.