30th Avenue Baptist Church

A friendly church with a heart for missions.

1934 - 2015 81st Anniversary

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75th Anniversary booklet

"A friendly church with a heart for missions."




30th Avenue Baptist Church

Located one block east of 34th Street North, also known as US 19, in St. Petersburg Florida. Our phone number is 727-525-5860.


We look forward to seeing you soon!

Our History

Landmark Baptist Church of Clearwater, Florida, now known as Missouri Avenue Baptist Church, sent Missionary Johnnie E. Sinclair to St. Petersburg. Missionary Sinclair led a group of people to meet for worship in May 1934 in a garage located at Second Avenue and 24th Street South in St. Petersburg, Florida.

This mission soon grew, became financially self-supporting, and decided to become a church on July 9, 1934. They named themselves First Landmark Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. Approximately one year later, they purchased property, erected a one room building on the corner of 19th Street and 32nd Avenue North, and changed their name to Antioch Baptist Church. They conducted baptismal services at Lealman Lake located at 37th Street between 46th and 47th Avenues North. Pastor Johnnie E. Sinclair pastored this fledgling church five years. He pastored from 1934 to 1937, left for one year, and returned to pastor for one more year in 1939.

Their next pastor, J.L. Claville, stayed one year in 1937 and returned in 1941 for one year. Pastor J.L. Claville started a radio program over WSUN and he also led them to build Sunday school rooms on the back of the church in 1941. Two of their pastors used those Sunday School rooms as their living quarters.

This young church voted to call a pastor each year. This practice is remembered as the Annual Preacher Call and a pastor rarely succeeded himself. They abandoned this practice in 1949 and extended indefinite calls to their pastors. The Lord continued to bless and in 1949 they could support their pastor full time.

Pastor Raymond Scott was the first to be supported full time. He served for two months until ill health forced him into the Veteran's Hospital at Bay Pines and soon claimed his life. In the wake of this tragedy Pastor H.B. Clemmons was called as pastor.Pastor Clemmons served the church four years and during that time the church renamed themselves 32nd Avenue Baptist Church. 

The Church called Cecil Lewallen as pastor in 1952. He served four years and during that time the church purchased two lots at the present location.

Dr. Harris W. Crittenden, Pastor Emeritus, was called to pastor in September 1955. Dr. Crittenden served faithfully for thirty-six years. At the time the church called him to pastor, a two-bedroom parsonage was under construction. Under his leadership, the church initiated plans for a new church building at our present location. In 1956 they voted to build on 30th Avenue North, sell the property on 32nd Avenue North and change their name to Thirtieth Avenue Baptist Church. They held services in the Norwood Elementary School cafeteria for about one year while waiting for the new building to be completed. The new construction included our present auditorium with an indoor baptistery and thirteen single story Sunday school rooms surrounding an open-air courtyard. Although it has been remodeled, the present auditorium is an original structure.

The church first worshipped in this new building on Sunday, May 12,1957. Since that first service, Dr. Harris W. Crittenden, affectionately known as "Preacher," led the church to expand her ministries. During his 36 years pastoring, this expansion included busses, youth ministries, junior church ministries, extension services, sending our three local missionaries, and three foreign missionaries, as well as assisting in the support of hundreds of other missionaries . The church also added a full time youth minister and later an associate pastor as well as a part time secretary. Physical improvements include the two-story building and stairs where the old courtyard used to be. They remodeled the auditorium, installed air conditioning in all the buildings and purchased additional lots west of the church to 33rd Street. The old parsonage was sold and a spacious four-bedroom house was built in 1967 at 3236 34th Avenue North. In an act of love and appreciation, 30th Avenue Baptist deeded this house to Pastor Crittenden on the anniversary of his 25th year as pastor. Dr. Crittenden resigned his pastorate in January 1991 and retired. The church voted unanimously to honor Dr. Crittenden by naming him Pastor Emeritus of Thirtieth Avenue Baptist Church.

Thirtieth Avenue Baptist Church called Pastor Robert L. Aligood on May 19, 1991. Dr. Crittenden led this man to the Lord in 1970. The church hired Rev. Will Thompson as the youth minister in 1993. Three years later the church ordained Brother Thompson and called him as the associate pastor. On that same day, three new deacons were also ordained. Since 1991, the church purchased four lots east of the church. The church built a new 4,000 square foot addition with a commercial kitchen and dedicated it to the Lord in 1996. This new building serves as a multi-purpose room for dinners, fellowships, receptions and meetings. The church voted unanimously to name it the "Harris W. Crittenden Hall" in honor of her former pastor, Dr. Harris W. Crittenden, Pastor Emeritus. Pastor Robert  Aligood stepped down from the pulpit in September of 2013 

Thirtieth Avenue Baptist Church Called DR. William Pennell as interim pastor in October of 2013 and extended a offer to be our permanent Pastor on March 26, 2014. He is a native of Boone, NC,  and attended college and pastored at the same time in NC, Tenn,  and received his Th.D in Fla. He has pastored in Tenn.  Mich, & Ga, and just returned from 18 years as a pioneer missionary church builder, & establish-er of a 4 year bible college in the state of Zhytomyr, Ukraine. He felt the call to preach at 15 years old answered that call at 17 years old, entered college and soon after began to pastor a church at 19 years of age. He has pastored and built churches and colleges since 1959. We are excited that he has come to 30th avenue. You need to come and meet him and his lovely wife Mrs. Dorothy and hear him preach from God’s word. You will enjoy  his  enthusiastic and joyful presentation.