On August 3, 1960, our church, as a mission and church plant of First Baptist Church of Sanford, held its first service under the name Oaklawn Baptist Chapel. Under the leadership of a lay leader named James Swain, we had 35 people in attendance. A few months later, November 6, 1960, we called our first pastor, R.L. O’Quinn.
In 1961, we acquired property and built a church in the Ravenna Park neighborhood on 46A. On January 15, 1964, R.T. Barrett was called as our second pastor. Under his leadership, Oaklawn Baptist Chapel was officially organized into a church on November 28, 1965. In January 1967, the name of the church was changed to Ravenna Park Baptist Church. While Barrett resigned as the pastor in 1967, a group of church members worked hard to complete an education building.
From 1968 to 1975 our church was pastored by Marvin Spivey, John Sassaman, and Ray Kennedy. However, in 1975, our church was struggling. Our members felt God’s leadership to return to mission status under the sponsorship of Central Baptist Church and their pastor Dr. Bill Coffman. This was a bold step by those involved. Ravenna Park, under the direction of Central Baptist, called Gary DeBusk as our pastor.
Ravenna Park Baptist Mission began to grown numerically and spiritually over the next few years. When DeBusk left to attend seminary, Philip J. Fisher became the pastor in 1977. He served until early 1979.
After completing seminary, Gary DeBusk returned to pastor Ravenna Park from late 1979 until 1983. In 1980, Ravenna Park Baptist Mission once again stepped out in faith and became a self-sustaining church under the name of Ravenna Park Baptist Church.
Dr. Roger Maslin was pastor from 1983 to 1990. Under his guidance, Ravenna Park was led to purchase the property where the church is currently located. They began construction of an education facility with a fellowship hall, which was completed in 1985. Also, in 1985, Ravenna Park Baptist Church officially changed their name to Westview Baptist Church. The church held its services in the fellowship hall until 1987, when the current sanctuary was completed. Dr. Maslin retired in 1990. At this time the church renamed the fellowship hall, “Maslin Hall”, in his honor.
After Dr. Maslin’s retirement, Dr. Bobby McFalls became pastor in 1990. Under his leadership the church continued to grow and also completed work on the original portion of the lower level classrooms. He served until 1995.
In 1995, the Lord sent Dr. Dennis Littleton to Westview. He was the first pastor at Westview who had school-age children. He had a special burden for reaching families through our Sunday School. Therefore, we saw significant growth, and in 1998 began a major building expansion to our original education space, Maslin Hall, and church offices. This work was completed in 2001.
Dr. Littleton was called to pastor another church later in 2001, but his two children, now with families of their own, have continued to worship and serve here at Westview.
In December of 2001, Dr. Bill Coffman came to serve as the interim Pastor. He was so well-loved that in 2002, he became the permanent Pastor. God has used “Bro. Bill”, as he is known, in such a wonderful way. Under his leadership as Pastor, the church paid down the majority of the debt that was owed on the education/Maslin Hall expansion, and spear-headed the building of our Schacht Ministry Center, a multipurpose gym and worship facility. This multipurpose facility was completed in 2009 and has opened up many new opportunities for ministry to our community. Bro. Bill retired at the end of 2010 and was named Pastor Emeritus. He continues to serve at Westview as a counselor, prayer partner, occasional preacher, and all-around encourager.
Our current Pastor, Charles Higgins, Jr., began his ministry at our church in May 2003 as the Minister of Music and Youth. Under the guidance of Bro. Bill, Pastor Charlie became the Associate Pastor in 2008, and then the Senior Pastor at the beginning of 2011, when Bro. Bill retired. Pastor Charlie is currently the longest serving Senior Pastor at Westview Baptist Church. He has led our church with grace, humility, and a deep love for God’s people our community. It speaks well of a church and its leadership that the two preceding Senior Pastors, Dennis Littleton and Bill Coffman, are still active members.
In May 2020, under Pastor Charlie’s leadership, and during a global pandemic that kept the church from meeting in person for several months, Westview Baptist Church paid off the Schacht Ministry Center and became debt free. This is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and His people’s response.
God continues to bless our church and challenge us to not become complacent, but to keep doing whatever it takes to know and share Jesus Christ in Central Florida and beyond.