Our History

Winter Park, in 1924, was sparsely settled. It was settled by men and women from Georgia, South Carolina and South Florida. Among those settlers where black men and women that settled in and near Hannibal Square, Winter Park. The few settlers of the Winter Park area would supplement their food supply by produce farming where Holler Chevrolet now stands. This included Mother Allie Mae Johnson and her father, Deacon Paul.

These newcomers were interested in having a unified place of worship. The humble beginnings of Warner Chapel started with the father of Mother Allie Mae Johnson, Deacon Paul. He began with the building plans and erecting the wooden church that would be later known as Warner Chapel, in the winter of 1927.

It is said that the first pastor of Warner Chapel was Pastor Jack W. Warner. Although there isn’t much formal written history, he pastored the shepherd for quite a number of years. Pastor Warner placed the brass cornerstone marker on the corner of Warner Chapel in 1934.

The legacy of Warner Chapel was continued with Rev. Morrison. He drew many souls to Christ, held regular Church School, and baptized souls at Dinkey Dock, which is now a part of the Rollins College Campus. Elder Morrison was also instrumental in keeping Warner Chapel associated with South Florida Progressive Primitive Baptist Association. He, his wife, Mo. Ola Mae Morrison, mothers Victoria Burnett, Beulah Dopson, Leila Stephens and Ethel Paul, Sis Allie Mae Johnson (at that time) all attended the association religiously.

Rev. Calloway Lane, Elder Rolle, and Elder Byrd each pastored the flock of Warner Chapel for short times. There was a time recorded in the Church School Record Books that show Warner Chapel was without a Pastor for a while.

Rev. Calloway Lane, Elder Rolle, and Elder Byrd each pastored the flock of Warner Chapel for short times. There was a time recorded in the Church School Record Books that show Warner Chapel was without a Pastor for a while.

God heard the prayers of the righteous. He saw fit to send a called, committed & compelled man of God… Dr. Mitchell LeRay Dawkins, Sr.

Elder Dawkins was installed to serve as pastor of Warner Chapel in October 1992. Although the church membership at that time was three members…Deacon Joseph Hill, Mother Dopson, and Mother Allie Mae Johnson, they had regular services without air conditioning, with bumblebees flying in the opened windows, and very hard pews. The newly painted sign place on the building declared, “I’m Yours, Lord”. The church membership flourished under the Christian leadership on Elder Dawkins.

As more people learned about the wonderful work God was doing at Warner Chapel, the membershiproll became larger. “Love is what love does” was an early principle learned and acted upon at the church. That principle still motivates the members of today. The men of the church refurbished the old roof with patching materials and paint. Love held it together. The sanctuary was furnished with new cushioned pews that love delivered. A few pieces of new pulpit furniture were added with love. In the summer, fans where placed in the windows. Love drew the heat out. When it rained, water receptacles were placed where needed. The need for oil was present in the winter. The placement of the new brick sign was a grand celebration of love.

Elder Dawkins has always held the needs of the community close to his heart. Early on he sensed the need for a community ministry that would touch lives and promote God’s message. Under the leadership of this visionary man, the multi-faceted Community Outreach Ministry was born. This ministry includes the Senior Citizens Program, Education Ministry-a free Community Tutorial Program, a Food Pantry, Free Meals Sundays (for elderly, sick, & shut-in), S.W.A.T. Ministry (Street Witness Attack Team), Men on a Mission Ministry, Women of the Church Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, the Youth Ministry, the STOMP choir, Children’s’ Church Ministry, Bus Ministry, the Debutantes Ministry, The Young Deacons of NWC & Life Management Skills Program.

Although there was great love for that old wooden building, the members received the vision given to Elder Dawkins from God in Heaven of a brand new multi-million dollar edifice. In obedience to God’s voice, Elder Dawkins was blessed to purchase additional land and the vision of The New Warner Chapel, Phase I, materialized. As the newly purchased land was being readied for construction, the members of Warner Chapel watched daily. They had praise services some days on that construction site. They stood at different places within the construction site and posed for pictures. They envisioned every angle…where the pulpit would stand, the choir loft, where the ushers would stand, and where the Mothers’ and the Deacons’ corners would be.

And then on the first Sunday in March, the year 2000, the New Warner Chapel Primitive Baptist Church Family marched into their new sanctuary committed to continue God’s work.