FBC Tallahassee’s church replica parade float part of 175th anniversary events

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TALLAHASSEE–It’s not every day you get to see a church rolling through the streets of downtown Tallahassee, but that’s just what happened when members of First Baptist Church of Tallahassee built a miniature version of the church for a float entry in the city’s annual springtime Grand Parade.

With First Baptist celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, members thought entering a float in the parade was a great way to celebrate and connect with the community during Springtime Tallahassee, one of the city’s largest public outdoor events attracting an estimated 150,000 people each year.

“The parade was just one of the ideas we had for this year,” said Greg Williams, associate pastor of music ministries at First Baptist. “We had a church member who just really ran with the idea of building a replica of our facility. We had about three people who were really the anchor folks and another 15 to 20 who helped here and there.”

And what a replica it is! Using shiny red floral sheeting to resemble the church’s red brick facade, the parade float included all three stories of the church, the large white columns stretching the building’s full height, all of its many, many windows and, of course, the steeple.

In keeping with this year’s rock ‘n’ roll parade theme, the red pickup truck pulling the float featured a large replica of a vinyl record with the words, “Jesus is our Rock, & That’s How We Roll.” The church float even won the parade’s Belles & Gents Award. And they’re hoping to use it again in another parade.

Williams said the church has always offered hospitality for those attending Springtime Tallahassee, opening its restrooms and baby changing areas to the public, along with water, drinks and refreshments. It’s part of the church’s regular outreach activities. But with it being their anniversary year, members wanted to do something special.

“We have really tried to connect with and serve our community consistently over the years. That has always been a priority for our church.”

Greg Williams associate pastor of music ministries, First Baptist Church, Tallahassee

“We’re really trying to help people find and follow Jesus, which is our anniversary theme this year.  This is what we’re about as a church,” Williams said. “When you’re a in parade like that, you’re not having a lot of meaningful conversation, but it’s a presence and connectedness in that they see the church name, the float that represents the church and see us there in the community, which is what we really wanted to do.”

About 35 church members participated in the parade with the float, including elementary-aged children riding the float, and high schoolers and adults walking alongside the float, giving out candy and inflatable beachballs to those watching the parade.

“This was a lot of fun,” Williams said. “We have really tried to connect with and serve our community consistently over the years. That has always been a priority for our church.”

Participating in the parade with its unique float is just part of the church’s yearlong 175th anniversary celebration. Williams said other events include:

  • Community night of worship in August, which includes several area Baptist churches, including several that First Baptist helped plant.
  • Music ministry event in September, featuring some of the church family’s favorite songs, anthems and congregational hymns from over the years.
  • Bible conference in October, featuring speakers from the International Mission Board.
  • College reunion weekend, celebrating the widely successful college worship services that the church held for some 40 to 50 years.
  • Large event in November, celebrating the church’s actual anniversary with expanded worship services, lunch on the grounds and afternoon celebration.

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