The Chapel on the campus of CrossLife Church was built in 1926. This historic building is just one piece of the long history of the City of Oviedo. It has ties to many of the influential members of early Oviedo as well as the stain of a dark past.
The Chapel at
First Baptist Church of Oviedo, known today as Cross Life Church, is one of the
oldest building still standing in Oviedo.
Originally built in 1926, the building is just under a century old and
is still being used today as the Children’s Church. The early to late 20s brought along a large
economic boom for Oviedo. The successful
businesses of Oviedo played a “vital role in the establishment and growth of”
local churches and schools .
The congregate on paid just over $30,000 to construct the new chapel
which in 2017 would be approximately $420,000 . The current look of the building is virtually
unchanged from how it originally looked.
The stained-glass windows and matching embellished wooden doors are all
the originals. The Chapel has had only a few modifications such as a vital air
conditioning system and some basement renovations. The history of the church itself, however,
well precedes just this building.
First Baptist Church of Oviedo first began meeting in 1869 under the shade of a
brush arbor with the service being led by Rev. W. G. Powell. From there the congregation began meeting in
various wooden buildings until a Church owned wooden building was built on land
donated to the church by Rev. Powell and a Will Alexander of Savana,
Georgia. Rev. Powell left the Church in
1875 and the pulpit was taken up by T.W. Lawton who served as pastor for many
years . Lawton
also was the first superintendent of Seminole Country Public Schools and served
for 36 years. His house, which is also a
historic landmark, was built in 1890 then relocated to its current location in
1910. It still stands today and is used
to house the Oviedo Historical Society.
It is located just across the street from the Church and is just in
front of Lawton Elementary School .
In 1887 a larger building was needed so a larger wooden structure was
built and served as the Church until 1926 when the current brick building was
erected. In 1946, a small addition was
added to the Chapel for more room. As
the size of the congregation continued to grow more space was needed, so in
1957 an educational building was built.
Moving up to 1968, again the need for more room arose so plans for an 11
thousand-foot, air-conditioned annex began.
Construction was completed 1969 and the building still stands and is
used today. Other buildings that were
constructed after this time were a large sanctuary in 1986, a 3-story office
building and a gymnasium in 1996, a temporary metal-frame worship center in
2001, then finally the massive Worship Center was built in 2009 .
today the Church is a very inviting and inclusive place which welcomes people
of all walks of life, it had ties to a dark time in history. The original pastor, Reverend W. G. Powell just
happens to be the father of Lewis Powell.
Many of Lewis Powell’s brothers fought in the civil war, one of whom
died. Like them, Lewis fought in the
civil war for four years until he was wounded at Gettysburg. He later ended up meeting a man by the name
of John Wilkes Booth . Lewis
joined Booth and was one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Specifically, Lewis was tasked with
assassinating U.S. Secretary of State William Stewart. He was able to seriously would Stewart, but
not kill him. After getting captured,
Powell was tried and executed for attempted murder and conspiracy. The execution was a public hanging and took
place July 7, 1865. Powell’s remains
were eventually brought to Florida where he was buried next to his mother in the
historic Geneva Cemetery .