The first pastor of what was then Northport Baptist Church, now Island Christian Church—returned for a visit after being elected the first pastor of the church back in March of 1946. Pastor Albert Siebert, who was just finishing his studies at Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, was 26 at the time—he will be celebrating his 92 birthday in October. As he stood before the congregation of Island Christian Church this past Sunday, August 5, he told them that he had to step down after just one year as pastor due to health reasons. He had been commuting from Philadelphia each weekend to conduct services at church then back to seminary for classes. After collapsing one day, his doctor advised him to make a change. So, reluctantly, he resigned after only one year, in 1947. After a few months of rest, Pastor Siebert went on to what became a fruitful career in the ministry. Retiring only two years ago as pastor of visitation from a church in the St. Petersburg area, he still conducts Bible studies at a nearby assisted living facility where he now lives.
Dr. Lester Ayars, the senior pastor of ICC for the past 44 years,told the congregation as he introduced Al Siebert, his only disappointment with his visit was that his beloved Yankees lost yesterday! Pastor Ayars went on to explain that Siebert and his two daughters and son-in-law went to the Yankee game the day before, then went out to dinner with him. “We should all feel as great as Al at 91!” Pastor Siebert went on to say how blessed he was to see how this church was able to grow and prosper in the years following his tenure. He then prayed a blessing over Island Christian Church and the next generation.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me! -Thomas Chisholm