Bayside Community Church

Bayside Community Church, located at 25080 Hwy 172 in Port Lavaca, is raising funds to build a new 200-seat worship center/gymnasium with a 300-seat fellowship hall multi-purpose building. (Contributed photo)

Two decades ago, Bayside Community Church, located at 25080 Hwy 172 in Port Lavaca, became a reality when Elsie Cole felt strongly that Olivia and the surrounding areas needed a church. She and her husband Emmett, who both grew up in the area, along with Emmett’s brother Leslie Cole, donated an acre of land and Bayside Community Church was born in 1999. Emmett worked as an attorney in Victoria while Elsie, a homemaker, tended to their five children, and the family spent a `lot of time at their bay house in Olivia.

Today, the church is overseen by Pastor Ruben and Shelley Castillo. The couple felt they were called by God to pastor the church April 12, 2012. Pastor Ruben felt led by God for Bayside to be the healing place for God’s work in Olivia with Wednesday evening prayer and bible study. The event began with two people in attendance.

“The church has grown from less than 20 members in 2012 to more than 100 today,” said Pastor Ruben Castillo. “The Coles donated two more acres of land a few years ago, which will allow an expansion for the parsonage and will be the site of a brand new church building with the help of the first Emmett and Elsie Cole Memorial Fishing tournament scheduled to take place from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the church.”

Fundraising Director Bridget Bailey said they are expecting at least 75 people to participate in the tournament, which is open to the community.

“We have a large variety of prizes including fishing gear, such as rods and reels and a guided fishing trip, but also many other items like an electric smoker and gift certificates to various businesses,” said Bailey.

Late registration is open until the day of the event. Registration fees are $45 and can be purchased by visiting yourbaysidetoday.com/fishingtournament/. There will also be a children’s category for ages 4 through 12. Registration is $10.

“We also have over 25 raffle prizes ranging from a weekend for four at the Port Lavaca Holiday Inn Express to jewelry, tools and even some homemade jellies and jams,” said Bailey.

Other activities going on will be a red fish spot pot, cast net throwing contest and awards ceremony. A barbecue dinner catered by Chuck’s Bar-B-Que will be served at 5:30 p.m. for $10 a plate for guests. Dinner is provided for registrants.

“All proceeds go to the Bayside Community Church Building Fund,” said Bailey. “We are a growing and vibrant church. We hope to build a new 200-seat worship center/gymnasium with a 300-seat fellowship hall multi-purpose building.”

The existing worship building will become a children’s academy for students in first through sixth grades. The buildings will be used for community worship, Christian discipleship, youth functions, a shelter center for the American Red Cross, Christian concerts, weddings, funerals and more.

“The Bayside Church continues to grow not only in membership but also in community outreach through our programs and services, and all plans and buildings are being planned with that in mind,” said Pastor Ruben.

In 2014, Bayside Community Church was certified as a shelter for the American Red Cross. The church and fellowship hall were made ADA compliant and installed necessary safety measures to shelter those in need. Bayside Community Church is one of two certified Red Cross shelters in Calhoun County, with the other at the Calhoun County fairgrounds. In September 2015, the church began Wednesday ministries and children and youth were brought into the church. In 2016, Bayside Community Church was instrumental in establishing the Olivia Community Center board of directors and 2017 was a year of continuing God’s Harvest in Olivia – Port Alto, feeding numerous hungry families in the area.

For more information, contact Bailey at bbtexas2012@gmail.com or 614-599-9296.

Bayside Community Church remains debt free and God remains faithful.