Elim has its beginning in St. Petersburg, Florida, about 1919, with the following members: Sisters E. E. Porter, Bessie Edwards, Virginia Eady, Elsie Davis, E.V. Sims, Vannie Sims Bennett, F.E. Valentine, and Earnie Sims Gibson; and Brothers Vannie Bennett and J. J. Merriweather. The membership grew as these pioneers met from house to house. (Although she was not a charter member, Sister Annie E. Danley, who joined the church in 1920, was the oldest living pioneer member of the church in 1976.)
Sis. Sims’ home was the first meeting place. Later, meetings were held in a fellow believer’s home on Tenth Street South. From there the company moved to Davis Elementary School. Still later, they used for worship a little shop that Sister Eady operated on Melrose Avenue. From this location they went to Jordan Elementary School.
During this time the believers purchased their first piece of property located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sixteenth Street South. This lot was never used by the group, but was sold in 1925 for an amount that enabled them to erect a building on a newly purchased lot at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Twenty-first Street South.
Under the pastorate of Elder Matthew Green, the church underwent its first major renovation. A few years later, Elder E. J. Lewis led the church in an expansion project, adding an auxiliary wing, which included classroom space for the Sabbath School’s Primary Department, a Dorcas room, and a kitchenette. Then, in 1974, during the pastorate of Elder H. L. Thompson, the church members undertook the major project of air conditioning the church and of making several other church improvements.
Although Pastor Thompson and the members of the church were attempting to make the edifice on Ninth Avenue a comfortable place of worship, they were also working – as the members had been since the time of Elder I. L. Harrell’s pastorate – toward the acquisition of a new church.
In February 1975, Brother Chandler Cook made a contribution to Elim that extended beyond the realm of death. He made a commitment to will $17,000 towards the Elim Seventh Day Adventist Church.
There was a desire to see the members worshipping in a different building and in January 1976 Sister Audrey Bennett Reed noticed a “For Sale” sign on the First Unity Church. She shared her discovery with Brother James Perkins, who in turn informed Brother Harold McCloud. Fascinated by the church’s facilities, Brothers Perkins and McCloud asked Elder Thompson to inquire about the salability of the church. It was from these initial steps that Elder Thompson, with the positive vote and support of the church body, followed the necessary procedures to purchase the First Unity Church in June 1976. The members of the Elim worshipped in that facility at 801 Sixth Avenue South until spring of 2006.
Under the pastorate of the next pastor of Elim, Elder O. J. McKinney, the church’s membership increased greatly, largely as a result of evangelistic meetings conducted in the church by Elder McKinney, and a day care center was established.
Elder McKinney was followed by Elder W. C. Byrd who led the church in a major renovation project – installation of the church’s baptistery and choir loft. Elder Byrd also expanded the day care program by setting up a kindergarten program.
Elder J. E. Harris assumed the pastorate of Elim in June 1983. The church mortgage was burnt and a new two-story school building housing Grades 1 through 8 was constructed.
In May 1992, Elder Lewis Edwards was installed as the pastor of Elim. He served until 2000 when Pastor Theus Young was assigned to the pastorate in August 2000.
In February 2006, Pastor Malcolm White was assigned to the Elim SDA Church. During his term at Elim, the facility at 801 Sixth Avenue South was sold and the current facility located at 4824 Second Avenue South was purchased. Pastor White served until April, 2010.
Pastor Jim R. Davis was installed on May 15, 2010 and served until 2014.
Pastor Andre Campbell currently serves as the Pastor of Elim and was installed on July 19, 2014. Pastor Casey Adams was called to serve the Elim SDA Church as its first Associate Pastor in June of 2015.