About Us



1940 thru 2019

Encanto Southern Baptist Church had its beginning in January 1940 as Ocean View Baptist Mission – two years before any Southern Baptist Church was established in San Diego. It was started by missionaries Rev. and Mrs. Herbert Haywood.

With no money available, Rev. and Mrs. Haywood borrowed money on their insurance policies and bought the corner lot at 38th and Hemlock. On the lot, they built a 20 x 20 building to serve as their dwelling, with a 10 x 20 room across the front, which was used as a Sunday School room and Worship Center. The Haywoods initially utilized their old Dodge bus (previously used by them as a camper for their missionary work) as supplemental Sunday School space. The first Sunday School began with eleven (11) boys and girls and within four (4) months had grown to 57 students. Ocean View was incorporated according to state laws as a mission in September of 1942 and later as a church in 1944. Ocean View Baptist Church was organized as a church on June 11, 1944, with 32 charter members. Later in 1944, the church was affiliated with the San Diego Southern Baptist Association.

In 1946, with $200.00 in the building fund and a $6,000.00 loan from the Church Extension Revolving Loan Fund, the first church building was built at 38th and Hemlock. In 1953, it was decided to sell the church at this location and try to acquire a place with more space for expansion. Rev. Haywood resigned as pastor on January 17, 1954, completing 55 years in the Lords work as a minister.

From March 1954 to May 1954, Rev. R.E. Craig served as Interim pastor, when Rev. Kenneth Theda, a young seminary graduate, was called to serve as pastor. The church moved to a temporary location at 6375 Imperial Avenue. It was at that time the name was changed to Encanto Southern Baptist Church. On April 17, 1955, the congregation walked to the location between 60th and 61st streets for a brief ground breaking ceremony for the beginning of the first unit, to be used as the Educational Building. The church building was first used in May 1955. Parking was in front of the church facing the railroad line. The road was an unpaved dirt road which became very muddy during rainy weather. The congregation paid the railroad for parking privileges.

In January 1959, Rev. Thurston Rock was called as pastor and led the church to purchase the building next to their current place of worship. The Quonset building (a building formally used by the military) was purchased in 1959 to be used as a sanctuary. The Quonset building to this very day is where we conduct Worship Services. Rev. Rock served as pastor until Oct 20, 1969.

Rev. Fred Strupp was called as interim pastor until Rev. Charles Holland was called on July 1, 1970. He served until March 1975.

Rev. Sidney Smith served as interim pastor until Rev. Don E. Conley was called. He served from September 1975 until June 1978. The period between then until August 1980 was filled by Rev. Kenneth Bryant. Thanks to the diligence of Deacon Freddie Williams, the pulpit was filled each Sunday until Rev. Don Conley, led by the Holy Spirit, was again called to be pastor in 1981.

Under Rev. Conley’s dynamic leadership, the church grew spiritually and numerically, with a focus on Godly Leadership, Bible-Centered Preaching and Teaching, the Great Commission, Prayer, using “The Baptist Faith and Message” as its statement of faith and with a Vision of becoming “A diverse family united by faith in the Gospel, motivated by love for God and others to Exalt, Evangelize, Edify, Equip and Encourage.”

Pastor Conley had a dream of establishing a Bible college in the Southeast San Diego area. Through the years the dream never faded, and in February 1997, Pastor Conley was summoned to Louisville, Kentucky to discuss a new concept in church planting. While there, he was asked to be the “pilot program” for more schools to be established across the United States. The school would provide quality, accredited Bible training to those who desire to sharpen their skills in Bible teaching, preaching and church planting. 1997 was a year of answered prayers and fulfilled dreams when on August 16, 1997, (with the invaluable assistance, guidance and training of Mission Service Corps Volunteer, Vera Vaughn) the San Diego School of Theology opened its doors to 12 students, with Rev. Don E. Conley (Founder and Site Director); Barbra Conley (Secretary); Patricia Hoggard (Treasurer); Stephanie Thomas and Jeanette Hatcherson (Registrars); and Freddia Wright (Public Relations). The Advisory Board consisted of Robert Pope, James Hatcherson, Robert Walker and Bertha Mitchell.

For the past 25 years, the San Diego School of Theology has continued to provide Bible centered theological education, to meet the growing need for trained leadership in planting new churches and strengthening established churches. Under the leadership of Rev. Don E. Conley and guidance of the Holy Spirit, a vision became a reality. The San Diego School of Theology, along with the Encanto Southern Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Conley, was to be an “incubator for new church plants” which has allowed Encanto Southern Baptist Church to be responsible for the birth of 24 new churches and the spiritual development of a host of church leaders.

During 1997 and 1998, Encanto also expanded the Education Building to its current size with a new kitchen, more office space and additional classrooms. The sanctuary was also remodeled providing additional worship space.

Under the leadership of Rev. Conley and the continued sacrificial and generous giving of the Encanto Church family, Encanto purchased the 3 properties on the southwest corner of 60th and Akins and the lot directly in the rear of the Education Building. The purchase of these properties allows for future expansions of ministry.

In 1981 Rev. Robert Pope joined the Encanto Southern Baptist Church and was baptized by Pastor Conley. Over the years he has served in many leadership capacities including, but not limited to, Sunday School teacher, Youth Leader, Brotherhood Ministry Leader, Deacon Chairman, and in 2006, he heard and accepted God’s call to ministry. Thereafter, Pastor Conley and the Encanto Church family voted to install Rev. Pope to the position of Co-Pastor, which allowed Pastor Conley to focus more on his pursuit of a Doctor of Ministry Degree, which he received on May 8, 2015 from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

In December 2016, Pastor Conley retired and the “Baton of Leadership” was passed on to Rev. Robert Pope as Senior Pastor. Pastor Don E. Conley served as a faithful and devoted Pastor of Encanto Southern Baptist Church from 1981 until December 2016. The Encanto Church family was tremendously blessed for many years by the amazing leadership of Rev. Conley and will continue to be blessed for many years to come.

Under Pastor Pope’s leadership, the continued blessings of God and through the guidance of His Holy Spirit, the Encanto Church family continues to “. . .press toward the mark. . .” by:

  • Increased giving to mission efforts locally, statewide, and through the International Mission Board;
  • Started active, growing and vibrant Spanish speaking ministries (Worship service and Bible studies) to improve outreach to the Hispanic community;
  • Partnered with the Jacob & Cushman San Diego Food Bank to be a site for monthly distribution of free commodities to our local community, which has been well-received;
  • Partnered with Live Well San Diego and the American Heart Association to provide free weekly Blood Pressure Screenings, Healthy Eating info, and various other health-related workshops to enable our congregation and community to be more informed, make better choices, and live healthier lives;
  • Increased the number of Small Group Bible Study Sessions (English and Spanish) conducted at Encanto Southern Baptist Church and at various homes throughout the San Diego communities;
  • Annual Community Clean-up where dumpsters are provided onsite for free dumping of yard waste, old furniture items, clothing and non-hazardous waste, etc.
  • Annual Health Resource Fair – offering free Flu shots, Blood Pressure Screening, Vision testing, and information re. the availability of other critical services available in our community, combined with a free clothing giveaway, one-on-one witnessing and prayer;
  • Making further improvements to our building, grounds and signage for better visibility in the Community; and the addition of new monitors and audio-video equipment to enhance the worship experience.

The Encanto Church has outgrown its facility and are in need of expansion to prepare for continued growth and to expand ministry impact locally and throughout the world. The Lord is truly at work, doing things that many would have never thought possible back in our early history when Rev. and Mrs. Haywood conducted Sunday School in an old Dodge bus! But true to the Lord’s nature, He is showing what He can and will do when His people surrender, commit and step out on faith.

Studying God’s Word, trusting in His promises and sufficiency, and joining Him where He is working has brought us to this exciting time in the history and life of Encanto Southern Baptist Church! A diverse family united by faith in the Gospel, motivated by love for God and others to Exalt, Evangelize, Edify, Equip, and Encourage. – and to God be the glory for all HE HAS DONE!

Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. And on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ. We agree, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort. To promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel to all nations. We also agree to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment. To avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks and controlled substances or anything that will defile the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior. We further agree to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech. To be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay. We finally agree that when we move from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

Two Ordinances ESBC Celebrates Regularly:


Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old self, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his/ her faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

Any person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicated a commitment to follow Christ as Lord, shall be received for baptism. Baptism shall be by immersion in water. Baptism shall be administered by the pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, and shall be administered as an act of worship.

The Ordinance Committee shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism. A person professing Christ and failing to be baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or staff and deacons. If negative interest is ascertained, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.


The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of bread and fruit of the vine, memoralizes the death of our Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.