The Union Missionary Baptist Church was organized in the year of our Lord 1894 by the Rev. D. K. Williams of Missouri. There was a small wooden building erected on the north side of the church and at the time it was called the Second Baptist Church, located on Chigger Hill, which is now Bruce Street. Under the leadership of Rev. Williams the church family grew. He served approximately five years and was called from labor to reward. The church then called Rev. Tonie Baker. Under his leadership the above named building was remodeled and enlarged. Rev. Baker served faithfully for seven years, and then he too was called from labor to reward.
Rev. M. W. Watts was called in April of 1945. During his leadership, pavement was put down, parking areas were laid, and the new building was started. He served faithfully for the next six years.
We were blessed with a dynamic and powerful leader. Rev. Felix Lavonia Thomas’ ministerial endeavors, teachings and preaching added to our church numerically and financially. Under his leadership the new rock building annex was completed and paid for. The main auditorium was decorated three times, including new carpeting, new pews, and a baptism pool. Rev. Thomas organized the F. L. Thomas Bible Institute,
The Junior Church, a City-Wide Daily Vacation Bible School, the Annual Easter Sunrise Services held on Pine Mountain, the observance of “Fellowship Day” on the third Sunday in January, and the observance of “Family Day” still celebrated on the third Sunday in March. Rev. Thomas was the moderator of the Yellow River Missionary Baptist Association, Trustee of the Union Baptist Institute in Athens, GA, and chairman of Rockdale County Fifth District of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia. After twenty-two years of faithful service, Rev. Thomas retired and was later called to rest. The youth choir is named in memory of the pastor that cared so much about youth and education.
The church called Rev. J. L. Smith. Under his leadership, the F. L. Thomas Choir which had grown considerably, was divided by age groups forming a young adult choir ages 16-30. The new group became the J. L. Smith Young Adult Choir because of the time, effort, and dedication shown by Rev. Smith. After 5 years of faithful service, Rev. Smith resigned, but under his administration new windows were installed in the auditorium, new carpeting, and a micro-audio system was purchased. Sunday worship service was extended to the first through the fourth Sundays.
In 1978, the church called the honorable Rev. J. L. Freeman, Sr., a firm believer in the Bible. He held Wednesday night Bible classes and started week long training institutes twice a year. He encouraged the organization of the 26/46 Mission Society. A new musical group, the J. L. Freeman Male Choir was formed in his honor. Additional accomplishments under Rev. Freeman’s administration are, renovation of heating and air conditioning, purchase of a Baby Grand Piano, renovation of the sanctuary and repair of the Bell Tower, renovation to the front and side entrances of the church, built a new wheelchair ramp, and recent remodeling of the bathrooms. New Saturday morning Discipleship classes were taught by our Assistant Pastor, Rev. William Boddie.
Rev. Freeman led the celebration of our 99th Anniversary and had the foresight to begin planning the 100 year anniversary. He formed a committee and gave them a vision of a grand celebration. He wanted Union Missionary Baptist Church ready to begin the next century with a strong commitment to doing great things in the name of the Lord and the 100 year Anniversary was the beginning of this spiritual rebirth.
In October 1993, the Lord called Rev. Freeman home after almost 15 years of dedicated service. His dream has lived on and become a reality. The church family made the 100 year Anniversary a memorable, glorious time of celebration and thanksgiving. He is especially remembered and loved on this special day. We are grateful for all his hard work and inspiration.
Rev. William Boddie became interim pastor after Rev. Freeman’s passing. He held us together and paved the way for our next called leader.
Rev. C. André Grier was called to be our Spiritual Leader on March 4, 1994. He was installed May 1, 1994. He was passed torch which was lit by our Founding Fathers to insure that this great institution will stand long to shelter worshipers, to save souls and spread the word of God throughout this great world. Many new souls came to know the Lord through his teaching and preaching. The church has grown both spiritually and financially.
Under Pastor Grier’s leadership Union made astronomical accomplishments, including: new carpet in the annex area, upgrading the computer system, new organ, new PA system, new copier, new van and implementing an effective van ministry and noonday Bible Study. Many new ministries were established also, including: New Members Orientation, Children’s Church, Discipleship Ministry, Hospitality Ministry, Events Planning Ministry, Nursing Ministry, Pastor’s Academic Excellence for Youth, Brotherhood and Sisterhood Ministries.
In September 2004, Pastor Grier led the church into a new 24,000 square foot Sanctuary and Educational facility. The lower level of the facility is now being used for daycare. In September of 2014, Pastor Grier resigned as pastor.
The church voted to have Rev. Edward L. Randolph, Jr. serve as our Interim Pastor. On March 9, 2015, Pastor Randolph accepted the call as the 11th Pastor of Union Missionary Baptist Church and was installed on June 14th, 2015.
By the grace of God, Union Missionary Baptist Church is on the move again. God has truly blessed us and the members of Union have recommitted themselves to do the work of the ministry. As a result, God has shown us tremendous favor. As we “Celebrate the Victory in Jesus Christ,” lives and our local community are being transformed for the Kingdom of God. In additional, we are experiencing spiritual and numeric growth as the Word is being preached with power and taught with authority.
Under Pastor Randolph’s spiritual leadership, several UMBC ministries have been revived or implemented including Brotherhood Men’s Ministry, Iron Men Bible Study, FuZion Kingdom Teen Church (Ages 12-19), Throne Room Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Church without Walls Evangelism Ministry, Women of Women (WOW) Adult Dance Ministry, UMBC Male Chorus, The Living Room Young Adult Ministry (Ages 20-29) Coffee Talk Ministry (Ages 30-40) UMBC Golden Treasures Senior Ministry and several others. In addition, our worship experience has been enhanced with upgrades in our audio and video technology, as well as live streaming of our Sunday services.
A new and updated church website was launched. Finally, we have made several enhancements to our sanctuary including newly renovated 3rd floor baptismal and conference rooms, Pastor and First Lady’s Reception Room for guests, and our new UMBC Revelation Bookstore. In 2019, our church was impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 Virus which temporarily closed our building for more than 16 months. Under Pastor Randolph’s leadership, UMBC was able to continue to function and stay connected through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube where our worship services and Bible study were held via livestream. As a result, our church congregation now operates in both an in-person and on-line environment.
As we embark on the next chapter in the life and history of Union Missionary Baptist Church, we truly believe that the best is still yet to come. We must continue the work that has begun. God has been good to us and in a spirit of gratitude, we praise Him. We look back with pride, we look at the present with thanksgiving and we look ahead with joy at the great things God has done and continues to do through us.