On November 5, 1813, Union Church was constituted with eleven members. On the day of the organization the first members who were received for baptism were Polly Page and Betsy Poor. Bro. Leonard Page, the first pastor, served for eighteen years, then Bro. William Warder, who was serving the church in Russellville, was called to Union for half-time and was said to be a wonderful help to the church. He left it standing like an everlasting rock.
The first building was a log meeting house on the Clarksville Road near Dry Fork Creek. The blessings of God were upon this church, and there was a marvelous growth during the first years of her history. In 1830 a new building was erected on the same road near Whippoorwill bridge.
In July, 1814, the church joined the Red River Association and after a few years went into the Gasper River Association. Since August, 1830, Union has been a member of the Bethel Association. New Union cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention and contributes fifteen per cent to the Cooperative Program.
Union was the Mother of six churches. On December 2, 1815, a colony of ten went out and formed Mt. Gilead Church at Allensville. In April, 1818, another colony of ten were dismissed to form the Baptist Church in Russellville. In 1820 several went out to form New Providence. In April, 1820, twelve were dismissed to form Pleasant Grove (now Spring Valley). In 1850 twelve of her members went out to constitute Dripping Spring, and later a colony went out to form Green Ridge Church.
The first Communion Service was in May, 1814. When the church met on Friday to transact all business, they voted that Saturday be spent as a day of fasting and prayer before taking the Lord's Supper on Sunday. The church was well filled on this occasion, and the spirit of God was truly manifested.
In those days the white and colored people worshipped in the same building. It was decided to leave the old church on the Clarksville Road to the colored people and build a new one on the Hopkinsville Road for the white people. So this present building was dedicated in August, 1869, and given the name, New Union. A nice parsonage was also built at the same time. The church had preaching three Sundays a month at one time, several times two Sundays, but most of the time once a month, until August, 1951, when the church, under the leadership of Bro. Reid V. Kidd, voted to go full-time.
Seven preachers have been ordained by this church, with only one of the number serving as pastor -- Bro. C. P. Shields. He was also a member of the faculty of Bethel College for a number of years.
On the first Sunday in July, 1856, at the close of the service, one of the beautiful girls of this church, Mary Ellen Morehead, came forward and declared her intention to devote her future life as a missionary in Africa. She had been married that morning to Rev. Selden Y. Trimble, of the New Hope Church. After she had taken an affectionate farewell of each member through tears and rejoicing, an offering was taken and presented to her, not to be included on her salary as a missionary, but just as an expression of love. This missionary spirit extended to their grand-daughter, Mary Nelle Lyne, who spent her girlhood as a member of this church, but later in life she moved to Russellville and went from the church there as a missionary to China, where she spent ten years.
This church has had a number of wonderful men serving as pastor. Bro. Leonard Page was the first to serve. Bro. James Lamb held the longest pastorate, serving twenty-three years. Out of forty-six pastors only twelve are living.
This church has had fifteen clerks. Nelson Lyne, grandfather of Misses Mattie and Emma Lyne, served as clerk for thirty-eight years and preserved the minutes from the constitution, where much information can be found.
On November 5, 1913, with Bro. Joe Burnett as pastor, the Centennial of the church was celebrated with a beautiful service.
In 1944, under the leadership of Bro. Hankins Parker, the church dug a basement and installed a central heating system and completely renovated the auditorium.
In 1948, with Bro. J. B. Jackson, Jr., pastor, the church built five Sunday School rooms and the baptistry. These were dedicated on October 19, 1948. Bro. Hankins Parker delivered the dedication sermon. Deacons James Statton and Myrom Berry burned the note on May 21, 1950.
On November 3, 1954, New Union voted to build the beautiful parsonage, located across the road from the church. Bro. J. E. Moreland was pastor at the time. This building was completely paid for in February, 1957, under the leadership of the pastor, Bro. Archie Redman. Deacons Paul Rager, Myrom Berry, Garner Hancock, and Bro. Redman burned the note on March 16, 1957. Bro. John R. Christian brought the dedication message.
In August, 1958, Bro. Hayward Casey, pastor, led the people to vote to start construction of six additional Sunday School rooms. These were completed in the early winter, and were paid for in October the following year.
In November, 1959, the lovely sign was erected in the front of the church.
Our present pastor, Bro. Albert P. Evans, Jr., came to New Union in July, 1960. Since then the church has added the garage and utility room to the parsonage. The auditorium has been redecorated and the aisles and front carpeted, this has been done in 1963.
These have been some of the material blessings from God, but most important has been the spiritual growth at New Union. Dedicated men, women, boys, and girls are a living testimony to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to the love He manifested to us.
We praise God today for this beautiful house of worship and pray that He shall lead us to greater and nobler things for His name's sake.
We invite you to join us this afternoon on a trip back into the past 150 years. In this modern day and age we are constantly made aware of man's progress in Science Agriculture, Medicine and all fields of endeavor -- looking always into the future for new frontiers -- and that's as it should be.
Union was the mother of six churches: Mt. Gilead, Russellville First, New Providence, Spring Valley, Dripping Spring, and Green Ridge.
After about twenty years of growth, we are told a difference of opinion arose and "the peace of the church was greatly affected." "The storm finally blew over and left the Church standing like an everlasting rock." (1908 directory New Union)
We realize that all of the country was torn and troubled beginning with the unrest before and during the Civil War. Not only the social and political life but especially the spiritual lives of the people were upset and the heavy burden of war was on the hearts of all people. We realize that in time of trouble all people turn to God for help and "Just a Little Talk with Jesus."
Countless numbers of people have contributed to the growth of New Union. Only in eternity will they be justly rewarded and crowned for their efforts.
After the war was over, the members of Union Church gave their building to the colored people, up until this time they had worshipped together, and in 1869 this building was dedicated to God and used by the white people as their place of Worship. God has been so good to the people at New Union and our prayer today is that we will be challenged to do greater things in His Name as we think about the religion of our forefathers "Old Time Religion".
The Lyne family has been most active in Union Church for decades. Nelson Lyne served as church clerk for thirty-eight years. Coleman Lyne taught the Men's Bible Class for years and was called to Heaven, Sunday Morning, April 21,1926, while teaching that class. Miss Mattie Lyne played the organ for twenty years and Miss Emma taught a Junior Sunday School class for fifty years. She began teaching at fifteen.
In the words of Mr. Seldon Lyne at the one hundredth anniversary, this is not only a joyous occasion but a solemn one -- solemn because in the cloud of witnesses that compass us about are the spirits of those who blaze the way for the progress of the Baptist cause in this community: solemn because our example of Christian character and conduct brings to our minds our own responsibilities.
They have "allured us to brighter worlds and led the way," and we, their children in faith, "should rise up and call them blessed." =================
[Excerpts from New Union Baptist Church 1963 Homecoming Booklet. Provided by Mark duBarry.]
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