Past and Present Church Location.
Welcome to Union Baptist Church.
History of Our Church.
Union Baptist church was organized in November 1871 by seven persons who withdrew from Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Because they were united in thought and action, they therefore named the church, “Union”.
The ground for the original church was donated by one of the Deacons J. H. Brooks. The first edifice was built on the corner of 12th and Mason Streets. Union Baptist Church became an instrumental factor in the community for Christian living and fellowship.
From November of 1871 until the present, Union Baptist Church has had 15 pastors.
In 1940, under the second pastorate of Reverend S. C. Manual, the 12th Pastor, the church moved to a new location to make way for a Federal Housing Project. Union was then built on its present site located at 14th and Monroe Streets. Union moved onward increasing membership, growing spiritually and financially.
On November 4, 1945, Dr. S. C. Manual went home to be with the Lord.
In January 1946, Reverend J. Alfred Wilson, with wife Annie L., came to Union as its Pastor. All departments flourished in their Christian duties. Soul-saving and Christian growth formed the nucleus of the church. Dr. Wilson was quite active in the denominational work of the church. He serving as both President of Baptist General State Convention and Moderator of Wood River Baptist District Association.
Under Dr. Wilson, the Church was remodeled. Modern equipment was installed, such as musical instruments, central heating and air conditioning. Also, additional property was purchased, as well as a bus for church transportation.
On September 19, 1976 Dr. J. Alfred Wilson answered the call and went home to be with the Lord.
On January 15, 1968, Reverend Rudolph S. Shoultz, was unanimously called to be our next Pastor. Dr. Shoultz, his wife, Vera, and two children, Tony and Michelle moved into the parsonage on April 1, 1968.
Dr. Shoultz, a great leader and administrator filled with the Holy Ghost, wasted no time taking union to greater heights. In June 1970, ground was broken for construction of a fellowship hall/educational facility and remodeling began on the 1941 sanctuary structure.
In 1970, Dr. Shoultz opened the UBC Day Care Center and in February 1973 started the Radio Broadcast on WTAX-1240AM. Again, additional property east of the church to the corner of 15th and Monroe Streets was purchased for off-street parking. A playground was added and all additions were paid off and dedicated on November 5, 1979.
Union Baptist Church paid off in nine years and nine months, the two hundred fifty thousand dollar loan for the Educational Building originally set up for a 20-year mortgage. The mortgage was burned in 1982. In addition, the Music Ministry was reorganized into one mass choir, the Voices of Union.
Through the efforts of Dr. Shoultz, Union Baptist Church were able to spread the good news of the Gospel in his native land of Jamaica, West Indies, in 1987. In 1988, the Soup Kitchen Ministry began which evolved into a food pantry. On March 10, 1991 the church through a partnership with Boston Capital Investors built a twenty-four (24) unit Senior Citizen low-rise apartment complex.
On March 3, 2000 Dr. Rudolph S. Shoultz went home to be with the Lord.
Reverend T. Ray McJunkins accepted the call as pastor of Union Baptist Church on July 31, 2002. Becoming only the fourth pastor in 100 years, Pastor Mcjunkins and family moved to Springfield in August 2002.
Pastor Mac, as he is so affectionately called, had large foot steps to fill. However, the Springfield community quickly discovered that Pastor McJunkins foot steps were ordered by God. He immediately picked up where Dr. Shoultz left off. Purchasing the old Washington property for additional parking and continuing with project 2000, the church’s building plans.
Pastor McJunkins restructured the expansion plans for a new 40,000 sq. ft. facility to minister, not only to the Union membership, but to the community as well. In addition, he has enhanced the role of Christen Education and thus the Church is again growing both spiritually and physically. The building program saw the fruits of its labor when the first service was held in the new Sanctuary on December 25, 2005.
The Union Church has now moved from a traditional worship to a combination of traditional and contemporary praise celebration. The Union Baptist Church now takes up one block within the heart of the eastside community. To honor the three pastors prior to him, Pastor McJunkins named each major area of the 56,500 sq. ft. facility the following:
The 1941 structure in now the Dr. S. C. Manual Memorial Chapel.
The new facility has class rooms now named the Dr. J. Alfred Wilson Educational Wing.
The 1970 structure is now the Dr. Rudolph S. Shoultz Fellowship Hall.