Upon this sacred ground, in 1883, our Founding Father, Rev. Edward Gentry, seven Deacons: Benjamin Clarke, Peter Govan, Collins Jones, Washington Mayo, David Perkins, Albert Taylor and Thomas Taylor and Founding Families stepped out on faith to organize First Union Baptist Church by purchasing ½ acre parcel of land from Mr. Jordan and Mrs. Lucy Winston. Birthed from First Shiloh Baptist Church, dedicated believers assembled for First Union’s first congregation beginning September 8, 1883 - 1885
Following Rev. Gentry, was Rev. Jacob Turner, who begat Rev. Tunstall Banks, who begat Rev. William Thomas, who begat Rev. W. A. Brown, who led the church from 1910 - 1916. Trustees: William Govan and Phillip Dandridge, headed the construction of the new church in 1917. Construction was completed in 1918 and John Cephas was the primary carpenter. In 1919, Rev. William H. Branch became the sixth pastor. On January 26, 1941, First Union was destroyed by fire. Two weeks later, Rev. W. H. Branch passed away.
The re-built church was completed in 1942. In June 1942, Rev. Emanuel C. Kent was called to be our seventh pastor. A large church bell was installed in the rear of the church. In January 1951, a young energetic, and ambitious minister, the Rev. Bernard S. Giles, became the eighth pastor. Under his leadership, First Union became the first rural church in the state of VA to become a full-time church. In 1967, a new sanctuary was remodeled and dedicated
On June 30, 1991, a plan was developed for a new building to be attached to the existing sanctuary, known as the B.S. Giles Educational Wing. First Union’s History Room was established per Rev. Dr. B. S. Giles’ request as it had been, “an inspired vision and dream for years”. Rev. Dr. B. S. Giles, Sr. served as an outstanding leader at First Union for 50 years, retiring in January 2002.
The church was without pastoral guidance for four years. During this time, the Chairman of the Deacon Ministry, Deacon Irving Crockett, Sr. and the five Ministries provided leadership. On June 28, 2005, after much prayer, the church elected its ninth pastor - Rev. Dr. Dexter Cannon, who was installed on November 6, 2005. A commercial kitchen was added and finished by 2007.
On April 26, 2014, Rev. Lewis R. Yancey II was installed as the tenth Pastor of First Union. His teaching style of preaching God’s word has increased church membership and expanded Ministries within the church.
First Union continues to adapt to the progressive needs of the congregation and community.
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First Union Baptist Church