The Union City Baptist Church was constituted with eighteen members on April 12, 1812. The officiating ministers were Andrew Tribble, Christopher Harris, David Chenault, John Greenhalgh, Joseph Gentry, Robert Frier, and Jessie Winburn. Said those present: “Believing the Word of God contained in the Old and New Testament as the only infallible rule of Faith and Practice and also believing the Final Perseverance of the Saints through Grace to Glory and Believers Baptism by Immersion, the following members were constituted a Church.”
The 18 charter members were: John Winn, Samuel Denny, John Miller, Henry Wills, Thomas Miller, Colby B. Quisenbery, Johnathan West, Patience Miller, Jimmy Miller, Polly West, Phoebe Frier, Charlotte West, Patsy Parrish, Jennie (a black woman), Sally Burton, Lucy Quisenberry, Mary Simmons, and Martha Dosier.
The Church Covenant read: “We believed in those doctrines relative to the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Sacred Authority of the Scriptures, Universal depravity of human nature, the total inability of men to help themselves without the power of Divine Grace, the necessary of repentance toward God and Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, the Justification of our persons entirely by the Righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, Believers Baptism by immersion self denial. The Supreme Judge by which all controversies of Religion are to be tried and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writer’s doctrines of men and private Spirits are to be examined and in whose Sentence are to Rest, can be no other rule but the Holy Scriptures delivered by the Spirit unto which Scriptures so delivered our faith finally resolved.”
Church discipline was strict in the nineteenth century. Members had to attend business meetings and vote and any male member who was absent from two meetings was sent for. Attendance at horse racing was not an approved activity.
In May 1812 Robert Frier was chosen pastor and Colby B. Quisenberry was church clerk. Frier served until his death in December 1819. Quisenberry served until 1830. In June of 1812, the church joined the Tates Creek Baptist Association. At that meeting Quisenberry and Samuel Denny were chosen as the church’s first deacons. In August 1813, the church received from John Winn a deed for one and one half acres of land on which the meeting house now stands. In 1814, the church was practicing the ordinance of foot-washing. Also, that year a member was disciplined for playing the fiddle.
In February 1820, David Chenault became pastor. In May 1821 Thomas Jarman took the post, which he held until 1828. James E. Duvall was the first member ordained to the ministry.
About this time Alexander Campbell began to preach Baptismal Regeneration (that one must be baptized in order to be saved). Most of Campbell’s followers came from established Baptist and Presbyterian churches and formed churches known as Disciples of Christ, or Christian churches. They were also called Reformers or Campbellites. In October 1830 Union City Baptist divided, a majority following Campbell’s doctrine. Fifteen remained true to their original faith. In December 1830, sixteen more joined the Baptist Church and Thomas Ballou became the pastor. After a disagreement with the Tates Creek Association in 1839, Union City in 1847 voted to request admission into the South Fork Association. In 1857 the church joined the Boone’s Creek Association. In 1961 Union City again joined the Tates Creek Association.
In 1848, the Baptist of Union City agreed with the Reformed brethren to erect a brick building on the ground occupied by the old log church, with Baptist claiming to worship the first Sunday of the month and the Reformers the second Sunday. The meeting house was jointly owned until November 3, 1893 when the Baptist purchased the interest of the Reformers in the lot and building. In 1887 an organ was placed in the church. In 1891 a Sunday School was organized. From 1895 until 1902 the church received members from other denominations who had been immersed, but in September 1902 the congregation voted “that from this time on we will not receive members by Alien immersion.”
The church was extensively repaired in 1897 and began holding preaching twice a month. A revival in August of 1904 led 19 additions by experience and baptism. They celebrated their 100th Anniversary with a Homecoming on April 30, 1912. Many former pastors returned and Dr. J.W. Porter preached the Centennial sermon. It is interesting to note that Alton R. Parke was the longest serving treasurer, serving for 37 years and nine months and Helen Blevins was the first woman to hold the office of clerk, she served for 33 years. Under the leadership of pastor Joseph Stiles the church constructed an education building in 1939. A parsonage was begun in 1950 under the direction of pastor Willis Bennett and remodeling and additions of a baptistery and basement were completed in 1953 under the leadership of William Slagle. Under the leadership of William Craig, a stone wall along the road and an outside bulletin board were constructed. The highest regular attendance of the church was realized under pastor William Tucker. During the leadership of pastor Ronald Kerr, a new constitution and by-laws were adopted and the church celebrated the 150th anniversary. The Stella Parke Circle of the WMU was organized under pastor Ted Huckaby.
Pastors of the church over the years have been: Robert Frier, 1812-19, David Chenault 1820-21, Thomas Jarman 1822-28, James Duval 1829, Fredrick Shoots 1829-30, Thomas Ballou 1830-32, Peter Tribble 1841-46, Joseph Ambrose 1846-52, Smith V. Potts 1855-59, Nathan Edmonson 1859-60, J.J. Edwards 1863-69, W.E. Chambliss 1869-72, John C. Wray 1872-78, John G. Pond 1878-86, John I. Willis 1887-96, Richard French 1897, Dr. T.C. Ecton 1898-1902, William McMillan 1903, R.L. Brandenburg 1904-06, J.A. Davis 1906-08, David J. Hunt 1908-09, J.N. Vandiver 1909-10, W.S. Taylor 1910-13, E.W. Summers 1913-16, Elmer Lucas1916-17, Charles Ellis 1917-18, Filmore Boone 1919, A.T. Ross 1920-22, V.E. Filmore 1924-25, E.L. Spivey 1925-28, R. Barrack 1929-30, A.B. Oliver 1931-35, Bro Overton 1936, Joseph Stiles 1937-41, Marvin Ashlocke 1942-43, Dr Wayne Oats 1944-45, Dr Willis Bennett 1945-50, William Slagle 1951-53, William B. Craig 1954-55, William Tucker 1957-58, Ronald Kerr 1959-63, Ted Huckaby 1963-64, Michael Watts 1964-68, Phillip Lee 1968-69, Ralph Benningfield 1969-73, David Johnson 1973-76, George Tucker 1977-80, William R. Smith 1981-92, and Richard Brown 1993-2012, James Hardin 2012-2015, David King 2015 to present.
Union City Baptist Church has stood firm for Christianity and the Baptist faith in Madison County for over 200 years. We thank God for the leadership that has brought our church through the years and pray under His guidance we will stand firm in our faith until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.