Their decision to form the Union Baptist Church Mission grew out of a prayer meeting held by our original first families. Brother Robert Doswell was the first Deacon of the Union Baptist Church Mission. These humble Christians were steadfast in their determination to serve and worship God free of segregation and oppression.
Under the leadership of Reverend Moses J. Haskins, who was originally from Virginia, worship services were held at Weed’s Hall, an old rented dance hall located at Atlantic and Canal Streets near Main Street in Stamford. After the dances concluded at Weed’s Hall on Saturday evenings, church members would scrub the floor, clean and rearrange furniture and transform the untidy dance hall into an edifice of worship.
Reverend Moses J. Haskins served the Union Baptist Church Mission for three years and was succeeded by the Reverend J. O. Cornish of Concord, New Hampshire. During Reverend Cornish’s pastorate, a lot on the corner of Adams Avenue and Beech Street, now Vista Street, was purchased from St. John’s Society, which is now St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Reverend Cornish was succeeded by Mr. William O. Harris. Mr. Harris was, at that time, a student at Boydton Institute in Boydton, Virginia. While he was a student, he served the Union Baptist Church congregation during the summers as a part time minister. During his absence, the pulpit was filled by the Reverend James Bowman of New Haven, Connecticut. Following his graduation from the Seminary, Reverend Harris returned to the Union Baptist Church Mission for full time service.
Under the leadership of Reverend Harris, the Mission was officially named the Union Baptist Church. A new church was built on the corner of Adams Avenue and Vista Street. It was a white painted wooden frame structure built in a New England colonial style motif. The new church included a belfry tower and consisted of three floors: a basement, main level and loft.
After a successful pastorate of twenty-five years, Reverend Harris resigned to accept a pastorate at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Albany, New York.
The Reverend William Lee Baxter came to Union Baptist Church in 1941 from St. Augustine, Florida under the recommendation of Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. The first female trustee, Mrs. Daisy Perlman, was installed during his administration. A tremendous financial gain was experienced during his pastorate and new auxiliaries were formed. The Stamford Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (the N.A.A.C.P.) was also initiated in 1942 at Union Baptist Church. Mr. Edward Jones, the church clerk, served as its first president.
After seven successful years as the Pastor of Union Baptist Church, Reverend Kearse accepted the call to be the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
In September of 1954, the Reverend T. Ewell Hopkins came to us from the First Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. During his four year tenure, the mortgage on the Adams Avenue church was burned during the Sixty-Ninth Anniversary of Union Baptist Church. Central Air Conditioning was also installed within the sanctuary. Following the departure of Reverend Hopkins, Reverend Edward H. Coleman served as Interim Minister.
The Reverend Charles M. Franklin, Pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church of Spotsylvania, Virginia assumed the pastorate of the Union Baptist Church in May of 1969. Under the leadership of Reverend Franklin, the Lay Ministers’ Program was established and the church became involved in various community organizations inclusive of the Stamford Day Nursery, the Stamford Hospital, the Rehabilitation Center and the West Main Community Center which is now the Yerwood Center.
Reverend Perry brought with him an anointed calling, wealth of experience, an abundance of energy, innovative wisdom and knowledge and the ability to share God’s Word in a most creative and effective manner.
The church purchased a new parsonage at 42 Cooper’s Pond Road. With the development of a rapidly growing congregation, there were overflowing crowds at Sunday worship services and Church School sessions. Soon the Union Baptist Church outgrew its facility at 28 Adams Avenue. The church membership met as a body in 1977 and voted to purchase a 3.5 acre property located at 805 Newfield Avenue. The property, consisting of a church edifice and parsonage, was previously owned by the Bethany Assembly of God.
The structure is more than brick, mortar, stone and wood. Symbolism is interwoven throughout the construction. The church is built on 12 foundations. A 12 sided structure taken from Ephesians 2:20 and the hope of the New Jerusalem as found in Revelation 21:14-16.
Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Perry, who is known for his prophetic preaching, prolific discipleship and progressive ministry, the Union Baptist Church has become a viable Christian enterprise which operates to serve others on a twenty-four hour basis. During the 1990’s the Union Baptist Church in Whitlesea, South Africa was completed with our financial support.
Our church members are fulfilling the spiritual mission which God has ordained and mandated. With His blessing they have assumed community leadership responsibilities in education, medicine, politics, and government on the local and state level.
The Union Baptist Church continues to engage in innovative ventures which seek to expand and enrich the earthly kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Its emissaries are currently developing a prospectus entitled: “Open Our Eyes; Order Our Steps, The Union Baptist Church Strategic Plan: 2020 and Beyond”. The mission is to develop a 3-5 year strategic plan to support UBC’S vision to become a relevant biblical community developing dynamic disciples for the Kingdom of God in Lower Fairfield County and the world through reverent worship, relevant ministry, realistic evangelism, revolutionary discipleship and real fellowship. Based upon Ephesians 1:18 and Psalm 119:133 the scope of the plan includes Christian Education and programming, facilities and infrastructure, and marketing and communications.
From our obscure beginnings at Weed’s Hall, God has transitioned the Union Baptist Church Family into the twenty-first century and provided for us a kingdom building purpose and agenda through which we may continue to serve Him and serve humanity within our local and regional communities and the world.
On October 21, 2018, we were blessed to burn the 20 year church mortgage. As we view our present church which is a 5.3 million dollar edifice, we rejoice in the fact that it was built by tremendous sacrifices from the membership. Our theme was and continued to be in our Higher Ground Campaign: “Not Equal Giving, But Equal Sacrifice.” Within this structure there are no walls of memory or plaques of donation. Although many gifts were given, the building serves as a monument dedicated to the joint sacrifices of all of God’s people. It is a mute testimony to the joint labor of love. No one received the praise but God, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
In December of 2019, Reverend Perry, after 48 years of pastoral leadership at Union, announced his intention to retire in 2020. It was an emotional time for the church as Pastor Perry has had such great impact on the lives of so many.
A Pastoral Search Committee was formed and began to meet in January, with the intention of finding our next Pastor later that year. But that was not God’s plan; the Covid pandemic hit in early 2020. In-person worship was suspended as of March 15th. Pastor Perry felt strongly that he could not leave his flock under these circumstances; he informed the church family that he would postpone his retirement date until the crisis passed.
With God as our guide, the church navigated through the pandemic in a number of ways. Leveraging the efforts of dedicated and talented Audio-Visual, Ministerial and Music Ministries, we began to stream Sunday worship services. In addition, we operated our church office remotely, held numerous drive-through events and online programs, served as a Covid testing and vaccination site and created a weekly e-newsletter to help connect members during this period of isolation.
As Covid vaccines became available and the pandemic began to ebb, the Pastoral Search Committee resumed its work. With the support of the church body, the committee hired a national search firm, Vanderbloemen, to assist us in finding our next Senior Pastor.
The church resumed in-person worship services on Palm Sunday, March 28th. Pastor Perry stepped down as Senior Pastor effective August 1st. He was elected as Pastor Emeritus and preached his last sermon as Union’s Senior Pastor on July 25th. The sermon, based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-6, was titled: “I’m Thankful for My Time”.
As the search committee continued its work, Reverend Carleton Giles of Zion First Baptist Church of Middletown, CT acted as Interim Pastor, effective August 1. Pastor Giles won the hearts of the Union congregation and served with excellence.
After an exhaustive, national search and much prayer, the search committee identified the person they believed God was calling to be Union’s next Senior Pastor, Reverend Andre Bradley, then Senior Pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. Over the course of three days, December 3rd-5th, Pastor Bradley was presented to the church in various forums. On December 9th, he was overwhelmingly elected as the next Senior Pastor of Union Baptist.
Pastor Giles served as our Interim Pastor until Saturday, January 15th. On Sunday, January 16th, Pastor Andre Bradley (fondly known as Pastor B), assumed the reigns.
Union has indeed been blessed throughout its history and, most recently, throughout this transition period. Pastor Bradley branded 2022 as the year of “Divine Connections and Trust” for the Union family. We thank God for what He has done and look forward to this next period of pastor and people