OUR HISTORY

 

 One hundred and twenty-seven years ago, in 1886, a group of dedicated Christians met together and established Unionville Methodist Episcopal Church. Three-quarters of an acre of land were purchased from Sarah and Bobby Thorton in what was then called Monroe County. The first trustees were Sterling Collier, Frank Vaughn, Henry English, Isaac Barkley and Frank Butler.

 

The congregation built a sanctuary in which to worship. It served them well until April 10, 1960. On that fateful day, the church was destroyed by fire. Only the piano and a few pews were saved. Although the church members were devastated by the fire, they did not let this tragedy stop them from serving the Lord. From April to September of 1960, the Shiloh Baptist Church graciously opened their doors to the congregation could continue serving the Lord. After that time, services were held in the old school house next door to the destroyed sanctuary. Under the leadership of Rev. T Conway, a new church was built. Following Rev. Conway, Rev. R W Sutton served as pastor for eight years.  Rev. David Dunlap became the next pastor for two years. It was at this time that the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren to form the United Methodist Church. As part of that merger, the all-black Central Jurisdiction was disbanded. Both white and black conferences merged on the basis of common geographical location. 

 

The next pastor was Rev. T R Miles. During his four years pastorate, the church continued to grow and progress. The church was able to install carpeting and dig a well. The junior church was also organized during this time.

 

In 1975, Rev. J. T Jewell became our pastor. During the six years that he pastored, the physical structure of the church underwent extensive renovation. The entrance was relocated, a finance room was constructed, a choir room and a pastor’s study were added. The inside of the sanctuary also was remodeled.  

 

In 1978 we were once again touched by tragedy when in November the church was burglarized. The members once again rose to the occasion and continued serving the Lord. During the late 70’s and into the decade of the 80’s each auxiliary made an effort to improve the physical appearance of the church. The church also grew spiritually and continued a tradition of involvement with other churches and the surrounding community. During this time there were several pastors: Rev. David Franklin, Rev. Harvey Palmer, Rev. James Reed, and Rev. R Darrell Pollard. The year of 1989 was an exceptional year for our church with the installation of central heat and air, new windows, and a new public announcement system. Unionville also played an essential part in obtaining and paying for a parish parsonage.

 

In 1990 Rev. Arundel Hope was assigned as our pastor and plans were developed for building a Fellowship Hall.  It was completed with the mortgage being paid off in September of 1996 while under the leadership of Rev. Alfred Hoard. Rev. Hoard came to us in the latter part of 1994 with working hands and uniting lives together. We started an 11 AM service under his leadership, which helped Unionville marked another milestone. 

 

visited the sick and made an effort to take care of those in need. Many small goals were accomplished: handicapped signs were placed in the parking lot, exit signs installed in the church, an extra fire extinguisher was placed inside of the sanctuary, and a telephone was installed in the fellowship hall.  Other improvements included new carpet, stained glass windows June of 1998, Rev. Hubert Brown came to Unionville and the Barnesville Parish. One of the most important efforts he made was getting the men back into the church.  A church bus was purchased and primarily used for transporting the Church's Youth and other Youth in the community on field trips. An and8AM service on first and third Sundays was added, making Unionville a full-time church. We were able to start a Year-end Celebration along with a fundraiser for the parish known as the Black Tie event. But the most important thing was the seven people who came to Christ; one by restoration, the others by a procession of faith. 

 

June of 2001, the Rev. Dr. Vincent Miller was welcomed to Unionville and the Barnesville Parish. Rev. Miller came with a Spirit to take Unionville to the next level that God has for us. With a Can Do and different Attitude, Dr. Miller assisted the church in written its vision statement, "We are a community of Christians that seeks to involve all members of the church, live out the word of God and win souls for Jesus Christ."  In September 2001, the congregation began a fund-raising drive to purchase new pews. With the assistance of a grant from the Committee on Existing Church Development, new church pews were installed in April of 2003. The church was also able to put vinyl siding on the exterior and reduced the size of the altar. This project was funded with the money from this drive. The ministry of the church also grew with the creation of a Male Chorus, the Young Adult Choir called the Voices of Joy and bible study. The church continued full-time 8 am service on 1st and 3rd Sunday, followed by breakfast and then Sunday school.               Rev. Miller was active in a number of community projects including the mayor's community improvement committee, Lamar County ministerial alliance and the MLK Jr. celebration committee. Also, he started a summer camp at Unionville. Two babies were baptized, two inactive members rejoined the church, Grover Evans Sr. and Ms. Sara Francis, also six youth were confirmed under his leadership. We collected empty medicine bottles for the outreach program. The Reverend Doctor Vincent Miller was with us for 6 years.

 

June of 2007, Rev. Carl Marshall was welcomed to Unionville and the Barnesville Parish. His pastor message celebration stands at the very center of our lives. Sociologist, as well as Christians, says that it is essential to the ongoing of our lives as God has called his people to himself, guided them through life, and brought many people here to Unionville United Methodist Church. During his stay, the church began planning for a new roof. We were able to purchase more land to extend the cemetery.

 

Reverend Ronald M. Johnson came to us in June 2009. He comes to us, unlike other pastors. He did so much in less than a year. What are some of the things he did? Under his leadership, Sis Arlene Watts served as the Worship Leader, Brother Conrad Cooke, President of the Administrative Board, Brother Charles Barkley, Director of Finance replacing Brother Amos Hartsfield who passed serving in that position. He wanted us to be able to see the Church being the Heart of the Community with the Community at Heart. We were blessed to have a Pastor that was concerned about the members and their Christian walk. He visited inactive members, the sick and shut-in members. He did leadership training and started Bible study again. Under his leadership, we have seen an increase in church attendance. The members participating more in the services and visiting other church services in the community, along with the Pastor. There have been two people to come to give their life to Christ. Developing plans were well on the way to make improvements in our church building and the paving of the church ground along with a new roof, and improvements to the church cemetery. For we are thankful to the Almighty God that this will be accomplished and that Unionville will be able to use this building to Do and Give all we can to our Master above by being faithful and serving him here and everywhere we go. So here we stand, over 100 years after the birth of the Unionville Methodist Episcopal Church. Because Unionville still stands today, it is evident that our fore parents built this church on a sure foundation. 

 

The Rev. Maggie Young came out of retirement to be the first female pastor in our church history in June 2012 to  June 2016. The Administrative Church Counsel Chairperson was Conrad Cooke, Charles Barkley, Finance Chairperson, Clinton Etheridge, Trustee Chairperson, Church Historian, Juanita Fletcher, Sick and Shut-In, Dorothy Evans, Children's Ministry Coordinator, Grover Evans Jr., Birthday Coordinator, Laura Ba   

 

The Rev. Wilma J. Hastings was assigned as the new pastor of Unionville United  Methodist Church June 2016. Almost immediately she sought to bring unity between Greenmount and Unionville. Her main focus was going beyond the wall of the church into the community.