In 1921 a mission was organized by Bro. and Sis. I Kircker, Bro. and Sis M. Vaughn, Rev. and Sis. F. Reed, Sis. L. Pillar, Fara Rice, Mrs. Porter and Grandma Greenwood. These members began by meeting in each other’s home on a regular basis. It was under the leadership of Rev. Darden that this little mission was dedicated into organizing a church. The membership was called together by Rev. E. Nicholas, Pastor and the Jordan Baptist Church was formed. The preceding Pastors were Rev. Dixon, Rev. Thomas, and Rev. I. Fulton. Later pastored by Rev. Frank L. Cobbs, services were held in the home of Bro. Willie and Sis. Macie Bickham on Berkley Avenue in East Chicago Heights, Illinois. As the membership increased the church relocated in a small wooden structure.
In 1932 Jordan Baptist church and First Corinthian Baptist Church, Pastor Rev. R. Carter united to establish “First Union Missionary Baptist Church” establishing Rev. L. W. White of Gary, Indiana as Pastor. The name of First Union was established to show them united as one. First Union was also incorporated in 1932. Rev. L. W. White received another calling and Rev. C. Richardson of Gary, Indiana was called as Pastor proceeded by Rev. A. R. Searles.
In 1942 Rev. Theodore McMillian become the Pastor. Under his leadership the church land was sold and new land was acquired. Bro. William Cade supervised the building of the new church. In 1968 First Union marched into the present location of 1301 Woodlawn Avenue where God inhabited much praise for his mighty works in the lives of the people. Mission was vibrant, Sunday School was exciting and BTU was the best training session around. The youth choir as full and every Auxiliary was fully operational. Rev. McMillian served his church and community where extraordinary growth transpired under his leadership. In 1978 Rev. McMillian retired and become the Pastor Emeritus until his death.
After the retirement of Rev. McMillan, Rev. Robert House became the Pastor. Under his leadership our first Sunday Morning Feeding Program was established, as well as the Angelic Choir was organized by First Lady Sis. House. In 1979 Rev. House resigned and Rev. Darnell Hopkins served as Interim Pastor.
In October of 1979 Rev. Carl Larry White, Jr. of Harvey, Illinois became the new Pastor of First Union. Under his leadership Pastor White established a Nursery where parents left their children during Sunday Morning Service. He also established our first structured teacher training that was developed by taught by Sis. Ophelia Taylor.
Rev. White organized our first over night retreat. He established the Inspirational Choir, the Sanctuary Choir, the Dr. Watts Choir, and the Candy Strippers. It was under Rev. White’s leadership First Lady Joanne White developed the Sunday Morning bulletin into a ministry tool that would keep on blessing people through out the week. First Union was broadcasting live weekly on the radio and the church membership continued to grow. In 1987 Rev. White resigned and Rev. S. Morgan becomes the Interim Pastor, followed by Rev. K. Murray.
On January 2, 1988 Rev. William Jenkins, Jr. was called to Pastor First Union. Under his leadership the Praise Team, the Willing Workers, the Woman’s Ministry, the Mid-afternoon Bible Class was formed. Rev. Jenkins established the First Prayer Breakfast, and the First Saturday’s Seminar. It was under the leadership of Rev. Jenkins female ministers were speaking in the pulpit. In January 2003 Rev. Jenkins was lead to established his own ministry, but not before establishing the Men-to-Men Ministry. For the next 11 months First Union was in a time of reflection and consecration.
In December 2003 Rev. Robert M. Foster, Jr. was called as the new leader of First Union. Praise and Worship as well as Training and Operational Systems were gradually put back into place. For the past eight years Pastor Foster has started an active Witness and Outreach Ministry, Food Pantry and Clothing Give A way Ministry, Greeting Ministry, Children’s Church, New Member Orientation, Easter Extravaganza, Christmas Toy Give A Way. In the future Pastor Foster will establish a Marriage Enrichment and Single, Saved and Sanctified Ministry better known as S3.
80 years of divine approval is visible as we express our gratitude and celebrate the tenure of our church’s existence. As proud as we are of our church, we constantly pray to keep humble. We pray to ever hold to these principles and faith and doctrine that have made us useful and inspirational.
We pause to salute the pioneers of their efforts, who without a doubt, put God in front and in spite of small financial gain were able to hold on, to carry on and to push forward to continue to doing the work of the Lord.
First Union Missionary Baptist Church has come this far by Faith Leaning on the Lord, Trusting in His Holy Word, He never failed us. God Bless.