Old Union has a long and eventful history stretching back to her original organization in 1795. When Elder John Hightower and other Baptist brethren gathered together to establish the church, George Washington was midway through his second term as President of the United States and the State of Kentucky was three years old.
The new Baptist congregation joined with Methodist, Presbyterian, and Cumberland Presbyterian congregations to erect a log structure fittingly called Union Meeting House. This early timeshare arrangement allowed each congregation to meet for worship there one Sunday per month.
Our present auditorium was built cooperatively with the Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in 1866. A frame structure, it replaced a brick meeting house built about thirty-five years earlier. The vestibule, Sunday school rooms, fellowship hall, and brick exterior were added between 1956 and 2009.
It has been said that “Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships of their ancestors.” Our church forefathers persevered through civil and global wars, epidemics, droughts, and economic depression. They had none of the amenities we now enjoy. Conveniences such as fast comfortable transportation and a hard surface parking lot allow us to meet for worship several times each week year-round. Indoor plumbing, lighting, climate control at the touch of a finger, and padded pews all assure our comfort.
More importantly, Old Union has weathered much controversy and division to remain in her historic place and to maintain her original doctrines and practice. A victim of the missions controversy which swept the country, Old Union ceased meeting during much of the 1830s. The church was reorganized in 1839 through the effort of Elder O. H. Morrow as a “missionary” church.
Firmly committed to missions, Old Union has assisted the organization of churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, and Alaska. Old Union has also supported mission work in Australia, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Guatemala.
Throughout her history, Old Union has joined various associations of Missionary Baptist Churches for fellowship and the promotion of mission work. She currently represents in the Siloam Missionary Baptist Association.
While the hardships have been great, so have God’s blessings. Mindful of her commission, Old Union has continually preached the gospel and baptized believers. Church records of camp meetings and revivals report hundreds of professions and baptisms. She has rejoiced in the spreading of the gospel through these “sons and daughters” and reaped the benefit of church perpetuity.
Believing her commission includes teaching discipleship, Old Union had long sought to fulfill that duty by conducting a Sunday school, Wednesday evening Bible study, and Vacation Bible School. As her members grow in grace and knowledge, many serve the church as teachers, musicians, officers, and deacons.
In 1972, Old Union established The Old Union Ministers’ School to promote greater knowledge of the Bible among the men God has called into the ministry. This school is in session for three days annually, and it has been held in conjunction with a one-day Missions Conference since 1988. Fellowship sessions are also conducted for the ministers’ wives.
Outreach missions sponsored by Old Union in recent years include Vacation Bible School Literature and a campus fellowship. The Student Fellowship of Old-Time Baptists at Western Kentucky University meets weekly for Bible study and fellowship. Both outreach programs are co-sponsored with area Missionary Baptist churches.
Throughout her existence in our ever-changing world, the changing membership of Old Union has preached the unchanging gospel of Christ. God has supplied each generation’s needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” All thanks and glory belongs to Him.
The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.