Where We Came From
Located just outside the city limits of Opelika, AL on Lee Road 391, Union Grove Baptist Church is the oldest church in the Tuskegee-Lee Baptist Association. It was organized in 1828 and until 1854 was known as Friendship Church. Deeds record that the property was given in 1854 by Mr. & Mrs. Henry Shelton Oliver. A portion of the cemetery was purchased from Mr. C. H. Martin and additional property was given by Mr. & Mrs. Gholston. The old sanctuary located on the grounds was built in 1898, after fires destroyed the two previous buildings on the site. The first building was destroyed around Civil War times. It was rebuilt and the second building burned on a Sunday morning in 1897. The third building, built in 1898, and is still used occasionally when needed.
In June 1980, with additional spaces being needed, construction began on a Fellowship Hall. For many years the children’s Sunday School classes and Nursery were held in this building. It still contains the Sunday School offices, Pastor’s study and one classroom, a Library, Kitchen, and area for group gatherings.
Union Grove Baptist Church once located in a very rural area is now located in a growing and prospering community, due to residents moving to the outskirts of town. Because of this and the need once again for additional space and a vision for the future, ground-breaking took place in April 1997 on the new Worship Building. The building was completed in August 1999, constructed almost entirely by members of the church. The construction period proved to be a great time of bonding and fellowship for our church family. After completion, we had the privilege of hosting the Tuskegee-Lee Annual Associational meeting in October 1999.
The new sanctuary seats approximately 300, with the Nursery, Toddler room and 3 classrooms downstairs. Upstairs are 6 classrooms, which serve as the Children’s department and Youth department.
In 2000, land next to the church property was donated to the church for additional parking space and pastorium. The center parking lot was paved and marked with visitor and handicap spaces. In 2002-2003, again additional parking was needed and land was cleared with plans to pave. In 2014 the church again saw the need for expansion and a new fellowship hall, kitchen, gym and several classrooms were added to fill the growing needs of the church. Union Grove is now in a position to move ahead with a bright future, our mission being to disciple Christians and to reach people for Christ in the community.
There have been 19 pastors at Union Grove Baptist since 1907. Our current pastor, Rev. Russell DeLee, was called in 2015. Our hearts desire is that Union Grove be a hospital for the hurting. A place where anyone that enters feels the love of Christ, encounters a true worship experience, and receives hope, encouragement and direction from God’s Word, where we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Union Grove is a special church rich in history but may we be continually looking ahead with a vision for the future.
(Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1)