NEW UNITY BAPTIST CHURCH
1900 - Present
1900 - Present
It was in the year of 1900 that a group of Christian men and women saw the need to meet together for Christian fellowship in the eastern part of the city. They held their first meeting at 1080 Gilbert Avenue. The church at that time was known as New Hope Baptist Church. Later, Rev. Wilbur Page, Sr. christened the church the New Unity Baptist Church.
Sometime later the congregation purchased a parcel of land from Patrick Early for the sum of $500.00. The land was located at 647 East Sixth Street. There the congregation began to build a church. The pastor at that time was Rev. I. N. Tunney. Rev. Tunney and the members labored hard in the building of the church. However, Rev. Tunney left after a disagreement with the members and the deacons.
Rev. G. W. Clark was then called to pastor the church. The church had a mortgage of $2,000.00. Under the leadership of Rev. Clark, the church paid off the first mortgage and had a total of $3,000.00 in the treasury. The church membership grew so fast that they decided to finish building the church. Rev. Clark worked in the church three years. Then he was called to a pastorate in Shelbyville, Indiana. The church was again without a pastor:
The Rev. N. Hackersmith served as pastor for eighteen months.
The Rev. S. S. Scisson pastored New Unity for six years. We had seven thousand dollars in the bank. After Rev. Scisson left, we then called Rev. G. W. Young. Rev. Young stayed with us for only a short period of time. At this time our church was in bad condition. Many repairs were needed. Due to the poor condition of the building, the church was condemned. It had to be rebuilt from the ground up.
The Rev. S. C. Smith then accepted the pastorate of the church. Rev. Smith came to us from College Hill. He and his brother, John Coleman, and many others worked long, hard hours rebuilding the church. Rev. Smith was called to Middletown, Ohio to pastor a church there. We were again without a pastor.
After Rev. Smith’s resignation, we then called the Rev. G. W. Stringfellow. He served us for two years. One Sunday, God called him to rest, as he made his way up the steps leading to the church. After his death, we called the Rev. R. D. Wess. Rev. Wess served us for seven years. On the second Sunday morning in May, he offered his resignation effective immediately.
Once again the church was left in a financial strain. In fact our church was about to be padlocked and placed in foreclosure. But GOD was with us and made a way out of no way. The blessing He sent us at that time was Rev. A. A. Freeman. Rev. Freeman personally met with the bank and took on the responsibility of paying the church’s mortgage. Under Rev. Freeman’s leadership the church stopped barbecuing and paid off the old church by GOD’s way of tithes and offering.
In 1960, progress in the form of the expressway took our church at 647 East Sixth Street. We then purchased property at 2124 Burnet Avenue. We built a new church and proudly held our first regular service there on Easter Sunday, 1965. This beautiful edifice you see today is credited to God, Rev. A. A. Freeman, and the faithful members of the New Unity Baptist Church.
Once again under Rev. Freeman’s leadership the church was paid off by tithes and offerings. In just a little over ten years. Soon after the mortgage burning in 1976 Rev. Freeman’s health began to fail, but GOD had answered his prayer to live on until the church was paid off. Rev. Freeman pastored faithfully for 36 years.
In 1977, Rev. John L. Lockett accepted the call of God to become our pastor. Rev. Lockett was a man of faith, hope, and love. He was a great organizer and a gifted preacher with an evangelistic appeal. Rev. Lockett instituted many positive changes that enhanced our spiritual and financial growth. He was a zealous leader. We were all greatly saddened by his sudden death on January 10, 1980.
Our present pastor is Rev. Mark A. Toney. Rev. Toney served faithfully under Rev. Freeman and Rev. Lockett. He accepted God’s call to become our pastor in May, 1980. Since becoming our pastor, Rev. Toney has given progressive leadership to our congregation and the Mt. Auburn community. Rev. Toney is the epitome of a man appointed with youth and anointed with wisdom, love, and faith in the future.
In the history of our church, we lost one pastor due to ill health, Rev. A. A. Freeman. We lost two pastors by death, Rev. G. W. Stringfellow and Rev. John L. Lockett. Death has also claimed the following deacons and trustees: Brothers—D. J. Washington, Love Barden, R.J. Brown, Stewart Smith, Allen Johnson, Elliott Walker, William Coles, Rev. Lonnie Smart, W.C. Griffin, Joseph Cotton, Clifford Stratton, Sidney Dubose, John H. Smith, John Stevenson, Charles Munday, William Herring, Willie Johnson, George Adcox, and Carl Lewis Jr. (Deacon in Training).
Other Minister(s), Deacon(s), Trustee(s), and Finance Committee Member(s) who have served under Rev. Mark A. Toney: Rev. Lorenzo B. Acoff, Bro. Henry Boston, Bro. Joe Fuqua, Rev. Donald E. Garrett, Bro. Sherrod Ice, Bro. Curtis Kelly, Bro. Phillip Macon, Bro. Michael Merritt, Bro. Thomas Merritt, Sis. Katherine Pettijohn, Sis. Brenda Riggins, Bro. Terry Rocker, Minister Alvin Scales, Bro. Jimmy Thomas, Evangelist Pearce Toney and Bro. Rick Whittle.
Currently serving under Pastor Mark A. Toney is,
Minister(s): Rev. David Ingram, Rev. Frank Johnson and Rev. Roger Mays.
Deacon(s): Anthony Blair, Godfrey Clay, Hillary Johnson and Thomas Jones.
Trustee Board: Sis. Shirley Acoff, Chairperson of the Trustee Board; Sis. Peggy Brown, Financial Treasurer; and Sis. Gaye Johnson, Trustee.
Finance Committee Member(s): Deacon Anthony Blair, Bro. Arthur Caine, Sis. Geraldine Dubose, Sis. Kay Johnson and Sis. Beverly Galloway..