Center Union Missionary Baptist Church VIDEO
“It wouldn’t be a community without a Church. In the Black community the church is the head of the community. The church is the shelter of the community. The church is the hospital of the community.”
Established in 1897, Center Union Missionary Baptist Church has cemented its place in Buda’s History. Center Union was one of the first black churches in the community.
“The people said at that time coming up it was hard. But the most peace they got was at the church, coming to the church,” said Center Union Pastor Andrew Williams.
For five years Pastor Andrew Williams has led the congregation..a congregation that has deep roots in the community.
“We have members that have been here for 40 or 50 years. This is their life church. This is the only church they knew.”
Prior to Williams, there were a number of pastors who labored tirelessly in Faith, Prayer, and Service..
The earliest were Rev. Bolden, Rev. Pybern, and Rev. Washington, followed by Rev. Booker T. Paige, Rev. Fredrick D. Hemphill, Rev. Robert Hancock, Rev. J.E. Usury, Rev. O.B. Clayborne, Rev. Fred C. Wade, Rev. Wilfred R. Brice, and Rev. Raymond C. Mays.
“If you don’t know the history of the church and the relationship the church had with God, I mean, what’s the purpose of the church?”
Center Union started as a one room building in the Black Colony on Cole Springs Road, just west of Onion Creek. People that lived on the East Side of the Creek literally had to wade through the creek to get to church. Throughout the history of Center Union, Onion Creek has played a significant role.
“When they were baptized back then, they went to Onion Creek and they got baptized in Onion Creek.”
In the late 1920’s, the old church was partially torn down. The roof and walls of the building were loaded on a wagon and pulled by mules and the partially dismantled building was moved to the site on Goforth Road, where the church currently stands.
The congregation at Center Union had a close relationship with Antioch Methodist Church, another black church in Buda. The Antioch Colony was a rural farming community formed during reconstruction by a group of freed slaves. The congregations often attended each other’s services. They created a close relationship which continues to this day.
Up to this point, Rev. Clayborne has been the longest serving Pastor at Center Union. He dedicated 40-years to the church from October of 1946 to December of 1986. In his early time as pastor, he would often serve without pay and instead put the money towards completing the church building. This was a formative time for Center Union. Under Rev. Clayborne the church building was demolished and rebuilt.
While there were builders, members of the church pitched in and helped complete the structure. Most of the building materials were used and nails had to be pulled and painting done. The women in the congregation helped raise money for materials by holding what were called “Entertainments. Rallies were also held. Construction on Center Union was completed in 1948.
Over the years, a number of improvements have been made to the church, including a 12 foot expansion, the addition and enlargement of the fellowship hall, the addition of restrooms, a finance hall, and a pastor’s study. Donations of bibles, pulpits and other church items have also been made over the years. And even today, improvements continue to be made.
“We had the foundation redone, we had outside siding put on, we had the sanctuary sheet rocked, we built a little financial office.”
The corner stone, which is still on the church, shows who the deacons were at the time Center Union was finished.
When it comes to Black History, Pastor Williams believes it’s important that we understand the sacrifices that were made by those in our own communities…sacrifices that were made by members of the Center Union congregation.
“King history didn’t come here to Buda, because he didn’t march the streets here in Buda. I think it’s more important to teach our local history moms and dads. They the ones who marched the streets so you can go to school. See, we want to teach. It was our blood, or your great grandmother or grandfather’s blood that was shed for you to go to school here in Buda and Kyle.”
As far as what lies ahead for Center Union Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Williams says he would like to leave something behind for future generations.
“I think it’s our time to leave a building for those who come behind us. And they know they history and we’re going through it now. From 1897 until here now up.”
“We just want everyone to know that the doors are open here. You are welcome. You are always welcome to come here. For those who don’t have a church home, come. Experience Christ. We are full of laughter and love here.”