The Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church was first organized as a mission at 2767 May Street, Springfield, Ohio on December 31, 1960. The mother church was the Springfield Missionary Baptist Church. Of the twenty charter members, many are now deceased, but while they are gone, their works live on. The first pastor was Rev. Millard Brooks and the first clerk was James Cosby.
There is an old proverb that says, "a kite arises against the wind." Simply put, this means that you should never let adversity get you down. If viewed positively and used properly, hardship can serve to lift you up. This is especially true in the work of the Lord. It is indicated in the beginning, the church was located at the end of a dead end street in the southeast end of Springfield. Since there were already five churches in Limecrest at the time, many doubted that Peoples could make any headway into the community. However, by the end of six or seven years, over half the attendance was made up of people from Limecrest.
The building itself was a 30' x 30' block structure. It is not clear from the Church minutes, but it appears that the building was purchased for somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000. As you can imagine, it was so small that they had to go outside to change their minds! There were no indoor restroom facilities, no furnace, no water fountain, no air conditioning, no Sunday School rooms and very limited parking. The church's front yard was a paved turn-around for the dead end street and even though it was illegal, it became a major portion of the parking space.
Any reasonable person would have to conclude that a successful ministry under these circumstances would be impossible. However, when the people have a mind to work, nothing is impossible with God. Within three years the size of the building had been doubled, a basement had been constructed under the new addition, Sunday School rooms had been added, and a water fountain and restrooms were installed. The Springfield Missionary Baptist Church had also given them enough pews to accommodate the sanctuary. It finally looked like the rough road was going to be smoothed out.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. The water was all but undrinkable, the basement was always wet and sometimes as much as half of it was full of water. Each time the basement flooded, the furnace had to be repaired. A large tree limb fell through the roof and a school bus backed into the corner of the church causing the roof to be replaced. The windows developed cracks around them large enough to throw a cat through. The new addition deleted even more of the limited parking space and the city took even more space to install a sewage lift pump station. Furthermore, while the pews were given to us by Springfield Missionary Baptist were a God send, they were homemade out of pine boards and soon developed into a splinter factory. Hardly a Sunday passed without someone snagging a dress, running a pair of hose or tearing a pair of pants on a protruding nail.
These problems were only a few of the troubles that challenged Peoples over a 25 year period. Again it seems reasonable to assume that all of these problems would bring discouragement and even strife and contention among the members. Surprisingly it seemed to bring the church closer together and even more determined to overcome. Their attitude was "The Lord Will Provide."
Almost from the beginning in 1961, there were several in the church who foresaw Peoples purchasing land, relocating and building a new church. Two men even pictured the church on its present location. This was many years ago and those men were Rev. Warren Fultz, who now has gone to be with the Lord, and Bro. Gillis Cavins.
In the fall of 1984, based on attendance, it became apparent that the facility at 2767 May Street would soon become inadequate and so talk began in earnest about relocating. Needless to say, everyone had mixed feelings about leaving a place where the Lord had blessed for 25 years, but by the fall of 1986 it was undeniable that something had to be done. Unofficially, several individuals began to check out leads on possible land purchases, but in every case, the locate would not be acceptable or the cost was prohibitive. In early 1987, we checked into the six plus acres on which the church now stands and found the price to be $42,000. In the spring of 1988, the price had been dropped to $36,000 and the church voted unanimously to purchase it. It was necessary to borrow approximately $19,000. The debt was retired within one year.
In the meantime, in anticipation of having to borrow a fairly large sum of money to contract for the new building, the church voted to be incorporated (03-12-1988). This was done for two reasons. The first reason was to eliminate the personal liability of those signing for the loan. The state approved the petition for incorporation but informed us later that there was already a church in Springfield incorporated under the name of Peoples and therefore we would have to use a new name. The congregation was asked to submit names. A few of them were Lakeside, Lakeview, Canaan and Elim. None received a majority vote. Finally, someone suggested naming it based on the location, Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church. The vote was unanimous and the name was changed February 4, 1989. An excellent name would have been Nehemiah Missionary Baptist because "The People had a Mind to Work."
During the incorporation effort, designated individuals were speaking to contractors about building the new church. The most reasonable bid submitted was $210,000. The church realized that they would be unable to service a debt that large so decided to do their own subcontracting. The responsibility fell largely on Bro. Gillis Cavins and Bro. Lawrence Roark. Through their effort and the volunteer work of every individual in the church, including men, women and children, the church was built and only $95,000 was borrowed. The $95,000 debt was retired in five years. The church conducted its first worship service in February 4, 1990 with Rev. Warren Fultz preaching the first sermon.
For several years before moving to the new location, the church was aware that they were experiencing overall growth, but a large number of the youth were ceasing to attend after they graduated high school. Very shortly after relocating, Bro. Mike Fultz began developing what is now called the Summer Reach-Out Program. The purpose of this program was first to provide a vehicle where the young people of the church could come together in a Christian atmosphere and not only enjoy themselves in various recreational activities, but also learn something form the word of God. Secondly, it could be used to reach out to other youth in the community and hopefully arouse an interest in them to attend church and Sunday School, even if not at our church, then somewhere else. The church voted officially to fully fund this program in May of 1993 and since then it has become an integral part of the church agenda. In addition to the original program, the church now funds a Junior Reach-Out and an Adult Reach-Out program.
Perhaps the largest project undertaken by the Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church was the construction of the Christian Life Center. The church spent almost 2 years in prayer and discussion concerning a facility of this type and finally was led to believe that not only would a facility of this nature be a great benefit to our overall youth programs, but would also provide the opportunity to take many of the secular activities including plays, dinners, basement sales, etc. out of the church building itself. On April 11, 1998, the church voted unanimously to proceed with this project. The building itself is a 100' x 66' structure. It contains a regulation size gymnasium, stage, fully equipped kitchen, nicely equipped restrooms, including showers, and two large rooms to be used as the need arises. The building also has an upper level that can be finished and used for future Sunday School rooms or other extra space as the church continues to grow. Building started in April 1998 and was finished in November 1998 at a cost of $373,000.
This brief history of the Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church was compiled and written based on the minutes of past Business Meetings from 1961 through 2000. It was written in conjuction with the 40th anniversary of the church, which took place officially on March 3, 2001.
It is hard to believe that ten years has passed and March 3, 2011 was the church's 50th anniversary. In looking back at the early days, it is clear the charter members and early pillars of the church shared in a common commitment to love God, live Jesus and to learn to serve. The Lord has blessed Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church because of those that went before us. They were willing to follow and do his will. That commitment has brought us to the 50th anniversary.
Over the past few years leading up to the 50th anniversary, the church has had the opportunity to be involved in many areas of serving. Some of those activities were feeding the homeless, sending shoe boxes filled with special items to the Franklin Graham Organization, sending Pure Water Packets to areas with unclean drinking water, sending Bibles to Zambia Africa, Adopt A Family, working with 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots. Many different people within the church have been involved with these and other opportunities to serve. From the Children's Sunday School classes, to the Teen Reachout, to all the women and men of the church. These efforts have glorified God and lifted up the name of Jesus.
The church has been blessed to have some new events and activities as well as have some of the other older activities continue and develop into more. Some of these events and activities are the Community Egg Hunt, Vacation Bible School, and Christmas Caroling. One special event was when a group of young men from Zambia, Africa came to sing and share their testimonies for Christ with us. Who would have thought back in 1961 that a group from another continent would bless us with their testimony and songs? Another special program that has developed is the Women's Mentoring Program. A program that is both encouraging and strengthening to all those involved.
Information technology has developed at MUMB in the last few years as well. The church now has a website, www.mumbchurch.org, a church newsletter and a photographic church directory.
It was mentioned earlier that the debt on the Christian Life Center Building as of March 3, 2001 was less than $220,000. We are thankful to say that debt was paid off in July of 2007. The Lord has truly blessed.
In 2007, a need for more classrooms for Sunday School and Training Union began to be a concern. In 2008, the church started planning for additional space. The original plan was to complete the unfinished portion upstairs in the Christian Life Center. In gathering estimates from a few contractors, the cost was overwhelming for the amount of square feed we would yield. One of the contractors approached the church with an alternate plan. It was to build an addition to the front of the Christian Life Center rather than finish the upstairs. The plan was well received. Again, after times of prayer and discussions, the church voted to proceed. Construction began June 1, 2009 and was finished in October 2009 at a cost of $226,975.
Fifty years have come and gone. There have been many sermons preached, many souls saved and many lives changed. Seeds have been planted and watered; however, it is always God that gives the increase. Even though a lot of work is done, there is still a lot to do. As we thank him for these fifty years and this place of worship today, we pray that the Lord continues to use Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church to do his will and lift up the name of Jesus. Like those who came before us, may we continue to share their commitment and always be found "Loving God, Living Jesus, and Learning to Serve".
The Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church was first formed as a Mission on December 31, 1960 at 2767 May Street, Springfield, Ohio.
On March 3, 1961, the Mission was organized as an independent church under the name of Peoples Missionary Baptist Church. It had 20 charter members.
|1. Rev. Millard Brooks||11. Junior Hoppes|
|2. Annie Cavins||12. Yvonne Hoppes|
|3. Wheeler Cavins||13. Bessie Longworth|
|4. Bertha Cosby||14. Clemons Longworth|
|5. James Cosby||15. Clyde Longworth|
|6. Gobel Dean||16. Shirley Massengill|
|7. Hazel Fultz||17. Nella Faye Owens|
|8. Rev. Warren Fultz||18. Essie Roark|
|9. Pearl Hendrik||19. Lawrence Roark|
|10. Sillis Hendrik||20. Opal Smith|