The Sunday School Union of the State of Maryland and Vicinity, Incorporated
How It All Began. . .
In the year of our Lord 1894, one of our Christian leaders had a vision showing them that “Where There Is Unity There Is Strength.” So, on December 30, 1894, they called a mass meeting at the Mt. Hope Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing a Sabbath School Union.
It was decided by the majority present that the organization would be known as The Charles County Sabbath School Union.
The following officers were elected by ballot: Bro. Wesley Carter, President; Sis. M.R. Hancock, 1st Vice-President; Bro. Charles Ross, Sr., 2nd Vice-President; and Sis. H.C. Harrison, Recording Secretary. After the election of officers, several members spoke of the good this Union could bring in the future.
They were so elated over the Union that they decided to hold another meeting in January of 1895.
On January 14, 1895, the 2nd meeting was held. Rev. R.B. Ward of the Mt. Hope Baptist Church presented to the organization a code of By-laws and, after being read, was received and adopted with the understanding that from time-to-time it would be necessary to have a Standing Treasurer. Sis. Frances Thomas was nominated and elected for that worthy position. Also, an Executive Board consisting of nine members was elected by a majority vote. Members of the Board were as follows: Rev. R.B. Ward, Chairman; Bro. Wesley Carter, Sis. L.V. Carter of the Mt. Hope Baptist Church; Bros. Wallace Ward, Charles Ross and Yancy Warren of the Zion Baptist Church; and Bros. Thomas Barber, John Brooks, and Sis. McDaniel of the Emory Chapel Church in Grayton, MD. With their officers and board members elected, they felt that they could begin their specific method of worshipping God together as a Union.
On March 29, 1895, they held their first Sabbath School Union at Little Zion Baptist Church in Hilltop, where they exercised their ambition. Rev. R.B. Ward delivered the first Union sermon. The first collection totaled $3.90.
Thus, the Church Rotation System began at the 2nd Union, June 30, 1895, at the Emory Chapel Church; the sermon was delivered by Rev. Davis, the collection totaled $6.70.
The 3rd Union was held at Mt. Hope on September 29, 1895; the sermon was delivered by Rev. Wesley Carter and the collection totaled $7.64. The Union had grown and others, seeing this and the unity that existed, wished to become a part of this Union. So, at this session, the following Sunday Schools were added to the Union: Oak Grove Baptist Church, in Grayton, MD, with Bro. Jacob Scott, as Superintendent and Alexandria Chapel Church in Chicamuxen, MD, with Sis. Celia Merdock, as Superintendent.
Knowing that the Union did not have a 3rd Vice-President and yet felt the need for one, Sis. Celia Merdock was elected to fill that position and Sis. S.E. Green was elected as the Corresponding Secretary.
The Union, having grown and feeling that it wanted to exhibit the spirit of cooperativeness, decided to elect officers for a term of two years.
In 1921, the Union elected Bro. Edgar Haywood as President.
In 1923, Rev. George Price was elected as President; Bro. Isaac C. Posey, 1st Vice-President; Bro. William Ross, 2nd Vice-President; Sis. Anna Saunders, Secretary; Sis. Frances Thomas, Corresponding Secretary, and Bro. Charles Ross, Sr., Treasurer. These officers, being energetic workers decided to have a "freewill" offering, in which each Sunday School paid a fee of $1.00. This offering was used to help the less fortunate children to secure a higher education. This cabinet served for a period of eight years.
In 1931, Rev. Joseph Marbury was elected President; Bro. Charles Ross, Sr., 1st Vice-President; Rev. R.B. Davis, 2nd Vice-President; Sis. Katie Ross, Recording Secretary; Sis. Bernice Swann, Corresponding Secretary; Bro. Preston Janifer, Treasurer, and Bro. John Ross, Marshall. These officers served a period of 10 years with the exception of Bro. Charles Ross, Sr., who was succeeded by Rev. R.B. Davis as 1st Vice-President and Bro. Alexander Washington was made 2nd Vice-President.
In 1939, Rev. R.B. Davis was succeeded by Bro. Otten Swann as 1st Vice-President.
Through the intelligence and cooperativeness of his cabinet, the Union was able to enjoy an outing at Suburban Gardens, in Washington, D.C., their first trip out of Charles County!
In 1941, Rev. J. W. Keys was elected President and served a period of two years.
By this time, the Union had a population of eight churches. The afternoon sessions of the Union were almost wholly devoted to its youth.
In 1943, Rev. R.B. Davis was elected President.
On July 30, 1944, with Bro. Otten Swann as President, the Union celebrated its "First Anniversary", which in actuality was its "50th" at Zion Baptist Church, in Hill Top, MD.
The Union Chorus was also put into action during this administration with Sis. Laura Swann as its President.
The constitution was revised and the name of the Union was changed from Sabbath School Union of Charles County to The Sunday School Union of the State of Maryland and Vicinity, Inc. (unchanged as of today.)
After the Union was incorporated, a Resident Agent was required, so, Bro. Otten Swann was appointed and served 15 years as that agent.
Under the administration of Bro. Otten Swann, the following accomplishments were noted:
- The Union's First Trip to Sparrows Beach.
- The Union Sunday School met every 5th Sunday morning.
- An Attendance Banner was acquired.
- A Junior Chorus was developed.
- Pictures of the Officers were taken.
- Badges were acquired for the Marshall, as well as, the Ushers.
- A Corporation Seal was obtained, and
- A Finance Committee was established.
Also in 1960, a Board of Directors was appointed that included: Bro. John Turner, Chairman; Sis. Clara Washington* Secretary; Bro. John Brooks, Bro. Robert Brown, Sis. Bernice Day, Bro. Sylvester Gray, Bro. Lancaster, Sis. Evelyn Posey, Bro. Joseph Washington, Bro. Marshall Washington* (still living). All but two of these then Board members have passed on to Glory, but their names live on in memory because of their good deeds. These members faithfully worked on the Board and upheld the Union banner. *Please Note: (Sis. Clara Washington still attends the Union whenever she is able.)
In 1963, Bro. John Dent was elected President succeeding Bro. Otten Swann. The following officers were serving at the time: Bro. Alexander Washington, 1st Vice-President; Sis. Aretha Smith, 2nd Vice-President; Sis. Thelma Bonds, Recording Secretary; Dea. Preston Janifer, Treasurer; Sis. Alberta Gray, Corresponding Secretary; Dea. John Turner, Marshall, and Bro. James Jackson, Assistant Marshall.
Sis. Aretha Smith was replaced by Dea. John Thompson and Dea. Preston Jannifer was replaced by Dea. Frank Young. These officers were installed by Rev. Dotson of Macedonia.
Under President Dent's administration, much had been accomplished, some actions included:
- The Usher Board was organized, with Dea. Eugene Day as President of the Union Ushers.
- Financial Assistance was provided to some students who were interested in furthering their education.
- They were: Shirley Burroughs, Mildred Hawkins, Michelle Hinton, Stephanie Hinton, Edna Mae Jackson, Felicia Price, Yvette Slater, Michael Smith, Geraldine Warren and Jacqueline Washington.
- Financial aid was given to the sick and shut-in as well.
- The freewill offering was raised from $1.00 to $1.50 and then to $2.00 until it was last finally raised to $5.00. This offering was used to aid those children who need help in furthering their education.
- The Union also set aside a fund of 10% of all money taken in the Union Session for Mission work.
- A new banner had been purchased. Thanks went to Mrs. Clark for her interest in purchasing the banner which replaced the old badly worn one.
Deacon Dent aided by Union members were fortunate and were able to take the children on outings to:
- Glen Echo Amusement Park.
- Bethel Beach in Virginia.
- Gwynne Oakes Park in Baltimore.
- Marshall Hall Amusement Park in Bryans Road.
- Kings Dominion and Colonial Beach both in Virginia.
The Sunday School Union was the first Black organization to enter Colonial Beach and Gwynne Oakes Park for a picnic. President Dent had served faithfully for 16 years.
In 1985, after many years of service, Dea. John Dent was replaced by Dea. William S. Cole, who was appointed by the body to serve as its next president. He recommended that a Banquet be planned to honor those officers in Dea. John Dent's cabinet had worked for over 20 years giving faithful and dedicated service.
On December 7, 1985, the Banquet was held at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. The following were honored and received plaques: Sis. Thelma Bond, Dea. John Dent, Sis. Alberta Gray, Dea. William Posey*, Dea. John Thompson, and Dea. Alexander Washington.*(Still attending, all others deceased.)
“Near The Cross” was chosen as the "Theme Song" for this Union in Honor of Dea. John Dent.
A Scholarship Fund was initiated to assist students in furthering their education and during the last service of the year, certificates were presented to various members for outstanding accomplishments. Minister of the Year: Rev. Harvey Custis, Superintendent of the Year: Dea. Francis Ford, Sunday School of the Year: Woodland, Outstanding Girl: Juanita Ford (Smith Chapel), Outstanding Boy: Timothy Warren (Woodland Village).
In 1986, a $500.00 Bond was purchased to assist Woodland Village Baptist Church in their building process.
Also in 1986, Dea. Theodore Price and his staff prepared and presented the “Union Informer Newsletter” to all the churches.
In October 1988, all officers were given Certificates of Appreciation for services rendered.
On October 29, 1989, the installation of new officers was held at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with Dea. Theodore Price, President; Dea. Freddie Curry, 1st Vice-President; Deac. Marjorie T. Lancaster, Recording Secretary; and Rev. Harvey Custis, Installing Officer.
President Price set up a committee to update the Constitution. He continued working with the Union until his health failed and was called from labor to reward.
In 1990, Dea. Freddie Curry stepped up as Union President, with Dea. Rufus Washington, 1st Vice-President; Deac. Vera Pearson, 2nd Vice-President; Deac. Marjorie Lancaster, Secretary; Sis. Joyce Pearson, Ass't. Secretary; Deac. Viola Warren, Correspondent Secretary; Dea. Robert Smith, Treasurer; Dea. Mason Proctor, Ass't. Treasurer; and Dea. Harris Keys, Marshall. President Curry and this administration continued the work that needed to be done.
Deacon Freddie Curry’s Achievements / Highlights ~ (1990-2002)
Dea. Curry encouraged the Constitution Committee, led by Rev. Lowell Hancock, to meet and make the necessary changes.
Also in December 1990, the body nominated Dea. Robert Smith to be the next Treasurer.
In March 1992, Sis. Vera Pearson was nominated and accepted the position of 2nd Vice-President of the Union.
In September 1994, a Talent Program was planned by Sis. Sarah Cobey and members from all Churches participated. It was held at the Woodland Village Baptist Church.
The "Centennial Celebration" was planned to be held in April 1995 at the Zion Baptist Church, with Sis. Vera Pearson as the Chairwoman.
Also, under Dea. Curry's tenure, several of the Union's Annual Outings were held at Will's Park in La Plata, MD.
The work of Kingdom Building continued to progress under the leadership of Dea. Freddie Curry.
In 2003, Dea. Winfred Pearson stepped up as Union President, with Dea. Freddie Curry and Dea. Maurice T. Baker, Sr., as Vice President, respectively; Deac. Denise G. Baker, Secretary; Sis. Joyce Pearson, Ass’t. Secretary; Dea. Francis Ford, Treasurer; Deac. Cecelia Minor, Ass’t. Treasurer; Rev. Lowell Hancock, Sr., Spiritual Advisor; Rev. Joseph C.T. Flippin; Installing Officer; and Dea. William Bannister, Marshall.
Deacon Winfred Pearson’s Achievements / Highlights ~ (2003-2010)
- The SSU Summer Basketball League was created by Dea. Maurice Baker and the fellowship was enjoyed by all involved.
- The Friday Night Youth Talent Activity Program was established and first held at Zion Baptist Church in 2004.
- An Evening of Prayer was established in 2004 and was first held at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church initiated by Sis. Sandra Cobey.
- The SSU Official Directory was created in 2003, as well as, the Official Letterhead was created in 2007 and continues to be utilized today.
- The first-ever Combined Youth Play, Harvest Night and Gospel Program were held in 2008.
- The Choir changed names . . . From: “The Praise & Worship Conference Choir”, To: “The Sunday School Union Choir”.
- Total Scholarships Awarded to SSU Recipients: 30 with a value of $13,376.
- Overall Union Member attendance for the entire eight-year period was 4,021.
In October 2011, Dea. Maurice T. Baker, Sr., stepped up as Union President, with Rev. Charles White, Sr., Vice President; Deac. Denise G. Baker, Secretary; Sis. Terri Robinson, Ass’t. Secretary, Deac. Cecelia Minor, Treasurer; Tru. Martin Matthews, Ass’t. Treasurer, Rev. Robert Smith, Spiritual Advisor; Rev. Samuel King, Jr., Installing Officer; and Min. Ronald Butler, Chaplin.
Deacon Maurice Baker’s Achievements/Highlights ~ (2011- )
- The SSU Summer Basketball League was expanded, and currently involves 100 or more Union Players, neighborhood youth, coaches, referees, pastors, members, and friends.
- Scholarships Awarded thus far to SSU Recipients: 15 with a value of $8,300.00.
- Publication of the new "Union Circular" Newsletter.
- First Union "Annual Outing" held at the Lions Camp Merrick in Nanjemoy, MD.
- First-ever "In The Mix" Youth Activity Night conducted at PGMBC.
- Created the SSU Website (sunschunion.org) and integrated E-Mail capabilities.
The Union Continues . . .
All praise be to God!.... The Best is yet to come!
Deaconess Denise G. Baker, Secretary of the Union (2003 - )