Union Missionary Baptist Church traces its roots to 1887, which makes it older than the city of Homewood, where it stands. This venerable house of worship, at the center of the historically Black neighborhood of Rosedale, is integrally tied to the community it serves. When segregated Rosedale High School was damaged by a bomb during the height of the civil rights movement, the church doubled as temporary classrooms for its Black students. The school is long gone, but the church perseveres.
Over time, attendance in the church has declined as Rosedale itself was divided by a highway and reduced by encroaching commercial development. Now, the church is seeking donations in hope of ensuring its preservation. It has set a fundraising goal of $135,000 – $1,000 for every year the church has existed.
Pastor Edward Steele spoke to Alabama NewsCenter about the church’s past and its hopes for the future as community members and local preservationists rally to the cause.