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Union Temple Baptist Church was founded by the late Reverend Chester R. Smallwood on July 6, 1967, and was officially recognized by the Baptist Ministers Council of Washington and Vicinity as a Missionary Baptist Church in November 1967. In 1969 after a period illness, Reverend Smallwood was unable to continue service. Hence, Reverend Simon Beamon served, assisted by Reverend William Roundtree (September 1971- September 1972), and Reverend John Moss (September 1972 - February 1973). In March 1973, Reverend Willie F. Wilson was called by the then active membership of 30, to be the chosen shepherd, and assumed the Pastorate. In 1990, against incredible odds and opposition, Rev. Wilson led the construction of a $3.5 million church complex in the heart of Anacostia. With its Kente-stained glass windows, the church receives world acclaim for its 30-foot by 19-foot mural depicting the Last Supper. It not only has the image of a black Christ, but also has the twelve disciples depicted as twelve significant Africans and African Americans, among them Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. During Reverend Wilson's many years of inspirational leadership, the membership has grown to over 8,000 and God continually adds to the church. In 2019, after 46 years of leadership, Rev. Willie F. Wilson retired as Lead Pastor and turned over the mantle of leadership to his very capable daughter, Dr. Anika Wilson-Brown who currently serves as Lead Pastor.


The mission and purpose of Union Temple Baptist Church is to carry out the mandate of Jesus, to feed (His) sheep by developing the spiritual lives of members to be followers of Jesus. Union Temple, employing Africentric perspectives and universal spiritual truths, has a particular and peculiar responsibility to empower the people of God, spiritually, mentally and physically to build the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. 

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“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34


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