Our church has a distinctive history in triumph and tragedy dating back to the years of enforced bondage of African Americans in the United States of America. Our triumphant history continues into present day through a steady demonstration of God's awesome power and the love Jesus freely provides for recovery and restoration, as referenced in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
In order to relate the development of Little Union Baptist Church, one must inquire into the history of the surrounding community and into the life-story of one of its outstanding matriarchs.
The Church, which is more than 100 years old, moved into its third sanctuary in 1997—all on Mine (Batestown) Road in the Dumfries District of Prince William County, Virginia. Batestown Road derives its name from a remarkable Black woman to whom many generations of local Blacks trace their roots. Her name was Mary Bates. Mary, fondly referred to as Granny Mary, was born into slavery during plantation days in Northern Virginia. She was an unusual slave in that she gained favor with her owners and enjoyed many privileges denied other slaves. Of foremost importance is the fact that Mary was taught to read and write. She also enjoyed homemaking duties in the “Big House.” Along with other Blacks on the Graham plantation, she received religious instruction in Sunday afternoon classes conducted by the mistress. A stronger faith was developed, however, when these same Graham plantation slaves held their own camp meetings. It was there that hard-working men and women, through songs and prayer, gave vent to the frustrations and joys that characterized their lives. They had an unwavering belief in the mercies of God and in His divine concern for their personal welfare.
Shortly before the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves, Mary was permitted to marry a young slave from an adjoining plantation. His name was John (Jack) Thomas. Following emancipation, Mary and John became stalwart members of the Black community that formed around Cabin Branch Run. Early freedom years presented many problems for former slaves. The inhabitants of Cabin Branch (later referred to as Batestown) found comfort and assistance when they visited the small general store operated by the Thomas’s. There Black men gathered to discuss crops, share ideas, and plan. The marvelous matriarch, Mary Bates Thomas was a letter writer for many illiterates of both races; she administered strange medications that proved remarkably effective; and, as a midwife, she delivered a major percentage of the babies born during that era, especially those whose parents could not afford the services of a doctor. During the last quarter of the 19th Century, two Baptist Churches for Blacks were erected in the area. One was the Neabsco Baptist, presently on Cardinal Drive in Woodbridge and the other was the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located near Joplin Road in Quantico, Virginia. To these sanctuaries traveled the inhabitants of Cabin Branch, some by foot and some in horse and wagon.
Mary reflected on the need that she and her neighbors had for a church of their own; and, with gentle persuasion, she finally convinced John that they should donate the needed land. Records on file at the courthouse in Manassas, Virginia, show a deed dated September 9, 1901 from John Thomas and Mary Thomas, his wife, to Daniel Reid, Buck Griffin and Tazwell Bates, all church trustees. Within the deed was the statement that the property was given for the exclusive use of the New School Baptist Church. When the building was completed in 1903, it was given its present name, Little Union Baptist Church.
Early pastors of the Church were mostly evangelists, who came infrequently to deliver impassioned messages on the good life and the wages of sin. Membership in the church for many years embraced only two or three large families. These devout Christians supported the pastor and contributed of their talents and limited funds toward the maintenance of the small sanctuary, which to them was a source of pride as well as comfort.
Pastors who were called to the church were: Rev. Horace Crutcher, Rev. Henry Jackson, Rev. Anthony Lane, Rev. William Stokes, Rev. Peter Carter, Rev. A. A. Booker, Rev. W. Ervin Green, Rev. Leonard Lacey, Rev. James R. Green, and Rev. Michael L. Sessoms. The Church does not have records concerning the tenure of the first four pastors. It is known, however, that Rev. Carter served from December 1937 until his death in February 1954. Rev. Booker succeeded Rev. Carter and served until May 1960, when he accepted the pastorship of the Beulah Baptist Church of Markham, VA. Rev. W. Ervin Green served from December 1960 until his death in January of 1992. Rev. Leonard B. Lacey accepted the pastorship in 1993, where he served until March 2001. Rev. James R. Green, was called to preach under the tutelage of Rev. W. Ervin Green, served as pastor from May 2002 through June 2012. Our present Pastor, Rev. Michael L. Sessoms began service in January 2017.
The Bible tells us that in James 5:16“the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As we look back over the last 100 years, the growth of the little church in Batestown makes it abundantly clear that the prayers of the Little Union members have been and are continuing to be answered. We thank God for the three sanctuaries He has built. We thank God also for the pastors He has sent, and for the fellowship He has ordained. Most of all, we thank God for the gentle persuasion of Mary Bates Thomas.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgressions fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
We believe that the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.
We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, priest and king, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means especially the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
We believe the Scriptures teach that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arise entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the Means of Grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
We believe the Scriptures teach that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are Bishops or Pastors, and Deacons whose Qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public, and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God.
We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth.
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave for final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
Reverend Michael Lynn Sessoms is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia. He is the youngest of 10 children born to the late Gary and Kay-Frances Sessoms. He was baptized at an early age and after graduating from high school he dedicated himself to the work of the Lord and His church. He has served as a pastor, Sunday School Superintendent, Chairman of Deacon’s Ministry, an usher, and choir director.
Reverend Sessoms was licensed to preach the Gospel on December 10, 2000 at the Oak Grove Baptist Church of Suffolk, Virginia by the Reverend Dr. Anthony Copland and ordained on February 20, 2006 by the Independent Baptist Alliance of Alaska.
Rev. Sessoms received a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University of Lynchburg, Virginia; his Master of Science degree in Emergency Disaster Management (magna cum laude) from the School of Health Sciences at Trident University, Cypress, California and his Master of Divinity and a Master of Christian Education from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology (STVU) at Virginia Union University.
In February 2017 Rev. Sessoms was extended the call as Pastor of the Little Union Baptist Church, Dumfries, Virginia, He is a retired military veteran with over 20 years of honorable service. During his military career, Rev. Sessoms pastored the Corinthian Baptist Church of Fairbanks, Alaska and the Philippi Baptist Church of Hampton, Virginia. He also ministered the Gospel in Germany, Iraq, and Seoul, South Korea.
Rev. Sessoms is currently a member of the Hampton Ministers Conference and Choir Directors Guild, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Prince William County, National Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT), and a Silver Life-Time member of NAACP.
Rev. Sessoms is married to the former Pamela Green of Suffolk, Virginia. Pamela is a Program Analyst for the Department of Homeland Security. They are the proud parents of Geoffrey Elijah and Kiersten Michelle.
Rev. Sessoms is a Gospel Preacher, a friend to all and most importantly a child of God. His favorite Scripture is Romans 10: 14-15 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
First Lady Pamela Sessoms is a native of Suffolk, Virginia. She is the youngest of 8 children born to the late Elijah and Sarah Elizabeth Green. Her father was the Deacon Board chairman, and her mother was a missionary.
First Lady’s spiritual foundation stems from the nurturing and Christ-centered teachings of her parents and grandparents. At the age of 9, she surrendered her life to Christ and was baptized by the late Bishop Matthew Clark of St. John’s Holiness Church. From that time forward, she aspired to learn the ways of God and to understand His calling for her life. Throughout her Christian journey, she has served in various roles as teaching Sunday School and Bible Study and serving in Outreach Ministries.
On April 1, 2017, the First Lady joined her husband on his call to pastor the Little Union Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia. She humbly embraced their new roles and the significance thereof. God entrusted them with the responsibility of —feeding, shepherding, and loving His flock. Thereby, this became their commitment to God, to serve others while serving each other. Together, they are the proud parents of Geoffrey Elijah and Kiersten Michelle.
Currently, First Lady Sessoms leads the Women’s Fellowship. Her main priority is to inspire the women of LUBC and the next generation to live God-centered lives with passion and purpose. She also serves as a Deaconess and Youth Adviser.
First Lady Sessoms is motivated by her passion for “community.”— Her family and friends, church family, and surrounding neighbors. Her overarching goal is to promote wholeness and well-being on the issues that impact her community.
Her favorite scripture is “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
As First Lady Sessoms continues along her Christian journey, she does so in reflection on God's word and the prophecies spoken over her life. Generations later, God remains faithful to His words. She maintains the truth that she is a child of God, engrafted into His family of believers. In gratitude, she strives daily to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
She has completed many biblical studies and certifications to advance in spiritual maturity and build Christian leadership skills. First Lady Sessoms has served as a civil servant for twenty years, focusing on procurement management. She holds a BS in Business Leadership and MA in Procurement and Acquisitions Management.