The City-Wide Ushers Union will celebrate its 76th anniversary beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 30, 2015 at Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church, Elder Alfred E. Blount, pastor. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. B.D. Snoddy, pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church, of Spartanburg, SC.
The City-Wide Ushers Union was organized on October 22, 1939. The first meeting was hosted at Brown’s Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Asheville and included eight churches:
- Brown Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church
- Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church
- Varick Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
- Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
- New Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church
- New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
The first president of the ushers union was Brother Fred Douglas. He was succeeded by Bro. James W. Boyd of St. James AME Church; Bro. Dock Pearson (Pine Grove); Bro. B. J. Pruitt; Bro. Charlie DeGraffinreid (Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church); and Bro. Alphonzo McCoy, also of Nazareth, who served as president for thirty-five years and who died on January 2, 1991.
The seventh president was a former vice-president, Sister Roberta J. Anderson of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, installed on March 22, 1991. Our first female president, Sister Anderson served fifteen years until her home-going. She was succeeded by Sister Pattye Ray, who was installed March 12, 2006 and served for one year and ten months, as a member of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Mars Hill, NC. Sister Gloria Johnson of Fruit of the Spirit Church of God in Christ was installed as ninth president on Jan. 20, 2008, and served for two years.
The current president, installed Jan. 22, 2010, is Brother Richard McCoy, son of Alphonzo McCoy and, like his father, a member of Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church.
In the late fifties or early sixties the Asheville union joined with Spartanburg Ushers Union to worship together in alternating cities once a year. Seven of the eight original Asheville churches are still members of the union, which includes a total of 24 members and three associate members. Over its 76-year history, the City-Wide Ushers Union has been served by 10 presidents, eight secretaries; five treasurers, and one chaplain, Sister Oscar Williams, who served for 43 years.
Another stalwart member, Sister Elizabeth Campbell, has 49 years of active service on every committee in the Union. She served as Mistress of Ceremonies for a number of years, and was elected secretary in 1990, a post she held for over 24 years. On February 2, 2014 she was honored with the title of Secretary Emeritus.