Our church is characterized by its diversity of race, nationality, and family make-up.
The Sunday School program serves infants through senior adults. Our curriculum is
consistent with the inclusive values of our faith community. We welcome and affirm
children coming from different kinds of families and different faith traditions.
We teach traditional Baptist values including soul freedom which says that
every Believer is able to discern a relationship with God that is right and true.
Our church practices the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. We teach about
these ordinances in our curriculum with sensitivity to the multi-faith attendance
that we enjoy. As a Baptist Church, we do not rely on written doctrine, We encourage
discussion of and constructive engagement with the Bible.
History of the Church and its Founder
As I think of Abigail Bunker, I am reminded of my trip home from a workshop in Syracuse,
New York this past summer, As I drove down U.S. 20, I saw the name Seneca Falls”
as I entered that town, Anyone familiar with American women’s history will recall
that the Seneca Fall Convention of 1848 is recognized as the first original meeting
on the issue of women’s rights in American history. It was organized by Lucretia
Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abigail Bartlett Cass Bunker’s name might not be
as widely known as those two women, but her achievement is no less.
Abigail graduated from the Connecticut Seminary for Girls in 1845. She was the valedictorian
for her class and excelled in the course of mathematical astronomy, Greek, French,
music and painting. These were classes definitely not associated with a finishing
school education for young 19th century women.
Immediately following her graduation she married the farmer Cyrus Bunker. The next
37 years of her life were devoted to the typical pursuits of a farmer’s wife. She
raised eight children (a ninth died in infancy) and entertained her gregarious husband’s
many dinner guests.
The Bunkers bought a farm near London, Ohio and moved there from New England in
1856. In 1882 two of the Bunker daughters were hired as teachers in the Columbus
City Schools. Given the rough and tumble reputation of Columbus in the 1880s, there
is a strong likelihood that the entire family decided to move to Columbus so the
two daughters would have a secure home. The family purchased a house at the corner
of Fourth Avenue and Neil Avenue.
Mrs. Bunker became an active member of the Russell Street Baptist Church. She served
in the Sunday School, Young People’s Society, and the Missionary Organization. She
also became very interested in attending programs and events at the Ohio State University
located several blocks north of her home. She recognized the need for some form
of religious opportunity in this rapidly growing neighborhood. On April 10, 1889
with the help of some of her Russell Street fellow members, Mrs. Bunker started
a Sunday School in a store front at 1547 North High Street (at the corner of Tenth
Avenue). The program consisted of Sunday lessons followed by a brief evangelistic
service. This format soon evolved into a Friday evening prayer meeting and a Sunday
evening service. The Sunday school received 24 professions of faith in its first
Given such rapid growth, it is not surprising that the next step was to form a new
church in the university area. The Tenth Street Baptist Church was formally organized
at a service on November 27, 1890. E.F. Roberts was called as its first pastor on
March 22, 1891. A new chapel on a lot at Tenth and Highland streets was dedicated
in 1894. Mrs. Bunker plated a leading role in the development of this new congregation.
Joseph Taylor served as pastor from 1901-1903. During his brief ministry, both his
wife and daughter died. He boarded at Mrs. Bunker’s house and the two of them became
close friends during Rev. Taylor’s tragic personal losses. From discussions with
Mrs. Bunker, Rev. Taylor decided to enter the mission field and left Columbus to
bring the message to the people of China. Mrs. Bunker was a strong advocate of Rev.
Taylor’s work in China and raised financial support through the church’s Women’s
Union (forerunner of today’s Women’s Society).
On September 27, 1913 Abigail Bunker went to be with her Lord. Joseph Taylor returned
from China to honor his dear old friend. He suggested to the Women’s Union the creation
of the Bunker Memorial Scholarship Fund to assist missionary work with nursing student
scholarships in China. Political changes in China in 1949 brought about the redirection
of the fund to the nursing program at the Central Philippine University. Late the
Fund was also used to support the Christian Medical College Hospital in Vellore,
India. What could be a finer legacy for the founder of the Tenth Avenue/University
--Paul Burnam, November 14, 1993