About Us

We Work Together

In Our Space and in Our Time the quest is to simply make a difference in the lives of others, and to Help Empower Our Members, and the larger Community to do the same!  We are even charged to reach out ecumenically and Connect with our brothers and sisters who make up this City on a Hill, County, State, Region, Nation, and the World…
We realize that we are part of the local economy and we are Most proud of being part of God’s Economy!




1883 ~ 2020 and now 2023

The Historic Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church has given spiritual guidance and inspiration to the city of Monroe and surrounding areas for 137 years. The recorded history of the church was compiled from a limited amount of records and resources, yet its history has served to enlighten all generations.

Reverend Joseph Ratcliff, in the year 1883, with a small group of Baptist believers, saw the need for a Black Baptist Church in Monroe, North Carolina. The charter membership consisted of eighteen members, whose identities are not available. These members named the church Timmonsville Baptist Church, but it was recorded in the Union County Courthouse as the Colored Baptist Church. The wooden structure, which was erected on a plot of land two hundred feet south of our present structure, was purchased from Elizabeth Monroe for whom the church was named for one thousand, three hundred dollars ($1,300.00). This purchase was orchestrated by Mr. J. C. McVan, Administrator for the estate of C.N. Simpson. The following members, Reverend W. T. Gatewood, Deacon W.M. Nivens, Deacon J.Q. Robinson, Deacon Tom Robinson, Deacon W.C. Jones, Deacon Rueben Perry and others witnessed the purchase of additional land on which our present structure was erected.

The pastors who have served the church are as follows: Reverend Sims, Reverend J.B. Ivey, Reverend Hicks, Reverend Hawkins, Reverend M.A. Murray, Reverend Staton, Reverend McLester, Reverend W.H. Inman, Reverend C.C. Johnson, Reverend Hawkins, Dr. J.H. Ferguson, Reverend David L. Massey, and Reverend Brenda Hopkins served as Interim Pastor; currently Reverend Osco E. Gardin, Jr. serves as Senior Pastor.

Under the leadership of Reverend M. A. Murray the mortgage was paid off on the wooden structure. Reverend W. H. Inman rebuilt our present structure in 1928. This was accomplished by the financial assistance of the membership and dedicated friends.

During the administration of Reverend C. C. Johnson, the carpet and organ was purchased for the church. Sunday School rooms and a kitchen were built in the basement of the church.

Dr. J. H. Ferguson assumed leadership in 1965. Through the prayers and efforts of Dr. Ferguson and our faithful dedicated members, the indebtedness of the Elizabeth Baptist Church was paid in full. The following accomplishments have been attributed to his leadership: new parsonage, church renovation, organ purchased, renovation of old parsonage for a daycare, purchased land for parking, purchased a bus, built a ramp for aid to senior citizens, installed new windows, covered the church with a new roof, installed central air-conditioning, purchased a new van, New Fellowship Hall and the establishment of the Elizabeth Learning Center. Dr. Ferguson also established the Good Samaritan Club to aid the sick and shut-in, established the Department of Christian Education, organized a Youth Worship Service and Youth Ushers.

God continued to bless Elizabeth Baptist Church by sending the Reverend David L. Massey. Reverend Massey did much to encourage us to keep the torch of faith aglow. Reverend Massey established the parsonage building as the official Administrative Office of the church, purchased computers and new office equipment and furniture, and established office hours for a permanent part-time church secretary. He organized the Men’s Fellowship Choir, church newsletter, reorganized the Ministry of Christian Education, and started a second daycare facility across the street from the church. Other accomplishments attributed to Reverend Massey’s leadership included: the purchase of additional land for parking, paving both church parking lots, purchase of a new piano and securing a Hammond Organ.
Interim Pastor Brenda Hopkins served for a little more than one year. During this period the Search Committee was organized. Prayers, baptisms, funerals, and membership growth continued under her brief but effective leadership.

On December 3, 1995, God sent our present pastor, Reverend Osco E. Gardin, Jr (he was elevated to Bishop on March 29, 2014), to serve our church, thus at the dawn of the twenty first century. Since Reverend Gardin’s inception, our church has continued to experience a tremendous growth in every area of our church life. In 25 year’s, Reverend Gardin received new member’s into our church congregation, having baptized 250+. Sunday morning worship services were filled to capacity every Sunday, forcing us to go to two Sunday Morning Worship Services.

Under the direction and leadership of Bishop Gardin our church has had many upgrades. The church now have a new drainage system in place, the heating and air-condition has been upgraded to serve the capacity of the church new growth.  Bishop Gardin has also beautifully decorated our sanctuary by his own hands and the men of the church. This project saved the church over $150,000. With a vision for the future of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Gardin was instrumental in gaining eight additional acres of land for our future church, 4 fifteen passenger vans, a covered shelter for the vans and two 47 passenger buses. In 2001, Bishop Gardin was instrumental in the first pre-K program for 4 year olds in the Day Care in Union County. This program has served as a pilot for the entire county.

Under Bishop Gardin’s leadership we have continued to grow and expand. We now enjoy the Rosa Bell Event Center. This included the enlargement of the kitchen, men, women, family bathroom, storage room, and TRIO Office. Bishop Gardin was the overseer of this project and worked tirelessly. We we’re blessed by many that donated their time, money, and building skills. Yes, God is still blessing the Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church
daily, to God be the glory.


Bishop Osco E. Gardin, Jr. (pronounced Gar-dean) is the son of Bishop Osco E Gardin, Sr. and Geneva V. Gardin, both of Gastonia, North Carolina. He was licensed to preach the gospel and ordained to the work of the same by the authority and order of the First Baptist Church located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Bishop Gardin received his formal education in Canton, Ohio where he was born and raised. His post-secondary education took place at Shaw University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Science, with a concentration in Sociology. Bishop Gardin pursued graduate studies at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he met the necessary requirements to receive a Master of Divinity degree. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Lamp Light International Bible College and Seminary.

For five years, Bishop Gardin served as Senior Pastor of the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church located in Danville, Virginia. During that time serving as a bi-vocational minister, Bishop Gardin was also employed as a teacher in the Danville Public School System.


Currently, Bishop Gardin serves as Senior Pastor of the Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church (EMBC), located in Monroe, North Carolina. Since his pastorate in December 3, 1995 this local assembly has been experiencing growth in every area of church life. Bishop Gardin’s local, social and civil involvements landed him on more than 12 community, city, county and state boards, to include, the former Union Regional Medical Center (CMC Union), the Union County Jail Life Skills Program, the Friendship Home and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol where he presently serves as a Chaplain.

Bishop Gardin is currently leading EMBC in Phase One of a multi-million-dollar effort to connect church, families and community with the construction of a new day care and family life center, 1000 seat sanctuary and facilities for a charter school or Christian academy.

Bishop Gardin serves as prelate of the United Covenant Churches International (UCCI) an organization that has been created for the sole purpose of autonomous local churches working together to act on behalf of each member to assist each other in ministry and mission through co-operative and supportive ministry. Presently UCCI consists of seventy seven churches internationally.

Bishop Gardin is loved and supported not only by the Monroe community, but also by his wife of 37 years, J. Latricia Gardin and their three children; daughter, Shameia Latrice, and sons, Osco III, Jarred Lamar and granddaughter’s Skylar and Sianna.


Lady J. Latricia Gardin (pronounced Gar-dean) was born and raised in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The oldest of three girls, she was educated in the Cleveland County Public Schools. As a committed mother and wife to a military veteran, Lady Gardin is well traveled and while attending several schools of higher learning, she received scores of accolades for her academic achievements. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and is presently pursuing her nursing degree.

Listed in the Who’s Who among students in American Universities and Colleges and having served as Teacher and Director at the EMBC Learning Center, Lady Gardin has a passionate and undying love for all children. Her quiet yet determined spirit has made her the beloved of many. For three years in Honolulu, HI, and two years in Fayetteville, NC, Lady Gardin was owner/operator of her own Child Care Center.

As the Lady of the Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, she enjoys supporting her husband in ministry, serving with the Deaconess Ministry, mentoring the young ladies in the church and spending time with God. In a time when good deeds aren’t popular as they once were, Lady Gardin’s selfless acts of charity speak volumes about her character and commitment to humankind to help whenever she can and wherever she can.

With an active prayer life, a servant mentality and a spirit to gently guide women and children, Lady Gardin is poised to respond to the call of God on her life to move from the quiet place of intercessory pray to God’s places of promise in the lives of the masses.

Lady Gardin is married to her loving pastor and husband of 33 years and she is the proud mother of sons, Osco III and  Jarred Lamar and daughter, Shameia Latrice, grandmother to granddaughter, Skylar, and a spiritual mother to countless others.

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Every New Day has great purposes to achieve… “We can all bless each other every day by being nice, Why? …a wise man once said to his young son, because it’s just nice to be nice…”  The son, Our Pastor, never forgot that WORD!

It matters not what you look like to us… What matters is that you face the day…
And don’t you dare give up on God!…  He will never give up on You…
We have a cloud of witnesses who worship here at HEMBC that Testify to His Goodness, Favor, Abundance, and More than that!  Please Read 2 Corinthian 9:8 right now… then,
Tell God, “Thank You!”  We are here to Connect with you and your family!

                                                      Bishop Osco E. Gardin, Jr., Pastor