Humble Beginnings

"... Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it unto me." Matt 25:40

Serving the Poor and Homeless since 1892

In 1892, a group of Christian businessmen wanted to help the homeless in the community and founded The Union Mission. Over the years thousands were served, but the ministry lost sight of its original purpose and was badly in debt, when in 1956 Rev. Ted Bashford became its Executive Director. With God’s help and guidance, he led the Mission out of debt and restored the Christian environment, at the same time continuing to provide for the needy.

The Mission’s work today is different than it was in 1892, and even in 1956, but the vision to mend broken lives and share the Gospel with the lost remains the driving force behind all that we do today.

Leap of Faith

Under Rev. Ted Bashford’s leadership, property was purchased at at 5100 East Virginia Beach Blvd., in Norfolk and The Union Mission started it’s first ever Capital Campaign to build a new shelter. Although he never got to see the completed building, The Theodore Alford Bashford Men’s Shelter was dedicated on June 6, 2015.

God’s People Doing God’s Work

Ted Bashford accepted Christ as his Savior at 21. “From that moment on I was never the same.” He left a well-paying job to attend Bible College, earned a degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister. Tennessee Temple University later honored him with a Doctorate.

In l956 he accepted the position as Director of The Union Mission, without the promise of a salary. “I knew this calling on my life was to increase my faith and dependence on God. Those early days were a struggle, but also exciting to see God’s provision.”

Under his leadership the ministry expanded to share the gospel through a summer camp, a children’s home, a senior adult home, and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, while continuing to serve “those on forgotten man’s street” … the poor and homeless.

Reverend Bashford was a humble man of great character and integrity, a man with an unwavering heart of compassion to help the poor and needy. Ted Bashford married Marion Skeeter in 1939. She encouraged him in his walk of faith and fulfilled the calling of being a true “helpmate” to her husband.

Rev. Theodore Alford Bashford served The Union Mission until his passing in 2008. His daughter, Linda Bashford Vaughan succeeded him until she retired in 2015. Today Rev. John Gray, who was raised in the ministry’s Children’s Home, is its Executive Director.

Linda B. Vaughan

“What is most precious to me are the men, women, and children who come to us each day in their time of need … and seeing their lives, changed for the better.”



Rev. John W. Gray

“As we look to the future with your support, the legacy will continue. Thank you for making a lasting difference in the lives of those who are hurting.”




From the Streets to the Pulpit

A Life Transformed …

Mike McClary came to the Mission in 1982. “My stomach was empty. I was given a bowl of soup, some bread, and attended Chapel where I heard the solution to my problems and asked the Lord to save me.” With a heart for the inner city, Mike studied the Bible and joined the staff of the Mission. In 1983, he was ordained a Baptist minister. With tears running down his face he said … “For twenty years I had been an alcoholic, a drug addict; now, here I stand — a minister of the Gospel!”

Mike McClary is Founder and Executive Director of Good Samaritan Ministries in Richmond, Virginia.


A Faithful Servant

Leroy Vaughan

Leroy served as Associate Director until his passing in 1991. He is the late husband of Linda Bashford Vaughan.

Your Support Transforms Lives

“This work is too important not to continue.”
John Saunders, supporter

Give Now

The Union Mission Today

Food, Clothing, Shelter … and so much more!

The Union Mission is a work of faith and labor of love supported through generous contributions from people like you whose hearts have been touched with compassion for their homeless neighbors since 1892.


Provide basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The Gospel is shared and there is hope for a better tomorrow.


Classes are offered in life skills, employment readiness, and spiritual development, which help overcome adversity, and restore independence.


Coordinating services with area health agencies to provide medical care and education for those who are ill, bringing wholeness to body and mind.


Assists impoverished  families in the community with basic needs while sharing the love of Christ with each person.

Continue the Legacy

Join the Bashford Legacy Circle and leave a legacy through your will or estate.

Become an Anchor of Hope through a commitment to monthly giving.

Pray for our staff, Board of Directors, and the hundreds of hurting people we serve daily.

“As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of The Union Mission Ministries, I cannot help but reflect on the ministry’s impact on my life. I joined the Board of the Mission in 1989 and have served as President since 2003. It has been a blessing to witness the impact the ministry has had on the thousands of people it has served over the years, and most importantly, given the opportunity to find healing for their souls. The staff and leadership of the Mission are true saints, and it’s been my privilege to support them. The opportunity to see God’s miraculous provision of the ministry’s needs is a humbling experience. To God be the glory.”

Jim Herndon
President, Board of Directors

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