History of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Mt. Zion Baptist Church was organized in the year of 1878 by the Rev. Frank Thomas of Kentucky. The first church services were held in a little log hut
near Round Pond. Mt. Zion was first known as Hickory Hill. There have been many hard times during the past years, but through the visions and dreams of helping somebody along the way, Mt. Zion is still here today.
The trials and tribulations have not been few. There have been many rough and crooked places. No doubt over the past decades, Mt. Zion felt like
giving up. There have also been many souls that started with this Church that have gone on to rest. The Church family has been saddened many, many
times but their eyes remained on Jesus.
The first Church constructed became unsatisfactory and was later reorganized by the Rev. G.W. Wheeler and a few borrowed members from the Happy Home Baptist Church. Sadness covered the entire community when the first Church sanctuary was destroyed by fire. Another location for the Church seat was established one mile further west. Later, the Church was moved four miles south of the second location to Hickory Hill. The original name, Hickory Hill, was changed to Mt. Zion when a box frame building was built and used for worship for a time.
Many people have been instrumental in keeping this dream alive. The Old Ship of Zion has met with troubled water many times. Much dissatisfaction arose with the box frame building and a modern frame building was erected a few yards south of the old Church. This is where Mt. Zion worshiped until fire again destroyed the sanctuary in December, 1916. In the troubled hearts and minds of Mt. Zion's family, no doubt there was much thought on where next to go and what next to do. Should they quit - or should they launch forward once again?
Another wood building was erected near the site of the one destroyed by fire. This building was used for worship as well as for a school. During the progressive years that followed, a new Church building was erected. Many souls were added to the Church roll. Mt. Zion was again growing in spirit and in number.
On July 16, 1944, fire again ripped across Mt. Zion which brought sadness to the entire community. Soon, however, plans began for another Church
building. Through the faithful, never-failing, and courageous efforts of many laymen and our black and white friends, another building was erected. That is where we are today.
In 1997, the members of Mt. Zion formed a non-profit corporation known as the Mt. Zion Community Development Corporation for the purpose of promoting non-faith based activities throughout the surrounding community. The first project completed by the Community Development Corporation was in partnership with Walker County Government for the construction of a fenced-in basketball court to the east of the Sanctuary. This court provided a safe place for the youth in our community to play.
Here at Mt. Zion, we are about more than just having Sunday morning worship services. Because God has blessed us through many obstacles and trials, we feel that the Church facilities that He has blessed us with should be used more than just a few hours each week. Therefore, in April of 1998, the Church instituted its Grey Care Program, which is a one day per week activity for senior citizens. The elders of our community gather for fellowship, arts and crafts, a wholesome meal, and Bible study.
Because we here at Mt. Zion are about more than receiving, we also believe in giving to others (not just our own). In the spring of 1998, a Food Pantry was established to provide food to families throughout our community, as well as to the Grey Care Program.
On Sunday, February 9, 2014, the Church dedicated the new facility which will house the gymnasium, classrooms, a multi-purpose room, kitchen, and eventual new sanctuary. The gymnasium was named in honor of Sister Willisa H. Marsh, for the faithful service that she had provided to Mt. Zion during her lifetime of 35 years. A Summer Enrichment Program was instituted during the summer of 2014 for wholesome activities during the weekdays for the youth of the Walker County community.
There are many memories from the past years. Many happy ones that we would like to retain. Many memories sadden us that we would like to forget.
Happy ones or sad ones, here today, they are all precious memories.
We here at Mt. Zion readily recognize that all of this history is really “HIS STORY”. God has been good to us! We thank Him for His bountiful blessings, and realize that to whom much is given, much is required.