A History of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
In 1840 those who helped form Mt. Zion United Baptist Church of Christ, as the church was then known, met in homes. They soon realized that there was a need for a meeting house. A site was chosen and a one room building was erected. The church consisted of 20 people.
In the spring of 1843 the church petitioned the Columbus Association for membership and was accepted. Mt. Zion was a “real” church. In 1846 the church was in deep argumentative trouble. On December 1, 1849, it was voted on and passed to dissolve the church. However, in January, 1850, the vote was rescinded and the church was to remain.
During the Civil War no services were held for several years – probably from 1860-1865 or even later. Services were resumed by 1870 and were held on the third Sunday of each month. In 1890, the membership had dwindled to five and the church was closed, but not dissolved. Keep in mind that this was a sparsely settled area and transportation was a problem. The church remained closed until 1920 and the building became dilapidated.
From 1914-1918 the United States was involved in WWI, but by 1920 people began moving into the community. The church was repaired, and the first service in 1920 was led by Rev. J. F. Sansing, who came to preach once a month. This service was held in the afternoon.
In 1929, W. A. Corr gave 2 acres of land for a cemetery. The church purchased some additional land. Services in the original building continued until 1933 when a new building was built. This was a frame building, built from logs grown not far from our present church. The builder was J. R. Guin who sawed the lumber using a small sawmill that he owned. He then loaded it on a wagon and took it into Columbus to be dressed. A great undertaking!
The first service in the new church was February 25, 1933. The sermon was taken from Psalm 132:18-24, and delivered by Bro. Sansing.
There is a gap in our records from 1940-1960. No one knows what became of those minutes. However, we do know that in 1940 the first prayer meeting was held, and it was agreed that prayer meetings would be held weekly. Also we know that in 1951, a pastor’s home was built and in 1954 plans were drawn for additional Sunday School rooms plus a basement and a small kitchen.
In 1960 a new educational building was begun and finished in 1961. This was a brick building.
Soon a larger and more comfortable pastor’s home was built. This was done in 1968. On June 17, 1972, the church voted to build a new auditorium. It was completed in 1973. On May 6, 1974, the church was debt free. In 1974 a fellowship hall, kitchen and storage room was built.
In 1976 our first Minister of Music and Youth was called. In 1980 the church decided to hire a secretary. Also about that time the church realized the need for a music building so in 1983 a building that housed staff offices, music room, and Sunday School rooms was built. In 1985 the church adopted a constitution; still affirming sound doctrines of faith in God that marked the roots established many years ago. In 1992 the church voted to build yet another larger sanctuary, and it was completed in 1993.
The year 1999 was another vast undertaking by Mt. Zion. The former sanctuary was renovated, creating a new fellowship hall with a commercial kitchen, new pastor’s study, and a remodeled and larger choir room.
In early spring of 2000, the church was notified that the Belk property across the road from the church was for sale. So on April 5, 2000, Mt. Zion gained quite a large plot of ground.
In 1999 MT. Zion added a full-time Youth Minister, and in 2014 added a full-time Children/Family Minister. Now in 2016 Mt. Zion has voted to began a children/youth education/activities building project.
Mt. Zion has come a long way since 1843. God has been faithful. Perhaps the words of an old hymn are appropriate.
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and
will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee
to stand; upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
(Note) some of this material was published in the history of Lowndes County; also Mrs. Nancy Ashley summarized some of the facts for the Mt. Zion 50th Celebration in 1993.