Mount Zion celebrating 150th
On Sunday, Nov. 8, the members of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Sardis will celebrate the church’s 150th anniversary.
The church was founded in July of 1870 in Sardis, by five pioneers – Bro. Luke Jones, Bro. Anderson Hightower, Bro. Alex Hightower, Bro. Alex Webb, and Bro. George Jones, who purchased one-fourth of an acre for the price of $75 for the purpose of building a church on the newly owned property.
By 1922 (52 years later) the church was a brick building, and was helping unite the beloved community of Sardis. It became a place in the community for families, friends, and essentially anyone to gather and worship the Lord together.
This church has battled many obstacles since it was founded. Obstacles such as segregation, the Great Depression, World War I and II, and even now, Covid-19. The church originally planned to celebrate its anniversary in July, but had to reschedule amid the pandemic; however, the church still stands tall, with members unwavering in their faith.
The history of the church was first recorded in 1891. Since then, there have been 13 different pastors to lead the church. The first pastor recorded at Mt. Zion was Rev. Allen Fields who took that role until 1905. Pastor Tommy Cash now holds the torch, leading this historical church during the current pandemic.
“This church is so deep-rooted,” said Pastor Cash. “It’s a very pleasant church. They do a lot of things to help others in the community and are really high on kids’ education. (When I first got here) I was very impressed at how dedicated they were to serving the Lord.”
Even though Mt. Zion has changed their ways of service due to the pandemic, Pastor Cash has not seen any signs of weakness throughout the church.
“We have not struggled at all.” said Pastor Cash. “As a matter of fact, our offerings are up. We have been able to have service virtually and we have three or four platforms.”
Some of Mt. Zion’s milestones are: In 1924-1931, the first Usher Board was organized and the church was able to pay off their mortgage and all their debts; in 1934-1959, the membership expanded and the church was able to renovate both the inside and outside of the building; the organization a Youth Choir group; and continuing to renovate the property with new pews, and much more.
Longtime Deaco Omar Virgil, remembers growing up at the church and has not broken his bond with it since.
“I’ve been a part of this church for about 60 years and this church means alot to me.” said Deacon Virgil. “We try to go around the community and help a lot of people. It gives us a lot of meaning to go out and be able to do it. (All of my family) grew up in this church. Some of them have moved on but still pay us a visit. We as a church continue to lean and depend on God and the holy spirit to lead us in the right direction.”
Mt. Zion has always been the type of church that faces their challenges head on and always seems to push forward. For 150 years, they have continued to honor the Lord and Savior and plan on doing so for many more years.
Many might wonder how this church has been able to continue with what they’ve been doing for this long, but Pastor Cash said the answer is simple: “We have existed for so long because we know how to praise God.”
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