In the early 1800's, the community worshipped in the brush arbor. In 1875, James Fields sold one acre of his land to the African Methodist Trustees for forty dollars. Both James Fields and Wells Gray were community benefactors. In addition to the land that was made available for the church, the also partitioned small lots from their farms for the establishment of two schools in 1887.
In 1882, the members of Mt. Zion worshipped in a log cabin, which was later destroyed by a big storm. After the destruction of the log cabin, the men went into the woods to cut pines to make pins for the log structure. The men worked together to construct the church building and the women brought them their meals which they ate together in the church yard.
In 1883, the church was completed for worship services. The wood church stood for a period of years and exerted a great deal of pride among community residents. The people of this community had one purpose in mind, which was to serve God in truth and in spirit.
During the early 1900's, Mt. Zion was a symbol of education as well as religion. Students were taught under the direction of educators within the community. Mt. Zion also served as a delivery mechanism for the community's social affairs in time of need.
In the 1930's, the Mt. Zion family suffered from economic struggle of the Great Depression. Our members were forced to pay their preachers by means of chicken, peas and biscuits. In spite of these difficult times, Mt. Zion was able to endure and uphold its stature.
In the 1950's, after worshipping many years in the wooden church, it became old and unsafe for worship services. On April 5, 1958, the church family founded the new Mt. Zion. It was known as the block church because of the building structure. Clubs were organized within the church and members were assessed to pay ten cents per meeting. Rallies were held peroidicaly to raise monies for the block church. With the success of rallies and organizations, we were able to start a savings account at the State Bank and Trust Company.
In the fall of 1958, the members of Mt. Zion went to the Piedmont Annual Conference to request a new pastor to continue the fulfillment of building the block church. The conference heard our request and responded by sending the Reverend A. L. Spearman. Members and friends brought together resources to contribute free materials and labor to support the building of the new church. On Sunday, September 11, 1960 a dedication service was held for the new construction of the block church. During these services, the Reverend A.L. Spearman stated the following in an open letter:
"The pastor wishes to thank all the wonderful members of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church and friends, both white and colored for their many contributions toward this dream realized. This church will stand as a monument to the wonderful people of this community long after God has called all of us to rest. May God bless, may God help you continue doing such wonderful works in His name."
On June 18, 1961, members of the Mt. Zion family paid off the indebtness of the block church. The next two years were spent on the construction of a kitchen area. The 700-pound bell, which was purchased over a half century ago, was now to be placed in the newly constructed bell tower of the block church.
Over a decade passed and the church family began to think about the need for more renovations. In the mid-1970's under the leadership of Reverend Robert L. Higgins, the church contemplated the task of renovating and expanding the present structure. The members wanted to brick the church, add Sunday School classrooms, and enlarge the fellowship hall.
Around the summer of 1978, a building committee was chosen to oversee the project of renovation. This committee of trustees and stewards would apply for a loan from one of the financial institutions. Several attempts were made to persuade the financial instituitions to grant the church a loan but it was eventually realized that our efforts were fruitless due to the unstable economic conditions of that time. None of the institutions agreed to a loan and one even suggested to the building committee that the members of Mt. Zion open a savings account with them and they would, in turn, be able to loan us the money. The committee brought this report back to the church. The Pastor and Assistant Pastor, the Reverend Carnell Morton suggested that each member pledge a certain amount of money towards increasing the building fund. These pledges were to be paid off in a period of a year.
When the funds became adequate, the Pastor and committee again spoke with the contractor about the remodeling job. The Lonnie Norman Builders and the committee agreed that the members would perform those duties that they could do in an effort to save money. We were faced with a "pay as you go and do what you can" situation without the benefit of a major loan. In the fall of 1979, the men of the church, as well as friends from the community, gave up their time to come out during weekday evenings and on Saturdays to work. The ladies pitched in by cooking meals and birnging it to the workers as was done by their for parents. Fundraising rallies (brick, pledge, and paneling) were held to help increase the building fund so that more work could be completed. In order to complete the renovation according to plan, it was ultimately agreed to that a loan would be necessary. In May, 1980, a loan was applied for and approved, and the central heating and air conditioning was installed. The loan was to be paid off in two years.
In November, 1980, the Reverend Wayman Coleman, III, came to Mt. Zion and the church became a station church and continued to be a growing family. Several changes took place during the following months and the members strived even harder to make this church a light unto the community. Later on, the remaining work to be done on the church was completed and new projects were being discussed.
Joyous events, as well as sad occasions were part of life at Mt. Zion as in any church. One which we remember most fondly was the presentation of the book, Promised Land: A Century of Life in a Negro Community, by Elizabeth R. Bethel. In June, 1981, the community gathered at the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church to celebrate the publication of 100 years of history of this community in which this church has played an integral part. Some of the forerunners of the church were all forerunners of the establishment of the community.
The next June, in 1982, the Mt. Zion A.M.E. family held Dedicatory Services for the renovated structure. The Presiding Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Frank Madison Reid, Jr., delivered the message and again we were gather for a memorable celebration. The church was debt free, as the loan had been paid in full during the past month. The brick church, as we now call it, has five classrooms, an enlarged fellowship hall, a vestibule, four restrooms, and the sanctuary has a new look. A major portion of the altar that our foreparents knelt down to offer prayers to the Lord is still in use. The bell, however, is silent now and was retired to rest on the lawn.
The ensuing years proved to be prosperous one for Mt. Zion. Eleven Sons of the House, Rev. Johnny Byrd, Rev. Carnell Morton(deceased 6/13/14), Rev. Willie N. Norman, Jr., Rev. James Louden, III, Rev. James Stokes, Rev. Reginald Morton, Rev. Derrick Scott, and Bro. Quincy J. Baylor, Bro. Michael Smith, and Bro. Michael Cannon and three Daughters of the House, Rev. Gracie Smith, and Rev. Krystal Bryant, Sis. Marilynn Galbreath were called into the ministry. To God be the Glory!
We have been blessed with strong leadership. The Reverend Wayman Coleman, III served for next 13 years. He was an insightful pastor who sought to always be about the business of the Lord. During the tenure, we purchased a church van and were able to witness the lease burning for the parsonage. We paved our parking lot for the convenience and beautification of our sanctuary during this period as well.
Several other pastors were led to the helm at Mt. Zion during the last three and a half years; those being the late Rev. Joseph James, Rev. Jeremiah Wilson and Rev. James E. Speed, Sr. Each of these pastors brought with them a message and vision for the people of God. A revitalization fo the spirit within, new computers and a GED program housed at Mt. Zion were more accomplishment to be reckoned.
The previous years, under the leadership of Rev. James E Speed, Sr. were prosperous as he lead converts to Christ. On October, 24, 1999, we proudly, graciously, and gratefully witnessed the dedicatory services for the updating and renovating of the sanctuary, parsonage, and yards. We dedicated the new windows(stained and unstained), new computer lab(five computers, 2 printers), administrative offices, van, renovated Pastor's office, parsonage, and exterior given in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the holy ministry of service and worship. In October 2002, Mt. Zion broke ground for a new family life center also known as the P.L.E.A.D. center and it was completed July 30, 2003. With the vision of Rev. James E. Speed, Sr, we learned and live God's word as we stepped in the footprints of our found fathers.
In November 2008, Mt. Zion recieved a new Shepherd by the name of Pastor Archie Fair. In the short time that he has been at Mt. Zion he has reached out to God's people in church and in the streets. Mt. Zion has an open Soup Kitchen every Wednesday before Bible Study. He has created the Shining Light Award to recognize the youth within the church. He possess some of the same attributes of our previous pastors but the most important one is his willingness to spread the goodness of the Lord. We look forward to a prosperous and spirit filled future.
In November 2011, history was made at Mt. Zion. Rev. James Louden, III, a son of the House was assigned to pastor his own home church. He shares the good Word with passion and reassures us that the best is yet to come!
If the faith and trust in the Lord had never existed in the hearts and minds of the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church family, the church as it exists today could never have gone any further than a mere myth in time nevertheless, the Mt. Zion church family has kept the faith and trust in God.