Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church
Monday, April 23, 2018
1047 Kenwood Street Hammond IN 46320. Phone: 219-931-4337

Our History

 
 ~Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church History~ “2012”
In August 1919, a few faithful Believers were dissatisfied because there was not a Negro Baptist church in the City of Hammond and they decided to do something about it.
After a series of meetings in various homes, they pooled their resources and rented a store front building at 1122 Merrill Street, owned by Mr. Fuqua. This humble abode ultimately became the first home of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
The small group worshipped at this address for a few months under the leadership of Reverend Phelps of Gary, Indiana. He served as pastor for less than one year. The church moved to 1040 Conkey Street and was officially organized by the Reverend Jackson, formerly of Indianapolis, Indiana. Charter members were Deacon Leslie Freeman, Mrs. Freeman, Mr. James V. Edwards, and Mrs. Anna Edwards-Riley and Mother Katie Davis (all are deceased). Deacon Luther Turner and his wife, Mrs. Lottie Payton, also deceased; the Stanford families were among the members in the early years. The Senior Choir was organized during this time with eight members.
The Church was once again without a leader. The members purchased a lot at 940 Kenwood Street; the congregation moved their donated structure to this site. They called Reverend Covington of East Chicago, Indiana, as their Pastor. He served for only a few months. These were very lean days; the Negro population of Hammond was very small and jobs were extremely scarce.
The congregation was not able to support a minister comfortably, but like the pilgrims of old, their small band grew and the struggle continued. During this time Deacon Sheddy Gray, and Deacon and Mrs. Sam Porter joined the Church. The next pastor was Reverend Chism of Chicago, Illinois. He served for two years. He was a great leader, always striving to create a spirit of unity among the members; then he left, and Reverend William Davis of Morgan Park, Illinois was called as pastor in 1921. Under his leadership, a basement structure was erected at 940 Kenwood Street. Reverend Davis proved himself to be another Moses. His great desire was to build a new, bigger, better Mt. Zion. He donated the first twenty-five dollars toward a building fund, but he did not realize his dream. Reverend Davis became ill in January, 1945 and passed away in October 1945.
A young minister, Reverend A. R. Burns, of Enterprise, Mississippi, joined Mt. Zion prior to the illness of Reverend Davis, and he requested that Reverend Burns be permitted to carry on in his absence. He also requested that Reverend Burns be ordained. After the passing of Reverend Davis, the Church called Reverend Burns as Pastor in December 1945. Some called it fate, circumstances or providence; we like to feel that God was still at the head. Lots for the new Mt. Zion were soon purchased at 1047 Kenwood Street. There was a total of $4,000.00 in the building fund when Reverend Burns was called to the pastorate. We moved from the basement to our new home in 1949 and became known as “The Friendly Place of worship”.
Reverend Burns was a man of many hopes and dreams. One of those dreams was to provide quality housing for the elderly. The dream finally became a reality in 1983, the
beautiful six million dollar, seven stories, 128 units building was completed at 940 Kenwood Street. The first tenants moved into The Mt. Zion Pleasant View Plaza in June 1983.
As we are nearing the end of the 20th century, Mt. Zion still stands as a cornerstone on the corner of 1047 Kenwood Street and Howard Avenue, always ready to lend a helping hand whenever there is a need.
Yes, we have had some hills to climb, but God was right there to give us the needed strength to go up. Reverend Dr. A. R. Burns was our leader for 52 glorious years. We can look with pride at a monument in the community that is like heaven for the tenants who resides in the Mt. Zion Reverend Dr. A. R. Burns Pleasant View Plaza. We also have a large parking lot across the street from the Church.
In September of 1998, the church called Reverend William R. Collins of Hillside, Illinois. We are truly blessed under his leadership as the membership has increased numerically and spiritually. We have accomplished so much in one year as a Church Family. The Sanctuary was redecorated with new carpet, pews upholstered, a new sound system installed, the remolding of the pulpit area; and more tables and chairs for the fellowship hall. We have purchased a new computer, copier and decoration of the Pastor’s Study and Church Clerks office.
On October 23, 1999 the Old Prophet Dr. Reverend A. R. Burns took his journey home. Mt. Zion will always love Reverend A. R. Burns. He was faithful to his membership, and he is truly missed by all. This is the history for 80 years; we thank God for all of our past and present pastors. The Mt. Zion Church family will always lift up the name of Jesus.
During the 2002-2003 Pastor Collins has continued to lead the congregation, striving to take Mt. Zion to the next level. Activities that we have experienced since Pastor Collins has been here include annual two days Christian Education Leadership Workshop, and also a banquet held at Dynasty Banquet Hall in honor of Pastor and First Lady Rose Collins 10 year Pastoral Anniversary. Other activities included Christmas fellowship dinner, held at Purdue Calumet University; a trip to St. James M. B. Church, Jackson Mississippi, where Pastor Collins was the revival speaker; and various other speaking and singing engagements throughout the neighboring community and Chicago. God has truly blessed Mt. Zion throughout the years. Souls have been saved and spirits have been lifted.
Over the years God has moved in and through our Church as He continues to bless us. Many of our lay people are expanding their labor in ministries in the area of leadership in our association and conventions. Our Pastor was elected as Moderator of the New Era District Association.
A Home Study Bible Course was organized for members who were not able to attend class during the week. The entire church is involved in Outreach Ministry Witnessing in the city of Hammond and surrounding communities. The church has also taken on the responsibility of registering citizens to vote.
We organized our first Summer Camp Ministry which is a blessing to our Church. Many new leaders and staff persons worked very hard to accomplish this work. The church has increased its efforts to reach many residents via witnessing and outside activities.
We have grown much in the past year again to the degree of many additions to our Membership as well as spiritual growth. Many of our members are involved in the local Associations and State Conventions, and Regional and National Convention work also. Our weekly Bible Study is growing also as we meet each week on Tuesdays.
Pastor Collins is very passionate regarding our spiritual growth and is constantly encouraging the membership to trust in the Lord and lean not unto our own understanding but in all of our ways acknowledge God.
We have accomplished much with the help and leadership of God guiding us. We have had several activities completed beginning with our Fall Family Bible Study Hour. The Children’s Weekly Training and Occupational Activities meet each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Mission Ministry has been developing evangelistic ministries as well as discipleship training. We have completed our Bible Study with our study in Christian Living: Responsibilities Toward God. The Vacation Bible School was a terrific success during the month of June with Fishin’ on a Mission with Jesus—Matthew 4:19. Our Summer Camp last month reached another peak of excitement and enjoyment for our youth.
This past year we have continued to progress in Pursuing Kingdom Priorities. We celebrated two of our senior members who reached the century mark in age, tribute to the amazing grace of God. The Educational Ministry has much improved in Christian Training and spiritual maturity. Beginning this past year we have begun to develop internet and wireless capability in posting the ministries activities of our Church. The vision and goals are constantly being expanded to address the 21st Century New Testament Church and its challenges.
We entrust ourselves to Him who is able to uphold and sustain us while we serve him. And to God be the Glory!
History of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church August 2012