Concrete Block Church built in 1944
Rev. W.M. Lipscomb
Rev. T.R. Tolbert
Old School Building
Rev. W.E. Byrd
Former Church built in 1974
Reverend Bernard White
Present Day Mt. Zion Baptist Church
The history of Mt. Zion Baptist church is rooted deeply in the past and as the account unfolds, we note with grateful hearts the many contributions of the dead- the founding fathers whose faith in God nourished this church through its early years and difficult times. We likewise acknowledge the accomplishments of the living, those steadfast believers who have brought Mt. Zion to where it is today and who will carry its Christian banner on into the future.
Shortly after slavery, some of our ancestors who were spiritually motivated began to conduct prayer meetings from house to house. Having strong convictions regarding worshipping God, they organized a church in a brush arbor on a little hill in the heart of Coronaca. During this time both blacks and whites finally had to make provisions for their own place of worship. A quiet tract of land on a rocky hill overlooking green pasture land was purchased from the Kelly's in 1868. The church was then organized in the year 1868 under the leadership of Reverend Wallace E. Evans. This group of Christians decided to choose a name for their church, and Mt. Zion was chosen.
Reverend Evans served as pastor at Mt. Zion for 41 years. His successor was the Reverend J.W Leak of Cross Hill in the year 1909. Deacons who served under Reverend J.W. Leake were B. B. Bryson, D.H. Ligon, Sr., W.M. Marshall, B.W. Williams and M.C. Calhoun, clerk. Service was held once each month on the fourth Sunday at four o'clock in the afternoon. Membership was 240, and the seating capacity was 500. During Reverend Leake's pastorship in 1909 the church joined the Little River Baptist Association, and their financial contribution to the Foreign Mission for that session was $1.00. The pastor's salary was $200.00 per year. The value of the church property in 1909 was $2,000.00.
The church was rebuilt in 1916 under the leadership of Reverend W.M. Lipscomb of Greenville, South Carolina. The original deacons who served under Reverend Lipscomb were W. E. Gillian, M.C. Calhoun, H.E. Moates, D.H. Ligon, Sr., Charlie Puckett, I.R. Nealy, W.M. Marshall, treasurer; Gene Davis and B.B. Bryson , clerk.
In 1944 the old wooden church was torn down and a new white concrete block church was built. This church was constructed with floors that sloped downward toward the front, a large choir stand behind the pulpit area, and two small rooms on each side of the pulpit. one which was the pastor's study, The old potbelly stoves would occasionally turn red hot when filled with coal, which was the principle means of heating the church. In addition to firing up the old potbelly stoves, the faithful sexton would also ring the bell in the old steeple to call the worshippers inside for noon services and tolled the bell gently for funeral processions. Many of the older members who were laid to rest during this particular time are buried in the old grave yard located less than half a mile southwest of our present church site.
Deacons who served under Reverend W. M. Lipscomb in 1944 were W.Y. Young , chairman; H.E. Williams. D.H. Ligon Sr., George Jackson, George Andrew, R.C. Calhoun, D.H. Ligon Jr., and E.J. Thomas. Reverend Lipscomb's distinguished leadership inspired many to seek God at an early age, and by the grace of God, many members are still worshipping with us today. Reverend Lipscomb continued as pastor of Mt. Zion until his death, however his pastorship was not short-lived. He served as pastor for 43 years. Everyone who knew Reverend Lipscomb learned to love and admire him. After his death , The Reverend T.R. Tolbert was elected pastor in 1956.
Reverend Tolbert served us for several years. During this time Mt. Zion began having worship services twice a month on the second and fourth Sundays. Serving under Reverend Tolbert's leadership were Deacons John Speaks, George Jackson, D.H. Ligon Jr., Harold Ligon Sr, Will Young, Russell Logan, H.E. Williams, E.J. Thomas, and John Ligon as chairman. Due to illness Reverend Tolbert could no longer serve us, therefore, we were without a pastor for three months.
In 1967 Reverend W.E. Byrd was elected pastor. The congregation learned to love and admire him for his willingness to serve God as a distinguished pastor and singer. His favorite song was "Do Lord Remember Me".
A brick church was built under his leadership in 1974. This church was modern in every respect with central heat and air, three Sunday School classrooms, a Pastor's Study, new pews and carpet, running water and restroom facilities. This reconstruction was completed at a cost of
Reverend Byrd organized the Mt. Zion Gospel Chorus and the Young Adult Choir. Serving under his leadership were Deacons E. J. Thomas, John Speaks, Harold Ligon, D. H. Ligon, Jr, Russell Logan, George Jackson, H.E. Williams, and John Ligon as chairman. Reverend Byrd ordained Deacons R. T. Foster and Elliott Dorn, Sr. The mother of the church at that time was Sister Mary P. Aulds.
The members were deeply saddened when Reverend Byrd resigned in 1976. However, through prayer the church maintained its unity. We were without a pastor for nine months. During this time, various ministers were appointed to preach each Sunday. The Reverend Ed F. Johnson of Morris Chapel Baptist Church of Greenwood was asked to aid and assist the church until we could re-elect a pastor.
Soon, God answered our prayers. Reverend Bernard White of the Promised Land Community in Greenwood County became the new pastor on April 9, 1977.
Under Reverend White's leadership the membership continued to increase. He organized the All Male Choir, the softball team, the Inspirational Choir, the Deacons Club, and The Willing Workers Club. The church adopted a resolution to have worship service each Sunday rather than just twice each month. Full-time service began on May 3, 1981. A new piano, hymn books, book racks, a microphone system and choir robes for the Youth Choir and Sunbeams were purchased. During this time Reverend White ordained Deacon Howard Aulls who served faithfully and who was also a singer and Sunday School teacher. After a short period of outstanding service, Deacon Aulls departed this life. He shall be remembered by his favorite song "God Has Smiled On Me".
The Mt. Zion Church family and friends grew stronger by working and fellowshipping together. Through this combined effort, special days and programs were instituted such as: Youth Day in April, Women's Day in May, Men's Day in July, and the traditional homecoming revival meeting the fourth Sunday in August. Our Mother of the Church at this time was Sister Emma Young, and even now as we observe the 116th Anniversary.
During one of the council meetings the pastor, deacons, and members adopted a resolution to hold rallies in order to eliminate the existing mortgage on the church in less than 15 years. With God's help, the mortgage was paid in just two rallies. The Mortgage Burning ceremony was held on March 2, 1980.
As time passed, Reverend White along with the members of the church, decided that a fellowship hall was necessary. Fundraising programs started again. With the money raised, the decision was made to buy the material, and the men of the church would perform the actual work to minimize the cost. Consequently, on Saturdays, the men worked and the ladies of the church prepared lunch for them. By the Grace of God, combined effort, and cooperation of the members, the Fellowship hall was completed. The first meal was served in the Fellowship Hall during Homecoming Services- the fourth Sunday in August 1982. The dedication service was held on November 7, 1982 and the unveiling of the cornerstone was held June 10, 1984. In 1991 he constructed a family life center and in 1995 he purchased a church van and later a church bus. On April 7, 1996 he began having two services. In February 2000 he implemented Small Group Ministries and in 2003 he implemented the AWANA Children's Bible Study Ministry. In April 2004 he opened a child development center and one year later in May 2004 dedication services for a newly constructed sanctuary was done. March 2014 renovations began for the Family Life Center (including gymnasium, kitchen and restrooms). Rev. White spoke from self-experience, "Don't tell me what the Lord won't do if you believe and pray to the Lord for what you need. We ain't through yet and the Lord ain't through with us either."
Rev. White dedicated 40 years of pastoral service and retired on September 15, 2017.
Mt. Zion was without a Pastor for one year. During this time, several ministers provided pastoral services each Sunday. On October 7, 2018, Reverend Cartrell A. Blume, Sr. was selected by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Family as the new shepherd and delivered his first sermon to the congregation.