The Zion Baptist Church was organized early in 1901 by Rev. John H. Thompson. This church, as suggested on August 6, 1901, was formerly called "The Burning Bush Zion Baptist Church." The words "Burning" and "Bush" were later dropped from the original name, and the Church became known as the "Zion Baptist Church." There were fourteen members, seven of whom left after the name was changed. Names of the Founders: Sis. Hannah Carter, Sis. Frazier Smith, Sis. Laura Thorpe, Sis. Hester Wilson Moultrice, Sis. Phoebe Magwood Smith, Sis. Sally Bailey Williams, Bro. Sam Gardner, Bro. John Gregory, Rev. Sam K. Holmes, Bro. Will Johnson, Bro. Neal Kinsey, Bro. Alex Miller, and Bro. G. Mitchell.
The need for a location to build a church arose. A building committee, consisting of Deacon John Gregory, Will Johnson, Neal Kinsey, and Rev. John Thompson serving as chairman, was appointed on August 30, 1901. The congregation of Zion began negotiating for a permanent place of worship. Negotiations ended with the purchase of the present property on the corner of Lee and "G" Streets during the same year. While the building was being constructed in the year of 1901, services were held in the "Old Ark" on the corner of Amherst and "G" Streets. On Sunday morning at 4:00 A.M., Rev. John Henry Thompson, leading a band of Christians singing the song "We're Marching To Zion", led a band of Christians with burning lamps from the "Old Ark" to the present site.
The pastorate of Rev. Thompson extended over a period of thirty years. The church cannot fail to forget his early hardships and sacrifices. It cannot fail to appreciate the fact that Zion grew during his pastorate. Rev. Thompson's pastoral labors terminated in December 1931. The membership of Zion was said to be over seven hundred at the time.
Rev. John H. Thompson instituted the following organizations: The Baptist Training Union, The Women Missionary Society and The Church Choir.
Under the administration of Rev. Thompson, the Rev. Moses Mitchell was the first minister and Brother Alex Miller was the first Deacon to be ordained. The first licensed minister was the Rev. J. J. Strickland.
The following Ministers have served as Pastors of the Zion Baptist Church:
Rev. J. J. Strickland 1932 - 1934
Rev. W. W. Avery 1935 - January 31, 1936
Rev. N. L. Lyde 1936 - 1939
Rev. J. H. Baines 1939 - 1941. After serving two years at Zion, Rev. Baines resigned leaving Zion Baptist Church without a Pastor until 1942.
Rev. W. M. Mallard June 1942 - June 1946
Rev. J. S. Williamson January 1947 - May 28, 1947. Rev. Williamson began making plans at once for a building expansion program for the church. His plans were not carried out as his book of life closed on May 28, 1947.
Rev. Reaves of Americus, Georgia December 1947. Rev. Reaves' call was rescinded.
Rev. T. J. Lynch March 1948. Rev. Lynch resigned before taking charge of the church.
Rev. W. C. Robinson July 15, 1948 - 1956. Under the administration of Rev. Robinson, the church was divided into eight districts. The Junior Church was organized on May 9, 1949. The pastorium was completed and plans were made for the liquidation of the church mortgage. On December 3, 1951, a banner year for Rev. Robinson, the mortgage on the church was burned. In 1952, the church went into an intensive remodeling program. A building committee, consisting of Deacons Richard Baker, Haywood Roper, Willie Simmons, Doyle Chaney, Joseph Anderson, and Ervin Brogsdale, were appointed. Deacon Richard Baker served as chairman. This remodeling project was completed and the church was re-dedicated on July 31, 1955. Rev. Robinson served the Zion Baptist Church for more than eight years. He resigned August 5, 1956.
Rev. Wallace H. Hartsfield June 1957 - December 1958. Rev. Hartsfield, who was completing his ministerial training at Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia, and who was serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pickens, South Carolina, received a unanimous vote to become pastor of the Zion Baptist Church. Rev. Hartsfield introduced many valuable reforms in the order of worship and in the administration of church business. The budget and the "One Church Treasury" came into existence. His leadership was an outstanding contribution in helping to make Zion's history a fruitful one. Rev. Hartsfield submitted his resignation on September 1, 1958 and ended his pastorate at Zion Baptist Church on December 1958.
Rev. Julius C. Hope 1959-1970. On March 16, 1959, the Zion Baptist Church extended the call to Rev. Julius C. Hope to become Pastor, after having been without a pastor for three months. Rev. Hope was a student at Gammon Theological Seminary and was serving as the Assistant Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church of Mobile, Alabama. As pastor of Zion Baptist Church, Rev. Hope led the flock in the way that God would have him lead. Under his leadership, faith in God, and a mind to work, Zion knew that she would reach her goal. Under the administration of Rev. Hope, the church was renovated and the following were organized: The Men's Choir, Men and Teen-age Ushers, Children Choir, the Birth-of-the-Month Club, the Executive Board and the Nominating Committee. All of these were helping to make a great Zion. Ministers ordained during the Hope administration were as follows: Rev. Albert Maxwell, July 15, 1961 and Rev. Winfred Hope, July 1966. Ministers licensed were as follows: Brother Jimmy Boone, Brother Michael Jones and Deacon Doyle Chaney. Bro. Robert Griffin was appointed Chairman of the Trustee Board. After serving eleven and a half years, Rev. Hope resigned on July 7, 1970.
Rev. George E. Darrisaw 1971 - April 21, 1994. On January 24, 1971, Rev. G. E. Darrisaw was extended a call to become Pastor of the Zion Baptist Church. Under Rev. Darrisaw's administration, the church moved to higher heights. He believed in total involvement of all church members on the affairs of the church. The church was without a doubt experiencing growth both spiritually and financially. Rev. Darrisaw organized the following: The Sunbeam Choir (ages two to five years), the L. B. McIntosh Choir, The Sunshine Band, The Boys Choir, The Z. B. C. Band, The Young Matron Circle, The G. E. Darrisaw Mixed Choir, The Radio Choir and The Pastor's Choir. The following Deacons were ordained during Rev. Darrisaw's administration: Brother Alfred Wrice, Brother Lindsey Wilborne, Brother Edward Cooper, Brother Charlie Bozeman, Brother Johnny Matthews, Brother Joseph Hope, Brother Coleman Parrish, Brother Larry Harris, Brother Ben Gibbons, Brother Sammie Smith. He ordained, as ministers of the Gospel, Reverend Clarence Glover and Reverend F. Michael Atkinson, and licensed Licentiate Robert McBee. Under Rev. Darrisaw's leadership, the new church's edifice, costing more than a quarter of a Million Dollars, was completed. This long awaited project was begun prior to his accepting the pastorate. In March 1994, the final church mortgage payment was paid. We were then ready for a Mortgage Burning Celebration. One may truly say that with God's help and with the cooperation of the people, Rev. Darrisaw took the dream from the paper and put it on the ground. In 1994, the church was saddened by the untimely death of our beloved Pastor, Rev. G. E. Darrisaw. We prayed for God's blessings and comfort to this family.
Reverend Haywood Headd May 1994 - June 1996. We were without a pastor, but our faithful member Rev. Haywood Headd took the helm and led Zion through this most difficult time. He became an inspiration to us. In May 1994, Rev. Haywood Headd agreed to serve as our Interim Pastor for three months as the search committee began diligently seeking to find the right person to serve Zion. This necessitated that Rev. Headd, who graciously consented, continue to serve as Interim Pastor until May 1996.
Reverend Alfred Jackson June 1996 - May 28, 2000. After much prayer the church called Rev. Alfred Jackson as Pastor. Rev. Jackson graciously accepted the call. God placed it upon his heart and he was led by the Holy Spirit to come to Brunswick. His duties started June 2, 1996. Rev. Jackson brought with him his wife, Barbara, son Desmond and daughter LaPorscha. Pastor Jackson's ministry consisted of many "Help Ministries," which he introduced to the Zion Family. His prayer was that these ministries would one day develop and cause an explosion in Glynn and surrounding areas. Among these ministries would be an Outreach Center that would meet the needs of the community. During Rev. Jackson's three years at Zion, many souls were saved and many were revived. Rev. Jackson organized the following ministries: The Brotherhood, The Women of Faith, Young Adult Ushers, Teenage Usher Board, Youth Bible Study, Church Nursery, The Contemporary Choir, The TWA (Matrons) Ministry--to assist the young people in the church and The Giving Ministry - - a food and clothing bank to reach the needy in the community through mission. Also under Rev. Jackson's leadership, a second church van was purchased, and the old one was painted and repaired. A new pastor's study was added, a new sound system was installed, a cover was built for the vans, new landscaping was done and a new air conditioning unit for the sanctuary was installed. Rev. Jackson had two marriage seminars. His future goals were to add a new kitchen; to purchase more parking area; to continue preaching the gospel to the lost (Soul Winner for Christ); to promote outreach ministries in the community, and to change a generation through Christian education. Ministers licensed were as follows: Bro. Neil Dawson, Sis. Barbara Jackson, and Bro. Ray Ford. Also Bro. Michael Dunson was ordained as a deacon in November of 1999. After serving four years, Rev. Jackson resigned on May 8, 2000. He gave a two weeks' notice, making May 28 his last day.
Zion was again without a Pastor, but we prayed for God's continued blessing as we pressed forward to the mark of the high calling to the Master's will. After much prayer and supplication, the church went about the task of organizing itself to ensure that the work of God would not suffer due to the absence of a minister. Deacon Johnny Matthews, chairman of the Deacon Board, led the church in its efforts to begin the task of maintaining the Order of Worship and of attending the business of the church.
A Search Committee, consisting of the following members: Sis. Vivian Hope, Chairperson; Sis. Lillie Frazier; Sis. Nell Rowe; Sis. Leola Lowe; Bro. Mitchell Life, Jr.; Bro. Billy Stewart; Dea. Johnny Matthews; Dea. James Carr; Dea. Michael Dunson; and Bro. Charles Wilson, was organized. Sis. Linda Mann was appointed Church Clerk and Sis. Alberta Miller was appointed Assistant Church Clerk.
Rev. Michael V. Norris-February 2001- March 30, 2008. The Committee and the church worked diligently and prayed fervently to God for a minister who was primarily filled with the Holy Spirit to be the Under Shepherd of Zion. Because of our obedience to Him, we were blessed with Rev. Michael V. Norris. He graciously accepted his responsibilities on Sunday, February 5, 2001. He brought his wife, Mrs. Ruth M. Norris, and their two children: Jason and Tia.
Pastor Michael Norris' first concern after accepting the call to the pastorate was to minister by the "power of presence" to the souls of Zion. Pastor Norris sought the Lord in daily prayer for direction in leading the church to the next level. He understood that at this crucial juncture in the life of Zion there was not a need to present before the congregation a "vision" or "mission" statement until the Lord led him to do so. The Vision and Mission Statement birthed in the heart of Pastor Norris, was put to written form and placed in the church's edifice in strategic areas and dated February 2, 2002. The preaching and teaching of the "Word of God" was and is the primary focal point of the model of ministry for Pastor Norris (Matt. 4:4, Luke 4:4). From Pastor Norris' acceptance of the call from Zion unto the present, over 50 persons have become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ via baptism, Christian experience, restoration, and rededication. The church is experiencing phenomenal spiritual and financial growth. The church has purchased the adjacent property for her spiritual and physical sphere for the kingdom of God. Pastor Norris initiated a "Security Ministry" under the capable direction of Mitchell Life, Jr. Three ministers were licensed and one of the three was ordained: Rev. Craig Campbell - Youth Ministry (licensed and ordained), Minister Carson (CJ) Holliman, Jr. - Tape Ministry (licensed), Minister Wilma Coley - Mission Ministry (licensed). In addition, five men have been added to the Deaconate Ministry: Willard Britt, Marty Simmons, Forrest McDuffie, Wright White, and Lawrence Gipson. Each spouse of the Deaconate Ministry served faithfully, namely Pearl Britt, Angela Simmons, Carolyn McDuffie, Kim White, and Nikki Gipson. The Music Ministry under Pastor Norris' leadership has taken on added dimensions. Deacon Lawrence Gipson served as the church's percussionist, Brother Curtis Ballard served as primary pianist for the "Z V O P" Zion Voice of Praise named and formed under Pastor Norris' administration. Rev. Craig B. Campbell was appointed as the Youth Minister. Pearl Britt was appointed as "Pastor's Administrative Assistant." Pastor Norris constantly promotes a "ministry oriented" concept in name of every ministry (i.e., Deacon Ministry, Deaconess Ministry, Trustee Ministry, Music Ministry, etc.). The church purchased, a new tape deck, had lighting fixtures placed on the outside grounds of the church for security, had painted the sanctuary, upstairs, fellowship hall, and hallways. A CD player was been added for additional ministry enhancement. A Triton piano was purchased for the church's music ministry. The church also took steps to market the ministry as commanded by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 28: 19) by taking a family portrait of the church and securing billboard advertisement around Glynn County. Zion continued to be a growing and exciting congregation. Under Pastor Norris leadership, we are experiencing what it means to "press toward the mark. Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
The "team", as Pastor Norris often describes the ministry, is growing with men and women who are convinced that "we walk by faith .sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Rev. Craig B. Campbell continues to served as our Youth Minister. Minister Wilma Coley served as our Minister of Missions. Minister Carson (C.J.) Holliman, Jr., served as Minister of our Tape/Audio Ministry. Minister Christopher Blanding served as our Minister of Arts & Production Ministry. Brother Sammie Smith and Brother Johnny Hobbs were ordained as deacons on Sunday, August 17, 2003. God navigated Brother George Miller, Jr. to come back home to serve as the church's next pianist along with Deacon Lawrence Gipson who served as percussionist. Brother Michael Rivers also worked with this team as a percussionist and pianist with the Z.V.O.P. (Zion Voices of Praise) under the direction of Deacon Marty Simmons.
In June 2003, the Church, along with its Pastor, was blessed to make a trip to Detroit, Michigan. We were exposed to different "ministry models". First, we worshipped with the FIRST INSTITUTIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH of Detroit where Pastor Howard B. Fauntroy, III is the esteemed pastor. Second, we worshipped with the former pastor of Zion, Pastor Julius C. Hope at NEW GRACE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH of Detroit.
2004-2006 MINISTRAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
· Numerous souls were added to the congregation. The church grew numerically, qualitatively, spiritually and fiscally.
· Breakfast Ministry was and continues to be a success, initiated by Sister Johnnie M. Life (resigned in June 2005). The ministry is now being led by Deacon Michael Dunson (interim). The ministry feeds many persons of this community who otherwise would be without on a Sunday morning.
· Minister George E. Davis Jr. accepted his call to the ministry.
· Disbursed monetary benevolences to meet many of the needs of families brought on by changes in this ever changing economy (members and non-members of this church).
· New Pastoral appointment of Veronica Reese to serve as Assistant Superintendent of Church School.
· Church purchased adjacent lot for future expansion and development.
· Church received her 501c(3) exemption status from the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES.
· Upgrade of media production to mass produce all services on CD, by purchasing essential equipment to move from analog to digital transmission and production. Church projectors for announcements, proclamation, wedding, teaching, visual enhancements regardless of seating, flat-screen in fellowship hall for overflow events and security.
· Upgrade of marketing (commercial on B.E.T.) in order to adhere to Christ's mandate to "go ye into all the world" (Matt. 22: 9, 28:19)
· Upgrade of Fellowship Hall via purchasing new tables and chairs.
· Purchase of new carpet for sanctuary, painting of sanctuary and the selection of new furniture for the pulpit to be installed before the calendar year ends.
· New Pastoral appointments made to Trustee Ministry: Jeanie Long, Stephanie Atkinson-Smith, Norma Broner, Robert E. Griffin (Chairman).
· Marcus Scott was recommended by Robert E. Griffin to Pastor & Congregation as possible member of Trustee Ministry. Accepted by Pastor and approved by congregation during church conference.
· Minister of Music (Adrian Cunningham) expanded music ministry with addition of Praise Team and Praise Dance. The Praise Dance Ministry was initiated by college student and member LaChaunta Gray in collaboration with our Minister of Music, Sis. Kathy Morten and Sis. Chassidy Mann.
· Purchase of new carpet for sanctuary, painting of sanctuary and the selection of new furniture for the pulpit to be installed before the calendar year ends
· Installation of a state of the art security system augmented by some of the latest user-friendly software (chaired by Minister George E. Davis, Jr.)
· Church's landscape makeover (chaired by Rev. Craig B. Campbell)
· First Annual Back-to-School Extravaganza
Pastor Norris began his doctoral studies in Black Church Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio. The church continues to support Pastor Norris spiritually, prayerfully, and financially in this momentous undertaking.
Sis. Sheila Collins was appointed as our Editor/Publication Ministry Leader and is producing a work of "excellence" for the kingdom of God via our "monthly publication". Pastor Norris from day one with Zion has led our congregation from the "front" and not from the "rear". Another preacher was birthed in Zion by the calling of Deacon Wright White. The Church responded with praise and adoration to God by the shouts and clapping of their hands of His continual "breadth of blessings" upon this local church body, during the years of 2005-2006.
In addition, the church parking lot has been completed, computers from the Government (34) have been approved and donated "free of charge" to help bring our "computer lab" to fruition.
2006-2007 ADDENDUM - PASTOR MICHAEL V. NORRIS
· Purchased the property next to the church
· Purchased three lots adjacent from the church
· New fencing around the purchased property
· Purchased two new storage sheds
· Received $32,000 worth of computer equipment
· 67 New Members
· 21 Candidates for Baptism
· Minister Stella Wilson accepted her call to the Ministry
· First Youth Explosion
· Bro. Curtis Ballard was appointed Director of the Music Ministry.
· Annual Heart-to-Heart Banquet (which began under the leadership of Rev. Haywood Headd) continues to flourish.
· Second Annual Back-to-School Extravaganza
Rev. Michael V. Norris (2001-2007) introduced The ZVOP Choir, another contemporary choir, which was very appealing to many, especially the young adults. This choir was directed by Min. Adrian Cunningham, and brought a style that was in keeping with the changes and new direction of gospel music. Sis. Chassidy Mann was appointed as director of the Youth Choir by Min. Cunningham. After two years, Min. Cunningham left to reside in another state. Bro. Curtis Ballard Jr., who was pianist for ZVOP, was appointed to serve as the Director of the Music Ministry. Bro. Michael Rivers serve as percussionist. Dea. Lawrence Gipson who resigned in 2008 also served as percussionist and Bro. Anthony Polite serve as bass guitarist. Bro. Ballard and Bro. George Miller Jr. are continuing the upward trends in gospel music.
The mission of the choir is that of a trained extension of the congregation, presenting the word in song with, to and for those who worship. Nothing should stand in the way of that calling, lest we fall short of fulfilling the mission of the choir and the will of God. Zion has been true to this mission down through the years because of the faithfulness of those in the Music Department who have been dedicated to their calling. It is our hope that we never lose our legacy.
2007-2008: Zion Baptist Church continued God's work of ministering to the needs of its parishioners and of winning new souls to the Body of Christ. However, on March 30, 2008 Rev. Michael V. Norris resigned his pastorate and the church was again without a pastor. Rev. Craig B. Campbell, Youth Pastor who had recently been inaugurated as such with Zion's first Inauguration Ceremony, was elected to serve as Interim Pastor until a Search Committee could be formed to begin the search for a pastor.
Ministral Accomplishments and Changes Executed under Interim Pastor Craig B. Campbell:
· Resignation of Deacon Lawrence Gipson as church percussionist
· Appointment of Sis. Stephanie Atkinson-Smith as Vice-Chair of the Trustee Ministry
· Resignation of Rev. Craig B. Campbell as Vice-Chair of the Trustee Ministry
· Appointment of Sis. Angela Simmons by the Executive Committee to assist Sister Renita Gray-Trottie*
· Third Annual Back-to-School Extravaganza held for the Youth of Zion and surrounding communities*
· Many became members of Zion through Baptism, Reactivation, Transfer of Membership or Christian Experience**
· Two former members, Rev. Nagene Thomas and Rev. F. Michael Atkinson, were re-activated to the membership and added to the Ministerial staff**
· Initiation of Noon Day Prayer
With much prayer and supplication Zion continues to move upward under the leadership of Interim Pastor Craig B. Campbell. We are witnessing an Order of Worship that is filled with reverence and excitement. Interim Pastor Campbell wants to "Enrich and Empower Lives through God's Holy Word" as we wait for the message from On High with His Will for His Church.
On Sunday, October 12, 2008, Rev. Campbell accepted the call to the pastorate with support from our Zion family. Rev. Campbell was baptized and ordained as a Minister in Zion Baptist Church. On Sunday, January 11, 2009, Rev. Campbell was installed as the Pastor of Zion Baptist Church. He and his gracious wife, Tracie Campbell, along with their lovely daughter, Dezaniek Campbell, became The First Family. Rev. Campbell began his role as pastor by embracing a profound theme, "A Passionate Church with Passionate People." Under his leadership many relevant rituals have been restored during the worship service.
Also, under Pastor Campbell's leadership, Zion has embraced Wednesday Biblical Enrichment with the theme, "Enriching and Empowering Lives through God's Holy Word" (2 Timothy 2:15). Moreover, with the assistance of Rev. Dr. F. Michael Atkinson, Rev. George Miller, Rev. Yvette Pressley, and Ministers Wilma Coley and Juanita Oliver, Rev. Campbell is providing a balanced "ministerial team" of preaching, teaching, caring, and leading. Many of these are evidenced by his addition of a Married Couple's Ministry, Brotherhood (Men's) Ministry, Healthcare Ministry, and future vision for an Evangelical Ministry, New Member's Ministry, Children's Church, Summer Enrichment Academy, and a Multi-Purpose building for growth and ministries.
June 5, 2009, Rev. Campbell began his theological studies in Christian Leadership at the Jacksonville, Florida extension site of the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Zion continues to support Pastor Campbell spiritually, prayerfully, and financially in this worthwhile religious education endeavor.
Ministerial Accomplishments 2008-2009 - Pastor Craig B. Campbell
· Building completion of a structural Pavilion
· Remodeling of kitchen and downstairs restroom
· Reorganizing of Zion's computer lab (new laptops and software)
· Fencing of Zion's properties (Stonewall and G Street)
· Continuing the annual Back-to-School Extravaganza held for the Youth of Zion and surrounding communities*
· Conducting community outreach workshops (Financial Management, Political Leadership, Educational and Health Awareness)
· Officiating over Minister Yvette Pressley's acceptance of her call to the Ministry
Under Pastor Campbell's leadership Zion Baptist Church continues to grow both spiritually and financially. Zion continues its willingness to minister to the needs of its parishioners and ongoing soul-winning for the advancement of God's kingdom, and the Body of Christ.
Every ministry has contributed to the growth, commitment, and the spirit of excellence that our heavenly Father has required of us. These congregational accomplishments have been a synergy of pastor and people working together to bring glory to our Christ and King and Lord.
Last Update 7-2009