1921 – Present
“Early Churchmen accepted the idea that history is, or displays the fulfillment of a Divine plan. History is thus seen as a purposeful structure in which the earlier events offer indications of what is to come. It serves also as a schoolmaster drawing lessons from the past.”
Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church is a constant reminder of the pioneer and reflects in many ways the ideas accepted by the early churchmen.
In 1921, a small group of Christian brothers and sisters all who perhaps lived in Washington Park had the same vision. This vision was to unite as a church body in the area in which they lived. All of the brothers and sisters were members of Mt. Zion Institutional Baptist Church on Washington Street near downtown Orlando and many miles from Washington Park.
It was on a Sunday afternoon when they went searching for a place in Washington Park to begin services. The desired spot was found on what is now known as Ivey Lane near what was then Coleman’s Store and now “Big B. This group’s divine vision became a reality with the intervention of the Holy Spirit. The group organized as Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Their first Minister was Rev. A.F. Smart. Under his leadership the membership grew in numbers. Having no building in which to meet, they religiously and gratefully met under what was called a “Brush Harbor”. As the membership continued to grow, it was decided that a pastor was needed. Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church’s first pastor was Rev. R.L. Jones, after his departure, ministers serving were Reverends B.J. Jones, A.C. Crooms, Joseph Williams and S. T. Jenkins.
It was during the year 1950 when Rev. Fred L. Maxwell served as pastor and in 1951 Rev. C.L. Jones was elected as pastor.
Under the leadership of Rev. Jones, the membership built a small wooden church on Drew Avenue to the right of its present site. During the pastorate of Rev. Jones, the church continued to grow. His journey was that of teaching, preaching and baptizing souls for the up building of God’s Kingdom.
Under the leadership of Re. C.L. Jones, the membership built a one-story block church. The Present sanctuary stands as a monument to this great champion of God. During Re. Jones’ pastorate, many converted souls were added to the church. Rev. C.L. Jones terminated his pastorate in 1958, but a devoted deacon board served under his leadership. Those Deacons who served under his leadership were:
Deacon Garfield Ray (deceased)
Deacon Daniel Coleman (deceased)
Deacon Henry Moore (deceased)
Deacon B.H. Evans (deceased)
Deacon A.M. Johnson (deceased)
Deacon C.L. Mincey (deceased)
Deacon Thomas Leonard (deceased)