Mt. Zion's History : Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Michigan City, Indiana was organized in 1919 by the late spiritual pioneers, Rev. and Mrs. John McGee, Mr. John Gibbons, Mother Emma Wilkies, Mother Lola Bolden, and Sister Willie Lee Thomas.
After years of meeting in the homes of the pioneering members, the congregation moved to a storefront location. Encouraged by their progress this congregation under the leadership of Rev. J.M. Lantham, they organized the first, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Under the leadership of Rev. J. Austin, a church building was purchased at 211 Spring Street for $2,500.00. With the transaction completed, the membership moved into its new home in 1923. A new spark ignited the worship service of Mount Zion and the future looked bright and promising.
In 1925, Rev. R. Hawkins became the pastor and through the contributions of a leading philanthropist, Mrs.Catherine Barker, the church's indebtedness was liquidated. It is reported that Mount Zion endured a long list of pastors and intervals in which there was no pastor. We must make mention of Mount Zion's Missionary Society, with projects such as, Christmas baskets for the needy and visiting the sick and shut-in. For their eighteen years of service, they had received several awards for public service to the community. The Mount Zion Missionaries also received the Norman Beatty Hospital Distinguished Service Award. Special mention must be made of the late Mother Lola Bolden who served as Sunday School Superintendent for 25 years.
Struggles and frustrations ensued in the years between 1940-1960. In the early 1940's the church split and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was organized. Meanwhile, Mount Zion struggled to maintain the integrity of their fellowship. In the late 1940's early 1950's, the Rev. Frank W. Coleman became pastor of Mount Zion and appointed the first deacons of the church. Rev. Coleman was also the president of the Indiana Baptist State Convention.
The church grew and the congregation sought to purchase the old Elston School building at 124 East 4Th Street. In 1956, under the leadership of Rev. A.B.Armore, worship was held in the school building for a short period. Continued growth and expansion ushered in a new set of problems. This once impoverished congregation now had to learn to handle the prosperity the Lord was allowing them to experience. This was not an easy task. Subsequently, the congregation moved back to their previous location of 211 Spring Street from 1960 until 1967.
In 1967 Mount Zion received news that Michigan City Redevelopment Commission was to purchase the church property at 211 Spring Street and the school building at 124 East 4Th Street. Both buildings were scheduled for demolition. The church was without a pastor at this time and all decisions concerning a new church were made by the deacons. A new site was located and David Snyder of Snyder and Blackburn Associates, formerly of Indianapolis, Indiana and General Construction of Michigan City were selected to begin the new building project. Having begun the project, Rev. Penn, who continued to pastor the First Baptist Church of Gary, Indiana was reorganized and the Tithing Program was introduced which resulted in an increase of weekly offering and nightly worship services.
On October 18, 1968, Rev. Orlando Protho was called to pastor Mount Zion. On November 2, 1968, Rev. Protho led the congregation into their new house of worship. The new edifice brought about spiritual vigor and renewal. Another point of significance to the history of our great church included intuiting a resolution to become a legal corporate body under the state of Indiana; however, in 1977, Rev. Protho was dismissed.
In 1975, Mount Zion called the late Rev. Dorsey T. Taylor as its new pastor. Under the pastorate of Rev. Taylor, Mount Zion achieved many accomplishments and acquired generous donations, such as the Standard Oil Property, which is now the New Millennium Park and 133 Edwards Street, all in 1977. Rev. Taylor was dismissed in 1979. Rev. James Howell was called in 1979 and dismissed in 1982. The church was without a pastor for 2 years until 1984 when Rev. Kenneth Henderson was called. Rev.Henderson was dismissed in 1987. Rev. Charles Fields was called in 1988 and resigned in 1990.
On May 30, 1991 Rev. Stanley Mason was ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois by his spiritual mentor, Dr. L.K. Curry. On the 3rd Sunday in July, 1991, Rev. Mason was installed as pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. He brought with him his wife Virginia and their son Joseph.
Rev. Mason is a man of God who leads by example. Through education and training, having received his Master in Divinity and his Doctorate in Ministry, Dr.Mason has encouraged the Mount Zion Family to further a fundamental faith and trust in God. As we move in the 21st century, Mount Zion has experienced phenomenal growth and continues to be family oriented with deep religious roots in the community.
Under the leadership of Dr. Stanley Mason, Mount Zion has established educational ministries, continued charitable ministries, and have incorporated stewardship principles as well as a continued preaching of the gospel and Bible centered teaching. Mount Zion has acquired several properties and improvements have been made to the church edifice and its surrounding property. Since 2004 several exterior as well as interior improvements have been made in addition to the purchase of the Annex Building next door.
Mount Zion continues to use all their gifts and talents to glorify and deify God by carrying out the ministry of Christ Jesus.