Church History Founded in 1924

We were organized in the Rockdale Park Community, in the year of our Lord, 1924.  This family was under the leadership of the Reverend Tom Davis, in the Union Methodist Church, located on Johnson Road, N.W., in Fulton County, Georgia.  Reverend Davis served as Pastor of the church for approximately four years.  At the close of his tenure, the late Reverend A. L. Butler was elected to the Pastorate.  Under his leadership, a property lot, on the corner of  Lively and Taft Streets, was purchased.  A house of worship was built there so that the church could continue to worship and serve God through serving humanity.

In 1933, Reverend B. R. Matthews was elected to the Pastorate of the church. Under his leadership, another house of worship was built to accommodate the parishioners and their friends. It provided somewhat more comfort as the church continued to grow to an appreciable  number of members during that time. The late Reverend Moses Biggs succeeded the late Reverend B. R. Matthews; followed by the late Reverend Thomas H. Hurley.  Each of these men served short tenures. In 1940, Rev. R. H. Gresham came to us and served successfully for twelve years.  During his tenure as Pastor, a piano and pews were purchased at a cost of $1,300.00.  Reverend Gresham resigned the pastorate in 1952. That same year, Reverend C. H. Tigner was elected as Pastor and more accomplishments were made under his leadership.  He served until December 1956. Reverend A. D. Tucker, the associate minister, was appointed to take care of the worship from December 19, 1956, until election time.  In April 1957, Rev. Hilton J. Taylor, was elected to serve indefinitely.

Zion Hill’s faith has been challenged and she has labored under adverse circumstances.  She has endured criticism and hardship from within and without, as she has endeavored to carry out the commands of her Lord and Master.  The late Mother Gussie Way, who was a member for thirty-four years before going on to glory, spoke of two such adversities, which almost meant the demise of the church building.  Mother Way recalled that the physical plant of Zion Hill’s faith   community was practically burned down and almost destroyed by a storm that hit the Rockdale Community; that this catastrophe was followed by a tornado, which damaged the roof of the church, and one side of the building was destroyed.  Faithful members  gathered after the storms to pull nails from the wood in the debris in order to salvage and restore what was left of the building. Still, in the midst of adversity, Zion Hill has been undaunted!

In 1961, the Rockdale Community had to relocate because of Urban Renewal.

On March 6, 1962 Zion Hill bought four acres of land at 236 Fairburn Road from Richards and Higgins Developers, Incorporated. At that point, this location consisted of one brick veneer house (currently

our Educational Building and Fellowship Hall), the house served as the sanctuary from August 1963 until the present structure was completed in February 1966.  There was also another small building on the property and three and one half acres of land.  After those four years of praying, planning and paying, some loyal men and women of Zion Hill, along with Pastor H. J. Taylor, the Deacons and Chairman of the    Deacons’ Board whom at that time was Deacon Warren Pope, physically did most of the labor on our church building. We were not able to go to a contractor at that time.

Our church furniture was purchased with the pastor leading the deacons, and him lead by God, in making appropriate the necessary funds for the down payment, and today there is no further indebtedness of this furniture. Also at that time the carpeting was a gift from Mr.  & Mrs. Talmadge Boynton, for whom one of the sainted souls of our church worked, Mother Pearl McKnight.  An organ was purchased and Baptistery was installed.

Although the church had Deacons, Mothers’ Board, Missionary Society, Sunday school, BTU, Senior Choir, and Junior Choirs at its inception when Reverend H. J. Taylor became our full-time pastor we were blessed to expand, reorganize, and add more auxiliaries.

In 1971, a Young Men’s Usher Board, a Young Women’s Usher Board and the H. J. Taylor Sunbeam Choir were organized as auxiliaries of the church.  The Public Address (PA) System was installed in 1972.  In that same year, the driveways were paved, the first air conditioning system was installed and the Pastor’s Aid Club was organized. Two years later in 1974, the church celebrated its GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY!

The Baptist Training Union was reorganized in 1975.  In the year that followed, the church grew rapidly.  In 1976, the church’s library was opened.

The Brotherhood was established in 1979. The Young Adults Choir became the Youth for Christ Choir

in 1980.  The Inspirational Voices for Christ Choir, a young adult ministry, was formed and the Courtesy Guild was organized as an auxiliary of the church.  As part of our Outreach Ministry, a radio broadcast was added on Station 1480 WYZE.

On March 7, 1981, the Board of Christian Education held its first meeting.  During the same month,

the mortgage was burned in a beautiful and solemn ceremony.

In June of 1981, plans for expansion of the Educational Building to add a Fellowship Hall were presented to the church family for inspection and was accepted with minor adjustments. Fundraising projects for this purpose were put into motion.

In September 1982, the Missionary Society was reorganized; an altar set, and the Bibles were purchased and dedicated for the church sanctuary.  The following year, the first week in June was earmarked for a yearly observation of “Bible Study Week” at Zion Hill.  In that same month, the W.M.U. was also reorganized.

The church’s steeple was re-erected in October, along with indoor/outdoor carpet being installed on the portico and back steps.  A beautiful chandelier was installed in the sanctuary and the church house received a new roof.

The church’s pews were upholstered (back and seat), and a new air conditioning unit was installed in 1984.  That same year, all training of the Zion Hill Church family was coordinated under the direction of the Baptist Training Union. As the years went by, the church progressively made additions to it family.  The Youth Department was organized.
During 1985 an Outreach Ministry was implemented, a copier was purchased, and a new Public Address System was installed.  Zion Hill’s Sunday school and Baptist Training Union were expanded to include seventeen auxiliaries and support groups.

In 1987, two additional auxiliaries were organized.  Usher Board Dorcas and the Trustee Organization were implemented, as the church kept growing and growing.  The parking lot was extended and resurfaced that year.  The Youth Department was expanded to include Usher Board Ruth.

In September 1993, after much encouragement and urging by the pastor, Reverend Hilton J. Taylor, an educational assistance program was implemented to assist students of the Zion Hill Family in their educational pursuits, careers, and spiritual growth.    A committee was tasked to recommend goals, structures, and procedures to serve this need.  Recommendations for the Education Scholarship Assistance Program (ESAP) were presented to an adopted by, the Church Conference at it September 1993 meeting.  The Conference approved the ESAP oversight committee consisting of: Deacon James Phillips, Chairman; Sister Murray Brown; Brother William Foster; Brother Willie T. Glover; Sister Jerolene Jones; Brother Vernard McCain; and Sister Sadie Moss.  Each year the ESAP identifies students matriculating to additional educational and spiritual pursuits, and gives financial and counseling assistance with the support and permission of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
The activity continues to progress and expand with strong Pastoral and Church support.  Usher Board I became inactive in 1993.

On October 30, 1994, a cornerstone was laid to the Southwest corner of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Brief installation worship was conducted. A time capsule, containing historical documentation was included in the Cornerstone cavern, to be opened and renewed in the year 2025 and 2050.  Brother Herschel Thornton, Jr., of Thornton Mortuary, was instrumental in encouraging Zion Hill to install the cornerstone.  Pastor Hilton J. Taylor, on behalf of the Zion Hill Family received the cornerstone with thanks and appreciation, and its installation as a gift from Brother Herschel Thornton, Jr.

In September 1996, the church was presented with a fund-raising thermometer with a financial goal of $500,000.00 for church remodeling.

In 2000, Reverend H. J. Taylor observed 43 years as Pastor of Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, a new organization, Brotherhood II was formed, and a roof installed on the sanctuary.
The perceptiveness of our Deacons and Deacons’ Aides, chaired by   Deacon William Foster, brought about a Revitalization of the Building Fund Drive in 2001. A Fundraising Committee was formed and a Church Development Services Consultant held a workshop. A Building Design Committee was also formed; outlining the suggested interior design.  A Church-Wide Conference was held.  The conference decided to build a new Sanctuary and Facilities, while retaining the current church for future use and consideration.

This meant implementing Phase 1 of the development; which includes: (1.) Colored Master Plan, (2.) Building Floor Plans, (3.) Front Elevation, (4.) Estimated Cost to build, and (5.) Colored Rendering of the First Phase. In 2001 a community wide Annual Educational Banquet was added to the education assistance effort.   In 2002, we celebrated an appreciated Rev. and Mrs. Taylor for Forty-five years of dedicated service to God and to Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, as Pastor and First Lady.  An oil painting of Pastor Taylor was unveiled during that ceremony and later hung in the  vestibule of the church.

The deacons, chaired by Deacon Tracy Glover, the Chairman, initiated and implemented the refurbishing of the interior of the church. The entire church was painted, new carpet was installed throughout the church, the indoor/outdoor carpet on the portico and back steps was   replaced, new furnishings and draperies were placed in the pastor’s study, all restrooms received ceramic tile, commode, vanity, mirrors, light fixtures, paper towel and tissue dispensers, and wall decorations. The wooden portion of the pews and floors of the church were cleaned.  A durable file cabinet and bookcase were purchased to secure the pastor’s papers and books. Trees were removed from the church grounds.

The Education Committee held its First Annual Scholarship Banquet.Five Deacon aides were ordained …Lloyd Howell, Sr.; Eddy McCrary, Jr., Julius Newborn, Jr., Marcellous Thornton, Jr. and Carl Whiters, Sr.Phase I of the church development plan was implemented.

In 2003, Zion Hill’s building program planning continued to progress.  Under the leadership of Pastor Hilton J. Taylor, the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church held a church wide conference meeting, June 14, 2003, to discuss alternative construction models for moving forward on the church building program.  The Church Conference, in a majority vote, registered by the Church Clerk, approved plans, resources, and  directions to commence actions immediately to build a multi-purpose   facility and environmental ground improvements.

On September 25, 2003, concise construction blue prints were delivered and reviewed by the integrated leadership consisting of representation from the Trustee Organization, the Board of Deacons, and the Church Design and Facility Committee, all under the working leadership of the Building Fund-Raising Steering Committee, facilitated by Deacon Marcellous Thornton.In 2004 The Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church Family celebrated with an Appreciation Program for Rev. and Mrs. Taylor, 47 years of faithful service. The speaker for the Worship Service was Rev. Anthony Taylor.   The 2005 and 2006 Church Year was both a sad, yet joyous period for the Zion Hill Church Family: On 

Saturday, September 17, 2005, Reverend Hilton J. Taylor, our beloved Pastor, after forty-eight years of faithful service, tendered his retirement effective September 17, 2006. Despite much sadness and in the knowledge that the baton was being passed, ever so tenderly, the church continued prayerfully under Reverend Taylor’s pastoral care. The Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church Family is thankful to God that He sent His Christian Soldiers, Pastor Hilton J. Taylor and our First Lady, Sister Ora W. Taylor, our way.

On Saturday, September 16, 2006, the Zion Hill Church Family and the Christian Community of Atlanta, Georgia shared a beautiful evening of songs, prayers, commendations and love with Reverend Taylor and our First Lady Sister Taylor, as our honored guest.  Proclamations from many churches, organizations, and from the City of Atlanta under the authority invested in Mayor Shirley Franklin, were read and presented as testimony to the good works and Christian walk of our beloved Pastor and our First Lady.  This grand commendatory event was held at the Westin Hotel under the sponsorship of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church Family and under the leadership of our program chair Sister Joann McCrary.

On Sunday, September 17, 2006 Reverend Taylor delivered the final sermon of his pastoral career to the congregation.  We have been blessed with forty-nine years of Christian Service, Christian Teachings, and a Christian Walk. We are thankful for this inspiring model and legacy.

On September 27, 2006, and after much prayer and consideration, the Holy Spirit gave the Church Conference a stewardship plan as the church moved through this transition period.
The Church Conference elected a Pulpit Service Committee consisting of Reverends Moses Gaskin, Walter L. Johnson, Jimmie L. Montgomery, and John Thomas, to serve the pulpit.  Reverend Jimmie L. Montgomery was elected to lead the committee and church as Interim Preacher.

In 2006 The Church continues to grow spiritually, numerically and    financially. For this we are grateful as we continue with FAITH in unity for the up building and glorification of the kingdom of God.

In April 2007, after much prayerful and soulful searching, the church adopted a congregation Mission and Mission Statement. Such Mission Statement is a constant reminder of what the congregation’s commitment is in carrying out the Great Commission the Savior left with us in Matthew 28:18-20.  On

October 7, 2007, the church was presented her Building Permit to build a Multi-Purpose facility next to the Sanctuary.  The City of Atlanta approved the permit effective September 28, 2007.  The congregation was advised that construction is now ready to commence.
Ground breaking Services are scheduled to be conducted October 28, as part of the 83rd church anniversary celebration.  The Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church gave thanks to God and a hand-clap of recognition to all of her Church Family and organizations, and urged them to continue steadfast and faithful in the work.

On October 28, 2007, the church completed activities closing the 2006/2007 church year: Reverend H. J. Taylor, the retired Pastor; and Emma I. Darnell, Fulton County Board of Commissioner, spoke at the Ground Breaking for the Zion Hill Multi-Purpose Building—encouraging the Zion Hill Family to press on.

On November 1, 2007, the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, with much fervent prayer, began her 2007/2008 church year with the same status as the previous year—-a single Official of the church in the persons of the Board of Deacons. The Church Clerk, Brother Vernard McCain carefully maintained the official record of Servant Deacons as Brothers Jimmy Brown, Coy Davis, William F. Foster, W. Tracy Glover, William P. Hodo, Lloyd Howell, Sr., Robert Mangum, Vernard McCain, Eddy McCrary, Julius Newborn, Jr., James P. Phillips,                Marcellous Thornton, Jr., and  Carl J. Whiters, Sr.
Looking to the future, Zion Hill’s church year began with four important goals ahead of her:  (1) the prayerful maintenance of a strengthened, unified church family; (2) the prayerful search for a Pastor for the church; (3) the completion of the Conference authorized construction of a Multi-Purpose Building; and (4) the Conference authorized conduction of ordination services to ordain the three licensed minister – sons of the church.

On November 5, 2007, construction commenced on the Zion Hill Multi-Purpose Building and completed six months later. Thanks for all the prayers, efforts, finances, and enthusiastic support of each member of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church as she pressed on. Thanks for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the efforts of Brothers William Foster, W. Tracy Glover, and Marcellous Thornton authorized by the Church Conference as the church’s Owner Representatives for the construction project.

On November 18, 2007, Ordination Services were conducted ordaining Reverend Moses Gaskin, Reverend Walter L. Johnson, and Reverend John Thomas into Gospel Ministry. The Ordination Services were   preceded by the approval of an Ordination Council, November 17, called by R. W. Crummie, Pastor, Mt. Calvary  Baptist Church, and,  Moderator of the Atlanta Metropolitan  Association of the 5th District of the Georgia Missionary Baptist  Convention.  Members of the Ordination Council who witness, interrogated, and approved the candidates for ordination was Clergy of the Atlanta Metropolitan Association and the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church Board of   Deacons. The Moderator of the Council was Reverend R. W. Crummie; the Recorder was   Reverend Eric M. Gurley.  Records of the witnesses and proceedings of these services are in the archives of the Zion Hill  Missionary Baptist Church maintained by Deacon Vernard McCain, Church Clerk. The church will continue in prayer for these sons’ Gospel Ministry.

On November 28, 2007, the Pastor Search Committee made its final report to the Church Conference on its search for a pastor for the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.  The church thanks God for the members of the Pastor Search Committee Sisters: Meredith Matthews,  Fonda Pierre, Murray Brown, Vivian Jewel, Jerolene Jones; and  Brothers: Michael L. Foster, Marcellous Thornton, Jr., Davian Strozier, and W. Tracy Glover.

On December 12, 2007, the church purchased property located adjacent to and on the south side of the current Zion Hill property line.  The property purchased consists of a residential structure and acreage.

On January 12, 2008, the church called a church-wide conference. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church called Reverend William L. Strickland to her  Pastoral Office. The Zion Hill Family gave thanks to God. The church welcomed  Reverend Strickland and our First Lady, Sister LeKina Strickland.

We Pray God’s blessings on Pastor Strickland, his family, and his pastoral journey with the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church. On January 20, 2008, Pastor William L. Strickland preached his first sermon as Pastor of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

On May 4, 2008, the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church dedicated her newly completed Multi-Purpose Building. Many well-wishers attended the prayerful, gala affair. On June 25, 2008, the Zion Hill Program Committee, under the leadership of Sister Joanne McCrary,  planned and guided the church through several landmark  activities commencing Pastor Installation services for Reverend Strickland. A “Wednesday Night Live” service was held in the sanctuary. The guess church was Simpson Road Baptist Church. The Pastor, Reverend Michael Sherman, delivered the sermon.

On June 28 2008, the Zion Hill Church Family sponsored a gala installation banquet for Reverend Strickland’s friends, family, and ministry colleagues at the Westin Hotel. Reverend Dr. Gregory Sutton, Pastor, Jackson Memorial Baptist Church was the keynote speaker. Deacon James Phillip and Sister Roberta Phillips; Brother Hardy Blash and  Sister Jennifer Blash; and, future pillars of the church,  Brother Joey Yancey and his sister, Sister Jessica Yancey presented a special tribute to Zion Hill’s  Past, Present, and Future.

On June 29, 2008, Reverend William L. Strickland was installed as Pastor of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church at a 3:30PM installation service.  The theme of the service was: “Same Message, Same Management, and Same Mission: New Spiritual Leader.”  The Installation service and sermon was conducted by Rev. Dr. W. J. Lawson, Pastor, and Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Enrobing of the Pastor was conducted by Deacon James P. Phillip and Reverend Dr. W. J. Lawson. Deacon W. Tracy Glover and Sister Roberta Phillips presented the “Keys” to the church.  The final “Declaration and Presentation” of Reverend William L. Strickland to the Pastoral Office of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church was conducted by the Board of Deacons.   We shall be in continued, fervent prayer for Pastor William L. Strickland and  the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

September 1, 2008, Pastor Strickland, working with the WMU Ministry, established September as “Women Demonstration Month.” Various activities were sponsored and staged by the WMU throughout the month of September. The final event was a hugely successful Health Fair and Auction. Many members of the Adamsville Community visit the events, and many organizations within the city and county provided event booths and services to the Health Fair.  The WMU plans to establish September as an effective annual Outreach event.

At the first conference of the church year 2008/2009, Pastor Strickland shared his vision for the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church and, at First Sunday Worship, again outlined his Vision for the church.  The Church Conference and congregation were enthusiastically receptive and prayerfully pledged to work to realize the vision and mission of the church.

On November 1, 2008, of the 2008/2009, church year, Pastor Strickland, working with the Brotherhood, established November as “Men Demonstration Month.”  Throughout November of the 2008/2009 church year, the men sponsored family oriented activities. The culminating activity was a “cook off of unique and exotic foods prepared by the men.

In the church year 2008/2009, under the leadership of Pastor Strickland, a Dance Ministry and a Transportation Ministry were added to the church’s existing ministries.

In March 2009, a new marquee was commissioned and approved by the Zion Hill Church Conference.  The marquee was installed and placed into service on July 13, 2009.

On March 25, 2009, a member of the Zion Hill Church Family donated $15,000.00, on condition of anonymity, to purchase a fifteen passenger van for the Transportation Ministry.  The van was purchased July 11, 2009 and was immediately placed into service by the Superintendent of Sunday School, Reverend Walter L. Johnson, to transport our Messengers to the Georgia Baptist Training Union Congress (BTU) held in Albany, GA.

On September 30, 2009, the offices of Pastor and Deacon submitted the names of eleven deacon candidates to the Church Conference for approval for deacon training and service. Such training and matriculation to culminate in ordination in conformance with scripture and church doctrine.
Candidate names submitted were: Bros. Lamar Barber, Dwight Belcher, Gerald Benton, Hardy Blash, Dinecious Craddock, Derrick Garrett, Delkin Gates, Michael Foster, Murphy Glover, Willie Lemons, and Sylvester Pope.  May God bless them and the Holy Spirit guide them in carrying out their commitment to this Deacon Service.  In January 2010 Brother Delkin R. Gates accepted the call of God.

In April 11, 2010 and after all formal proceedings and approval by the Ordination Council he preached his trial sermon and was ordinated into the Gospel Ministry. He serves as an associate Minister here at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

In September 2010 forty-seven memorial bricks were laid at the front of the church; thus, initiating the installation of Zion Hill’s BRICK-BY-BRICK PROGRAM. This program was created to encourage all church members and families to contribute to building up the church’s building fund and construction program over time.

We are most grateful to all our members for their contributions and encourage all members and families to continue to ADD their memorial brick(s) in the future.  We thank each member of the Building Fund Steering Committee for their ongoing effort.  And thanks also to Deacons Coy Davis, Marcellous Thornton, and Carl Whiters, Sr. for their project management installing the first memorial bricks.

In 2011 Hanging With A Purpose Ministry a Christian based ministry established to combat the worldly influences on our young brothers (12yrs and older). Allowing us to lay the foundation towards achieving their goals.  Girls for God Ministry was established to reach young women of the church and the community in order to equip them with spiritual guidance in trusting God, honoring their parents, communication, and education as they embark on their inspirational life work.

On February 12, 2012, the church completed the upgrade and installation of an audio visual network, with audience overflow provisions, and electronically linking both the Sanctuary and the Multi-Purpose buildings. Pastor William L. Strickland led the congregation in a prayer of dedication and thanks to God for His blessings.

In July 2012, the Church changed the décor of the exterior of the church Sanctuary. The original color and trim of white was changed to a sand-tone tan color with green trim to bring the Sanctuary and the recently constructed Multi-Purpose Building into matched conformance.

On July 27, 2012, the church completed installing stain glass panes in all her window frames.  The project, chaired by Sisters Barbara Johnson, Mrs. Lola Thornton, and Brother Marcellos Thornton, was accomplished through a church fund raising project, called “Campaign Stain,” Pastor William L. Strickland led the church congregation in a prayer of dedication and thanks July 29, and commissioned a dedication plaque to be installed.

In 2012 the Finance Room was named in honor of a living legend Mother Roberta Wall Phillips as our Financial Secretary and a plaque was presented to her by Rev. William L. Strickland Pastor. Mother Phillips recalls joining the church December 1958. In November 1970 she was appointed by the then Pastor of ZHMBC Rev. H. J. Taylor as the Financial Secretary.
On November 25, 2012, nine candidates were ordinated Deacon. They are Terrence L. Barber, Dwight B. Belcher, Gerald Benton, Hardy Blash, Jr., Donecious Craddock, Derrick Garrett Sr., Murphy L. Glover, Willie Lemons Sr. and Sylvester Pope.

On October 19, 2013, Church Musician Mrs. Mazie McCain was honored with a beautiful and loving retirement program after 37 years of dedicated service. Many of her friends and family were represented. She made it clear, she is not retiring from the gift that God gave her and that is the gift of Music. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

This property located on the corner of Fairburn Road and Boulder Park Drive, in the Adamsville Community, over which we are stewards, is continuing to be attended to as the physical needs arise.  Our records will attest to the many projects that are making this House of Worship a place of beauty and comfort for those who come to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.


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