HISTORY
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History

The Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist church was organized in the 1866 by missionary A.R. Riggs. It was one of the first churches represented in the Northwestern District Association. The church joined the association in 1886, represented by Deacon C. Sanders.  Rev. Felix Jones was the first pastor. In 1882, the old church site at 704 Main Street, Forney, Texas was purchased for $30.00 by trustees Charlie Epps, C. C. Hill and George Hill. The congregation worshipped in a house that was on the property when purchased. Service was held in the house until 1917 when Rev. P. W. Westley came and built a new edifice.

Following the pastorate of Rev. Jones, Mt. Zion was blessed to have the following ministers as Pastors: Rev. Chatman, Rev. Upshaw, Rev. J. R. Swaney, Rev. Taylor, Rev. Collins, Rev. Morris, Rev. P. W. Westley, Rev. Mackey, Rev. V.H. Vonner (who served 22 years), Rev. A. W. Walsh, Rev. J. E. Dennis, Rev. John L. Lyons, Rev. J. H. Slaughter and Rev. W. H. Saunders.

In 1942, during pastorate of Rev. Slaughter, the church was destroyed by fire. The congregation worshipped in the Booker T. Washington High School until the church was rebuilt in 1945 under the pastorate of Rev. Saunders. After Rev. Saunders' 9 years as pastor, came Rev. M. M. McGaughey, Rev. W. L. Grant, Rev. L. T. Thompson, Rev. S. H. Jemerson, Rev. W.L. Dunbar, and Rev. M. R. Lester.

In June of 1978, Rev. H. T. Hardeman, Jr. began his pastorate. Rev. Hardeman came with an enthusiastic and positive attitude. He had a vision. He encouraged members to tithe. Pledges were made and fundraisers were put into action. Under his direction and leadership, the congregation moved to the new edifice at its present location at 500 Mesquite Street on Sunday, October 2, 1988. Rev. Hardeman led by example and served faithfully until his death on December 14, 1994.

On August 12, 1995, Rev. Elishus Donley began his pastorate. Pastor Donley also came with an enthusiastic and positive attitude. Known as the “smiling preacher,” Pastor Donley was also a teaching minister. He served for seventeen years and resigned as pastor on August 19, 2012.

On August 26, 2012, Rev. Robert B. McElroy began his tenure as pastor at Mt. Zion. He has come with a wonderful spirit of enthusiasm and God-filled teaching and preaching, Rev. McElroy wants everyone that comes through the doors to have the best possible worship experience that their lives will be transformed and their souls saved. He is still here today leading the congregation and telling about the Good News of Jesus. With continued humility and sincere faith in God, we the congregation of Mt. Zion missionary Baptist church looks ahead to many more years of fruitful service and spiritual growth.

Researched by: Sis. Shirley A. Roland and the late Sis. Willie Mae Richardson

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