Mount Zion

Christian Church

      "A Friendly Church
Proclaiming Jesus Christ As Lord"

The Christian Church



     The Christian Church had its beginning in 1792 when James O’Kelley, a Methodist Episcopal Church minister in Virginia, withdrew from that organization in protest of the denial of individual freedoms within local congregations and especially in protest of the Methodist Bishops absolute power to appoint pastors to local churches.  O’Kelley and his folks organized under the name “Republican Methodists”.  In 1794, “Christian” was chosen as the name of this new congregation.  O’Kelley migrated to North Carolina and settled on a farm he purchased near where the Orange, Durham, and Chatham county lines come together.  It was there in 1797 he organized the Damascus Christian Church, the first “Christian” church in North Carolina.



Mount Zion Christian Church



     Mount Zion Christian Church was organized in 1832 by the Rev. Thomas Reeves with twenty-one charter members.  According to the church records, no additional members joined from 1832 to 1840.  However, the church experienced steady growth from 1840 to 1861.  Eleven new members joined in 1841, and in 1861 the records show 122 members.  In the early years the church seemed to have turned-out many new ministers.  The first ten years of the church’s life show that four ministers hold their membership here.  It was a well-known and respected house of worship and people came from miles around to join in the “camp meetings” held at Mt. Zion.  Interestingly, for the ten-year period 1861-1871, there are no church records.  This, of course, includes the years of the War of Southern Independence as well as the period of Yankee occupation.  The last minutes recorded before this time were for a meeting held on the second Saturday of September 1861.  The first minutes after the war were dated November 7, 1871.


     The present building was erected in 1889 and is the third house in which the congregation has worshiped.  According to a deed dated May 9, 1833, the church held two and one-half acres of land (7 ½ acres now).  The first Sunday School was begun in 1883.  In one of many subsequent remodeling projects, Sunday School rooms were added in 1933.  In 1938, electric lights were installed, the church painted, the choir area and Sunday School rooms remodeled.  In 1948, Sunday School rooms and a vestibule were added, and the building was brick veneered.  Gas heat was added in 1951 and in 1952 the interior of the church was renovated with a new floor and carpet installed in the sanctuary.  New pews and twenty folding chairs were put in the church in 1953, and new pulpit furniture added in 1954.  Three rooms were finished upstairs by the men of the church in 1955 to be used for Sunday School.  The church yard was sown in 1958 and concrete walkways were poured.  In 1961, stained glass memorial windows with lettering were installed in the sanctuary.  An educational building with a large fellowship hall, kitchen, bathrooms, and classrooms was completed in 1968.  Air conditioning and a new heating system were added in 1973 along with new carpet, choir chairs, wiring and fixtures, and a new piano.  The pulpit area was remodeled in the 1980’s with a Grand Piano being added in 1986 and an electronic organ in 1992.  An additional education facility was completed and furnished in 1996.  This added a pastor’s study, six Sunday School rooms, a large conference room, and a storage area.


     Until 1958 Concord, Bethel (churches in Caswell county), and Mount Zion were together as a charge or pastorate, i.e., the same pastor served all three churches.  A parsonage was built at Bethel in the Anderson community in 1940.  On June 1, 1958, Rev. Glenn Garrett became Mt. Zion’s first full-time pastor.  Earlier that year Miss Georgia Bradley gave the church one and one-half acres of land on which to build a parsonage.  This land is located on Lynch Store Road about ¾ mile from the church.  Using labor, timbers, and other items donated by members and friends, the parsonage was begun in January 1959.  Rev. Garrett and his family moved in during April 1959.  The parsonage was remodeled and additional rooms added in 1978.


     Through the generosity of Mr. A.W. Tinnin, Mount Zion received an endowment of $5,000.00 in 1932, the interest of which was to be used for benevolent purposes.  Mr. Tinnin also gave $5,000.00 from which the interest was to be used for cemetery maintenance.  These endowments are still in force and have been a tremendous blessing for us.  They have also been an inspiration for the establishment of other funds through the years, all of which have been beneficial for the preservation and maintenance of God’s property here at Mt. Zion.