In continued pursuit of the vision, on July 29, 1990, Ground Breaking Service was held for the renovation and addition to the church… a multi-purpose and educational facility. While the building was under construction, services were held at Full Gospel Church, on Pleasant Avenue, where Elder Charles Miller was the pastor. On August 2, 1992, Pastor Sanders led his congregation and well wishers on the march from Full Gospel back home. A Re-entry and Dedication Service was held to commemorate the occasion.
God continued to show favor. Four and a half years later, on November 9, 1997, the church held a Double Blessing Service. .During Pastor Sanders Eleventh Anniversary celebration, Sister Elizabeth Jeter-Green, Chairperson of the Trustee Board, presided over the Burning of the Mortgage for this venture.
There are many “First” associated with Mount Zion under Reverend Sander’s Pastoral Administration:
First live broadcast (WUSS), A Community Food Pantry (Carolyn Lee and Virginia Hillery), S.H.A.R.E. Program (Virginia Hillery and Joyce Nelson), Night time VBS (Peggy Smith-Jackson), Children’s Church and Lock-in For Christ (Mildred Lakins), Street Ministry (Reverend Raymond Craft), Drug Awareness Program (Otis Williams, Jr.), Community Thanksgiving Dinner (Buddy and Carolyn Lee), Mass Choir (Marionette Todd), Daytime All Seasons Bible Class (Reverend Lalta Hall and Zilphia Hill), African-American Celebration (Harvey Dawson and Kathleen Adams), Evening Bible Study for Children (Ministers Rosetta Brown, Herbert James and Patricia Moore), Photo Membership Directory (First Lady, Garnetta Sanders), Tape Ministry (Reverend Craft), Computerized Church Roster (James Earle), Weekly 8 A.M. Service (Ministerial Staff) and Mount Zion’s First Logo (Pastor Sanders).
In 2006 Mount Zion celebrated 100 years standing as a symbol of hope—a spiritual refuge for the community. It was during that celebration that plans were also begun for the next phase of the vision, Negotiations for the purchase of surrounding properties. Property on Marple Avenue, directly behind the church, and property adjacent to the parking lot was purchased. On May 20, 2006, Ground Breaking Services were held. Again we heard the command, “FULL SPEED AHEAD,” and plans began to take shape for the Community Life Center. In February 2008 construction began for the building.
After 29 years of faithful service, Pastor Sanders retired from Mount Zion as Senior Pastor in November of 2015. On November 9, 2015, the Mount Zion family called Rev. Willie Dwayne Francois III to serve as the new Senior Pastor. With robust energy and magnetic preaching, Pastor Francois leads with an acute eye toward authentic discipleship, radical community engagement, faith-based activism, and transformative worship.
It has not been an easy road traveled, but by the grace of God, who has always been at the helm, leading, guiding and directing, we have made it thus far. Again, as always, we hear and obey the command, FULL SPEED AHEAD.