A Church with a History of Over 185 Years
On June 23, 1827 at the Second Quarterly Conference of the Sugar Creek Circuit, South Carolina Conference, we find inscribed in the minutes for the first time "the Meeting Society called Zion."
Thus began the life of Mount Zion United Methodist, one that has continued for over one hundred eighty-five years. Mount Zion has remained an active part of the spiritual life of the community bringing people closer together in the name of Jesus Christ.
Zion's earliest members met in the house of Samuel Kerr and shortly thereafter, they built their first Meeting House about one mile west of Cornelius. On this tract of land there remained only a small cemetery in which only the graves of Samuel and Dovey Kerr are identifiable.
In 1998 these few graves were moved to the present site on the grounds of Mount Zion United Methodist Church and were designated as a historical site. There a plaque reads: "with profound veneration for our ancestors who ventured to settle here and establish a house of worship dedicated to the glory of God during colonial times."
Zion remained on its original site until 1835 when the congregation Third church buildingmoved to a beautiful seven and one-half acre grove of oak and pine on the east side of the Charlotte-Statesville road. That year, during the Sugar Creek Conference, there appears for the first time "Mount" before the name Zion.
During the reconstruction years after the War Between the States, a second larger frame church building was erected in 1870. Between 1898 and 1903 a new brick church was built in front of the frame church and later in 1954 the first service was held in the 4th (present) building. 1961 saw the addition of a new Educational Building at the rear of the church and 1990 was Open House of Mount Zion's new Stough Family Life Center.
During the time of the Civil War, Mount Zion offered the church grounds for the muster of two companies of proud sons, husbands, and fathers who donned the grey uniform of the Confederacy. There are forty-six Confederate Soldiers buried in the church cemetery. In 1900 the Mount Zion Church property was designated as the permanent site for the United Confederate Veteran Reunions. Later, in 1910, a large Confederate Memorial Monument was erected in front of Mount Zion Church. The last official Confederate Reunion was held August 4, 1949.
Ethel Bost, Church Member and Missionary in China and Japan for 50 Years
Mount Zion is very proud of Miss Ethel Bost, a church member, who dedicated 50 years of her life as a missionary in China and Japan in the early 1900's. She spent almost two years in a concentration camp in 1942 and 1943 before being released in a prisoner exchange. In 1994, a Baby Grand Piano was dedicated in memory of Ethel Bost.
For many years Mount Zion United Methodist Church was the largest rural church in the Western North Carolina Conference. In January of 1908 ninety-nine people were removed by certificate from the Mount Zion Church roll to form a new Methodist Church in Davidson, N.C. Later that year, a group was removed by certificate to establish a Methodist Church in Huntersville, N.C. At present Mount Zion United Methodist Church has over 1600 members.
We are very proud to have such an extensive and rich history at Mount Zion United Methodist Church. On June 23, 2002 Mount Zion celebrated its Centesimus Septugagesimus Quintus Year (175th).
185th Anniversary Celebration
On Sunday, May 20, 2012, Mount Zion United Methodist Church celebrated its 185th year. A bag pipe played for the processional for the Kirkin’ of the Tartans. The Reverend Mike Bailey delivered the homecoming sermon.
Afterwards, the congregation, extended family and returning friends gathered on the front lawn for dinner on the grounds. Heavens Reign Quartet entertained during the meal.
Older than the town in which it resides, Mount Zion continues to serve the people of Cornelius and surrounding areas spreading the good news of a life in Jesus Christ. A tradition to be carried on for years based on Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish".