Lucas Boyce of Orlando Magic, Fabiola Gaines of Hebni Nutrition, Mr. Modeste, inspirational poet, and Orange County School Board’s Kat Gordon speak at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church’s Back to School Celebration & Conversation. Community leaders gather with family, friends, church elders, and the Christian Board of Education to support the young people in the church as they begin a new school year.
…the object is to remind them that as a church family we support them, that we love them, that we want them to do well in school. We want them to remember the teaching they have had as young Christians in this church…
Our Pastor, Reverend Dr. Robert M. Spooney, will always say a special prayer. Two Sundays ago as one of our young men was getting ready to go away to the campus at Bethune Cookman University he came up for a special prayer. When we have our Back to School event even before the church service ends the pastor will have a special prayer for the school year.
Learn more about the outstanding activities supporting youth at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church in this audio excerpt (14:39) from an oral history interview with Deaconess Lillian Lancaster on August 16, 2012.
From school supplies for the young, care packages sent to college students, oratorical contests for learning scripture, loving instruction for developing gifts, to the $1,000. L. Claudia Allen scholarship, Mt. Zion cherishes the youth of our community and places a strong value on education.
As Deaconess Lancaster expresses in this interview, their years of dedication to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”, Proverbs 22:6, have taken root as a new generation of young adults begin leadership roles at Mt. Zion. For the oldest black church in Orlando, founded in 1880, the future is looking bright.
Celebrating 120 years of ministry in Orlando, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church traditions are highlighted in this article:
"The Rock of Parramore" by John T. McCann, Black Family Today, October/ November 2000, pages 26-28.
Excerpt: To appreciate Mount Zion's longevity is to understand that it was a Central Florida fixture roughly eight decades before Walt Disney scoped out the area in the 1960s. It existed before Eatonville became the country's first incorporated black township in 1887.
Orlando itself dates back to 1830. But the city wasn't incorporated till 1875, just five years before Mount Zion began as a place of worship.
The church has staying power.
Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church Presentation to the Historic Preservation Board, City of Orlando, on June 6, 2007 and updated for the 130th Church Anniversary by Lillian Lancaster, Church Clerk.
Excerpt: In the last quarter of the 19th century in an area of Orlando that included Robinson Street and the East side of Division Street, a few believing Christians met together weekly to pray, to teach from God's word and to praise God for how He had brought them such a mighty long way. Many years later their story would be passed down to their children, and it would sound something like this.
These are the voices from the past:
The time was 1880, nearly 127 years ago. It was just five years after Orlando was incorporated as a town with 85 inhabitants. Later Mt. Zion would come to be known as the oldest African American Baptist church with continuous service of worship and teaching and serving in the Central Florida area.
The year 1880 there were just 8 families of us and we would gather together every Sunday....
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