Since 1929 Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church has been on a journey to spread the gospel and make an impact on the community. Fast forward to 2019, and the church recently celebrated their 90th anniversary last Sunday, January 23rd in the church sanctuary.
The anniversary theme was entitled, “We are trusting in God to work it out,” derived from scripture Jeremiah17, which reads, “Blessed is the man that trusted in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” The celebration was festive as church members were adorned in the theme colors purple, red and off white.
Zion Hope began when five local citizens Joe Taylor, Deacon and Sister Arthur Hardwick and Deacon and Sister John Hardwick founded the church. According to current church leaders, the founders were in search of a pastor for several months when Brother Taylor heard the preaching of Reverend E. R. Simpson, at a meeting of the North Jacksonville Union Church.
The founding members met and decided to install Simpson as the pastor. Rev. Simpson accepted the offer and rapidly grew the church from its initial location downtown on Church Street to its present location at 2803 Edgewood Ave W. Simpson remained pastor for 42 years.
The 90th milestone celebration included dinners, friends and family day, nightly worship services. Anniversary chair and long-term member, Shirley Bowman said, “For 28 years, I’ve seen many changes at Zion, we’ve been up, and we’ve been down, but God has blessed us to stay focus, save souls and know that God is always in the blessing business.”
Shown in the church pews are members, families, youth ushers and friends.