“A Sacred Sanctuary”
The Reverend W. M. Cosey, a very successful leader, was called to the pastorate of Mount Zion Baptist Church in 1911. His vision was to build a greater Mount Zion Baptist Church and with the conscientious assistance of the faithful membership, this was accomplished. A new Mount Zion was erected at Perdido and LaSalle Streets and dedicated in 1922. After nineteen years of service, Rev. Cosey resigned on January 18, 1930 to answer the call to pastor a church in Chicago, Illinois.
Mount Zion Baptist Church then called to the pastorate, the eminent Reverend S.A. Duncan, a dynamic leader, he was the organizer and president of the Ideal Missionary Baptist and Educational Association. Under his leadership that lasted ten years, the Church became widely known. Rev. Duncan was called to his reward on January 11, 1941.
The Church was then without a pastor for one year and three months. On April1, 1942, the Mount Zion Baptist Church called to the pastorate, the most capable Reverend Morris Burrell. This great God-inspired man, with the faithful membership, had the Church free of debt and enjoying many improvements in the short period of one year and five months. Among the added improvements were: The “Neon Lights” on the front and side of the Church sponsored by the Number Two Choir; the Senior Deaconess Board, the “Hammond Organ” and the “Outside Bulletin Board” sponsored by the Senior Choir, Sister P.T. Butler, President; and many other group contributions were made. The Duplex System was also installed in the Church under the very capable supervision of Pastor Burrell.
In 1949, the City of New Orleans notified the Church that it must move because the area in which it was located had been selected as the site of the City’s future Civic Center. This was very alarming news to the membership, but Pastor Burrell being a man of great courage, took upon his shoulders the immense burden of making the necessary preparations to vacate. This proved to be a herculean task, but fortunately, Mount Zion had a dauntless and able-bodied leader who proved to match the huge job placed before him.
The negotiations involved many transactions in that two real estate sales were terminated. This was due to the fact that after the first potential site was bought, opportunity presented a better location, the present site, located at the corner of Dumaine and North Galvez Streets. The City of New Orleans demanded the immediate vacating of the premises in August 1951. Rev. Burrell then arranged to hold service with the Second Evergreen Baptist Church until the “New Mount Zion” could be erected. After much strenuous toiling of the membership and especially the Pastor who made personal contacts throughout the city seeking aid, the “New Mount Zion Baptist Church” was ready for occupancy in August 1952. This was actually one week less than a year since the previous church was vacated.
The “New Mount Zion Baptist Church” that we occupy is in every respect a most modern, beautiful serviceable structure. The present Church was erected at the cost of $165,000.
In 1960, the congregation constructed a spacious and beautiful Educational Building fully equipped at the cost of $85,000. The building was an asset to the Church in Christian Education; and especially the Nursery and Child Development Center. Here is where many of the community’s children received early childhood care.
Rev. Morris Burrell became Pastor Emeritus on May 9, 1999. The Reverend Lloyd E. Roberts served as pastor from May 1999 to May 2000. The Reverend John H. Moore succeeded him. Reverend Moore served as pastor form November 19, 2000 to June10, 2001.
Our present pastor, Rev. Dr. Mitchell Jerome Stevens, Sr. was installed on November 18, 2001. He has a very loving wife, Sister Kerri R. Stevens and two darling children, Mitchell and Mariah.
Under Pastor Stevens’ leadership the following has been accomplished:
Installation of a “lift chair” to accommodate the needs of members and visiting friends, alike who are not able to climb the stairs to the sanctuary
Purchased of a “state of the art sound system and recorder” creating a tape ministry for membership
Acquired a “Van” and created the transportation ministry
Instituted a very successful evening “vacation bible school” for members and outreach to the community at large
Re-instituted a “weekly Wednesday night family bible study”
Purchased the “adjacent property” on North Galvez Street to provide a much needed parking lot for the membership
Assumed the monumental task of renovating the Educational Building.
Through Pastor Stevens’ leadership, we continue to grow both spiritually and numerically.
On August 29, 2005, God allowed our Church family to be interrupted by devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Church building was flooded and many components of the beautiful Mount Zion were destroyed. Additionally, the Sheep of Mount Zion were scattered to many parts of Louisiana as well as other states of the United States. The Lord blessed us to come together and resume our worship services at the Greater Mount Rose Baptist Church, pastored by the Reverend Bernard G. Murray in March 2006. We continued to worship God there until He guided us home on April 1, 2007 where a new and completely renovated lower auditorium awaited our arrival. Our first Communion Worship Service was held on that day. It was a very spirit-filled memory for the Mount Zion Baptist Church Congregation.
The Church Family worked together in prayer and fasting to remodel the upper Sanctuary. Today, the blessings of God are seen in our completely renovated Sanctuary. We now have new seating, including new chairs, a new sound system and many necessary features to bring back God’s Temple for Worship.
Currently, the Lord continues to bless Mount Zion family as we follow God’s guidance through our anointed leader, Rev. Dr. Mitchell Jerome Stevens, Sr.