OUR CHURCH HISTORY
NEW ZION HILL BAPTIST CHURCH was founded on the first Sunday of APRIL, 1970 by Reverend Abram Lee Watson.
The first building used as the church site was rented at the corner of Ashland and Milton Avenue. Upon its founding the Pastor and his wife were the only members. As God saw fit He added to the congregation. Sister Thelma Erwin was the first organist, Bro. Edward Foulkes was the first Deacon and Sis. Alice Watson was the first church secretary. Our small congregation worked hard and in 1973 we were able to purchase the building we worshipped in and the adjoining house. The house was used as a multi-purpose building.
As he years passed, God continued to bless us with more members and we felt the need for a larger building where we could do greater work for the Lord. Pastor Watson suggested the possibility of expanding by removing the wall between the church building and the adjoining building. After pursuing this, we were told that the City's building codes prohibited this action. We continued to look up to Jesus with faith in our hearts.
Pastor Watson continued to work and look for other possibilities of a larger place to worship. He sought information about a vacant lot in the 1100 block of Rose Street, and on June 8, 1982 we stretched out on faith and purchased the lot. It was here that we would build our new church, and this site would become New Zion Hill Baptist Church.
In the fall of 1989, we sold our worship building in an effort to obtain funds to build on our lot. At this time our multi-purpose building became our place of worship. However, funds were low and even with the money from the sale of our church building, we still needed more. We continued to pray and ask God for guidance, for we were determined not to give up but to keep the faith and press on. We knew that God would answer our prayers in His own time.
Through our prayers, God directed us to a building located at 2432 East North Avenue before it was even put on the market for sale. Reverend Watson immediately sought information on the building and called a church meeting. The members decided to buy the building on the hill where we sit today. We joyfully marched into our new church home on Sunday, August 4, 1991 and continued to lift up the name of Jesus.
On April 5, 1998, Pastor Watson took ill and was unable to carry on his ministry at that time. Reverend Brady Fitzgerald who was a member of the church, stepped in to help carry on God's work. With the help of Brother Preston Watson, Sis. Alice Fleming and a few other faithful members who said, "we shall run on to see what the end will be," our doors remained opened and God's work moved on. After being ill for some time, we knew that Reverend Watson's service to the Lord was completed. He had been used by the Lord to preach the gospel to an untold number of souls and led many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Now we knew it was time to search for a new pastor who would shepherd God's people and continue to serve and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Later in 1998,the Board Members of the Church selected Reverend Wayne Barnes as the next pastor of New Zion Hill Baptist Church. Pastor Barnes served as pastor for three years.
On May 31, 2003 Reverend Abram Watson went home to be with the Lord. It was not easy for us to replace the founder of our church, especially one such as Pastor Watson.
The congregation committed to God to keep this branch of Zion alive and functioning until the best person could be sent by God to build upon the work that Pastor Abram Watson began all those years ago.
Not soon after, the interview process was begun to find a new pastor. After being a member of the church for one year, Elder Pierre Gaither consulted with the Lord for the pastoral office of New Zion Hill. The members elected Elder Gaither to serve on year as interim pastor. On Sunday, March 25, 2007 Elder Gaither was installed as Pastor of New Zion Hill Baptist Church. After serving for four years, Elder Gaither turned in his resignation on January 30, 2011. So once again we were left seeking for a new shepherd.
We interviewed several candidates who came and served for weeks at a time. After much prayer and fasting, the Lord had already ordained the Pastor who was to shepherd the congregation. On the first Sunday in May, 2012 Rev. Dr. Samuel A. Blow was presented as Pastor-elect of New Zion Hill Baptist Church. On May 5, 2013 Rev. Samuel Blow was officially installed as the fourth Pastor of this church. Rev. Kelvin Thompson came on with Pastor Blow as our Assistant Pastor.
Pastor Blow shephered our congregation with love and compassion. He was a spirited teacher and preacher. The church continued to grow and prosper under his leadership. March of 2020 the nation suffered a pandemic of national proportion. A deadly virus that swept the nation forced businesses and houses of worship to shut down. But the word still went forth with the help of social media, and our faithful Pastor Blow, who personally looked after each family of the congregation, the church stayed together and the word continued to be preached.
On Firs Sunday in April 2022 we will celebrate 52 years.