By Peter Zuniga, Correspondent
On Sunday, Nov. 18, a church, older than how long Texas has been a state, celebrated its anniversary. That church happens to be Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. And for many in Belton, it happens to be just right up the road.
Their 174th Year Anniversary service was held at 3 a.m. in the new church location. Members and leaders from churches and ministries from around the area, including Hope for the Hungry and First Baptist Church in Belton, attended.
Speaking at the event was Dr. Claudette Morgan-Scott. While she is the Senior Pastor and the President of Shiloh Worship Center Inc. in Belton, she also is a professor at Texas A&M, teaching within Business Administration. She has authored a book and is a recognized public speaker even outside of the U.S.
With the church having such a legacy, Pastor Teon Bass of Mt. Zion aims to further their involvement and ministry within the city. Noting that the church has historically been a primarily African-American church, Pastor Bass said, “Because our community looks different, the church has to look different. We’re a church that’s here to serve this community, whoever happens to be here. We might not touch people in Alaska, but we can touch people right here within 10 to 12 blocks of us. As we grow and we transition, I love the fact that I have the opportunity to reach the people that are here–black, white, green or purple. Whoever happens to be here is who I want to reach.”
Mt. Zion is a part of the Belton Ministers’ Fellowship, an ecumenical group of churches from across Belton that regularly meet together to have a time of united worship and fellowship. Beyond uniting the congregations within the area, Pastor Bass also hopes to invest more into the local community.
“I think one of the key factors for a healthy and happy community”, Pastor Bass said, “is for church leaders to be involved in all the aspects of the community, not just in church. Some church leaders get caught up just in church. I want to go to the city council meetings. I want to be at the band things at the high school, go to football games, and help at Hope for the Hungry, and help at Helping Hands.”
The church is working to obtain a grant from the Nation Park Service to restore the old, stucco church structure. Their current meeting place is an addition onto that original piece of the church. “Once that’s restored, we plan on inviting the community to come in and use that space however, whenever.” Pastor Bass said.
For those interested in visiting the church, their Sunday services are at 11 a.m.