Zion Baptist Church

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A view inside Zion Baptist Church.

Zion Baptist Church was established as a late 19th Century community of faith. The leading exponent in this ecclesiastical establishment was Rev. Horace Wayland, a black Virginia preacher, no doubt a former slave. Rev. Wayland established Zion as a missionary prayer meeting in 1882 in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Simms. In 1883, Reverend Wayland was ordained and the prayer meetings moved to a hill at 13th and Popular Streets. The membership grew causing a number of relocations which finally settled at 13th & Wallace Streets. ...

Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, a West Virginian was called to pastor Zion in 1950. Reverend Sullivan was the true "Lion of Zion." Through his leadership, membership grew from 600 to 6,000. The following programs were initiated: a day care center, credit union, community center programs, employment agency, retirement home, adult education courses, reading classes and family counseling.

Other community and social initiatives include Opportunities Industrial Centers, 10-36 Program, Progress Plaza, Zion Gardens and Opportunity Towers I & II. Tragedy occurred in 1970 when a church fire totally destroyed the church. Reverend Sullivan promised that the church would rise like "a phoenix from the ashes." In 1973, the new cornerstone was laid. Reverend Sullivan retired the Zion pulpit in 1988 and focused his remaining years on international humanitarian efforts throughout Africa....

In December, 2011, Zion Baptist Church of Philadelphia elected as its 11th Pastor the Honorable A. Carl Prince, a Virginian and former 8th District City Council member in the River City of the City of Richmond, Virginia.

Note:  The above descriptive information came from the church's About Us page.

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