The history of this branch of Zion has been gleaned from historical documents and oral history.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church began in the early 1920’s. The first services were held in an upstairs meeting room of the Dover Advance Newspaper Office.
As we can imagine the meeting room was “not fancy or very comfortable”, but there faith in God and an opportunity to fellowship with likeminded people comforted them. Information is not clear regarding the ministers, trustees or size of the congregation.
We do know that “the people had a mind to work” because we sit here today as a living testimony of their good works. Oral history was taken from several members whose parents and grandparents were among the founding members. Familiar names, Rev. Fletcher (Deacon Napoleon Fletcher’s father), Mr. & Mrs. Boyd Timmons (parents of Sister Rose White).
On November 10, 1929, the governing body of The Association (not an official church at this time) passed a resolution declaring that the association be incorporated. A meeting was held on Monday, November 25, 1929 and the members voted unanimously in favor of “said incorporation”.
The second creed of the newly formed reads: “The name of the Association is Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Dover, New Jersey.”
The third creed states the true mission: “The purpose for which this corporation is formed is for religious services and prayer and to carry out the principles of religion of the Baptist Faith and to render aid and help to those that are unfortunate”.
The fifth list the names and titles and addresses of the officers:
Boyd Timmons, Chairman of Trustees, Deacon and President Lindsey Crudup, Secretary of Trustees Henry Blackwell, Trustee and deacon John Pitman, Trustee Joshua Simmons, Trustee Herbert Boons, Deacon
On December 3, 1929 these men signed the Certificate of Incorporation an Association became Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
The Association was now holding Worship Services at the corner of Belmont Ave. and Lyons Street, no street number at that time.
Rev. Ivory Taylor served as Pastor for 24 years.
Rev. David Able served as Pastor 30 years.
Rev. Andre McQuire served 5 years and it was under his leadership that Mt. Zion relocated to this building: 61 Richards Ave.
Rev. Herbert Cochran served as interim Pastor
Rev. Dr. Johnnie D. Brooker, Jr. was installed as Pastor on July 26, 2007, and served through April 30, 2023. Mt. Zion Baptist Church wrote a new chapter, staying forever true to the founders’ mission statement that: “The purpose for which this corporation is formed is for religious services and prayer and to carry out the principles of religion of the Baptist Faith and to render aid and help to those that are unfortunate”. Also, Rev. Dr. Johnnie D. Brooker, Jr. led us through one of the most historic challenges, the Covid-19 Pandemic, forever changing the world, but not our worship to God and service to the community.
To God be all the Glory!
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