According to past history, our ancestors were not allowed by their master to assemble together for worship, so they sang as they worked. Favorites such as “Give Me That Old Time Religion,” “Go Down Moses,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” were songs that they often sang together.
After their freedom, they really wanted to show how thankful they were to God, so they would go from house-to-house and sing Zion praises and worship Him. In their community (or settlement as it was called then) the congregation began to grow, and they needed more space. So, they built their first church, less than a quarter mile from this present site.
The white settlers began to move out from a little frame church called the Providence Baptist Church and they decided to give their building and land to the Negroes. Deacon Dan Adams paid $1.00 for the deed to purchase the building and the piece of land that it sat on.
The new owners wanted a new name for their new home and the late Mr. Simon Hammond submitted the name New Zion, after possible church names were written down on a piece of paper, placed in a hat, and drawn. The name was later changed to Greater New Zion under the leadership of Rev. L. B. Baldwin.
Greater New Zion has had many great Pastors, to name a few: Rev. Larkins, Rev. Gibson, Rev. Owens, Rev. Martin, Rev. Pritchett, Rev. Jackson, Dr. L. B. Baldwin, Sr., and Dr. Willie Peterson. Each of these Pastors made his contribution to the upkeep of the edifice and the molding of souls to Christ.
When Rev. Baldwin was called to Pastor New Zion Baptist Church, it was a small framed building setting her at the same location today near the road. During his 41 years of service the old part was completely renovated, and a new building was added to accommodate more space. All this was done with God's grace and the help of the membership. Under his leadership New Zion was completely furnished and the building was bricked. He became very ill, and his works were limited, but the membership continued the upkeep of the church as a new roof was put on the building.
On January 31, 1987, the Lord blessed us with the leadership of the Rev. W. L. Peterson. Three (3) years later the church family voted to go full time; a sign of growth as many church auxiliaries were put in place. Under his leadership auxiliaries from the past were reorganized and new ones were created. Of these include the Nurses Guild, Brotherhood, the Youth Church for Training Young Children for Christian Living, the Crusaders, the Red Circle, the Youth Choir, and the Young Adult Choir. He was concerned about the upkeep of the church and for every need of his members, so he became a full-time Pastor, available for his congregation in their time of need.
Under his leadership one qualified nurse from the Nurses Guild staff was available each Sunday. Dr. Peterson also instituted a project to reach out to all the sick and shut-in of our congregation. Additionally, the church began live broadcasting services on the local radio station, a Tape Ministry was created, and a Christian Video/Bible Study for the Youth and Adult Bible Classes began to be taught on Wednesday nights. A tutoring program was also instituted and sports teams were created.
Under Dr. Peterson’s leadership the following things were put in place:
· In 1993, an additional building was added that consisted of two (2) classrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a fellowship hall.
· In 1996, the music department of the church was upgraded.
· In 1997, new church furniture was purchased and improvement to the choir loft was done.
· In 1998, the exterior woodwork was painted.
· In 1999, a new refrigerator was purchased for the kitchen.
· Progress continued into the turn of the century with the addition of new lighting in the sanctuary, upgrading the P.A. systems, and the dining/fellowship hall was paid off in July of 2000. Additionally, a new air conditioning system was installed along with the purchase of a new organ.
· In February 2001, new carpet was installed. In June, new pulpit furniture was purchased. In July, the sanctuary revived a facelift of new paint by Bro. Clauzell Elliard.
· More improvements and progress continued with the purchase of the following: a new computer, fax machine, and copier machine in January of 2002.
· A new gas stove for the kitchen was purchased, and new transportation, in the form of the church van was purchased.
· Again, On May 27th, the following new appliances for the kitchen were purchased: five (5) food warmers, and a fry daddy.
On June 11, 2020, Rev. W. L. Peterson retired from Greater New Zion Baptist Church due to his failing health.
On August 19, 2020, Rev Jeremie Tremaine Turner, Sr was unanimously voted in as the newly elected pastor of Greater New Zion Baptist Church. God has and still is blessing this church family to prosper and grow, and for that we are truly grateful. We look forward to the great things that shall be as we build on the past with God ultimately in control. We do believe and know that "Greater is Coming!"
TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE!
Greater New Zion Missionary Baptist Church
720 Davis Street East, Elba, Alabama 36323
Greater is Coming!
Exalting the Savior...Evangelizing the Sinner...Equipping the Saint!
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Sunday School: 9:45 am
Worship: 11 am
Virtual Wednesday Night Bible Study: 6pm