History of Zion A.M.E. Church
Zion A.M.E. came into existence as the result of house-to-house prayer meetings that were held in 1845.
Father Thomas Jones, a deacon in Mother Bethel and associated with Bishop Richard Allen, was commissioned to go to
South Philadelphia, then called "the Neck," to begin to plant the seed of Afrian Methodism in that locality. Starting on Corn Street (now Second and Reed
Streets) at a school house and moving to several new buildings as the congregation outgrew the one in use, Zion Mission moved to a more spacious building at 21st and Fernon Streets.
In 1925, the congregation purchased the lot on the corner of 21st and Tasker Streets to erect a new building for the worship of God. Under the pastorate of Reverend L. Walter Stanford, the
foundation was begun on Easter Monday, April 4, 1927 and the cornerstone laid on Sunday, July 10, 1927. The Church was completed and dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1928.
The present edifice was built in 1928. The mortgage was reset and the Church was saved by Reverend John L. Mims in 1945. Reverend Mims served until 1949.
From 1949 to 1951, the
Reverend William Townsend and his wife Helen took the helm at Zion. They started the Hostess Club, which is still going strong today.
From 1951 to 1952, Reverend J. S. Benn
served as pastor.
From 1952 to 1965, Reverend J. L. Dandridge and his wife Octavia provided the leadership. Groups and activities were organized and the church and parsonage
renovated during this tenure. A new organ and piano were also purchased and many souls were saved. Reverend Dandridge helped Zion assume its rightful place in the Philadelphia Conference.
From May 1965 to September 1965, Reverend A. A. Davis served.
From September 1965 to 1970, Reverend William H. Smallwood and his wife Ruth served Zion faithfully and further modernized the church. Boy Scout Troop #373 was activated.
1970 to 1971, Reverend J. W. Henderson served Zion. He was an accomplished musician.
From 1971 to 1979, Reverend John M. Dawkins, Jr. and his wife Emma served Zion. Under his
tenure, Dawkins New Sound was organized.
From 1979 to 1980, Reverend Alexander Stephans and his wife Freda provided leadership at Zion. During this period, the heating system
was upgraded and modernized and the Zion Ensemble was organized. Reverend Stephans was a firm believer in the doctrine of the A.M.E. Church and organized and taught new members class that drew the
interest of members who had previously joined.
From 1981 to November 1988, Reverend S. C. Thornton and his wife Doris became the spiritual leaders at Zion. The air conditioning system was
installed during his administration.
From November 1988 to 1992, Reverend David L. Randolph, Sr. and his wife Nancy served Zion. A plan of "Tithing and Proportionate Giving" was instituted.
New lights and doors were installed and the sanctuary was painted.
From 1992 to 1994 Reverend Baldwin was pastor.
From 1994 to 2007, Reverend D. Albert Turk and his wife shepherded
Reverend Dr. Simon P. Bouie, who was the fifty-first pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became Zion's pastor in February 2006. His wife is Willie O. Bouie.