AN IMMACULATE PAST , AN
EXCITING PRESENT , AND
AN EVOLVING FUTURE .
History of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, East
AN IMMACULATE PAST, AN EXCITING
PRESENT, AND AN EVOLVING FUTURE.
History of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, East Chicago, Indiana
In the early 1900's, East Chicago was rapidly becoming the steel center of the
Midwest. Molten metal poured from the ladies in the open hearth, and fiery
furnaces blazed hot in the coke plants. Workers were attracted from all over
the nation toward the new "Promised Land" for the laboring man. As a
sparsely settled area, East Chicago, Indiana offered the possibilities that
come as a new frontier. Many ethnic groups converged and formed a cultural
center, building homes, stores, factories, schools and churches, based upon
the thriving steel manufacturing economy.
Word spread throughout the South that there was work at the steel mills in
Indiana Harbor, Indiana; which presented opportunities for Negroes to get
better employment and housing; and a better education for their children.
Many put down their plowshares and cotton sacks and headed north, to
explore a place they could conform to their own doctrine and religious beliefs.
Among those migrants from the South were a few Christians who realized
their need for a place to worship; so they united to form a mission. The small
mission began in 1916, in the home of Brother Henry and Sister Anna
Mitchell at 3609 Parrish Avenue. Along with Reverend and Mrs. Spencer,
the other charter members included: Sister Ashford, Brother Bauton,
Brother and Sister Boyd, Brother Bennie Chandler, Sister Annie Gibson,
Sister Viola Starks, Brother B. J. Turner, Sister Sarah Walker, Brother
James Washington, Brother Charles Watkins and Sister Carrie Watkins.
Through the guidance of Reverend Rolles Spencer the First Baptist Church of
East Chicago and Reverend Charles Hawkins of the First Baptist Church of
Gary, the mission was officially organized as the New Hope Missionary
Baptist Church on July 28, 1916.
The original group called Reverend Spencer as its first Pastor, who served for
two years. Under his leadership, the membership increased. Following his
resignation, Reverend Herman and Reverend Butler, both served for short
In 1918, the church purchased property as 1630 Broadway for $4,000.00.
Reverend R. B. King was called and served for six years. During his tenure
as pastor, construction began on a new site; and when the lower auditorium
was completed there, the church moved from Broadway to its present location
at 3939 Drummond Street.
This progressive move included the organization of new Hope’s first ministry;
the Senior Usher Board; which has continued to provide dedicated service
since its inception in 1924. The first President, Sis. Myrtle, served until
1929. Others who served during this period were Reverend Scott Edwards as
Pastor and subsequently, Reverend R. B. King, as interim Pastor. Reverend
King instituted what we now call a “one-man” Sunday School because he
taught all attendees in one session. The tiny mission was well on its way to
becoming a beacon light in the community.
The Early Years
From 1925-1931, the church was under the capable and inspiring pastorate of
Reverend W. L. Phillips, of Gary, Indiana. During this time the indebtedness
of the lower auditorium was liquidated. What a momentous occasion: the
mortgage was burned and construction began on the main auditorium.
Once the main auditorium with the exception of the front stairs was
completed, members were able to worship in a more spacious surrounding.
Reverend Phillips instituted a 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Sunday School time
and divided the Sunday School into two groups with one general assembly.
During this period, the Youth Choir was founded under the direction of Mrs.
Otelia Simpson Champion.
Brother Irving Johnson was elected as the President of the Senior Usher’s in
1929 and served faithfully until 1932. During that time the membership
Reverend Albert Upshaw, who succeeded Reverend Phillips as Pastor, served
for a short period of time; as did Reverend George Garrett, as interim Pastor;
Reverend Howard, as Pastor; and finally, Reverend L. L. Powell, as interim
Pastor. Each faithfully contributed to the growth and positive development
of the church. Ultimately, Reverend E. Brown was called to pastor, but he
was unable to serve.
With the Depression, the church experienced financial difficulties,
throughout the early 1930’s. However, despite these problems, the church
experienced financial difficulties, throughout the early 1930’s. However,
despite these problems, the church continued to move forward. In 1931,
Reverend C. J. Rodgers was called to Pastor. He served persistently for
several years. New Hope Baptist Church eventually changed its name to
Zion Missionary Baptist Church and was enriched with spiritual blessings.
Reverend Rodgers was succeeded by Reverend L. R. Mitchell, under who able
leadership; the church’s total indebtedness was reduced to $7,000.00. This
brought Reverend Mitchell great prominence as a Pastor and financier. As a
result, Reverend Mitchell resigned to become President of the American
Baptist Seminary, and Reverend M. C. Cossey and Reverend Charles
Watkins served as interim Pastors.
Deacons who contributed to Zion’s early history and whose names are
recorded in the book of time are: Deacon James Bauton, Deacon B. O. Floyd,
Deacon James Washington and Deacon Charles Watkins (Called into
Ministry). They were ordained under Reverend King. Brother John Clark,
Brother Hugh Comer, Brother Lee Ewins, Brother Matthew London, Brother
Charles Lyons, Brother Pitman, Brother John Smith, and Brother B. J.
Turner were ordained under Reverend Mitchell.
Members of the Mother Board in the early years included: Mother London,
Mother Kissiah Love, Mother Lyons, Mother Mitchell, and Mother McClain.
Brother Richard Williams was the first Trustee. Earlier Trustees of the
church also included: Brother Joseph Baker, Brother Eugene Blue, Brother
Jasper Grafton, Brother Ambrose Holmes, Brother Roosevelt Newman,
Brother Charles Robinson and Brother John L. Sullivan.
Sister Sarah Walker was the first Clerk of the church. She was succeeded by
Sister Mary Jackson.
Sister Bernice Smith was the first church pianist; and Sister Thelma Baker
Phillips is recorded as Zion’s first organist. Other Musicians listed in the
historical records are: Sister Alma Mitchell, Sister Leola Mitchell, and Sister
Naomi Rodgers. Sister Otelia Simpson Champion also served as pianist on
three different occasions during this period.
Presidents who served as Zion’s Missionary Society were: Sister Mattie
Holmes, Sister Gertrude Johnson, Sister Salistine King, Sister Estelle
Thomas, Sister Mary Thomas and Sister Sarah Walker.
Some of the great Sunday school superintendents, listed in the order of their
services from the beginning are: Brother John Clark, Brother Pete Huntley,
Brother James Dawkins, Brother Willie Johnson, and Brother Henry
Brother H. Watkins was a dedicated and hardworking president of the Senior
Usher’s from 1932 to 1938; and he was followed by Brother Henry Dawkins
who served until 1940. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my
God than dwell in the tents of the wickedness” became the motto.
Zion owes so much to the early pioneers of the Church and to the Shepherds
who led the Flock. We are blessed to still have Sister Thelma Baker Phillips
exemplifying the spirit of dedication and devotion in her continuous service to
the Lord. Although unable to serve due to infirmity, Sister Otelia Simpson
Champion continues to bless our congregation with her spirit of endurance
Time of Transition:
In 1942, Reverend S. E. Parker was called, and he guided the church both
spiritually and financially. On August 6, 1942, the mortgage was burned on
the main auditorium. Reverend Parker was also instrumental in the
improvement of the interior and exterior appearances.
The original Nurses’ Unit was organized under the pastorate of Reverend
Parker, by Sister Ida Mae Hutson. Some of the members during that period
were: Sister Barnes, Sister Eleanor Bickerstaff, Sister Isthmus Davis, Sister
Louise Gibbs, Sister Ida McCoy, Sister Dessie Reed, Sister Gussie Tabb and
Sister Anneice Williams and Sister Etta Williams.
Brother Johnny Williams served as President of the Senior Ushers from 1940
to 1948. Brother Jerry Daniels served for one term during that year; and
Brother Williams was re-elected.
Reverend M. C. Cossey continued to faithfully serve as interim Pastor when
Reverend Parker resigned. The church then called Reverend L. C. White,
who rendered a very short period of service. His tenure was called to an end
when he suddenly passed away, leaving a grief stricken congregation. Again,
Reverend Cossey came to the aid of the church. He displayed great strength
and courage and helped the church tremendously during this house of
In the mid-1940’s, Zion was blessed with several dedicated youth who formed
a Young People’s Church. They were in charge of services every third Sunday
night. The young Deacons at that time were: Brother George Dawkins,
Brother Robert Dent; Brother Willie Frazier, (Called into Ministry); Brother
Matthew London, and Brother Odell Madden. Sister B. Shorter played the
piano for the Young People’s Choir and Sister B. McKorkle was the director.
Sister Josephine Chapman (Gillis), Sister (Dr.) Dorothy Calhoun and Sister
Viola Jernigan (Brown) were a few of those that served as President. The
Young People’s Church continued to flourish through the early 1950’s.
The Boy Scouts, which was also started under Reverend Parker, produced
two Eagle Scouts: Deacon George Dawkins and Brother Alfonso McClain.
The church recalled Reverend C. J. Rodgers, but he was unable to serve.
Nonetheless, the church continued to provide loving, spiritual growth,
strength, hope and guidance to its members and to the community.
Advancing the Kingdom:
In 1950, a young man with a vision was called as Pastor. Reverend T.H.
Rankin picked up the mantle of the former leaders and led the church to ever
greater and higher heights. An outstanding legacy of service and
accomplishments include: renovation of the main auditorium, landscaping
and improvement of the grounds, construction of classrooms, and an addition
of a kitchen and installation of a new floor.
Landscaping improvements such as newly seeded exterior lawns and
planting of trees added beauty and dignity to the exterior appearance. A
newly purchased piano and organ completed the interior furnishings and
provided inspirational music during services.
The outstanding financial event under the leadership of Reverend Rankin
was the creation of a building fund. Under his pastorate the fund increased
dramatically to $23,000.00. Real estate property located to the north of the
church building was wisely acquired in full cash payments. Portions of these
properties were renovated for income purposes to add to the church’s rapidly
Christian Service Continues:
Brother Will Brown, Brother John Campbell, and Brother Thomas Martin
served as Deacons during this period; and were ordained under Reverend
Parker. Deacons who were ordained during the pastorate of Reverend
Rankin were: Brother Levi Birch, Brother George Dawkins, Brother L. B.
Holt, Brother Alvin Peterman, and Brother Clifton Lackey. Brother A. D.
Lovelace, Brother Alvin Martin (Called into Ministry), Brother Judge
McKorkle, Brother David Morris, Brother J. T. Posey, Brother Alvin Price,
Brother Jerome Samuels, Brother Richard Shorter, and Brother Tommie Lee
Trustees of the church at this time were: Brother Dayton Belfour, Brother
Will Brown, Brother Norman Dennis, Brother Coleman Givens, Brother Earl
Harvey, Brother William Henry, Brother Pete Huntley, Brother Seabron
Johnson, Brother James Lovelace, Brother A. D. Lovelace, Brother Harvey
McClain, and Brother Hiriam Newman.
Brother Thomas Echols, Brother Willie Johnson, Brother Clinton Reed,
Brother Amos Tolbert, Brother Bennie Turk, Jr. and Brother Frank White
were appointed as Trustees under the pastorate of Reverend Rankin. The
first female trustee, Sister Inez Patterson, also served with these men.
Those in service during this time as Clerks were: Brother Jayson Belford,
Sister Louise Comer, Brother James Dawkins, Sister Bertha Givens, Sister
Bernice Morris Keep, Sister Georgia McClellan, Sister Bernice McKorkle,
Sister Bernice M. Kee, Sister Thelma B. Phillips, Sister Addie Wilson, who
started the first Building Fund and Sister Erslee Conner Williams.
The Nurses’ Unit was re-organized under the pastorate of Reverend Rankin.
Sister Jim Ella Tolbert was elected President; Sister Roberta Jones, Vice-
President; and Sister Willa Hughes, Secretary-Treasurer. In 1961, five (5)
Junior Nurses were accepted in the Unit: Sister Frances (Armstead) Patton
being the first Junior Nurse.
Brother Johnny Williams continued to serve as President of the Senior
Ushers until 1953. Under the leadership of President, Sister A. Adams, the
Board joined the Federation of Ushers. Unable to complete her term, Sister
Adams was succeeded by Brother Jerry Walker for a year. From 1954 to
1956, Sister Valdora Johnson presided over the Ushers until the election of
Brother Coleman Givens in 1956.
During this stage of development and progress, the Male Chorus and Adult
Choir were also organized. The Junior Choir was reorganized in 1951, and
the Zion Young Adult Choir (Z.Y.A’s) was organized in 1958. Both groups
were created under the auspices and direction of Sister Thelma Baker
In 1954, the Music Department’s first Annual Christmas Musical was
performed under the capable guidance of Sister Otelia Champion. The
musical continues to be eagerly anticipated each year by a capacity audience.
Along with Sister Phillips and Sister Champion, other Musicians included:
Sister Louise Comer, Sister Lavern Price, Sister Helen Shorter, Sister Nellie
Grace Smith, Sister Mozelle Tillotson and Sister Nellie Tillotson.
Sister Estelle Chapman organized the matron’s Auxiliary, which has been a
vital part of Zion’s Missionary Society form that time since. Sister Thelma
Phillips and Sister Mary Etta Johnson were in charge of the Red Circle Girls.
The girls put on plays and were active throughout the state. In 1950, Sister
Josephine Chapman (Gillis) became the president of the District Association
of the Red Circle Girls. Sister Bernice McKorkle (1956) and Sis. Bertha
Givens (1957-1966 served as Missionary Society Presidents during this
Sister Missie Phillips was Zion’s first devotional leader. She taught the
children about foreign and home missions. We collected money for the
foreign mission and went to visit the West Calumet Nursing Home as our
home mission project.
Deacon David Morris served as the Superintendent of the Sunday School for
many years. The teenagers in Sunday School had a large class, which can be
attributed primarily to Sister Louise Calhoun, affectionately called “Aunt
Lou”. She not only taught the class but provided many outside activities for
the teenagers who enjoyed being a part of it.
The youth have always played a vital part in the growth of Zion. Brother
Henry Dawkins was the director of the Baptist Young People’s Union
(B.Y.P.U.) and he was also the Boy Scout leader. He taught God’s Word by
having Bible drills and used Penny marches to inspire giving.
Our first Vacation Bible School was held in June, 1955, thanks to Sister
Estelle Chapman, as Director and Sister Odessa Reed, as Assistant Director.
Sister Sallie Rankin and Sister Pearl Hill also served as Directors during this
period. The driving force behind V.B.S. which was a two-week event at the
time was its host of dedicated teachers. The children would parade up and
down Carey and Drummond Streets to announce V.B.S. to encourage
neighborhood children to attend. Sister Jackie King was the first pianist for
V. B. S. and went on to become the pianist for Friendship Baptist Church.
After fourteen years of inspirational leadership and devotion, Reverent
Rankin resigned in 1964, many continued dedicated service to the church
while seeking the Lord’s divine guidance for the next man who would take up
the mantle to spiritually and physically build the church. As such, a special
tribute is in order for Deacon Alvin Peterman for unusual, faithful service as
the Chairman of the Deacon Board. It is especially noteworthy to also
recognize Brother Frank White’s dedicated labor of love as the Chairman of
the Trustee Board.
Evangelizing the Lord:
Reverend James Commodore Wade, Jr. heeded the call as Pastor of Zion
Missionary Baptist Church in 1965. Although young in years, Reverend
Wade brought with him a very strong faith and determination to do God’s
will. Through the preaching of the gospel, during the first fourteen years of
his ministry at Zion, one thousand one hundred seventy-four (1,174) souls
had been added to our church. Seven hundred eleven (711) were candidates
for Baptism; two hundred eighty-seven (287) came by Christian experience;
fifty three (53) by Letter; and one hundred and twenty-three (123) came by
Restoration. A new Membership Committee was initiated for the important
purpose of orientation of those new members into the church.
During Reverend Wade’s pastorate, eighteen (18) new Sunday School classes
were organized and attendance rose to an all time high of five hundred two
(502) students. His untiring efforts to take the work of the gospel to all
people resulted in the organization of Sunday School classes in the Senior
Citizen building in East Chicago and in the Wildwood Nursing home in Gary,
Pastor Wade also saw the need to include, along with the regular mid-week
Bible Study, a fellowship for the youth of the church. As a result, with Sister
Eva Williams as Chairwoman; and Deacon George Dawkins and Deacon
Alvin Martin as Co-Chairmen, he organized a Youth Church.
During the year of 1966, our church went on an outing to Omaha, Nebraska
to visit with Pastor Wade’s family and the Salem Baptist Church, where
Reverend J. C. Wade, Sr. was pastor. Pastor Wade recognized that some who
could not afford to take a summer vacation could afford to ride with the
church on outings during the summer. Church Outings became one of the
annual highlights of the Zion family. In addition to Omaha, we traveled to
worship with other churches to such places as: Houston, Texas; Cincinnati,
Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia; Memphis,
Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; and Los Angeles, California, just to name a few.
“Oh What A Fellowship, What A Joy Divine”!!
Zion was blessed with the presence of Mother Angeline Hood, who was a
member of the Mother’s Board. Her serene wisdom and knowledge
contributed to the success of that ministry.
In order to give more members an opportunity to worship through music and
song, the Inspirational Choir was organized in 1967.
During the early 1970’s many ministries were organized and developed. The
Young Adult Usher Board first came into existence in 1971, and has served
as a vehicle to train and to give valuable experience to those who want to
serve in that capacity during worship services.
Also organized in 1971, was a choir for the very young worshippers. The
Cherubs. In 1972, another effective group of young dedicated singers was
officially organized as the Chancel Ensemble.
In the summer of 1972, a Crusade Festival was originated. It was a
combination of games and activities during daylight hours; and in the
evenings, outdoor evangelistic services were conducted to win souls to Christ.
The festivities attracted a large number of youth and community adults.
Successful Crusade Festival events were held in 1974 and again, in 1975.
During the latter part of 1974, an extension Sunday School was established
at the 151st Street Community Center in the West Calumet are of the city.
An extension Sunday School Choir was organized soon thereafter.
Additionally, another extension Sunday School was established at the East
Chicago Rehabilitation Center to serve yet another group not reached by
other ministries. A new Satellite Sunday School program provided home
study and further carried the Message to “shut-ins”: those who were at home,
unable to attend regular services.
On the first Sunday of January 1975, Early Morning Worship Service began
at 7:30 a.m. This service has made it possible for those with special time and
shift work restraints to fellowship and worship when they would otherwise
miss regular Morning Worship services at 11:00 a.m. Only Pastor Wade and
one member, Sister Colleen Watson, attended that first service on that cold,
snowy day, but since that time Early Morning Service has flourished. Sister
Ola Mae Williams and Sister Leola Dunn were the first Ushers to attend
Early Morning Worship. Sister Hausey Mae Lilly played the piano. As the
weather grew colder, Deacon George Dawkins began serving coffee and later
added sweet rolls and donuts, and eventually a full breakfast was served.
During the later 1970’s, as the membership attendance increased, Pastor
Wade was assisted by Reverend Clifford Upshaw. In addition, Elder and
Sister Thomas were regular guests to the worship services.
Evangelism in Action was also introduced at this time. It involved the total
membership in the mission of the Christian church, through visitation to
convalescent homes, hospitals and senior citizen buildings; and also included
youth tutoring activities.
As an attraction to young adults, who typically left the church in their post-
high school and college years, The Young Women’s Association (Y.W.A”s) was
organized in 1974 by Sister Thelma Phillips; with Sister Lelia Stallings as its
first counselor. The Inspirational Choir was also reorganized and revitalized
in 1975, and renamed the Rev. J. C. Wade, Jr. Celestial Choir.
The Male Choirs was another fine singing group reorganized under the
pastorate of Reverend Wade; and men were also encouraged to participate in
the Missionary Society with the organization of the Laymen.
On June 13, 1976, Zion’s Missionary Society inducted fourteen (14) faithful
servants it to the Zion Christian hall of Fame to commemorate their fifty (50)
years of unceasing service. Numbered in that group were: Sister Callie
Kilpatrick, Brother Samuel T. King, and Sister Florence lee, Brother Alvin
Peterman, Sister Hazel Peterman, Sister Missie Phillips and Brother James
Toney. Sister Lelia Stallings was the Chairwoman of the distinguished
ceremony and Sister Hazel Morris was the Missionary Society President.
Other women who have served as Missionary Society Presidents, prior to this
time were: Sister Pearl Hill, between 1967 and 1969; Sister Leola Hardaway,
between 1969 and 1972; and Sister Estelle Chapman between 1973-1974.
Each of these women served faithfully during Reverend Wade’s pastorate and
made significant contributions to the mission of the church.
The church’s annual income increased under the leadership of Reverend
Wade, from $26,000.00 to more than $160,000.00. As a result, the building
fund also increased from $23,000.00 to approximately $208,000.00.
Additional real estate properties were purchased including three (3) buildings
and one (1) lot. Two (2) of the buildings at 4002 Drummond Street and 4002
Euclid Avenue were demolished to provide much needed parking. In
addition, 4004 Drummond Street was purchased, and the building purchased
at 3950 Drummond Street was used to house several Sunday School classes.
In November 1976, a parsonage was purchased at 2014 Cardinal Drive for
In 1977, the z. B. C. Nursery School was organized and opened; and a Bus
Ministry coordinated by Brother Jessie Williams, was initiated, as a
necessary consequence of expanding programs and services. As the ministry
to children expanded, the Cherubs were reorganized as the Children’s Choir
During the first week of October, 1977, after much planning prayer, diligent
striving and sacrifice, construction began for the new Zion Missionary Baptist
Church building. Spearheaded by Reverend J. C. Wade, Jr., the Executive
Building Committee which consisted of Sister Otelia S. Champion, Sister
Erma Monroe, Brother Alvin Peterman, Brother Tommie L. Walker, Brother
Theodore Wilkinson, and Sister Eva M. Williams, are acknowledged for their
untiring performance. Special advisors to the pastor were: Brother Robert
Hoggs, Jr., Brother Harvey Pleasant, Brother Williams Stallings, and
Brother Eugene Williams, III. Sister Frieda Dawkins, Sister Bertha Givens
and Sister Michelle Williams labored unceasingly as persons responsible for
procuring commitments for church windows, pews and pulpit furnishings.
The entire church family supported this effort.
Ministries at Work:
At the time of construction, Reverend Willis Alexander, Reverend Tyrone
Bozeman, Reverend Oliver Cossey, Reverend Zeno Darden and Reverend
Ronald Thomas were the Associate Ministers. The Deacons were: Brother
Levi Birch, Brother George Dawkins, Brother L. J. Hall, Brother L. B. Holt,
Brother A. D. Lovelace, Brother Jerome Samuels, Brother Tommie Walker
and Brother Theodore Wilinson.
Brother Wilson Jones was Treasurer; and the Trustees were: Sister Nettie
Collins, Brother Williams Jones, Sister Inez Mitchell, Brother William
Spellers and Brother Eugene Williams, III and Sister Michelle Williams (2nd
Woman to serve as Trustee). Sister Williams also served on the Finance
Committee and as the Church Administrator. Those who desired to assist in
the administration as Trainees were Sister Barbara Bowie, Sister Gertha
Calvert, Sister Yvonne Sanders and Brother Otha Walker. Those who served
on the Finance Committee were Brother Michael Dotson, Brother Keith
Gillis, sister Vickie Graham, Brother Samuel Jelks, Brother Mark Page,
Brother Dwight Scott, and Brother James Selvie.
Sister Otelia Champion led the Music Department as the Minister of Music.
Sister Thelma Phillips was the Church Organist; and Brother Frank
(Chubbie) White, Sister Ella Wade and Brother Theodore Harris were
Directors. Our Music Department also consisted of the following Musicians:
Brother Gregory Clark, organist, pianist and director; and Brother Dean
Johnson (Called into Ministry), organists; and Brother George Bostic and
Brother Aaron Smith were pianists.
The President of the Combined Adult Choir was Sister Essie Calhoun. Sister
Juanita Henderson was Vice-President, Sister Velma Graham was Secretary,
and Sister Ceola Barnes was Assistant Secretary. Sister Lyvette Turk was
the President of the Youth Choir and Z.Y.A.’s. Sister Andrea Swan served as
Vice-President, Sister Jeanine Turk served as Secretary and Sister Camellia
Wade served as Assistant Secretary.
General Missionary Society President was Sister Eva Williams. Sister
Maude Glover, was the Vice-President; Sister Rose Samuels was the Second
Vice-President; Sister Willie Grace Jackson, was Recording Secretary. Sister
Evelyn Simmons served as Corresponding Secretary; Sister Alma Ross was
the Assistant Secretary and Sister Doris Fields was Youth Director. Brother
William Stallings served as Coordinator of the Laymen.
The Matron’s Ministry officers were: Sister Glenda Gooden, President; Sister
Vicki Graham, Vice-President; Sister Annette Turner, Secretary; Sister
Catherine Tolbert, Assistant Secretary and Sister Authurine Wilkerson,
Chaplain. The officers of the Y. W. A.’s were: Sister Ethel Smith, President;
Sister Rhonda Amos, Secretary; Sister Kim Thomas, Assistant Secretary; and
Sister Henrietta Gary, Counselor. Sister Lori Bridgeman was President of
the Red Circle. Other officers were: Sister Mari Dawkins, Vice-President;
Sister Aliesa Dawkins, Secretary; and Sister Stacy Dixon, Assistant
Secretary. Sister Joan Harris and Sister Patricia Dixon worked diligently
with the girls as their Counselors.
Brother George Dawkins served as Adult Superintendent of the Sunday
School and Sister Bertha Givens served as Assistant Superintendent. The
Youth Superintendent was Brother Richard Shorter and Brother Willie G.
Johnson was Assistant Superintendent. Brother Billie Brown served as
Intermediate Superintendent and Brother Tommie L. Walker served as
Assistant Superintendent. Sister Ideal Spellers served as the Director of B.
T. U. and Sister Doris Fields served as the Chairman of the Education
Those serving as officers of the Senior Ushers were: Brother William
Stallings, President; Sister Ola Mae Williams, Vice-President, Sister Thelma
Cooper, Secretary and Brother Haywood Powell, as Treasurer. Sister Ola
Mae Williams also supervised the Young Adult Ushers; and Sister Alfreda
Thompson supervised the Junior Ushers. Sister Arleaner Jackson served as
the President of the Senior Nurses. Sister Charlotte Liggins served as Vice-
President; Sister Roberta Jones as Secretary; Sister Colleen Watson as
Assistant Secretary; and Sister Jim Ella Tolbert as Treasurer. The Junior
Nurses’ officers were: Sister Quintella Emery as President; sister Donna
Buggs, as Vice-President; Sister Brenda Harris as Secretary; Sister Annette
Fay Hall as Assistant Secretary. Sister Ola Emery served as their
Reverend Oliver Cossey served dutifully as Coordinator and Deacon Levi
Birch was the first mechanic. Other drivers were: sister Grace Alston, Sister
Ramona Biddings, Brother Robert Campbell, Brother George Edmonson,
Brother Donnell “Harry” Johnson, Brother Michael Johnson, Sister Angela
Lewis, Brother Michael “Mitch” Lewis, Sister Maria Malave, Brother Morgan,
Brother Nolan McLaurin, Brother Percy Palmer, Brother Milton Payton,
Sister Ruby Person, Brother James Pruitt, Sister Ruby Pruitt, Brother Ellis
Pharms, Sister Mary Ridle, Sister Yvonne Sanders, Reverend Ronald
Thomas, Sister Alfreda Thompson (also drove for ZBC Nursery School),
Brother Amos Tolbert, Reverend Clifford Upshaw, Sister Freddie Upshaw,
Brother Otha Walker, Brother George (Gil) White, Brother Jessie Williams,
Reverend Willie Williams and Brother Ernest Wren.
Sister Hazel Morris, Sister Anna Williams and Bernice Wilson were
dedicated as co-laborers in the Kitchen Committee.
Members of the Funeral Committee who served were: Sister Verda Dawkins,
Sister Leola Dunn, Sister Mary Dunn, Sister Charlotte Liggins, Sister
Geneva Patterson and Sister Missie Phillips.
Last, but not least, the Drill Team leaders were Sister Lori Nash of
Commander; and Sister Mary Jones and Sister Trelles Nash as Co-
Commanders. Keeping in the tradition of the church in nurturing our youth,
the Drill Team provided a new avenue for the young people of Zion to worship
as they felt led by the Lord. Under Pastor Wade’s prayerful guidance and
being commanded by Sister Angela Lewis and Brother Jacquis Cameron the
Drill Team continued to thrive.
Reverend J. C. Wade, Jr. led the ministry officers and members, followed by a
triumphant congregation, all singing praises to God, through the doorway of
a newly constructed House of Worship on Palm Sunday, April 8, 1979. A
vision, long deferred was realized.
Tragedy and Triumph:
During the construction of the new church, Sister Hausey Mae Lily was one
of Pastor Wade’s primary supporters; and based upon her daily supervision
was dubbed “chief inspector” during the building process. The inspired Sister
Eva Williams, who served as its first president to organize the Pastor’s
Booster’s in 1984. Sister Thelma Cooper served as the first Vice-President
and subsequently became president in 1993. Along with the first members,
men were encouraged to participate and the following are those who once
served or are currently serving as staunch supporters of the Pastor: Sister
Leslie Adams, Sister Tevis Adams, Sister Ernestine Bostic, Sister Barbara
Bowie, Deacon Larry Chafen, Sister Yvette Chafen, Sister Nettie Collins,
Sister Tiffany Collins, Sister Hozetta Cook, Sister Madelyn Cooper, Sister
Lucretia Cossey, Reverend Oliver Cossey, Sister Ezella Dixon, Sister Pearlie
Eatman, Sister Brenda Francisco, Deacon George Gaddy, Sister Henrietta
Gary, Sister Shirley Givens, Sister Maude Glover, Reverend Isaiah Grant,
Sister Joan Harris, Sister Ida Marie Hood, Sister Joan Howard, Sister Willa
Hughes, Sister Athena Johnson, Sister Deana Johnson, Reverend Chet
Johnson, Sister Lionel Jones, Sister Iris Kibler, Sister Angela Lewis, Sister
Sandra McCain, Sister Erma Monroe Sister Alma Moore, Deacon Douglas
Padgett, Reverend Sandy Phillips, Sister Thelma Phillips, Reverend Allen
Robinson, Sister Vernicia Robinson, Sister Yvonne Sanders, Sister Barbara
Scott, Reverend Darryl Taliaferro, Sister Glenda Tucker, Sister Lyvette Turk,
Reverend James Wade, III, Deacon Wardell Watkins (Called into Ministry)
Reverend Leon Web, Sister Yvette Webb, Sister Deborah Williams, Sister
Jeanine Williams, Sister Michelle Williams, Reverend Willie Williams,
Reverend Leon Webb and Sister Lee Esther White. Sister Betty Cotton,
Sister Ideal Spellers, and our First Lady Sister Ella Wade are Honorary
Many young ministers (Sons of Zion) have been called by God through the
preaching and teaching ministry of Reverend Wade. With foresight and
wisdom, our Pastor was inspired to seek a higher level of education. In July
1981, our Pastor received his Master of Religious Education from the
International Bible Institute and Seminary. He continued his studies and
received his Doctorate of Bible Theology in June 1982.
However, the memories of the early 1980’s are shrouded by the devastation of
the great fire hat raced through the old church building on March 30, 1984.
As the membership stood in awe saddened by the life changing event, the
atmosphere was yet filled with grateful hearts to God that no one was hurt.
The new church had only a bit of water damage; and although it was a
difficult time, we knew we were blessed.
Through the leadership of our Pastor, we were fortunate to have our Annex
building on Hemlock Street; and a building across the street from the church
for Sunday School classes. The Lord had spared the new edifice and as our
Pastor sought the direction of the Lord to move the congregation beyond the
loss we suffered.
When we celebrated the Church’s 86th Anniversary in September, 1984, we
made plans to burn the mortgage to the new church edifice. This event was
chaired by Sister Thelma Phillips and Pastor Wade. In quite an inspiring
service, each member was given an opportunity to burn a bit of the mortgage.
A few months later, we broke ground for the new Education facility; now
known as the Rev. Dr. J. C. Wade, Jr. Fellowship Hall; and within eighteen
(1*) months of the fire, we entered into our newly constructed education
facility. Since that time we purchased and paid for other properties including
4001 Drummond Street.
During Reverend Wade’s pastorate in the early 1980’s some ministries and
programs were continued and enhanced; and many others were reinstituted.
Deacons ordained by Reverend Wade, in the order of their appointment,
include: Brother Raymond Boyd, Brother James Selvie, Brother Lonnie
Graham, Brother Henry Graham, Brother Clifford Upshaw (Called into the
Ministry), Brother Bishop Jackson, Brother George Gaddie, Brother Douglas
Padgett, Brother Wardell Watkins (Called into Ministry), Brother Leon Webb
(Called into Ministry), Brother Bennie Turk, Jr., Brother Dwight Scott,
Brother Earnest Acres, Brother Floyd Springfield, Brother Shermon MCain,
Brother Larry Chafen, Brother Ike Peterson, Brother Terrance Smith,
Brother Michael Boyd, and Brother Jaron Holden. Brother Harry Johnson,
Brother Tyrone Jackson and Brother Michael Dukes were Trainees.
Brother Wilson Jones continued as Treasurer of the church. Sister Leslie
Adams, Sister Tevis Adams, Sister Barbara Bowie, Sister Girtha Calvert,
Sister Nettie Collins, Brother Williams Jones, Sister Yvonne Sanders,
Brother Eugene Williams II and Sister Michelle Williams served as Trustees.
In 1980, Brother Williams Henderson was the President of the Senior
Ushers. He served faithfully for five years (1985).
In 1981, the Young Adult Nurses were organized under the leadership of
Sister Delores Burns, who also served as President of the Senior Ushers, at
one time. The first President was Sister Dale Liggins. Sister Charlotte
Liggins was their supervisor. Colleen Watson served as president of the
Senior Nurses until she passed in 1987.
Deacon George Dawkins, Sister Bertha Givens, and Sister Missie Phillips,
continued to serve as Superintendents of the Sunday School for brief periods,
followed, in the order of their service by Sister Jones, Deacon Henry Graham,
Sister Doris Harris and Sister Lelia Stallings.
Under Pastor Wade’s administration, spiritual advancements were also made
in many aspects of the church’s ministry. In 1990, the Mother’s Board was
reorganized, with Sister Synetta Brizendine as President. In 1994, the
Ministry of Intercession was born out of the spirit of Mother Brizendine.
In 1993, Brother Buford and Sister Esther Kilpatrick became
superintendents of the Sunday School and served until 1997. During their
tenure, their main emphasis was on the study and teaches of the Word of
Vacation Bible School continued to be a community outreach. In the early
1990’s Sister Eva Williams served as Director, adding a carnival as
something new for the children and community. Sister Louis Gillis and
Sister Pearlie Eatman also served as Director and Co-Director, during this
The Youth Committee of Zion was created in 1995, and monthly programs
and an annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Midnight Musical and Youth
Revival continue to be held to minister to the needs of our young people. Past
and present members of the Youth Committee are: Brother Ian Adams,
Sister Stacy Alston-Holden, Sister Tiffany Berry, Sister Kimberly Broaders,
Brothers Jacquis Cameron, Sister Stacey Carpenter; Sister Tiffany Collins,
Sister Laurie Cossey-Anderson, Reverend Willie Davis, Reverend Isaiah
Grant, Sister Andrea Hogan, Brother Jaron Holden, Reverend Josiah Holden,
Sister Tailiah Morris, Sister Annette Peterson, Reverend Allen Robinson,
Reverend Darryl Taliaferro, Sister Daria Taliaferro and Sister Trina
Taliaferro, Brother Edwin Underwood, Reverend Kelly Williams and Sister
The Zion Community Development Corporation, envisioned by our Pastor
was stated in the late 1990’s. Sister Ella Wade and Sister Camellia Wade
McKinley were Co-Directors.
During the week of May 16-21, 1998, Zion hosted the 79th Annual Session of
the Northern Indiana Missionary Baptist District Association, Inc.” The
District Association includes the Women’s Auxiliary, Matrons, Red Circle,
Sunshine Band, Nurses, Ushers, Laymen, Sunday School and B. T. U.
Congress, of which our own church ministries are amply represented. Zion
has had the honor to have the District and State President of the Women’s
Auxiliary, the 2ndVice President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National
Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and a write for “The Mission”, which has an
official publication of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., in the
person of Sister Eva Williams. Sis. Williams has served as President of the
District Women’s Auxiliary for over 20 years. Brother Williams Stallings also
served as President of the District Laymen for over 20 years as well.
In 1998, Pastor Wade changed the Combined Adult Choir to the United
Voices of Deliverance. The choir was expanded to include all young people
over the age of eighteen (18) years.
In 1999, Deacon Jerome Samuels was named Deacon Emeritus. At that time,
only Deacon Samuels and Deacon George Dawkins remained active form the
Deacons ordained prior to 1965. Among those who remained true to their
serve as Trustees, were Brother Wilson Jones as Treasurer and the Finance
Committee considered of Sister Leola Dunn, Sister Mary Dunn, Deacon Jaron
Holden, Brother Michael Lewis, Sister Yvonne Sanders, Brother Nicolas
Smith, Brother Clarence Taliaferro and Brother Otha Walker.
In October 1999, the 100 Voice Children’s Choir, under the Direction of Sister
Ella Wade, had reached an enrollment of 180 children. The dedicated
workers who assisted in that effort; and have served or continue to serve are:
Sister L’Tanya Allen, Sister Loris Bradford, Sister Brooksie Buggs, Sister
Denise Burns, Sister Dorothy Clay, Sister Hosetta Cook, Sister Lucretia
Cossey, Sister Michelle Davis, Sister Evelyn Forte, Sister Veronica Hart,
Sister Vavern Hodges, Sister Ida M. Hood, Sister Deana Johnson, Sister
Camellia Wade McKinley, Sister Gloria Padgett, Sister Renee Peterman,
Sister Ruby Pruitt, Sister Angela Riddle, Sister Deborah Samuels, Sister
Wendy Samuels, Sister Yvonne Sanders, Sister LaShonta Wade Thompson,
Sister Linda Thompson, Sister Freddie Upshaw, Sister Dorothy Watson, and
Sister Yvette Webb.
Sister Nettie Collins continued as the primary Announcer in the Radio and
Television Ministry. However, the Drill Team once known as the Total
Praise Drillers and the No Limited Steppers were renamed by Brother
Jacquis Cameron to the Victory in Praise (V.I.P.) Drillers.
From 1997 to 1999, Deacon Michael and Sister Patricia Boyd accepted the
responsibility of being Superintendents for the Sunday School. During their
tenure a Computer Training Center was initiated.
Three Decades as Pastor and Church:
In 1995, Pastor Wade was elected President of the General Missionary
Baptist State Convention of Indiana, Inc. Reverend Wade has also provided
national and global service as being on the Board of Directors of the National
Baptist Convention U.S.A. and the Devotional Leader for the Pastor’s
Division of the National Baptist Convention Sunday School and B. T. U.
Congress; and Twin City Ministerial Alliance and Foreign Mission’s
Preaching Team to Africa. Pastor Wade and Zion are faithful contributors to
the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention USA, inc.
Pastor Wade’s other civic involvement included: the N.A.A.A.C.P.; Operation
PUSH; and the Northwest Indiana Food Bank. Pastor Wade was also
appointed Chaplin for the East Chicago Police Department and he served on
the Board of Safety.
Pastor Wade expanded the Office state to include both clerk and secretary.
This ministry has evolved since the days of the church Clerk to an efficient
office that was able to keep with current standards of typing, bookkeeping
and dictation, along with filing and preparation of weekly bulletins. The staff
has include: Sister Leslie Adams, Sister Tevis Adams, Sister Shirley Buggs,
Brother Jacquis Cameron, Sister Dorothy Clay, Sister Tiffany Collins,
Brother Dean Johnson, Sister Deana Johnson, Sister Angela Lewis, Reverend
Carl Liggins, Reverend Andre Love, Sister Alfreda Matthews, Sister Donna
Moss, Sister Jackie Stanley-Matthews, Deacon Douglas Padgett, Reverend
Allen Robinson, Sister Ethel Smith, Sister Eva Williams and Sister Michelle
Williams. Deacon Ike Peterson and Reverend Leon Webb provided support
for ht staff. And Sister Candice Bolden, Sister Verda Dawkins, Sister Marilee
Griffith and Sister Keisha Powell also helped at various times.
The Nurse’s Ministry was reorganized in 1997. The officers were Sister
Margaret Ware, President; Sister Doris Harris, Vice-President; Sister Shirley
Buggs, Secretary; Sister Claudia Thornton, Assistant Secretary and Sister
Joan Harris, Financial Secretary. Members include: Sister Geraldine Allen,
Sister Brooksie Buggs, Sister Mamie Goshay, Sister Dallas Henderson, Sister
Sharon Scott, Sister Carolyn Smith, Sister Annie Pearl Williams and Sister
Faye Williams. Sister Janelle Scott and Sister Robin Buggs are the two (2)
In 1999, the mantle of assisting Pastor Wade during the Early Morning
Worship Service was passed to Reverend Sandy Phillips, II. Other minister
has been given the opportunity to preside over the pulpit as well. Many
through Pastor Wade’s guidance have become Pastors.
In total, the Associate Ministers and Sons of Zion, past and present are listed
as follows: Rev. Willis Alexander, Sr., Rev. Erik Bland, Rev. Tyrone
Bozeman, Rev. Glenn Brooks, Rev. Matthew Cole, Rev. Diamond Cooper,
Rev. Jade Cooper, Rev. Nicolas Cossey, Rev. Moses Cossey, Rev. Oliver
Cossey, Rev. Zeno Darden, Rev. Willie Davis, Minister John E.Dawkins, Rev.
Michael Dotson, Minister Clarence “”Maxx” Frank, Rev. Willie Frazier, Rev.
Isaiah Grant, Rev. John Harris, Rev. Booker T. Hart, Rev. Brian Henderson,
Rev. Jaron Holden, Rev. Josiah Holden, Rev. Anthony Jack, Rev. Earnest
James, Rev. Chet J. Johnson, Rev. Dean Johnson, Rev. Ronald Johnson, Rev.
Michael Lewis, Rev. Alvin G. Martin, Rev. Bruce martin, Rev. Gregory
Martin, Rev. Shannon Nelson, Rev. Sandy Phillips, III, Rev. Sandy Phillips,
III, Rev. Allen Robinson, Rev. T. H. Smith, Rev. Ronald Stallings, Rev.
Nathaniel Sullivan, Jr., Rev. Darryl Taliaferro, Rev. Ronald Thomas, Rev.
James Wade, III, Rev. Dion Keith Wallace, Rev. Charles Watkins, Rev.
Wardell Watkins, Rev. Leon Webb, Rev. Theodore Wilkinson, Rev. Kelly B.
Williams, Rev. Willie E. Williams and Rev. Sylvester Worthman.
The Deacons were very supportive of Pastor Wade and followed the Word of
God. Deacons included: Brother Ernest Acree, Brother Michael Boyd,
Brother Larry Chafen, Brother George Dawkins, Brother George Gaddie,
Brother Jaron Holden, Brother Ike Peterson, Brother Sherman McCain,
Brother Dwight Scott, Brother Jerome Samuels, Brother Floyd Springfield,
Brother Terrance Smith and Brother Bennie Turk, Jr.
We have been blessed to have an abundance of Musicians who over the years
contributed to the Worship of our church. Those who have not been
previously mentioned are: Sister Nellie Adams, Pianist, Brother Carl
Beauchamp; Saxophonist; Brother Terry Bland, Drummer, Elder Graylon
Blakely, Director; Brother Derrick Buckingham, Lead Guitar, Brother Kevin
Cart, Drummer; Brother Keith Carter, Drummer; Brother Jade Cooper
(Called into Ministry), Drummer, Reverend Oliver Cossey, Director, Sister
Darlene Craft, Children’s Church; Brother James Dawkins, Drummer;
Brother Dathan Echols, Children’s Church and Saxophonist; Brother Craig
Edwards, Drummer, Elder Clarence (Maxx) Frank, Organist, Sister Lisa
Gooch, Organist; Brother Marcus Hammond, Drummer; Minister Joshua
Harrell, Director; Brother Theodore Harris, Director: Brother James Jackson,
Drummer; Brother William Jackson, Organist, Sister Deana Johnson
Directress; Brother Michael Lewis, Drummer; Brother Eric Ligon, Drummer;
Reverend Andre Love, Organist, Brother Erick Mayo, Organist, Brother
Quentus McCormick; Lead Guitarist; Sister Camellia Wade McKinley,
Directress; Sister Aleska Neely, Pianist; Brother Mark Page, Drummer;
Brother Harry Page, Saxophonist; Brother Jamal Parks, Drummer; Brother
Damond Pruitt, Drummer; Brother Nicholas Smith, Drummer, Brother Billy
Steele, Organist; Brother Opra Thomas, Guitarist, Sister LaShonta Wade
Thompson, Pianist and Directress; Deacon Bennie Turk, Director, Sister
Lyvette Turk, Pianist; Reverend James Wade, III, Drummer and Bass
Guitarist; Brother Joseph White, Organist; and Brother Alivn Willis,
Director. Our First Lady, Sister Ella Wade has been faithful as an Organist,
Pianist and Director; and now as Minster of Music Emeritus continues to
oversee the 100 Plus- Voice Children’s Choir.
Truly the faith of our church was tested during the month of February 1999,
when our beloved Pastor was a donor for his brother Rev. Melvin V. Wade,
who underwent a bone marrow transplant. A month prior to Pastor Wade’s
departure, a Prayer and Deliverance worship Service was held on January
31, 1999. Along with the Zion church family, pastors and ministers
throughout the Northwest Indiana region joined to demonstrate spiritual and
yes, monetary support as an expression of love for our Pastor and his brother.
The miracle of answered prayer was manifested in the Reverend Wade’s
return home, as well as Reverend Melvin Wade’s recovery, which was
highlighted when he preached at Zion, that summer. Later that year,
members of the congregation traveled to Los Angeles California to share with
Pastor Wade in an Appreciation Service by the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in
recognition of our Pastor being their Pastor’s bone marrow donor.
During the summer of 1999, Zion was also blessed to travel with our Pastor
to Omaha, Nebraska for an Appreciation Service celebrating the life of his
father, Rev. J. C. Wade, Sr. We were thankful for that opportunity to share
with a great man of God who so indelibly influenced the life of our Pastor, not
knowing that in September, we again would share in the celebration of the
life of Reverend Wade, Sr. at his Homegoing.
But God is faithful!! Pastor Wade kept his faith alive and he led the Church
by precept and example. Despite personal tragedy, Pastor Wade stayed true
to vision for the Church that God had entrusted to him.
There is “safety in the multitude of counselors” and Pastor Wade consulted
with some of the men of Zion in whom he engaged to speak freely and offer
suggestions for the betterment of the Church. Those people, who were
affectionately called the “Round Table”, were: Deacon Larry Chafen, Deacon
Ike Peterson, Deacon Bennie Turk Jr., Reverend Wardell Watkins and
Trustee Eugene Williams, III.
By September 21, 1998, the construction costs for the Fellowship Hall which
began at $337,952.00 in 1984; had been paid down to an outstanding balance
owed to Security Federal Bank of 49,742.52. It seemed the zeal to pay off the
less than $50,000 mortgage had waned; but on November 28, 1999, the
church celebrated by burning the mortgage and presenting a thank you
offering to the Lord. The vision of the Mortgage Liquidation Committee
manifested on September 28, 1999; we had exercised the theme “Faith in
Ministries in Action:
All of the ministries of Zion Missionary Baptist Church have contributed to
its financial spiritual growth of and have made this great body of believers
Associate Minister’s Ministry, Basketball Outreach Ministry, Boy Scouts
Ministry, Bus Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Children’s Church Ministry, The
Deacon’s Ministry, Drill Team Ministry, Early Morning Worship,
Evangelistic Outreach ministry, Foreign Mission Ministry, Funeral
Committee Ministry Intercessory Prayer Warrior Ministry, Kitchen Ministry,
Male Chorus, Men’s and boy’s Ministry, Mother’s Ministry, Music Ministry,
Nicosia Building Outreach Ministry, Nurse’s Ministry, Office Staff Ministry,
Pastor’s Booster’s Ministry, Praise Dance Ministry, Prayer and Praise
Ministry, Sunday School Ministry, Tape Ministry, Teen Ministry, Trustee
Ministry, United Voices of Deliverance, Usher’s Ministry, Vacation Bible
School, Women’s Ministry, Youth Committee Ministry.
The Last Six Years:
Zion Missionary Baptist Church entered into the millennium “debt free”.
Reverend Wade has continued his challenge to make Zion a “tithing church”.
Our finances have increased from a mere $23,000.00 in the mid-1980s to over
$290,000.00 in the year 2000. As God graces us to increase our level of
giving; He also empowers us to meet each financial trial as it arises.
The Lord gave our Pastor a Vision for a Family Life Center in 2000. The
Church had already reached its vision for 100 Teenagers and 200 children;
and continued to strive for 500 enrolled in Sunday School, 200 Souls won to
Christ, 100 Prayer Intercessors as the vision of the church. We stand on
Proverbs 29:18, that says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
On the 4th Sunday in September 2000, which was Zion’s 84th Church
Anniversary, the Official Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Family Life
Center was held on the property located at 40001-40003 Drummond Street.
Each member took a small bottle of soil as a faith reminder of what was to be.
Continuing in the vision, the Zion Academic Academy, an extension of the
Zion Community Development Corporation was also established in 2000,
under the direction of Sister Camellia Wade McKinley.
In 2001, the Saturday Outreach Ministry was established under the
leadership of Reverend James Wade, III. Going into the hedges and
highways and compelling men to come into God’s house has always been a
key component to the ministry of our church. Reverend Wade, III found his
niche and drew many young people with his meek and humble spirit. We had
mixed emotions when he was called to the pastorate in Phoenix, Arizona, but
we knew God had great plans for him. The leadership role was assumed by
Outreach Minister, Reverend Allen Robinson who has faithfully served the
church wherever he is needed.
Pastor and Mrs. Wade have been delegates to the World Baptist Alliance on
two occasions. Their first trip was in 2004, and they went to Seoul, Korea. In
2005, the Alliance was held in Birmingham, England.
Pastor Wade also had the opportunity to study by special invitation from
Georgetown University and the Marshall Center for Christian Ministry at
Oxford University, Oxford, England. Pastor Wade was able to return to
Oxford a second time the summer of 2006. We are blessed to not only have a
Pastor who is learned in the scriptures but Spirit-filled, as well.
As the Lord speaks and gives guidance to Pastor Wade, he in turn, shares his
vision with eh people of Zion. Pastor Wade observed a group of young boys
who were anxious to follow the leadership of our Pastor and ready to study
the Word of God. With much prayer, Pastor Wade appointed this group as
Young Deacons in Training. They are: Jaylen Anderson, Devon Bradley,
Cameron Cousins, Christopher Dukes, Jason, Dukes, Michael Dukes, Jr.
Shean Dukes, Thomas Green, Jaron Holden, Jr., Willie Irvin, Marlon Mack
Jr., Denzel Smith, Montel Smith, Christopher Thomas, Tyler Thomas, and
Ernest Watson, Jr.
The Church implemented its Mission Statement in January 2006. It reads:
“the Mission of the Zion Missionary Baptist Church of East Chicago, IN, Inc.,
is to: (1) Assemble together as one body in Christ to Worship; (2) Abide by
god’s word and follow the leadership of the Pastor; (3) Adhere to the church
ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; (4) Actively engage in Home,
Foreign Missions, and Christian Education; (5) Advance Brotherly love
among the Saint’s (6) Adamantly promote the Kingdom of God throughout
time, talent and treasure; and to (7) Attract lost souls in the community as a
On the first Sunday of April 2006, Adult Class Number Five was dedicated as
“Deacon George Dawkins Memorial Sunday School Class”. His daughter
Sister Dawn Dawkins is the teacher. Brother Buford and Sister Esther
Kilpatrick continue to serve faithfully as Superintendents of the Sunday
The Lord has blessed the Zion Baptist Church family with an increased
number of teens during the year of 2006. Pastor Wade determined that the
teenagers needed a greater spiritual identity of who they were in Christ.
Under the leadership of Reverend Felton Williams of New Orleans Louisiana,
the Teen Ministry was renamed the Tribe of Zion and the teen workers, the
Tribe of Joseph.
The Tribe of Joseph members are: Brother Jacquis Cameron, Sister Tiffany
Collins, Sister Felecia Cossey, Sister Sharma Frazier, Sister Jennifer
Gueyser, Minister Joshua Harrell, Sister Stacy Holden, Sister April King,
Sister Annette Peterson, Rev. Allen Robinson, Sister Reahan Thomas, Sister
Sylvia Walker, and Sister Latanya Williams.
As the desire for Biblical studies has increased within the congregation,
Pastor Wade invoked the services of Reverend Kenneth Kelly and initiated a
Christian Education Department. In addition to our regular Wednesday
Noon Day and Wednesday evening Sunday School Bible Study, varied classes
were held at 7:00 p.m. and taught by members of the congregation. The Sons
of Zion Expository Preaching Class and the Tribe of Zion Bible Studies were
also established under the ministry.
The umbrella of the Christian Education Department also included Vacation
Bible School, which was directed by Sister Ann Wilson, this year. A
Community Fest, in culmination of VBS, was orchestrated by Sister Lynn
The vision of the Family Life Center is becoming a reality. The men of the
church have rallied to Pastor Wade’s cry to enter into the facility debt-free;
and have volunteered their skills in all forms: carpenters, electricians,
plumbers, and even handymen, all to the glory of God. The current
renovation and construction at 4001-4003 Drummond Street is now in Phase
I. The building will be sued, respectively to house the Teen Ministry and the
Children’s Ministry. Future generations will know that Zion Missionary
Baptist Church stayed true to the “new hope’ of the tiny mission started over
90 years ago.
DISCLAIMER: Zion Missionary Baptist Church has a rich history. Our
Pastor has taken great strides to obtain accurate history of the Church and in
1999 designated Ministry Leaders to compile a historical record of their
respective ministry. Those names that were omitted were too numerous to
include at the time of this writing; or were unknown to the History