19th and Madison’s Mount Zion is celebrating its 125-year history in Seattle with a year of focus on the church’s dedication to community. Last weekend, the pews were filled in a celebration to honor city and community leaders on Beloved Community Sunday.
“We have come far together, and there is still a lot of work to do. I look forward to continued and new strong partnerships,” Senior Pastor Rev. Aaron Williams said in a statement. “Together, we can move the community forward and possibly become a model for the nation.”
Honorees included Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney who pretty much outdid just about anything you or I can achieve by receiving an award named for him:
In celebration of 125 years of serving the community and being a leader in the fight for civil rights, Mount Zion will honor community leaders and organizations who have been part of their journey to build a more equitable community for all. Honorees include Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, who will receive the first annual Samuel B. McKinney Beloved Community Lifetime Achievement Award.
McKinney will be among nearly two dozen notable honorees, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole (represented by Deputy Chief Carmen best), Seattle Colleges Chancellor Dr. Jill Wakefield, Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, the Urban League of Seattle, King County and the NAACP.
According to our Re:Take history of the church, Mount Zion was founded in the 1890s, and for its first decade rented a few different spaces downtown. Church members date Mount Zion to 1890 when “a small group of African Americans held prayer services in their homes.”
The church eventually bought its own property and moved to 11th and Union joining another African American — First African Methodist Episcopal (First A.M.E.) at 14th and Pine.
24 years later, Mount Zion moved to its present day home:
Mt. Zion raised their building and added a floor, but they were never happy with the results. Finally in 1920 they bought the larger property we know on the southeast corner of 19th and Madison.
Today, Mount Zion remains one of the largest African American churches in the city. Given the pace of development in the area, it’s probably not surprising to learn the church has been working on a “master plan” for the 19th/Madison property that could one day lead to a new church campus and development. For now, congratulations on 125 years, Mount Zion.
(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)