353 S. New Road
Pleasantville NJ 08232
Phone: 609-641-4337
Fax: 609-645-3181
Hours: 9am - 5pm, Mon-Fri.

• Sunday Service 8:00am
• Sunday Service 11:00am
• Sunday School 9:30am

• Family Bible Study 7:00pm

• Mid Week Bible Study 12:00pm
• Praise Worship 7:00pm


To everything there is a beginning: In the spring of 1906 a small group of Believers, under the leadership of Brothers Robert Delaney and David Evans, met and formed one of the first African-American Churches in the city of Pleasantville, New Jersey… Mount Zion Baptist Church. The meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Ida Gross, 6 Cambria Avenue.

The membership grew, but the space did not. The following year, 1907, property at 326 W. Wright Street was purchased and the cornerstone laid. Reverend L. W. Wall served as the first pastor. The first brothers to serve as Deacons were: David Evans, Edward Taylor, Edward Porter and Robert Delaney. The first Trustees were: Brothers Henry Bailey, David Evans and William E. Williams.

Other early pioneers were: Brother and Sister Benjamin Henderson, Sister Martha Brown, Sister Ann Townes, Brother Leslie Collins, Brother and Sister Edward Taylor, Brother Campbell, Mary and Emma Campbell, I. Strickland, C. Harvey and Slovenia Dixon.

After Rev. Wall the ministers called were: Reverend Hill, Reverend Freeman, Reverend Wainwright, Reverend Matthews, Reverend F. Harris, Reverend D. Y. Campbell and Reverend Theophilus Washington.

Noted growth began under the pastorate of Reverend James I. Thornton, (1931-52). Membership increased from 35 to 285 members on roll. Plans were put in place for construction on the Wright Street building, but were abandoned due to constructional flaws. However, improvements were made which included installation of pews and pulpit furniture, enlargement of the main auditorium, building the annex and installation of a modern oil heating system.

The Mothers of the church were Sisters Mattie Martin, Grace Farrell and Sarah Thornton. Sister Ora B. Forbey organized the first Junior Missionary Society and Sister Mary Campbell, at a very young age, spearheaded a drive to purchase Bibles. Sister Ozella Gray was one of the first choir members. In 1930, Mrs. I. B. C. Gould directed the Youth Choir and in 1931, Mrs. Oweida Harmon organized the Ushers. In 1949 the Young Adults of Mount Zion Club was formed. The name was later changed to The Excelsiors. It was Mount Zion’s first service club and is still active today.

When Reverend Thornton retired, Reverend Thomas B. Whitfield was called to the pastorate, (1953-60). The first Gospel Chorus was organized under the direction of Sister Grace McLendon. On August 8, 1954 ground was broken for the enlargement of the Wright Street edifice. Again the project had to be abandoned due to construction problems. In September, 1959 land was purchased for the land where we currently stand.

Other ministers who came after Reverend Whitfield were: Rev. Benjamin Whipper, (1961-62) and Reverend Ernest Johnson, (1962-63). In November 1963, Reverend Robert W. Ellington was installed as the pastor. He was an accomplished contractor and builder. Groundbreaking for the new Sanctuary was held in May 1964. Later, six additional lots were purchased. Using his skills and knowledge, Pastor Ellington began work on the new edifice. In September, 1966 the Cornerstone was laid and on November 20, 1966 the pastor and his congregation marched from the Wright Street location to South New Road and Marple Avenue(later changed to Elm) and into their new church.

The members who signed the mortgage and accepted responsibility for the new church were: Reverend Robert W. Ellington, Reverend I. S. Cole, Deacon Frank Hillery, Brother Edwin Martin, Otis Williams, Sr., Henry Holden, Samuel Harmon, Bossie McLendon, William Ware and Sisters Eliza Ware and Myrtle Peeler. Sisters Grace McLendon and Sarah Todd chaired the Building and Mortgage Fund until it was burned on June 18, 1978.

During Reverend Ellington’s tenure, Sister Rosetta Brown, Brothers Raymond Craft, James Birts, Benjamin Logan and William Moore received their call to the Ministry. The Excelsiors Scholarship Committee was re-organized and re-named in honor of Trustee Edwin J. Martin. A new ministry, The Matrons and Patrons Club, and the Soul Stirrers a young adult singing group, were organized. Sister Eliza Ware served as Mother of the Church. Sister Ozella Gray succeeded her in this honor. After 22 years of faithful service to Mount Zion and the community, Reverend Ellington went home to be with the Lord.

Mount Zion was without a pastor, but never without a leader. It was during this time that Deacon Frank Hillery, Chairman of the Board of Deacons, and Reverend Dicks, Moderator of the Bethany Baptist Association made sure we had preachers for Sunday Morning Services and ordained ministers to serve Communion, Baptize new converts, perform Marriage Ceremonies, Baby Blessings and Funerals.

In November of 1986, a new shepherd, Dr. Winfred J. Sanders was called. Accompanied by his very capable wife, Sister Garnetta and daughter, Brandi, Pastor Sanders came with a vision. In his first three years of ministry, the membership tripled, a new organ was purchased, the parking lot resurfaced, the Fellowship Hall renovated, a steeple was placed on the church and a fifteen passenger van was purchased. The Voices of Zion Choir was organized. Space became a problem and Sunday 8:00 A.M. Services were set in place. Two ministers, Raymond Craft and William Moore were ordained.

In continued pursuit of the vision, on July 29, 1990, Ground Breaking Service was held for the renovation and addition to the church… a multi-purpose and educational facility. While the building was under construction, services were held at Full Gospel Church, on Pleasant Avenue, where Elder Charles Miller was the pastor. On August 2, 1992, Pastor Sanders led his congregation and well wishers on the march from Full Gospel back home. A Re-entry and Dedication Service was held to commemorate the occasion.

God continued to show favor. Four and a half years later, on November 9, 1997, the church held a Double Blessing Service. .During Pastor Sanders Eleventh Anniversary celebration, Sister Elizabeth Jeter-Green, Chairperson of the Trustee Board, presided over the Burning of the Mortgage for this venture.

There are many “First” associated with Mount Zion under Reverend Sander’s Pastoral Administration:

First live broadcast (WUSS), A Community Food Pantry (Carolyn Lee and Virginia Hillery), S.H.A.R.E. Program (Virginia Hillery and Joyce Nelson), Night time VBS (Peggy Smith-Jackson), Children’s Church and Lock-in For Christ (Mildred Lakins), Street Ministry (Reverend Raymond Craft), Drug Awareness Program (Otis Williams, Jr.), Community Thanksgiving Dinner (Buddy and Carolyn Lee), Mass Choir (Marionette Todd), Daytime All Seasons Bible Class (Reverend Lalta Hall and Zilphia Hill), African-American Celebration (Harvey Dawson and Kathleen Adams), Evening Bible Study for Children (Ministers Rosetta Brown, Herbert James and Patricia Moore), Photo Membership Directory (First Lady, Garnetta Sanders), Tape Ministry (Reverend Craft), Computerized Church Roster (James Earle), Weekly 8 A.M. Service (Ministerial Staff) and Mount Zion’s First Logo (Pastor Sanders).

In 2006 Mount Zion celebrated 100 years standing as a symbol of hope… a spiritual refuge for the community. It was during that celebration that plans were also begun for the next phase of the vision, Negotiations for the purchase of surrounding properties. Property on Marple Avenue, directly behind the church, and property adjacent to the parking lot was purchased. On May 20, 2006, Ground Breaking Services were held. Again we heard the command, FULL SPEED AHEAD and plans began to take shape for the Community Life Center. In February 2008 construction began for the building.

It has not been an easy road traveled, but by the grace of God, who has always been at the helm, leading, guiding and directing, we have made it thus far. Again, as always, we hear and obey the command, FULL SPEED AHEAD.