Church History

Our History


Zion Baptist Church, formerly known as Free Will Baptist Church until 1951, was granted a Certificate of Incorporation in December 1955 in the city of Hagerstown, Maryland. The structure stands on the corner of Jonathan and Bethel Streets in Hagerstown Maryland, was built in 1898 under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. John C. Newman. 

Zion has been blessed with the leadership of several ministers: The Rev. Otha J. Wells of Winchester, Virginia pastor of the church from 1919-1925. Rev. Charles Prather Comer, 1925-1937. Interim Pastors: Rev. Quiett, Rev. Hackley, Rev. Jenkins, Rev. Spriggs, Rev. E. T. Johnson of Berryville, Virginia, Rev. Berkley, Rev. H. L. Penn, Rev. William Claybon 1943 and Rev. J. C. Saunders.

Over the years there were times of leanness, war, peace, turbulence and ease, but the church continued to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to meeting the spiritual need of the community, Zion provided the community with a registration site for Social Services in the 1930's. In later years, the church's fellowship hall was used as a Nutrition Site for serving hot meals to Senior Citizens of the community.

The Reverend Moses F. Lifsey served as pastor of Zion for 16 years. At the end of his tenure the church celebrated the second "mortgage burning" in its history on June 24, 1984.

From July, 1985 to November, 2008, Haru Carter, Jr., served as Pastor. During his tenure, the church underwent the construction of a new sanctuary and completed building improvement projects.  Associate ministers included Pastor Patricia Wilson-Robinson, Rev. Nathan Bell, Rev. James Irvin, Rev. Henry Childs, Rev. Andre' Blythe, Rev. Dr. Ronnie B. Tucker, Rev. Daniel Johnson and Minister Alma Stanford.

From November 2008 to January 2010, Zion was without a pastor but not without God.   It was during this transition that Zion was truly blessed to be “On One Accord”.   With assistance from the Reverend Dr. William H. Graham, First Mission Baptist Church, Frederick, Maryland, the Reverend Dr. Ronnie B. Tucker, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Steelton, Pennsylvania, and various other ministers, Zion was able to continue its weekly services and maintain programs while waiting for God to send a pastor.   In February 2010, God answered the prayers of Zion and called Reverend Rickey A. Smith, Sr. to pastor Zion.