Save Mount Zion Church
$7,201 of $7,000 goal
Thanks to your support, Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church is now secure for future preservation.
The building has been tented for termites and secured from thieves, vagrants and animals.
Now begins the big job: Preservation of this historic church for generations to come.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation for this work, write a check to MDCT-Live Oak Fund, write "Mount Zion" in the memo line and mail to Mount Dora Community Trust, 821 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora, FL 32757. (The Live Oak Fund has been set up for preservation projects including Mount Zion, at present its only active project.)
Thank you for your good will!
Save Mount Zion
It's a new year for Mount Zion! Thanks to your support, this historic African-American church is on its way to a brighter place in our future.
We are still in the process of engaging a structural engineer to prepare the condition report that will serve as the basis of Mount Zion's restoration. I'm hoping that work will complete by the end of February.
In the meantime, we continue to dig into Mount Zion's history, searching local documentation to secure the foundations of its story. (An interesting tidbit: In 1953 Mount Zion was dragged about 400 feet to the north to sit along what was then Wood Road. This is what got the little church in the crosshairs of the 1959 re-location of US 441.)
Also in February, several "History Days in Mount Zion" are being planned to record as much oral history about life around this church. We're hoping those stories will enliven the history with the feel of the real.
All that contributes to the effort to get Mount Zion listed on the National Register, and the push to make this little old church a vital historic landmark, history center and celebration of the spirit.
Thanks to all of you who have helped to make this possible.
This will probably be the last communication of Save Mount Zion through GoFundMe as future fundraising will be handled through the non-profit Live Oak Collective through the auspices of the Mount Dora Community Trust. Expect your next email update from the Save Mount Zion Gmail account.
In these uncertain times, it's important to remember the words of the German poet Holderlin: "Where there is darkness, salvation too is on the increase." Here's to Mount Zion ringing that bell. Thanks to all of you for helping to make that possible.
David Cohea / Save Mount Zion
PS, Recently I published online an update on the project. Reply with a snail-mail address if you would like a hard copy of that report mailed to you.
I hope you are enjoying a safe and happy holiday season.
Two things I wanted to let you know about. First, tonight (Monday, Dec. 26) during the 5 p.m. news hour, Angela Jacob's 2-minute report on the Mount Zion project broadcasts. Angela and her crew have been back several times to film, so it should be a great pat on the back for all of you.
Also, I'm publishing an update on all the progress so far on the Mount Zion project. Thanks to your help, we've met the immediate needs of this little old church which allow us to look ahead to the much larger job of historic preservation. The update runs in five installments and begins today. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/2hZfkxv
Save Mount Zion
On a hot December afternoon, Mount Zion heard singing again inside its walls.
Thanks to a Primitive Baptist Christmas service delivered by St. Annis in Deland, on December 17 the rafters of Mount Zion resonated with hymns dating back to the days of slavery—a yearning, earnest, and celebratory music which brought tears to the eyes of Beaulah Babbs, Mount Zion’s last parishioner.
It was a deeply moving service and a clear reminder why Mount Zion so deserves preservation and an ongoing place in our community.
Conditions were primitive—the well pump still isn’t working, so a port-a-potty was rented, and since major work is coming to the building, chairs were rented instead of moving in donated pews, only one ceiling fan was working and the floor was far too bouncy—but with a fully dressed Christmas tree, wreaths, garlands and poinsettas donated by the community, the rustic conditions only lent to the cheer of a holiday service in a little old church.
Afterwards, congregation and community joined for punch and cookies donated by Lake Cares Food Pantry and served up by Cathy Hoescht, Mount Dora’s new at-large councilwoman. For the curious, it was a chance to see the church close-up, warts and wonders both.
One recent addition to the project is a new sign for outside the church, created by Phil Barnard, owner of Magical Meat Boutique and one of the preservation project’s principal donors. The sign is a replica of the original molded plastic one which collapsed earlier this year. This one is built to last—and more than anything so far, it signals to the community that Mount Zion’s preservation is underway.
For pictures and a few sound bytes from Saturday’s event, visit the Save Mount Zion Facebook page.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that fundraising for Mount Zion’s preservation is now under the auspices of Live Oak Collective, a preservation fund under the auspices of the Mount Dora Community Trust, itself a 501(c)-3 charitable organization. Live Oak will engage in a number of preservation efforts in the years to come, including restoration of abandoned cemeteries, living history projects and digitization of the archives of the Mount Dora Topic, Mount Dora’s weekly newspaper for almost a century. Mount Zion is at present Live Oak’s only project. From here going forward, tax-deductible donations for Mount Zion preservation can be made by check payable to MDCT Live Oak Fund and sent to Mount Dora Community Trust, 821 N. Donnelly St. Mount Dora 32757. To find out more about Live Oak Collective, you can read about it here.
None of this would be possible without your support. As the holidays approach, I thank you deeply for your support, and reconfirm our commitment to helping Mount Zion continue as a living reminder of our history and a place for our future community to celebrate—a historic landmark with a great big soul.
To you and yours, a happy and safe holiday season.
Save Mount Zion
As I announced last week, this Saturday, December 17, there will be a private holiday service in Mount Zion Primitive Baptist for parishioner Beaulah Babbs and her family. Back when this project began, Beaulah--the last parishioner of a church that has sat unused for more than a decade--told me that she just wanted to hear singing again in Mount Zion. That is the main reason for this event.
After the service, at 3 p.m., there will be reception for the community. Refreshments will be served outside and I'll be available to show you around and talk about the work done so far.
You're also invited to join in singing Christmas carols inside the church.
If you haven't yet, here's your chance to see Mount Zion up close, warts and all.
The event will also mark another milestone: fundraising for the preservation of Mount Zion now come under the 501(3)-c non-profit status of the Mount Dora Community Trust. Through an agreement between the Trust and the newly-formed Live Oak Collective, donations for the restoration of Mount Zion are now tax-deductible. I'll announce more details of that agreement at the event.
Please remember that conditions at Mount Zion are still ... primitive. Parking along the north shoulder of 441 will be haphazard and I urge you to take care walking to the building, around it and inside.
If you can, message back and let me know if you plan to attend so we have a rough idea of how many will be coming out.
I hope to see you there!
Save Mount Zion
This women was part of my family and I lived down the road a piece from this place! If you see her, tell her Carolina said hello!
hello im revival jim, can i hold revivals there outside for an entire month every day ? lets believe God that will send way more than enough to restore the church. " the lord has need of it"
I just ran across this organization and think they might be worth reaching out to: http://www.sacredplaces.org/ I'll be at the fundraiser tonight at Magical Meat Boutique. Best of luck in your efforts!
Good work raising the money!