Mt. Zion Church celebrates over a century in Cedar Rapids; continues learning from history

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Cedar Rapids’ second-oldest black congregation just celebrated an anniversary. That celebration coincides with Black History Month.

A celebration worth its place in history - as Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 108th anniversary in Cedar Rapids.

During WWI, the founders of Mt. Zion expressed interest in having their own Baptist church. Then, in 1914, the congregation found land on the Southeast side of town.

More than a century later, Mt. Zion now sits of the North East side of Cedar Rapids near Boyson Road.

”It’s been quite a journey,” said Thomas Moore, church member.

Member Thomas Moore has been attending for more than 45 years.

When it comes to the importance of historically black churches, it’s that history that’s close to Moore’s heart.

”There’s still so many things to learn that weren’t publicized. As African Americans we’re still learning about our past as well.”

But learning about heritage doesn’t stop with Mt. Zion... The Church and Moore helped create the African American Museum of Iowa.

”Mt. Zion is the keystone of our existence. Because of those members who thought it was important to have African American history shared in our community and across the state. They took the necessary steps to get our incorporation,” said LaNisha Cassell, African American Museum of Iowa Executive Director.

With more than 100 years in Cedar Rapids, Moore said they hope to continue

to serve others.

”So, we’re delighted to continue the history that’s ongoing. We just look forward to educate but also to bring churches together. The church should take the lead on compassion, on love and create its own history. As they say, you need to be the change you want to see,” said Moore.

A change rooted in history with important lessons along the way.

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