Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church - 125 years

Sister Ruby Thomas, along with Pastor Rubin Jackson and two other church members, unveils a new historical marker and brick garden Sunday at the 125th anniversary ceremony for Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Salley.

A special ceremony was held Sunday afternoon at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Salley celebrating the church's 125th anniversary.

Pastor Rubin W. Jackson greeted the group prior to the unveiling of the church's new Historical Marker & Brick Garden, marking the occasion.

"Today, as we celebrate on this 125th church anniversary, we, the descendants and sons and daughters of this great church, gather around this historical marker and brick garden, which through God's goodness has become a reality," Jackson said. "We thank God for allowing this day to come into fruition and pray that generations to come will know that this marker and brick garden are dedicated to God and his glory."

Deacon Alphonso Thompson read aloud scripture, which was followed by a dedication prayer from Rev. Louise Rice. The group then sang the traditional hymn, "Come Ye That Love The Lord."

The historical marker was then unveiled by Pastor Jackson and Sister Ruby Thomas.

The marker reads, "The congregation of Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church originated c. 1894, when tradition holds that members began worshipping at a brush arbor across the road. Rev. James Turner was the first pastor. Early church leadership included men and women born enslaved, as well as free. Many were farmers. To accommodate the church's growing membership, congregants acquired the present site in 1897 and soon after built the original chapel. The first sanctuary was a one-story wood frame clapboard building with a three-story tiered bell tower projecting from the front facade. It was razed after the current church was built in 1986."

The ceremony came to an end with some church members walking around to find their names in the brick garden. Members then gathered inside for a church service. 

Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church is located at 5415 Wagener Road in Salley.

Tripp Girardeau is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @trippgirardeau.