Our History

We begin our journey as a faith community on  July 10, 1862 with a deed for 1.1 acre plot at the corner of
Brown's Bridge Road and the Laurel Road (now Rt. 216) given to the Methodist Episcopal Church (North),
near Wall's Crossroads (now Highland), "that they shall erect and build or cause to be erected and built
thereon a house or place of worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church...to preach
and expound God's Holy Word therein."
July, 1866
The Methodist Episcopal Church South establishes a congregation at Pindell's Schoolhouse, at the corner of
Pindell's School Road and the Laurel Road (now Route 216). 
Although a building had been started in 1861, prior to the deed transfer, work was most likely interrupted
due to the Civil War. Contractor Joseph McCauley, doing most of the work himself, erected a 33' x 40' structure,
sometime later known as Zion Chapel, on the land deeded to the MEC. Dedication took place on September 13, 1868.
Until that time, for about two years, the northern and southern ME congregations shared the use of Pindell's Schoolhouse.
May 14, 1888
The merged congregations who had been meeting together at Pindell's Schoolhouse incorporated
as Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and begin meeting at the Zion Chapel location.
November 14, 1888
By this time the MEC congregation at Zion Chapel had dwindled and the property was purchased
on this date by the MECS. After renovations the congregation at Pindell's Schoolhouse, where they
had worshipped at least twenty-two years, moved to the facility.
January 12, 1889
The paperwork completed, the deed was turned over to the membership of 49 of Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church South (MECS).
[Rev. John Andrew] During the pastorate of Rev. J. R. Andrew the Sunday School was organized and continued through the
winter for the first time. Much membership growth occurred under Rev. Andrew's leadership.
 April 11, 1899
The Baltimore Conference of the MECS attached Mount Zion as a part of the Howard Circuit with the Rev. T. J. Lambert
assigned as pastor of Mount Zion, Providence, Harmony, and Linden.
People of Mount Zion - Early 20th Century
July 15, 1915
Two acres of land kitty corner from the church, purchased by the Ladies Aid Society (now the UM Women)
in 1912, became incorporated as the Mount Zion Cemetery, Inc.
August, 1918
[Mt. Zion UMC - 1918] The cornerstone was laid for a new two story masonry church building at
the same corner as the preceding building. The Sanctuary was on the top level with space on the
lower level for Sunday School. The church had stained glass windows, one given in honor of
Rev. J. R. Andrew, considered by some as the "Father of Mount Zion." The total cost of this building
was $14,134.29.
Fall, 1931
[Sanctuary Interior] The church was wired for electric lights.
The membership of Mt. Zion was 105 with an average of 60 attending worship services. Sunday School
enrollment was 84 with an average of 56 attending. The Epworth Youth League (now UM Youth Fellowship)
had a membership of 54 with an average attendance of 38. Ministerial support was $ 555 per year.
May 10, 1939
Three Methodist denominations merge or reunite. The MEC, MECS, and the Methodist Protestant Church
(MPC) became the denomination known as the Methodist Church(MC).
Howard Circuit is reconstituted to include Emmanuel, Mount Zion, Linden, and Providence churches.
The Rev. John Wilson, with the use of seminary students, began having weekly worship services at each
church on the Howard Circuit, instead of alternate Sundays.
May 7, 1950
Rededication Service was held celebrating the renovation of the church with an expansion to the lower
level of restrooms and additional classrooms, along with a new heating system.
December, 1952
2.2 acres adjoining the current church property was donated by Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Oyster.
May, 1953
Mount Zion Board of Trustees took over responsibility for the maintenance of the Mount Zion Cemetery.
May 12, 1957
[Mt. Zion's New Education Building - 1957] Consecration of a new, brick education building to the north
of the church, built for a cost of $ 48,175. This part of the present building is currently the Fellowship Hall.
Later that day a ground-breaking ceremony was held for a new parsonage on Scaggsville Road (Rt. 216),
to be jointly maintained by Mt. Zion and Emmanuel. The parsonage cost about $ 15,000 to build.
June, 1957
The Howard Charge was divided and Mount Zion and Emmanuel were yoked together as the
Mt. Zion-Emmanuel Charge. The membership of Mount Zion was now 176.
People of Mount Zion - Mid 20th Century
June, 1960
The Baltimore Conference designated Mount Zion as a "station church," one church served by a pastor appointed to serve only that congregation. The Rev. Julian Tavenner is appointed to Mount Zion.
July 1961
Two adjoining acres of land was purchased from Mr. & Mrs. Richard Pue for approximately $ 5,000.
Mount Zion was awarded with the "Church of the Year Award," as the Baltimore Conference's Best Rural Church.
December 13, 1962
Consecration by Bishop John Wesley Lord of new (current) sanctuary with education classrooms on a lower level. Church membership was 294 persons.
Concrete block church on the corner is torn down. The bell of the church was incorporated into a victory bell structure at Glenelg High School. The first unified budget of $ 35,707 was established. 
April 23, 1968
The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren denominations merged to become the United Methodist Church(UMC). 
November 9, 1970
The Rev. Melvin Hughson and family moved into a new parsonage (facing Browns Bridge Road) on the grounds of the church. The new parsonage cost $ 37, 505.21.
 December 1982
The membership of Mount Zion was 657 with an average of 242 in worship.
May 19, 1985
[Dedication Service for Education Wing - 1985] During the pastorate of Stephen Rettenmayer, a new education wing with offices, chapel, and nursery was consecrated by Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel, connecting the Sanctuary with the Fellowship Hall. The new unit cost approximately $ 484,000.
March 1989
The Mount Zion Christian Preschool was begun as an outreach ministry of Mount Zion UMC. The first director was Judy Erdman.
Spring 1990
[Dr. Ken and Donnelle Lyons] The Kairos Pastoral Counseling Center (now the Kairos Pastoral Care Center) was started as an outreach ministry of Mount Zion UMC. The first director was the Rev. El Dasch.
December 1995
The membership of Mt. Zion was 1110 with an average of 405 in worship.
July 1, 1998
Dr. Kenneth Lyons, having been appointed as District Superintendent of the Cumberland Hagerstown District, was followed by Dr. Thomas N. Connar.
January 1, 1999
Dr. Robert Burdette, having already been appointed part time to Mount Zion, now became a full time appointment, providing Mount Zion with two full time ministers serving consecutively under a Bishop's appointment.
 January 2000
Renovations to the Sanctuary created a larger chancel with all movable furnishings, along with new carpeting, increased lighting, and improved sound system.
January, 2001
The former parsonage became the "Kairos Ministry Center," housing the Kairos Pastoral Care Center (previously the Kairos Counseling Center), as well as providing some additional space for educational programs.
January 29, 2001
Five acres of adjoining land was purchased from Mr. Richard Pue for a cost of $341,670.86.
September 14, 2003
Groundbreaking celebration was held for new six room addition onto the east wing, north side,
and for an expanded parking area.
July 1, 2004
[Rev. Kim Hall] Dr. Robert Burdette was appointed to another church, and the Rev. Kimberly Hall,
duly appointed by Bishop May, assumed pastoral duties as associate minister. She was the first
appointed woman and African-American pastor appointed to Mount Zion. The Kairos Pastoral
Care Center was discontinued as a ministry of the congregation.
September 12, 2004
A Dedication Service was held during the Sunday School hour for our new six room education addition, parking area, and septic and heating systems. The former parsonage, which until recently housed the pastoral care center, now was established as a Youth Center for educational and fellowship activities.
September 10, 2005
An estimated four hundred people attended a Hawaiian-themed Block Party, hosted by Mount Zion, Hopkins, and Emmanuel UMCs. The Block Party was primarily held to invite newer residents of the area to have a good time with us, and to be introduced to our churches. Approximately 30 visiting families registered at the Hospitality Tent.
April 18, 2006
After weeks of evaluation and receiving feedback from the congregation, the Church Council overwhelmingly voted to invite Capital Seventh Day Adventist Church (CSDA) to lease space from Mount Zion, primarily on Saturday mornings. This arrangement provided an opportunity for CSDA to worship near property they recently purchased until they can construct and occupy a new church facility. At the same time, Mount Zion will receive funds to cover all expenses and to generate some income for our church. The contract will allow either party to terminate an agreement within a reasonable period of time. CSDA is primarily a congregation of Brazilian immigrants who worship in Portuguese.
June 12, 2006
[Roof Replacement - 2006] An evaluation of the Sanctuary roof revealed that it was in serious
need of repair. The Church Council approved the replacement of the roof and installation of
gutters on the east side of the Sanctuary at a cost of approximately $35,000. $25,000 was taken
from the Capital Reserve Fund and the balance taken from the Building Fund to pay for this
June 25, 2006
[Jena Meredith] Jena Meredith began her duties as Mount Zion's part time
Director of Children's Ministries. Children's Ministries is a vital part of our church's service to members and
to the community, so the Staff Parish Relations Committee felt it was important to establish this
eighteen-hour-a-week coordinator's position.
Jena duties include the coordination and supervision all areas of children's ministries, from infants through
5th grade. She will coordinate matters with the nursery staff, and Rev. Hall will be the primary pastor to whom
she reports. Jena will serve as a liaison with the Preschool. She will oversee the Sunday School, Vacation Bible
School, children's special activities, Children's Church, and Summer Sunday School.
August 27, 2006
Wendy Singer was hired as the Contemporary Music and Worship Leader. In this role,
Wendy will rehearse with the praise band and give musical guidance and leadership to them and to thesinging team. She will work with the Mt. Zion ministers to help develop the theme and flow of the contemporary worship services. Before coming to Mt. Zion, Wendy had been a Worship Leader for several years at Bethany UMC in Ellicott City, where she had also provided vocal support and leadership at Conference worship services and workshops. She has also been a group leader and coordinator for the annual Women of Faith Conference in Washington, DC.
June 17, 2007
The congregation of Mount Zion bid farewell to Dr. Tom Connar and Rev. Kim Hall. Dr. Connar,
who served as the senior minister at Mount Zion for nine years, decided to retire after 30 years
in the ministry. Rev. Hall, who has served as associate pastor since 2004, was been reassigned
to a growing church in southern Maryland. A farewell brunch was held immediately after the
10:30am service, during which the congregation expressed their appreciation and said goodbye.
July 1, 2007
Rev. Malcolm Stranathan began his tenure at Mount Zion
UMC during the 8:30 service. Ed Beaver, chairmen of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee
introduced Rev. Strananthan and his family to the congregation and offered the following
prayer of mututal support.
Rev. Malcolm Stranathan was appointed to Westminster UMC July 1, 2015.
Eternal God, strengthen and sustain us in our ministries together. Give us patience, courage,
and wisdom so to care for one another and challenge one another that together we may follow
Jesus Christ, living together in love, and offering our gifts and talents in your service through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Mt. Zion United Methodist Church of Highland has been serving God's people for over 155 years