Black Lives Matter Sunday

In response to the senseless killings and wanton brutality against African American men and boys that has brought profound pain to the hearts of all people of conscience around the globe, in our nation and community, I am inviting our Mt. Zion family, friends and community to join us this Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM, as we make our collective voices heard in observance of “Black Lives Matter Sunday”. I am asking all who join us to dress in black and to unite with us in a special prayer for Black men and boys.

We will be joining millions of people of faith from across this country in using our collective spiritual force to change the heart of our nation. Please invite your families, friends and neighbors to be a part of this important social and spiritual advocacy for human rights and the dignity of all people. Your presence will make a difference.

Yours in the struggle,
Rev. Paul

Black Lives Matter Sunday 12.14.14

From Our Pastor: Rejoice!

What a joy it is to enter once again into one of the most festive seasons of the church calendar. A time when we pause anew to ponder the birth of the baby born in Bethlehem who would grow up to be the Savior of the world. It is a season of immense awe and gratitude for God’s mercy and God’s amazing love toward each of us. What a wonder this is in all of our eyes, to believe that our loving God, robed in human flesh, came to earth simply to save us from our sins and from ourselves. God cared so much about our relationship with God that there was no sacrifice too great for God to make in order to accomplish that renewed relationship.

The slogan “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” though commonly used, is much more than a cliché. It is statement of fact. The entire Advent and Christmas season is all about our Savior Jesus Christ. It is about the preparation for His coming and the celebration of His birth. But, what is the meaning of the coming of Jesus in a world where greed, fear and injustice seem to be the order of the day? His meaning is ever more significant and important. Jesus came to reunite us with God…to bring us love and hope and joy and peace. We need His presence more today than ever before.

Here at Mt. Zion, we have much for which we must thank God. God continues to bless our ministries in amazing ways. Our 150th Anniversary Signature Gala was a great success. Our REAL Re-entry ministry is up and running and making a difference in the lives of our returning citizens. Jobs Partnership Cleveland completed yet another 10 week cycle of classes and graduated 22 students.

Our Capital Campaign Sunday II was a phenomenal success. We raised a total of $54,000, exceeding our goal and helping to ensure the success of our building project. Our restoration and renovation of Fellowship House is well underway, and we anticipate a great rededication celebration as we culminate the project in the spring of 2015. The Christian Business League will host another Faith and Finance Breakfast on December 5th and Mt. Zion will participate once again in philanthropia led by the Junior League and Sisters in the Spirit.

Finally, we celebrate the successful completion of Min. Cheryl Lindsay’s Ordination Interview with the Western Reserve Association, and we look forward to her Ordination Service here at Mt. Zion. With all of this excitement ahead, there is no reason that we should not find ourselves rejoicing in all of the blessings that God allows us. Let us move into the last month of this year with a renewed zeal for God’s work and with the joy of Jesus in our hearts.

With Jesus Joy,

Rev. Paul

Guest Columnist: Give It to God

A little girl attended a prayer service with her mother. She sat on the back pew while her mom and a few others knelt at the altar to pray. She listened closely while the adults cried out to God, some weeping. Finally, she could sit still no longer. She stood on the pew, looked up into heaven, and cried, “Dear God! A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z. Amen!” Then she sat down. Her mother, a bit embarrassed, asked her, “Honey, why did you say that?” The little girl responded, “Because you were all praying such beautiful prayers, and I wanted to talk to God. I didn’t know the words, so I thought if I gave God the letters, he could make the words come out right.” That little girl didn’t know the words, but she understood a profound truth – when we give it to God, he makes it come out right.

So many times in life, we are faced with challenges. There’s something before us that we do not feel equipped to handle or to undertake. Yet, something about it makes us want to dive right in…to be part of the action…to not be left behind. In those moments, we can trust that God can take what we have, even if it’s just letters, and use it for the glory of God.

Other times, we find ourselves stagnant. We know our letters but we still don’t have the words. This is when God pushes us to grow…to move to another level. Maybe it’s time to join a new ministry and utilize our gifts in new ways. Or, we finally decide to delve into God’s Word and make Bible Study a priority. We may even respond to God’s call to break out of our comfort zone. If we’ve become complacent in our giving, we decide to trust God with our resources and commit to tithing. If inviting people to church doesn’t come naturally, we decide to become an evangelist, whether we’re comfortable or not.

The Lord gave our Pastor, Rev. Paul, a theme: “A New Way for a New Day.” That’s not only true for Mt. Zion as a gathered community, but it also resounds as a call for all of us to go deeper and move higher in this season. Whatever it may be, we may not have all that we think we need…money…time… experience…talent…but this much we know…when we give it to God, God will make it right.

In faith,

Min. Cheryl A. Lindsay

From Our Pastor: The Joy of Celebration

We are blessed to be in an exciting season in the life of our church. We are in the second half of our year-long celebration of the 150th Anniversary of this body of believers. We are in an active and exciting phase of our Capital Campaign. Our parking lot upgrade is underway and nearly complete. We are in the process of preparing for the renovation of our Fellowship House, which will include the installation of an elevator which will make all of our usable space accessible. We just completed an extremely successful revival that traced our history from our beginning at Shiloh Baptist Church and setting out on faith with the assistance of Plymouth Church.

The summer has also been filled with other joyful celebrations like the Shiloh Family Reunion Picnic, Mt. Zion’s Church Picnic, the HBCU Sunday, attended by the Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association and their Constituent units, and the A Capella Camp presented by Reginald Bowens of Afro Blue.

As we move forward in this summer season, we look forward to our Salute to Veterans: Community Festival and Classic Car Show. Much work has gone into the planning and there is still much to do. We look forward to seeing all of our members present at the Community Festival to help make it one of the best ever.

It is truly a joy to see what God has done and what God is doing with, in and through Mt. Zion. I look forward with great anticipation to what lies ahead, for God never fails to surprise us with the awesomeness of God’s blessings. Let us work together to continue to be the church that God needs in this present age.

In celebration,

Rev. Paul

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