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From Our Pastor: Building on Our Blessings

As Spring begins, we are so excited, here at Mt Zion, to be starting so any exciting initiatives that will be a blessing to the Body of Christ. We are excited about the continued expansion of our Prison Ministry which is helping returning citizens to get reconnected as they come home to a new day in their lives. We are excited about our Capital Campaign Project, as plans are taking shape for the restoration and renovation of Fellowship House and the ongoing phases of our building plans. We are excited about our 150th Anniversary and about the ways that we are celebrating it monthly and drawing attention to the many things that God has done and is doing in the Life of Mt. Zion. We are especially excited to be embarking on a new vista in our Youth Ministry: the Mt Zion Youth Community Choir which will be facilitated by Minister Sadaqa Redus. This choir will be open to all youth of the Greater Cleveland community, and I know that it will be a great blessing to Mt. Zion.

As we move forward in this season of Lent, I am excited about all of our church family who are embracing the message of Lent, through reflection and sacrifice. I am praying for all and especially for those who are taking the Daniel Fast journey along with us. Over the next several weeks, I will be talking with our church family about going to another level of health and wholeness by journeying with me for 40 days on the Daniel Plan following Easter. It is an exciting way to transform your life for the better that was created by Pastor Rick Warren, the author of the bestselling book Purpose Driven Life. We will share more about it in the days to come.

As we forge forward, let’s work together to take Mt Zion to a new place of worship, work and witness, for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Lenten Blessings,

Rev. Paul

From Our Pastor: A Season of Fasting

Once again, we have come to the season of Lent: the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter, traditionally set aside in the Christian church for reflection and sacrifice. It is a time to reflect upon the suffering and the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a time reflect upon our own lives and the impact that Christ suffering has had upon us and upon the world. It is also thought of as a time for penitence, that is, sorrow for our sins, and the personal discipline of sacrifice, giving up something in order to in some small way experience the suffering of our Savior.
Over the last several years here at Mt. Zion, we have participated in the Daniel Fast. In the first years we did this, we made the twenty one day fast our pattern. But last year, we moved on as a congregation to a 46 day fast, from Ash Wednesday to Easter. This has proven to be a most powerful experience for all of us. As with all significant fitness or dietary programs, I encourage anyone who has health concerns to consult your physician before embarking on the Daniel Fast.
Fasting, though a physical discipline, should be accompanied with fervent prayer. The fast disciplines the body, mind and spirit to be more attuned to the voice of God, thereby by making your prayers more powerful and effective. Jesus’ disciples came to him once questioning why there were some demons that they were unable to caste out. Jesus responded, ” Such come out only by prayer and fasting,” thus teaching them and us of the power of fasting to effect change when coupled with fervent prayer.
If this year’s Daniel Fast is your first try at this discipline, you are in for extraordinary blessings. There is no way to explain it until you have experienced it…just trust that you are in for a life transforming experience. I will be praying in a special way for all of our members during this season of Lent. I know that God is going to work in the miraculous in the lives of all who join us on this journey of faith.
With the joy of Jesus,
Rev. Paul

From Our Pastor: A New Vision for Mt. Zion

It is with praise and thanks to God that we move into the second month of our 150th Anniversary Year. I want to take this time to thank all of our church’s servant leaders and members for helping to make our Annual Meeting and Leadership Retreat a great success. We have made important steps toward the future that God has for us. These steps include the revision of our church bylaws, our Capital Campaign plans for the restoration of Fellowship House and the future development of our campus, plans for an endowment draw to support the viability of our church finances, and the presentation of our 150th Anniversary Plans.

As we move forward into the next season of our journey, God has given us a new vision for our life together as the people of God.

A New Vision For Mt. Zion

Spirit Led

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. As the body of Christ and as individual believers, all of our actions should be directed by the Holy Spirit.

Soul Winning

Jesus’ mandate to the church is to make disciples of all nations. This is the purpose of the church. The church must maintain as its priority – sharing the message of salvation with all.

Worshipful

God desires to be first in our affections and thus must be worshipped above all.

Biblically Intelligent

Jesus taught us that we would know the truth and the truth will make us free. As we study God’s Word, we are enabled to live our lives in alignment with the truth that we know.

Faithfully Generous

God spoke through the prophet Malachi for the children of Israel to bring the full tithe into the storehouse and God gave this command with a promise…that God would open the windows of Heaven and pour down for God’s people an overflowing blessing. In order to receive the blessings that God has promised us, Mt. Zion must be a tithing church.

Servant Minded

Jesus said He came to be a servant not to be served. So should His church have the mind of the servant and be committed to humbly serving God and God’s people.

Justice Seeking

God spoke through the prophet Micah, that we should do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with God. The church must be dedicated to correcting injustice wherever it is found.

If we remain faithful to this new vision, I believe that God will move us to new heights of worship, work and witness for the Kingdom of God.

With great expectation,
Rev. Paul

February 2014 Spire

150 Years of Ministry: A New Way For A New Day

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good! It is with great joy that we stand on the threshold of a new year… a yeaMTZ Logo 2014r filled with new possibilities and new opportunities to serve our awesome God. The year 2104 marks the 150th Anniversary of our congregation. it was on September 11, 1864 that we had our first service as an organized church. Mt. Zion has had a rich and colorful history that brought us from the heart of the city on Erie street (9th and Carnegie) to the Central neighborhood, to Fairfax and finally to our current campus in University Circle. Along the way, Mt. Zion’s Pastors have distinguished themselves by playing significant roles of leadership and service in the Cleveland community and in the nation.

Mt. Zion church played a significant role in helping to settle freed slaves in the Cleveland community following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and helped to organize the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP and The Cleveland Home for Aged Colored People now known as Eliza Bryant Village. Our history is rich but our future is even brighter.

2014 will be an exceptional year in the life of our church. Plans have already begun for the celebration of what God has done and what God is doing in and through Mt. Zion. Let me offer you a sneak peak at some of the exciting things planned for this year: A Ceremonial Service of Reconciliation with Shiloh Baptist Church from which 19 pilgrims ventured out, seeking a new way of serving God in 1864, A Service of Thanksgiving with Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights, the church that helped us to become a part of the Congregational Church and A Signature Celebration in the Fall culminating a year filled with joy and thanksgiving. This is just a peak at the exciting opportunities for thanksgiving and service that we will share in the year to come.

I look forward with great anticipation to what God is going to do as we celebrate 150 years in God’s service.

With anniversary anticipation,
Rev. Paul

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