Zion Hill Baptist Church celebrates 150 years
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Since 1870, Zion Hill Baptist Church has called Keswick home. In 2020, the church turned 150 years old. Due to COVID-19, the celebration had to be postponed to July 31, 2021.
“Our mission today was to join a newly gifted land to our existing cemetery, where our ancestors have lived and await the resurrection,” pastor Carolyn Mitchell Dillard said.
She grew up attending ZHBC and is not the church’s first female pastor.
“Honoring our ancestors, means that we respect the shoulders and the labor that we have stood on,” she said.
While the ceremony was held to celebrate the church’s 150th year, it also was to dedicate two acres of land that will serve as an extension to the church’s cemetery.
“I was very happy to see that we could come together and this what we need to come together in honor ancestors,” church elder Blanche Gatewood said.
Through her time in the church, she’s just about seen it all.
“I just think this is a great thing,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll see it another 150 years. All I can say is I am blessed today.”
The service included a libation ceremony paying tribute to the church’s ancestors, as well as a drum call and a dance.
“We’re just like family,” Gatewood said. “That’s what’s here in this church is family. You know me, I know your mother, the pastor knew my family and I knew her family and that’s what it is. It’s a family church and I’m always blessed when I come into the house of the Lord.”
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