Historic Church Celebrates 200 Years

Members and guests of Zion UMC in Blythewood enjoy lunch under the picnic arbor next to the historic church during its recent Homecoming celebration.

When members and visitors recently gathered to celebrate Homecoming at Zion United Methodist Church, located deep in the woods of Blythewood off Zion Road, they weren’t sure how many years they were celebrating. Records of the church are no more specific than to say it was established in a rustic log building in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

What is clear, however, is that they were celebrating more than 200 years of worship that took place there in the clearing of a quiet forest of trees in at least two different buildings, with the promise of a future on every horizon.

On this homecoming, the little white church on Zion Road was awash with remembrances. The church’s pastor, Debbie Miller, welcomed the congregation, many of whom had lived in Blythewood and gone to church together all their lives. While the building is old and the congregation is small, the church’s history lives on, not only in the families who have worshipped at Zion for decades, but in the building’s many appealing attributes – wonderfully hand-hewn walnut pews and pulpit and wide board, heart pine floors.

One of the oil lamps that illuminated the interior of the church until 1943 has been electrified and now hangs above the pulpit as a reminder of days gone by when Zion had over 100 active members.

The Oasis Choir from Trinity UMC provided music and, following the service, the members did what they’ve done for more than 200 years – gathered in the side yard of the church for ‘dinner on the ground,’ prepared by the women of the church. And until only three years ago the dinners were truly a picnic on the ground. But this homecoming dinner was not. It was spread beneath a fine picnic shelter constructed on the edge of the woods next to the historic church.

The shelter, built to accommodate activities of the current and growing membership, speaks to a church with a memorable and glorious past as well as a bright and glorious future.

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