The History of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
The original records, which are available concerning the organizing of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dover, Delaware, dated back to April 1873. A certificate of incorporation was recorded in the Court House, Kent County, Dover, Delaware on April 4, 1873 in the name of the Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in April 1893 and erected on Kirkwood Street, Dover, Delaware.
The Church progressed over the years under the leadership of such ministers as Reverends William Davis, Richard Barney, Leonard Patterson, Thomas Moore, Abram Buckley, Thomas Cuff, Charles Ferrier, Parris Duckers, Richards, West Bevins, Marshall P. Gaines, Zoa Nichols, Oliver, Dorce, Harding Williams, W. N. Brown, P. Abner, Jenkins, Coverdale, Drummonds, G. D. Matthews and C. W. Reid.
On April 13, 1910, the trustees of the AME Church purchased a lot on North Queen Street where the former church parsonage was erected under the administration of The Reverend Marshall.
On April 11, 1943, the church celebrated the burning of the $1,000.00 mortgage and in 1947 an annex was erected in the rear of the church.
In 1957, the late Reverend Donald George Kenneth Ming (later Bishop) was transferred from the South New Jersey Conference. Under his pastorate, the present church edifice was erected at its present location and the name of the church was changed from Bethel to Mount Zion. The church was dedicated on September 27, 1959 by the late Bishop George Wilbur Baber, Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1960, The Reverend Elmo Bean was transferred from the South New Jersey Conference. During his tenure, a large portion of the mortgage was paid and a stained glass window was installed.
On May 15, 1966, the late Reverend Rudolph Wesley Coleman was transferred from Newark, New Jersey. Under his leadership, the $40,000.00 mortgage was burned in 1972 and a new expansion program began in May 1973. On June 13, 1987, Mount Zion hosted the Bicentennial centerpiece event, commemorating the Dover-Philadelphia-Baltimore trek and is proud to be the trustee of the Richard Allen Memorial dedicated in Dover. At the time of his transition from labor to reward, in June 2001, The Reverend Doctor Coleman had pastored Mount Zion for 35 years.
In July 2001, The Reverend Troy I. Thomas was transferred from the New York Annual Conference to serve as pastor of Mount Zion. The church was blessed by the leadership of The Reverend Thomas and by the ministry of his wife, The Reverend Maxine L. Thomas. An outstanding accomplishment during the pastorate of Reverend Thomas was the purchasing of the Mount Zion parsonage located in the Meadows Development. Several persons answered the call to preach during Reverend Thomas’ administration: The Reverend Rita Mishoe Paige, Reverend James Platt, Reverend Sandra Yates, Reverend Gayle Whitley, and Reverend Pamela Connelly.
On November 5, 2004, The Reverend Thomas was transferred to the Philadelphia Annual Conference. The Reverend Wayne Arthur Johnson, Sr. was transferred from the New York Annual Conference and assigned to the pastorate of our congregation.
In June of 2008, The Reverend Ellis B. Louden was transferred from the Philadelphia Annual Conference to lead the flock.
On February 10, 2018, The Rev. Dr. Erika D. Crawford, was transferred from the New Jersey Annual Conference to the Delaware Annual Conference and appointed to Mt. Zion AME Church as Pastor by Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram. Rev. Dr. Crawford is the first female Pastor in the 145-year history of Mt. Zion.