Posted by Janean Marshall, MARIETTA, GA – The Zion Baptist Church has a lot of history because it was founded by 88 former slaves in 1866. Today the church as grown into a number of buildings and even has a museum open to the public. Interestingly, the founding church members came from the First Baptist Church, located right across the street which is now a massive marbled building. As Sunday services let out you can see Zion’s mostly African American and First Baptist’s mostly white members exit their respective churches and socialize on opposite sides of the street.
I found it very interesting that these two churches are of the same Baptist denomination and yet continue to worship and socialize separately. But things may be changing. One of the members of Zion told me that recently some members of the two churches partnered on a pilgrimage to Egypt. This was the first time the two churches had ever fellowshipped together. She felt this was a positive development and very symbolic given the two churches’ history.
Janean Marshall is a Sociology major at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.