Our Church History
In 1861 seven loyal baptized believers (Reverend George Jackson, Isaac Johnson, John Shippen, Susan Thompson, Ann Walker, Reverend William Walker and Letitia Williams Richardson) journeyed from Fredericksburg, Virginia to Washington, DC. In 1863, a Sunday school was started at the home of Reverend George Jackson, the organizer and teacher, who taught reading, writing, and arithmetic as he addressed the spiritual needs of his members. In 1864, Reverend William Walker baptized nine other believers (Harriet Bland, Betty Branson, Maria Dixon, Jane Gwynn, Susan Landon, Hannah Matthews, Henry Conway, Nelson Elliott and Andrew Jackson) and together the 16 formed themselves into the church - naming it Zion - in remembrance of their travels.
Zion Baptist Church was born as a direct outgrowth of the Jackson Sunday School. Zion grew and in 1867, the congregation purchased Simpson's Feed Store (pictured here) at F Street between Third and Fourth Streets, SW, a location chosen by Reverend Walker. In 1870, a new church was erected at the Feed Store site and that edifice was further enhanced in 1891. Zion remained at the 337 F Street, SW location for the next 65 years until the DC Redevelopment Land Agency claimed the property in 1956. Zion worshipped at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA on Rhode Island Avenue, NW until 1962, when the Blagden Avenue Church was completed.
Since 1864 and through the leadership of eight other gifted pastors, Zion has been steadfast in service to God and His community; we are encouraged and thankful for God's grace and faithfulness to us and for the visionary humanitarian, Reverend Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Sr., whom He sent as our ninth pastor in January 2006.