Zion Christian Church
Zion Christian Church
From the Advent Historic Church Walk Booklet
Zion Christian Church
2019 Brownsville Road Pittsburgh, PA, 15210, USA Phone: 412-886-1864 www.zioncc.org
The beautiful Sanctuary and accompanying rooms that Zion Christian Church worships in have some absolutely breath-taking stained glass windows. While the Cornerstone was laid in 1926; some of the Stained Glass windows were built at a somewhat later time.
Originally named Bethel Baptist Church; this Church was planted by a Baptist Church in the South Side of Pittsburgh. It became a well established congregation fairly quickly. Hornaday Road at the time was a Gated Road; and home to some Banking and Steel executives. These executives proved invaluable in helping the construction of the building proceed during the difficult years of the 1920's.
The large stained glass window on the Madeline Street side of the building was not original to the building. As various individuals passed on into Glory; their families gave remembrance gifts that allowed this window to be purchased and installed. In the 1930's things were going so well for the congregation that they needed additional room for worshipers.
An innovative answer was found. A wall that can raise into the attic via an electric motor was built between the Sanctuary and the Fellowship room that allowed overflow seating for more than seven hundred people in total. There is a photograph of an Easter Sunday in the mid 1930's where the wall is raised and both rooms were filled with worshipers.
Bethel Baptist's mother church ran into difficulties, and the mother church merged with the daughter church in Carrick with a new name: Union Baptist Church. Union Baptist Church enjoyed a long and wonderful period of ministry. Seasons do change; and in 1999 a combination of serious challenges, difficult problems, and a greatly reduced membership arose that led eventually to the Congregation to seek a purchaser for their buildings.
At the same time; Zion Christian Church; then meeting for eight years in Howard Johnson's Hotel in Pleasant Hills, was told that the Hotel had been sold and we would need to find new accommodations. Our Congregation began a series of weekly meetings for prayer and fasting.
Union Baptist heard about our plight; and invited us to see their building and hold a Service here. Upon walking into the Sanctuary; I knew two things immediately. First, God had been honored in this Sanctuary for a long time. Second; it was to be our new home.
Eventually we reached a purchase agreement to buy the building from Union Baptist. They had a Congregational meeting to discuss and vote on the purchase; then some representatives from Union Baptist came into our Worship Service to report on their Congregational meeting. "I have an announcement to make" I was told, "but I won't tell you what it is". So after one song, I invited the gentleman to make his announcement. "We voted not to sell you the Church and the Parsonage" he stated to the startled gasps of the Congregation. "A second vote was taken; and we voted unanimously to give you the Church, the Parsonage, and everything in them as a free gift" a second gentleman stated.
We could not even have a Service after that. People were crying, laughing, hugging, praising God, you name it; from both Congregations. Holy pandemonium. A great miracle had occurred on the basis of the selfless love and sacrifice of the wonderful people of Union Baptist Church.
We are a small congregation, but we have a big foot print. The Elder-Ado Senior Citizen's organization meets weekdays in our cafeteria; and our partnership with them has been a blessing, serving the needs of seniors in this building for over 35 years. Our Food Pantry has over 280 households registered to receive a monthly distribution and truly is a model of organization. The Volunteer staff go out of their way to make Distribution day a warm and enjoyable time. We will once again be providing Christmas gifts this year for all qualifying children in the Food Pantry in 6th Grade or under.
Our Youth Outreach helps over 50 Community youth a week with a wonderful Youth Group, free drinks earned at our Coffee Shop, and a hot meal every Tuesday evening. It such a joy to see these children begin to thrive in an atmosphere of God's love and acceptance.
Through our Partnership with Jewish Family & Children's Services; we have become a major center for help for the growing Bhutanese Refugee population . In addition to providing Office Hours for JFCS at the Oasis Coffee Center; we are assisting many Refugee families with clothing, groceries, furniture, transportation, first part-time job experience, and a whole lot of friendship and love.
The Oasis Coffee Center is a place where a great variety of organizations and individuals hold private meetings and parties of various types. Our Youth group can earn free specialty drinks for good attendance and behavior here; and we have become a center for wonderful Christian Concerts all ages can enjoy right here in Carrick.
We do most of the things typically associated with churches. We have Jr. Church, Men's and Women's meetings, dinners and fellowships. But mostly what we are known for is being a Congregation with warm, loving hearts and a very rich and intimate worship life. God's Presence is felt powerfully by people when they come in; and that is the best blessing of all.
Pastor Dan Cramer - Lead Pastor
Pastor Correy Limerick - Young Adult's & Youth Pastor
Charlene Cramer - Women's Pastor & much more
Ed Friedenberger - Worship Leader
Janet Whetsell - Food Pantry Coordinator