Mount Zion Methodist Church, Butler, History, Open House, and Homecoming

Mount Zion Methodist Church located at 502 East Pine in Butler since 1868 is hosting an Open House and Homecoming for the entire community on October 2nd at 2 pm as a fundraiser to repair water damage to the building. There will be a brief church service, followed by music by the Butler Community Choir, the Brass Quartet and the Burton girls. 

Mount Zion would like to share with you some of the history of the church.

In 1868, a group of former slaves joined together to establish the 2nd Methodist Church of Butler (colored) aka Mt. Zion.  This was in Bates County, Missouri – a county that was completely evacuated and then everything burned to the ground by Union troops during the Civil War.  In 1868, the county was just beginning to recover, and Butler was rising from the ashes.

     Despite hardships, poverty, and segregation, these individuals prospered and in 1897 built the brick church that proudly stands today in Butler.  It nearly didn’t happen as they were unable to make a final loan payment.  They organized a Home Coming and asked the white churches’ members to contribute $1.00 each to help pay off the $200 they owed.  It was a success.

     Mount Zion became a home that gave members a sense of value, belonging and worthiness.  When you step inside you can almost hear the voices of their ancestors.

     Today, the congregation has greatly diminished as older members died, younger members moved away or like many no longer attended services. Once again, the Church needs help.  Mount Zion Church fundraising and donations have already installed a new roof and repairs to the stain glass windows. However, there is still work to be done to repair water damage to the back wall and plaster. Their hope is that the fundraising efforts of the Mount Zion Methodist Church Open House and Homecoming on October 2nd will be a step in the right direction to help repair these issues. 

     Next year will be the 125th anniversary of the building of the brick Mount Zion and the 155th anniversary of the church’s founding.  The congregation wants to preserve this great legacy.  Not only through church services, but also by creating a collection of African-American artifacts, photos, family stories of the lives of their ancestors who lived in Bates County and any other information the community can provide.  The state of Missouri has approved the church for the Historic Registry and they are currently awaiting approval from the National Historic Registry.

Everyone is invited to tour the building at the Open House and Homecoming at Mount Zion Methodist Church 502 East Pine Street in Butler on October 2nd to hear special music and the rich history of the church.

If you can’t attend the Open house and would like to donate to the restoration of the 1868 Mount Zion Church fundraiser, send your donations to Mount Zion Church Restoration Fund, Community First Bank, 915 W Fort Scott St, Butler, MO.  64730