Angelina County church celebrates 143 years of service


ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin area church is celebrating its 143rd anniversary of service in the community.

The Mt. Zion Baptist church family met with new and familiar people while enjoying music and food to help celebrate the anniversary. The pastor said at least 110 people were in attendance, a sign of growth over the years.

The church has grown, not many small country churches as we consider ourselves to have a hundred people on Sunday," said Mark Forrest, pastor. "It's kinda rare nowadays."

History shows through pictures that church was present since the mid-1860s.

"This church (picture one), a lot of people ask why the window's open on the building," said Hershel Shoemaker, a deacon. "And I was told and as it was passed down in history, all the men sat down on one side of the church and all the ladies sat on the other side. Everybody being a farmer in this community, the men chewed tobacco so they sat on that side of the church and that's why they had the window raised so they could spit the tobacco out the window."

Soon, from the first building, the church found a new location and moved into the second building until 2001. On Sunday, at their most recent location, the church celebrated their homecoming.

"It's the 143rd homecoming," Forrest said. "I like homecoming as I said in the service, but it's not so much about this homecoming as it is the greatest homecoming ever and that's when we meet the Lord Jesus Christ in there. I look forward to that day. I like homecoming but I look forward to the day when I'm in the greatest homecoming of ever."

The deacon said since 2001, the church has congregated at the current location after undergoing a 3-year reconstruction of the building.

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