DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The first African-American church of Dayton, Zion Baptist Church, is celebrating 150 years of service since opening its doors. The church opened soon after the Civil War ended calling for peace among residents. Zion has survived many struggles, including serving the city through the coronavirus pandemic.

“We stand on the shoulders of patriarchs and matriarchs that paved the way for us, so it’s a happy day for the congregation and happy day for me, as pastor,” said Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Rockney Carter.

Generations of Daytonians have ensured Zion Baptist Church stands tall 150 years after its doors opened. Dayton Resident Sharon Babb has been a member for 60 years and said if the church can keep its doors open through the pandemic, nothing can stop them now.

“To know we withstood the test of time says a lot,” said Babb. “We have some daughter churches within the city, but we still are the church on the hill.”

At the end of day, Rev. Dr. Carter said they are looking forward to another 150 years and more.

“Truly thankful for the entire community for supporting Zion and allowing us to remain relevant in this ever changing society,” said Rev. Dr. Carter. “We are so grateful, appreciative and thankful for the support over all these years.”

Funds from Sunday’s banquet will be given to the non-profit, St. Vincent de Paul.