|Zion Travelers M.B. Church was organized on September 9, 1947, with the Rev. Sam B. Burns serving as pastor.
Worship services were held every 2nd and 4th Sundays in the home of Rev. & Mrs. James Stewart on Powell Rhodes
Drive, Jackson, Mississippi. Brother Albert McCall served as Superintendent of Sunday School. Later, the members
purchased a lot and bought a tent from Sears, Roebuck & Company where services were conducted each meeting Sunday
using kerosene lamps for light. The tent was burned down, nonetheless, with the help of Brother Albert McCall and
others, arrangements to build at 1916 Mobile Avenue, Jackson, Mississippi, were made possible. In 1950, the first
dedication service was held.
Rev. Sam B. Burns served Zion Travelers faithfully until his illness in 1953. Rev. J. C. Rankin, his assistant at that time,
was appointed Pastor of Zion Travelers. Under Rev. J.C. Rankin’s leadership, the senior choir, with Sister Myrtis Marie
Williams, was organized. Also, the usher board, male chorus, young adult choir, mission, and etc., was formed. Zion
Travelers continued to progress under the leadership of Rev. J.C. Rankin until his serious illness in 1984. In 1985, the
members of Zion Travelers met and voted to retire Rev. Rankin with a salary. It was recommended that Rev. Daniel
Watkins, who was serving until Rev. Rankin returned, be asked to serve as Pastor of Zion Travelers.
After much prayer and waiting on the answer from the Lord, Rev. Watkins accepted the position of Pastor in February of
1985. Much growth and many auxiliaries have been added since 1985. The Lord has added to the church as He has seen
fit. The love, success, and growth of Zion Travelers have been due to the goodness and grace of God. Therefore, all
glory and honor has been given to Him.
In October of 1987, the members met and decided a larger place was needed because of the growth in membership. The
board asked all members to assist in locating property to build or find another building. In June of 1988, Sister Rosie Lee
Williams and Brother Charles Smith brought to the attention of the membership that a church, Pearl Street A.M.E., was for
sale. The board investigated the building and called all members to a special business meeting. After visiting the church
and through much prayer, it was decided that this would be the new home of Zion Travelers M.B. Church.
The move was made during the fall of 1988, after the church obtained a financial contract for fifteen years with a local
bank to purchase the property on Pearl Street. It was also voted on and agreed upon to sell the building located at 916
Mobile Avenue. God has allowed Zion Travelers to meet every obligation entered; and since moving, Zion Travelers has
been blessed by God in many ways. The debt for fifteen years, was paid in full in six.
Zion Travelers is now a very spiritual church of about two hundred and fifty (250) members, three (3) ministers,
seventeen (17) deacons, and thirteen (13) mothers. We are blessed with four (4) wonderful choirs and six (6) talented
musicians. Brother Timothy Middleton is the Minister of Music. There are thirty (30) auxiliaries designed to offer a
spiritual organization for strength and salvation. The newly formed Advisory Committee is our latest innovation for the
year 2000. It includes older and younger males and females to offer the Pastor a variety of viewpoints to better serve our
At the beginning of 2001, we reflected on year 2000, and we thanked God for his continued blessings. We again had a rise
in membership, rededication of lives, and calls for prayer. As we proceed into this new year, we are still finding new
ways to serve our membership, and upgrade the building. The activities of our outreach program and prison ministry
were certainly anointed. We were given help by the addition of Brother Johnny Clark and Brother Theo Sutton.
Financially, we experienced the greatest growth in history. In addition, we worked with our youth in a way that had never
before occurred. Spiritual educational programs and tutoring incentives are now being offered. We have acquired land,
begun a building fund and established a goal of building a new temple with an educational wing, library, auditorium and
gymnasium. God has led us to confront tradition and move toward diligence and holiness. The thirty auxiliaries designed
to offer a spiritual organization for strength and salvation were reorganized to better serve the church and community.
In 2001, we reaped blessings from exciting and enlightening leadership classes held in 2000. On the average, about thirty-
five (35) members attended for eight consecutive weeks. From the thirty-five, ten were chosen to upgrade our overall
program. The ten chosen were:
Lastly, our theme for 2001 comes from Proverbs 29:18; “Where there is no vision the people perish: But he that keepth the
word, happy is he. Our Motto comes from Psalm 121:2; My help comes from the Lord.
The year 2002 was spiritually exciting. We had fifty members added to the church. We have an active membership of
two hundred and fifty. The winner of the Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award, given during Black History Month, was Sister
Lillie Brown. This award is given to a member who has suffered through tribulations, especially health trials, but,
remained faithful. The previous winners were Gerlean Thomas and Annie Watkins.
God blessed us to acquire more property. The church was able to purchase the lot previously owned by Mr. Pete Moore.
More attention is being given to the building in the areas of painting, carpets, and decorations.
We are extremely proud of all of our programs. We were able to take our young people to see the Memphis Grizzlies and
the San Antonio Spurs. Later, we took them to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for summer fun. We give special honor to God
for those who are a part of the Prison Ministry and the Outreach program. These ministries are taking us beyond the
Two events that stood out in 2002 were our Black History program and Church Banquet. Sister Jewel Patterson and the
young adult/youth ministry did an outstanding job. Our Black History became a living history on that night. For two
consecutive years, we had outstanding banquets. Sister Carolyn Owens-Watkins and the program committee rewarded
more than one hundred people in a two-year span. We had outstanding speakers such as Senator Barbara Blackmon and
Dr. Earl Watkins. Our guidance class refocused to put emphasis on spiritual training and academic tutoring. In the year
2002, we tutored more than 55 students. In the area of music, we saw the return of Brother Monterio Jones, the hiring of
Brother David Hubbard and Brother Jarvis Watkins. The year 2002, will be remembered as the year of great growth. Zion
Travelers’ history is a living history rooted in God’s word and dedicated to His ministry.
The year 2003 was truly a blessing from God. We witnessed thirty-seven souls saved and eighteen rededications. Scores
of people were spiritually fed through our outstanding prison and nursing home ministry. We continue to visit the sick and
give spiritual care to the bereaved. God has truly been good to all of us.
In leadership, we gained the membership of Rev. Michael Alexander. Brother Charles Harden became board chairman and
Brother Bernard Douglas became vice-chairman. Mother Mattie Douglas became chairperson of the mother’s board with
Mother Gladies Lewis becoming vice.
Ministry Leaders for 2003
We chose a new theme (II Chronicles 7:14), and a sub-theme (Proverbs 3:5-6). We now have a mission, eight goals and a
motto (Matthew 19:26). All of these items were gathered through surveys and leadership participation. Zion Travelers
tries to render the best service possible.
In February, the Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award was given to Brandon Skipper and Tunyah Harris. Shortly afterwards,
in March, we had an uplifting revival with Rev. Arthur Sutton of Progressive M.B. Church. The highlight for the month
of April was the guidance class trip to Memphis where we watched the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Memphis Grizzles.
We also enjoyed an overnight trip to New Orleans, Louisiana where we attended the zoo, aquarium, and Jazzland.
Before school, we praised God and uplifted the name of Jesus in a three-day fellowship revival. The visiting ministers
were Rev. Charles Polk of St Luther M.B. Church, Rev. Stephen Mason of Pearlie M.B. Church, and Rev. Calvin Day of
St. John M.B. Church.
We closed the year out with a tremendous church banquet at the Holiday Inn North, where our guest speaker was Dr.
Ivory Phillips, Dean of the College of Education at Jackson State University. Awards were given to the family of the year,
the Sims family, the newcomer of the year, Sister Carolyn Trotter, and outstanding worker of the year, Sister Lillie Smith.
Zion Travelers is a church whose foundation is Jesus. We believe in the outpouring and work of the Holy Spirit, and we
have a spiritual church membership. On the average for 2003, we had two-hundred and ten (210) persons in worship
service, seventy-five (75) in Sunday School, one hundred and five (105) in Bible Class, and fifty-five (55) in guidance
class. The year 2003 was a blessing from God in the history of Zion Travelers. We now see the beginning of laying the
ground work for new buildings. The year 2003, will be remembered as a year of membership dedication. Zion Travelers
history is a living history rooted in God’s word and led by His Spirit.
The year 2004 is another year in which the Lord has blessed us. The Lord continued to be our leader and foundation.
Therefore, we give all the praise and honor to Him for success in 2004. Spiritually, the Lord saved more than forty souls
and gave us more than twenty rededications. Hundreds came for prayer and direction. God blessed us to continue to visit
the prison, nursing home and the hospitals. We also continued to give help to those who are in need. Our Bible and
Sunday School classes remained strong. Our Guidance class was a blessing to many of our youth.
We had two revivals. Our spring fellowship revival was rendered by Ministers Theo Sutton, Clarence Elann and Robert
Landing. Our back to school revival was rendered by Rev. Jessie Sutton, Jr.
Our leadership remained strong for 2004. We had several additions. Sister Vanessa Patterson became the program
director and did a beautiful job. We gained two ministers, Jack Gordon and Michael Johnson. Two evangelists were
added, Angela Stampley and Denice Hubbard. We were also blessed with Thomas Jenkins and Roger Jacobs being
ordained as deacons. Our Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award was awarded to Brother James Cook.
In the area of operation, the men continued to do a tremendous job. They handled the difficult task of maintaining an old
building. They repaired what needed to be repaired. A tremendous clean up program, inside and outside the building
deeply enhanced the grounds. We did a better job of opening and closing and will continue to find ways of serving our
membership. We also saw a large number of youth being involved in maintaining the facility as well. The Men’s Ministry
and the Deacon’s Board continue to lead in this area. God blessed our business area as well. The Lord allowed us to
operate below established budgets quarterly and for the year. We met all obligations and profited throughout the year. We
maintained our operating and building funds. We entered into serious discussions working on a pledge to eliminate the
family night and Zion Travelers programs. The pledge was detailed by Bernard Douglas, Ricky Douglas and Charles
Harden. The Lord blessed us with a van to transport those with transportation needs to the church.
We continue to sponsor a youth banquet. Youth were involved in all aspects of the church. Zion Travelers had a
tremendous summer program headed by Eric Brown and Roger Jacobs. Thomas Jenkins, Michael Johnson, Michael
Alexander, the Grigsbys and Stampleys did a tremendous job. Sis Eva Jones put on some wonderful health fairs.
We traveled more in 2004 than at any other time in our history. We took a week in Orlando, (Disneyland) Florida thanks
to Gwen Bell and Veronica Sims. We visited Memphis twice. We watched the Memphis Grizzlies defeat Allen Iverson
and the Philadelphia 76ers, and we watched Jackson State lose to Tennessee State. We also went to New Orleans to
watch the Jackson State vs. Southern football game.
We closed out the year with the best choir anniversary ever. Our church anniversary was spectacular and touching as we
remembered all our loved ones who have died in our history. Once again we closed out the year with a tremendous
banquet held at Jackson State’s e-Center. The highlight of the banquet was Charlean Clifton being named most
spiritual and the Bracey family being named family of the year. Minister Antonio Wright, a student teacher, was our
guest speaker. Zion Travelers is a living history rooted in the dedication to God and to each other.
By 2005, Zion Travelers M.B. Church had become a very spiritual, uplifting church in the West Jackson Community. The
face of the community is changing due to the opening of the West Jackson Parkway and the expansion of Jackson State
University. Zion Travelers continues to expand with the purchasing of an additional lot between the church and Rose
Street. Zion Travelers operates from the standpoint of spirituality, business, and operations. We continue to build on the
five pillars of Discipleship (training), Fellowship (sharing), Worship (our best), Evangelism (reaching out), and Ministry
Zion Travelers continues to grow spiritually. Our membership has grown to three hundred fifty (350) members. Mother
Bessie Chinn was added to the Mother’s Board. During 2005, the Lord added fifty-three members to our family. Forty
percent of the membership attends bible class and 30 percent attends Sunday School. We continue to offer leadership and
guidance classes and our ministries are going strong as we try to provide the best service possible to our church family
and outside the membership.
First sermons were delivered by Evangelist Denice Hubbard and Ministers Robert Grisby and Michael Johnson. The
Kitchens became our family of the year and our new comers of the year were the Grigsby and Waddell families. The
Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award went to Sylvia Aldridge and Ardell Kitchens.
We closed the year with a tremendous banquet at the 88 Keys. Our guest speaker was the first female (African-American)
police chief of Jackson MS, Mrs. Shirlene Anderson. She challenged all of our young people to look carefully at their
decisions. In the area of operations, our ministry leaders took on the task of two years of dedication to further Zion
Travelers in our commitment to serve.
The new 2005-2006 leaders are:
Through the ministries we worked very hard in involving our youth and the membership as a whole. We continued our
guidance class and summer activities as well as the youth banquet. We added our first prayer vigil along with an
abstinence program. We involved our church with a summer trip to Atlanta, and also attended a New Orleans Hornets
game in New Orleans, LA. There was even a fantastic outing at Alcorn State University.
Our prison and nursing home visits are still going strong. We continue to offer health fairs through the year and tips on
being healthy Christians. Our graduation ceremonies are exciting with Charlean Allison receiving her Ph.D. We are
working on our audio-visual ministry and seeking workshops in the area of music, counseling and leadership. Lastly, our
business area is on the increase. Our financial standings are strong. We replaced Family night and the Zion Travelers
programs with the Building Pledge program. We continue to acquire new property. We are seeking more property to
eventually build our new building. The building will consist of a new sanctuary, gymnasium, and a spiritual center housing
classrooms. The Lord allowed us to meet every obligation and to go beyond. In 2005, the state of Mississippi and
Louisiana experienced the worst natural disaster on record with the onslaught of hurricane Katrina. It destroyed the Gulf
Coast and a great portion of New Orleans, LA. The Lord allowed Zion Travelers to help families and work with the Red
Cross. We endured through tremendous electrical outages and lengthy gas lines for several days. It made us realize God
is still in charge. Families became more prayerful and closer. With the disaster and the slow response of government
people, we now must realize that our trust must be in God. The year 2005 was a blessed year. Zion Travelers is a living
history rooted in its dedication to Jesus and service to humanity.
The Zion Travelers Family gave God the glory shortly before midnight December 31, 2005 and began the 2006 spiritual
year with prayer the early morning of January 1st. As always, we entered 2006 with elevated spiritual expectations and
our Father did not disappoint. During the spiritual year of 2006, we had fifty-nine people to unite with Zion Travelers;
thirty by baptism; twenty-nine through Christian experience. We were blessed with the opportunity to celebrate Mother
Sadie Smith’s and Brother Brandon Skipper’s departure to be with the Lord.
Zion Travelers M.B Church is a spiritual church that presently has nearly four hundred members, seven ministers, four
evangelists, and eleven ministry leaders. The strength of Zion Travelers rests with our Deacons and Mothers boards
whose members are in the teens. The pastor, Dr. Daniel Watkins, is now serving his 23rd year.
All of what is done at Zion Travelers can be located in what we call our five pillars. The first pillar is Discipleship where
we focus on the spiritual training of all of our members. The second is Fellowship where we involve ourselves in sharing,
especially testimonies and spiritual gatherings. The third pillar is Ministry. This pillar is continuous in nature, ministries
are constantly being developed to meet the needs of Zion Travelers as we evolve into a full-fledged spiritual center.
Outreach is the fourth pillar. This effort seeks to reach out to prisons, nursing homes, etc., as well as the community at
large. We give strength, encouragement and kindness, but primarily we seek to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Then there is the pillar of Worship where as every saint must be their best and do their best. The end result is that the
church will be at its best.
Zion Travelers is always concerned about our youth. The year 2006 was no different. Our youth visited the Stewpot
Kitchen and passed out happys. They were able to visit the Detention Center in Raymond, Mississippi. As always, we
had a wonderful time with our youth enjoying the summer activities. This culminated in an etiquette class and a formal
youth luncheon. Our picnic was one of the best ever as we incorporated items such as fishing. We had our annual youth
banquet where elementary, middle, and high school students were given awards. The guest speaker was Rev. Michael
Johnson. The highlight of the year was when many of our youth got an opportunity to hear Tony Dungy, coach of the
Indianapolis Colts, whose son committed suicide. His message was simple, love God and love family as well as everyone
else. In return, love will find you. Tony Dungy went on to coach the Colts to a win in Super Bowl XLI (2/4/07).
2006 saw a change in how we take care of our bodies. This endeavor was led by Sister Eva Jones, leader of the Help
Ministry. She sponsored many health fairs so that we could be examined to detect any health problems. Zion Travelers
participated in walks for diabetes, kidney, sickle cell, and breast cancer. We addressed weight loss and many decided to
lose weight. Our biggest looser was Dr. Watkins who lost 35 lbs., followed by Sister Terri Handford who lost 30 lbs.
Lets continue to lose weight.
Zion Travelers continued its record of excellent programs. Our Black History and Easter programs were spiritual and
educational. As always graduation day was very touching as we observed many of our young travelers graduating and
heading toward college and careers. We had a very spiritual spring revival rendered by our pastor that targeted the family.
Year 2006 saw our largest Vacation Bible School. Hats off to the work of Rev. Ricky Douglas, Sisters JoAnn Funches
and Kathleen Grisby. The Fall revival was highly enlightening. Reverends Henry Johnson, David Hutson, and Charles
Polk did an outstanding job. We were blessed to be involved in a special prayer vigil and youth gathering which lasted for
twenty-four hours. This was the brainchild of Brother Matthew Crawford. The choirs’ anniversary was spectacular.
Led by Sister Charlene Clifton, it was one of our most memorable ones yet. The fellowship dinners, Thanksgiving, and
Christmas were exciting and fun. We also had an outstanding church anniversary commemorating fifty-seven years of
service. Our guest speaker was Rev. Jimmy Black. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the men and
women of Zion Travelers M.B. Church.
We take time to stay involved and active in the community and beyond. Zion Travelers participated in the Blackburn
Gospelfest. We commend Principal Bobbie Brown for reestablishing this needed community event.
We chartered new territory by matriculating and receiving orientation training at the Federal Prison in Yazoo City,
Mississippi. Zion Travelers underwent the most exhaustive leadership training ever held at our church. Presenters
included Reverends Ricky Douglas, Steve Dennis, James Graves, Richard Middleton, Karl Twyner, Daniel Watkins, and
Donald Wheelock. Included in the training was a presentation by Yazoo City Schools Superintendent Rebecca Turner-
Berry. We participated in the first annual Ivory Green Memorial which was held here at Zion Travelers.
We were able to charter a bus to Louise, Mississippi and participate in their vast homecoming where Dr. Daniel Watkins
was the guest speaker. In addition, our youth and inspiration choirs traveled to Natchez and were the feature choirs for
the homegoing of Brother Brandon Skipper.
The last three events were very exciting. We traveled to New Orleans and saw how ravished sections of the city were in
the aftermath of 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. Later that night we observed the skills of Chris Paul and Carmello Anthony as
the Denver Nuggets defeated the New Orleans Hornets. During the summer the church had the opportunity to visit St.
Louis, Missouri. We enjoyed going through the St. Louis Arc, the zoo, and catching a ferry on the Mississippi River. Of
course we attended the Heritage classic in Memphis Tennessee where Tennessee State narrowly defeated Jackson State
Early in 2006 we named our Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award winners. This award was given to church members who in
spite of difficulties they persevered. The winners were none other than Deacon Ernest Douglas and Mother Mattie
Douglas who have shown great strength in light of their trials. We closed out the year with a wonderful church banquet
held at the Jackson State e-Center where the guest speaker was Dr. Freddrick Murray. We commend all the outstanding
workers awarded for the 2006 spiritual year. The newcomers of the year were the Chisolms, Hunts, and Marshalls.
Family of the Year went to the Handfords. Our Bible Scholars were Evangelist Angela Stampley, Reverend Roosevelt
Stampley, and Sister Carolyn Watkins. Most Inspirational was led by Mother Ruth Moore and Sisters Elnora McDougal,
and Thomasine Smith. The most spiritual person was our own Sister Charlene Clifton. The most outstanding worker at
Zion Travelers for the 2006 year was Brother Bernard Douglas. We completed the 2006 spiritual year having watch
service while sharing the word on loving God and loving our neighbor. As always, we were on our knees at the altar
departing 2006 and entering 2007. The year 2006 was a blessed year. Zion Travelers is a living history rooted in its
dedication to Jesus and a service to humanity. May God continue to bless Zion Travelers.
Almighty God blessed us in 2007 like never before. Our membership has exceeded 400. During this year we had forty-
three to join by Christian experience, twenty-four by baptism, and twelve by rededication. God blessed us with two
additional ministers, Rev. Edward Buck and Rev. Bernard Moore.
Our Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award winner was none other than Sis. Ruthie Belial, one of our top Bible scholars. In spite
of tribulation, Sis. Belial maintained a spiritual consistency that is indicative of a true saint. It was around this time that
Mother Ruth Moore lost her husband, Brother Joe H. Moore who had made his stepson, Dr. Daniel Watkins, his pastor.
Zion Travelers created a wonderful homegoing celebration and made Brother Joe Moore an honorary member.
The youth/Young Adult Ministry led by Sis Eva Jones and Brother John Bell did a wonderful job with the annual Black
History Program. It featured a contribution of talent from all ages. The program was exciting and informative. Our
spring revival was a first in the history of Zion Travelers featuring only our evangelists. All four, Evangelists Ashanti
Barnes, Denise Hubbard, Patrice Jenkins, and Angela Stampley did a wonderful job and blessed all of our souls with the
Word of God.
Within the first six months our programs got bigger and better. The Easter program, Men and Women’s Day, graduation
and the Youth Banquet were wonderful and spiritually based. Sis. Barbara Eichelberger (sister of Pastor Watkins) spoke
eloquently at Men and Woman’s day while the talented Judge Melvin Priester was the guest speaker at the Youth Banquet.
As always, Mothers and Fathers Day was characterized by gifts and upbeat old time spiritual songs.
We are very proud of Zion Travelers’ guidance class. We mentored and tutored over fifty students in the areas of math
and Reading. More importantly, we are trying to give our young people a Christian base that will propel them to higher
heights. They were exposed to various classes that would polish their skills as future professionals and quest speakers
who would stimulate their minds. Those who persevered were given an exciting trip to watch the New Orleans Hornets
and the Los Angeles Lakers in New Orleans, Louisiana. We all had a good time as we watched Kobe Bryant of the Lakers
set a record for scoring over fifty points in four consecutive games.
We continued to work with our youth. Vacation Bible School was educational and was able to reach many in the
community. The church enjoyed the Church Picnic at Mayes Lake. We set a record for having the most people present
ever at the picnic. Young people enjoyed sports, fishing, games and plenty of good food. The annual summer trip was
exciting and educational. For the first time we ventured west to San Antonio, Texas for our annual summer trip. We had
a great time touring downtown in boats and visiting the historic fort, the Alamo. We enjoyed fine foods and had an
enjoyable day at six flags.
The boards continues to do a good job. We have expanded our Deacon’s Board to twenty-four and the Mother’s Board to
twenty-two. The church governing board has been amended and expanded for the first time in history. Approved by the
body, the Board now consists of ordained ministers and deacons. The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the mothers
board along with an evangelist with three years experience has also been added to the board. The leadership ministry
continues to operationally lead the church.
In 2007, the youth choir received a plaque from Blackburn Middle School. The nursery received a complete face lift. We
changed letterheads and backed up all files on hard copy and electronically. We moved to a brand new software that
upgrade our financial records immensely. The bathrooms and kitchen were remodeled. We continued to sponsor health
fairs and wellness walks. We collaborated with other health institutions and participated in their walks as well. In
addition, we participated in an abstinence conference. We again had a very powerful prayer vigil. Zion Travelers created
one of the most powerful skits ever which was written and directed by Sis. Dorothy Coleman. The theme centered
around Zion Traveler against drunk driving.
We had training throughout the year for everyone at some point in the year. The ushers continued their training, had an
excellent program and adorned new uniforms. Outreach continued to support Stewpot and added Willow Creek nursery
Home and the Yazoo City Federal Prison as ministry posts. All ministries are working hard and meeting the needs of
members and outside of the confines of Zion Travelers. We open mid year having Rev. Mark Calhoun rendering the
fellowship revival. The revival was followed by an excellent choir anniversary and our exciting Harvest Carnival.
Zion Travelers continued to be the host site for the Ivory Green memorial program as well as the Lamentation program.
The Rev. James Graves did a great job on the 60th Church Anniversary. Thanksgiving day services were wonderful with
the men serving the women breakfast. Christmas day services were excellent with the women serving the men. During
Thanksgiving and Christmas the ministries aided families to make their holidays a joyous one.
The highlight of the year was our 19th annual Zion Travelers Church Banquet. Our guest speaker was none other than our
pastor, Dr. Daniel Watkins, newly named Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Jackson State
University. The banquet featured awards to the newcomers, the families included the Butlers, Grays, Griffins, Harris’s,
Jones, and Reeds.
The Bible scholars were led by Brother Michael Marshall and Evangelist Angela Stampley. The top outstanding workers
were Brother Matthew Crawford and Sister Elaine Watts. The Inspirational awards top seeds were Mother Thomasine
Smith and Sis. Dorothy Coleman. The family of the Year Award was shared by the families of James Hunt and Antoinette
We closed the year as strong as we started. The Lord continued to move in His own way. The Lord allowed Zion
Travelers to acquire more property. He blessed us to purchase the lot at 712 Rose Street. Ministers Eric Brown and
Ricky Douglas were named Associate pastors, a first in the history of our church.
We completed the 2007 spiritual year in watch service sharing the word on commitment and as always we were on our
knees at the altar departing 2007 and entering 2008.
The Year 2007 was a blessed year.
Zion Travelers is a living history rooted in its dedication to Jesus and service to humanity. May God continue to bless Zion
The history of Zion Travelers started September 9, 1947. When we get to September 9, 2009 we will be sixty-two years
old. In those years we can say in the Lord that Jesus was and is and always will be our foundation. Spirituality is always
of the essence without spirituality we are missing our mark. We are about aiding in saving souls and souls being revived.
During 2008, we had forty to come by Christian experience, fifteen rededications, and thirteen which came by baptism.
In 2008, we celebrated the homegoing of William Davis, Jerry McNair and Jessie Mae West. God blessed each
celebration with strength and love.
Zion Travelers is still led by Dr. Daniel Watkins as pastor. We now have two associate pastors, ministers Eric Brown and
Ricky Douglas. The number of evangelist has grown to five with the additions of Sis Gladys Cotton. We have over
twenty-five deacons and over twenty-two mothers. The operation of the church is still led by our ministry leaders. We
have a membership that exceeds four hundred and an average of ninety-five in Sunday School and an average of one
hundred and fifteen in Bible class.
These are the ministry leaders that closed out 2008: (C – Chair, VC – Vice Chair)
There are the many activities the ministries participated in:- Counseling building an identity – Focusing on Guidance
Class- Summer activities – Help the Bereavement - One-on-one Counseling – Health Fair- Enhancing Big Brother, Big
Sister – Wellness Walks- Usher Training – Domestic Violence Conference, - Teen/Parent Conference – Church
Picnic- Church Trip – Youth Banquet- MADD – Working with Needy Families- Women Health Forum – Ivory Green
Memorial- Thanksgiving Service – Christmas Service- Evaluation and Training
Zion Travelers continues to go forward with it’s outreach program. We are seeking ways to do more. We continue to
work with two nursing homes and tow prisons. In addition, we give food and clothes to “Stewpot” as well as clothes
giveaways. We are alerting the community on all church activities and guidance school.
Zion Travelers continues to offer the best training possible. Evaluations and surveys are done in December. From this
information we found that we must be more committed and attend functions at the church beyond normal worship service
hours. We also discovered that more time must be put into friendships and understanding friendships. We established
workshops for leaders and members on a wide range of topics designed to strengthen our congregation. The Bible classes
are based on surveys and topics are similar in all classes for continued study at home. Zion Travelers’ main training is
imbedded in the teaching on salvation and the Holy Spirit.
Here at Zion Travelers we recognize that our youth is the church today and tomorrow. We impress on parents and young
people that they are expected to participate in Bible class, Sunday School, guidance class, and summer activities. Much
training is done in those areas to ensure our youth are being spiritually trained. We also know that exposure is most
important in the lives of our children.
In the year 2008, we were able to take our young people and adults to:
There were many programs in which we have so much spiritual fun. Our Black History program was informative and
The 2008 winners of the Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award was Deacon James Cook and Mother Mattie Cook. Their
perseverance and dedication made them worthy recipients.
Latasha Norman, a promising and excellent student at Jackson State University taught us that nothing is certain in this
world. November 13, 2007, Latasha was killed by her boyfriend. This incredible story sent a message to all of us to look
deeply into youth violence. Zion Travelers decided to create ways of addressing issues with our youth by ways of
establishing or enhancing programs such as:
Blood Drives – Health Fairs – CPR Classes – Abstinence Education – MADD Conference – Domestic Violence
Included in the Zion Travelers goals is the special attention given to youth. We also found in our surveys and evaluations
that we need to do more with our youth. We are very good at awards and exposure. However, we must get better at
incorporating them in the operational aspect of our church. This will be a prime target for 2009.
Zion Travelers joined with visitors in celebrating our twentieth year Awards banquet. The master and mistress of
ceremony were our very own Reverend Eric and Sister Lawanda Brown. We had an excellent guest speaker, Chaplin
Barbara Owens of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Special thanks to the organist, Sister Edwina Fox, the
videographer, Brother Derrick Harris, and the photographer, Brother Arnett Davis.
This year over sixty awards were given away. We had outstanding door prizes that ranged from MP3s to a Flat screen
TV. These are the award winners for 2008:
Family of the Year
Ashanti Barnes & Family
New Comers of the Year
Smith, Marvin & Ingrad
The foundation to church leadership at Zion Travelers is the leaders of the Ministries. They are given the charge of leading
for two years. They have been committed and diligent in their endeavors. They gave excellent service for 2007 and
2008. May God continue to bless them as well as their families. They are the recipients of the leadership awards.
In January 2009, Rev. Watkins wrote about growth. According to II Peter 3:18, god wants us to grow. As we age, we
grow stronger and wiser. When we grow spiritually we grow in grace which makes us kind, gentle, and compassionate.
When we grow in knowledge, we become faithful and full of endurance. In 2009 Zion Travelers continue growth in
property holdings. With our membership exceeding four hundred we were blessed with 30 coming for baptism, 18
joining under Christian experience, and 15 (seven who were no past members) rededicating their lives to Christ. Our
average Sunday Service attendance was 303; the average Sunday School attendance was 95; and the average Bible Class
attendance was 119.
To aid in this growth, throughout January and the year, Zion Travelers sponsored professional development opportunities
through workshops, seminars, ministry training sessions and meetings. these helped prepare the ministry leaders for their
roles and aided the membership in understanding the roles of the leaders and membership. Continued review and
evaluation enabled us to better meet the spiritual journey were 1 Pastor, 2 Associate Pastors, 6 Ministers, 7 Evangelists, 24
Deacons, and 27 Mothers.
The youth are encouraged to not only participate in church sponsored youth activities, but also serve in ministries so that
their input becomes a part of planning. Some of the many youth activities guided by the Instructional Ministry, the Youth/
Young Adult Ministry, and the Counseling for Joy Ministry were:
•Guidance Program which concluded in a trip to Memphis to see the Memphis Grizzlies defeat the Phoenix Suns where
our members were able to greet the players as they entered onto the court.
•Summer Activities Program which concluded in a fun filled day at Geyser Falls Water Park
•Vacation bible School
•Youth Banquet at the Jackson Medical Mall with coach Wayne Brent of Callaway high School
•College Career Night sponsored by Guidance Program
Of course all our activities are family oriented. There were activities for everyone at the Annual Church Picnic which was
held at the Petrified Forest in Flora, MS. the summer trip to Dallas, Texas, included visits to the African American
Museum, Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, and Dallas/Fort Worth Zoo. Most inspiring was our visit to the JFK Museum
which can be best summed in the words of seven year old Jordan Jones, “It almost made me want to cry.” Although JSU
was defeated by TSU, we enjoyed what has become an annual football trip to Memphis.
The Women’s Ministry centered their activities around their theme, “Taking Control of My Mind, body, and Soul.” and
their motto, “Sisterhood through Fellowship and Bonding.” Among their many activities were:
•Baby Basics Training
•Domestic Violence Awareness Seminars and Activities
•Health and Nutrition Seminars
•Outings which included pilates, plays, dinners, breakfasts, symposiums
•Toys for children in domestic violence shelters
Concerned about the health and welfare of the members and community, the Help Ministry distributed information on
diabetes, cancer, blood pressure and other health issues. the ministry submitted health facts to the newsletter, conducted
a health fair, set up a first aid station at church picnic, and performed blood pressure checks at Battlefield Park. It
increased its membership from 27 to 55 and became a member of City and County Usher Association.
Assisting with all functions of the church was the Clerical Ministry which kept accurate accounts of the church use,
updated the filing system and utilized technology to inform members by text messages, emails, and website. Always
encouraging and supporting church functions were the Mother Board which utilized a team approach and worked closely
with the Women’s Ministry and the Men’s Ministry whose retreat featured Elder James Owens of New Ebenezer COGIC,
on the topic, ” Taking Care of Your Marriage.” The Music Ministry with Charles Buchanan as church musician delivered
a moving Choir Day performance dressed in choir stoles and youth polos. Other programs and services in 2009 included:
Our Prison Ministry continued to help meet the spiritual needs of the incarcerated. Our Outreach Ministry sponsored
clothing and food drives and hosted a Community Day at Battlefield Park.
The vision of building a new temple is a step closer to reality. With God’s blessing and sound fiscal responsibility
monitored by our Finance Ministry, we acquired property which has been cleared of eight houses and four duplexes, and
we paved a side parking lot on previously purchased property. the audio system was upgraded. New carpet was installed
in the church entry, and in addition to the weekly cleaning of the church, the Men’s Ministry sponsored a Church Clean-
up and Repair Day.
For their spirituality and committed God driven works in spite of their personal hardships, the 2009 recipients of the
Gerlean Thomas Spiritual Award were Br. Matthew Crawford, Deacon John Bell and Sis. Gwen Bell. On July 23, 2009,
for his outstanding spiritual guidance, community service, and educational leadership, Rev. Watkins became a Whitney M.
Young, Jr. Service Award recipient sponsored by the Andrew Jackson Council, Boy Scouts of America.
|ZION TRAVELERS HISTORY
|925 West Pearl Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39203
Dr. Daniel Watkins; Pastor
|ZION TRAVELERS MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
|925 W. PEARL STREET - JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI 39203 - 601-355-5545