3 minutes reading time (502 words)

A Common Heritage

The History of Zion Baptist Church

Did You Know?

Did you know ship owners had insurance on the slaves?

Faced with a large number of deaths due to overcrowding, sick Africans were thrown overboard. If sick slaves died a natural death, the owners were not compensated. However, the insurers paid out if they were still alive when thrown overboard.

40 Acres and a Mule

40 acres and a mule, the 1st attempt at reparations for newly freed slaves, was even more radical than idea of ending slavery.

Imagine how better off African-Americans, the nation and the world would be had former slaves been given the opportunity to own land, be self-sufficient, and to have, build and pass on intergenerational wealth. 

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the lives, lessons and legacy of our ancestors. Help us to prepare our next generation by building on their faith, strength and trust in You. In Jesus Name, amen.

 

Observation

This month marks the 156th Church Anniversary of Zion Baptist Church. During this month’s celebration we will embark upon a devotional study of the book and life of Daniel, his friends and the people of Israel.

The book of Daniel is the selected book of choice largely because Daniel’s history, and the history of Zion Baptist Church are intermittently similar. Like the book of Daniel, Zion’s history began with the institution of slavery. In the 8th century, Nebuchadnezzar came against Israel and took the people and led them away to Babylon as prisoners of war.

Nebuchadnezzar didn’t completely destroy Jerusalem. Rather he allowed them to co-exist as a vassal state under his rule. This was far different from the vicious, barbaric, and inhuman enslavement induced upon Zion’s 12.5 million ancestors kidnapped from African and sold into the imprisoned life of slavery in America.

Traded for money, guns, ammunition, sugar, molasses, and rum; life in America was a living hell for our ancestors. Not all of them made it. About 15% died either from the brutal treatment (prior to making it to America), inadequate care, suffocation (from being in the tightly packed ships), suicide, or revolt. Despite all of this, God was with our ancestors. And because God was with them, we don’t’ focus on the brutal, and vicious inhumanness they suffered. We don’t’ view our ancestors as victims. We remember them as victorious. We remember them because they were triumphant conquerors and champions of our faith.

During the next 31 days, time will not allow us to speak to the greed, evil and barbarity of the slave trade industry. Neither are we afforded the time to discuss the justice, reparation, or atonement that has eternally alluded our ancestral heroes and (s)heroes. We will however explore the many ways that God has sent his angels to provide, protect, and prosper His people and our ancestors for more than 156 years.

 

Questions to Ponder

How do you think slavery shaped the worship style, theological beliefs, leadership teams, and financial support of the original members of Zion?

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The Book of Daniel
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