New Zion Missionary Baptist Church
Submitted by Annette Myers
March 28, 2022
New Zion Missionary Baptist, established in 1870, is one of the oldest African-American churches founded on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach. Located in the historic district of downtown Fernandina Beach, the Church is the second oldest and largest African American Missionary Baptist Church on the Island. The original church, built-in 1878, was burned by fire in February 1907. The present beautiful brick structure, built on the same site as the original church, was erected by November 1907.
The church has not had a major overhaul since it was built in 1907. Much work is needed on the exterior as well as the interior. Through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Florida Department of State accepted applications for an African-American Cultural and Historical (AACH) Grant from October 11 through November 30, 2021 for a $30 million dollar grant program.
As authorized by the Department of the Treasury, funding for this initiative is provided by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program. The grant panel review meeting was held in Tallahassee on February 22-24, 2022.
Of 150-plus applications submitted, New Zion ranked number 17 with a total score of 94.375. Only the top 13% of Florida applications submitted scored high enough to receive funding. The grant will allow rehabilitation of the Church’s foundation, brickwork, and Queen Ann windows.
The purpose of this grant program provides funding for construction projects at facilities in Florida that highlight the contributions, culture, or history of African-Americans. Priority was given for, but is not limited to, projects that: encourage the design or construction of a new facility or the renovation of an existing facility in an area with great cultural significance in which no facility exists; enhance the beauty or aesthetic value of facilities named for significant African-Americans; or restore facilities on the National Register of Historic Places.
The New Zion Church membership is grateful to the City of Fernandina Beach, Sal Cumella-Fernandina Beach City Planner, those who submitted letters of support in favor of the application, other endorsements for the project, and the New Zion Project Team.
Rev. Jeremiah Robinson, Jr. is the pastor of the church.
Editor’s Note: Contributions to support further rehabilitation of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church can be mailed to New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, P O Box 15697, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035.