On January 18, 1947, Bishop Odis Alexander, along with his wife, Mother Virginia and five other saints came to Farrell to do a work for the Lord. The five members, who accompanied him, held their first service in the home of Mother Louise Blackwell and their Friday night services were held in the home of Mother Shepherd in Sharon, PA. Later, the first church was located at 903 Market Street. The rent for this humble dwelling was $20 a month. Before relocating his home to Farrell, Bishop Alexander traveled from Warren, OH in “a little red truck.” Bishop Alexander was ordained by the late Bishop O.T. Jones of Philadelphia in August of 1947.
The Lord poured out His Spirit on the ministry of Mt. Zion. During the firstrevival conducted by Bishop Alexander, four souls were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. The Bishop’s message was, “Except ye abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved”. The Lord miraculously healed Sis. Mary Chambers and a woman who had been lame for 14 years was able to walk again. The Pastor continued praying for the deliverance of God’s people and became widely known through the “Look and Live Radio Ministry”. The late Bishop Charles Segers served as assistant to the Pastor in the early years of the church. Later, the late Bishop Segers became Pastor and Bishop of Pentecostal House of Prayer.
As the church grew, services were moved to locations at 906 Market Street, 407 Staunton Avenue, 944 Beechwood Avenue and 414 Fruit Avenue. After moving to the former location, in 1947, the church changed the name to Greater Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ. Elder Richard V. Chambers served as the assistant to the Pastor until the Lard called him to Erie, PA. In Erie, he started the Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ. Pastor Chambers went home to be with the Lord in July 2011.
Superintendent Wilbert G. Hadden became the Pastor of Greater Mt. Zion upon the death of Bishop Alexander in 1985. The legacy of Holiness continues. A charter member of the church, Supt. Hadden was dedicated to the Lord and this community. He and his wife, Evangelist Hazel M. Hadden, have come through the ranks of the church being former Sunshine Band members, local, district, and state Y.P.W.W. workers and Sunday school students and teachers. Many souls were added to the church under his administration. Pastor Hadden was concerned about the total man, “from the crib to the grave”. Four new auxiliaries, The Zion Brotherhood Band, Special Effort Club, Sisters of Zion, and Women of Zion have enhanced the Outreach Ministry of the church. The parsonage of 414 Fruit Avenue was renovated for additional classrooms and new vans were purchased for the Bus Ministry.
In 1993, eight years after becoming the leader of Greater Mt. Zion, Superintendent Hadden’s vision to purchase a new edifice along with housing for Senior Members of our church became reality. On June 17, 1995 our current edifice was dedicated and the mortgage was liquidated on May 7, 2000. Pastor Hadden also reinstituted the church’s annual Tent Revival Crusade. Each crusade was driven by great themes such as: “Don’t Leave a Man Hanging on the Wall”, “Healing of Many Nations”, “Bridging the Gap”, etc. On January 25, 2009, Superintendent W.G. Hadden went home to be with the Lord, leaving a void in the hearts of many, including First Lady Emeritus Evangelist Hazel M. Hadden.
In March of 2009, Bishop James Miles Foster, Jurisdictional Bishop appointed Elder Willie J. Roberts, the Assistant to Superintendent Hadden as Pastor of Greater Mt. Zion.
Even though the tenure of Elder W. J. Roberts and Evangelist Pauline Roberts was brief, they continued to foster the vision of their predecessors and preach the message of “Holiness or Hell”. In January 2010, Elder W. J. Roberts released reign of leadership of Greater Mt Zion due to health challenges. Elder Roberts and Evangelist Pauline Roberts remain faithful to the ministry, joyfully, continuing to serve this great church.
On July 30, 2011, Bishop James Miles Foster appoints Assistant Superintendent Tyrone T. Steals as Pastor of Greater Mt. Zion, along with his wife, Evangelist Tracy Steals and family. Pastor Steals is not new to the Greater Mt. Zion Church Family. He is a spiritual son to the late Superintendent W. G. Hadden, who was responsible for his induction into the Erie District.
The battle in not yet over, we must continue to fight as strong soldiers for the Lord. We will continue to wager a war against drugs, teen pregnancies, AIDS, poverty and other social ills. We continue out fight against sin because VICTORY IS IN JESUS! This past year had brought great victory and much vision. We continue to uphold the legacy of Holiness as we move forward towards the goal to build better famalies, better churches and better communities. Under the leadership of Pastor and First Lady Steals, Greater Mt. Zion looks forward to many accomplishments and spiritual successes, which will be included in the historical records of this great church, THE GREATEST CHURCH IN THE WORLD!