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Church serves community through faith

ORANGE — Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church has a long history of reaching out to the community to help those in need within the community.

A worship center was first constructed in 1871 of rough wood, was relocated to the current location at 4th and John Streets in Orange, later reconstructed after a storm blew the building off the foundation blocks.

A fourth building of the church included a 16-foot choir stand and a seven-foot porch. However, the present structure, the fifth building, is the one standing today near the corner of Fifth Street and John.

Pastors of the church, over the years, have paid special attention to the sick, needy and distressed members of the church.

Reverend C.W. Crawford, 70, relinquished his salary for several years to help the church meet its financial needs.

“It is something I will do again to service the church,” Crawford said.

Crawford said the church runs on faith.

“God opens up doors,” Crawford said. “We practice what we preach and live on faith.”

The current structure is in need of refurbishing. Crawford and the congregation worked together to remodel parts of the church after Hurricane Ike caused significant damage to the structure.

“We teach carpentry,” Crawford said. “I also teach hands on plumbing to help people learn how to be self-sufficient.”

Crawford said the church reaches out to those in need within the community.

“We help the homeless and addicts,” Crawford said. “Jesus said man does not live by bread alone. This church is a living miracle.”

Crawford said there are times he will make a bed for persons in need to offer a hand up.

“We are hoping to obtain property from the Housing Authority to use as an outreach program,” Crawford said.

Housing Authority Orange meet on Tuesday and agreed to a real estate contract with the church for the properties.

“This stays in alignment with the city’s plans,” Patricia Coppage, vice-chairperson of the Housing Authority City of Orange said. “It will be used for affordable housing.”

Crawford said the church will continue working with those who have fallen off the path as the congregation moves forward with plans to start a Orange Community Social Services Program.

“The first step to progress is to admit the problem exists,” Crawford said. “You have to have faith and persevere.”