Restoring oldest church in Bell County to it’s former glory


The oldest church in Bell County, and the oldest traditionally African American United Methodist Church in the state of Texas is in desperate need of repairs.

Since 1893, people have worshiped at Mt. Zion UMC.

Organizers are trying to raise money on GoFundMe to rebuild the 125 year-old church, which needs everything from new windows, paint, flooring and most importantly, foundation support.

“I’m a remotely handy guy, so if I need to paint myself, I will. If I need to do some stucco myself, I will. I can’t do foundation work,” said Pastor Teon Bass.

Pastor Bass is restoring Mr. Zion to it’s former glory.

“What I think, is that once people see a start, they’ll want to continue to contribute to see it finished,” said Pastor Bass.

He has been collecting money for this project since becoming the pastor last July.

“To completely renovate this building top to finish, we’ve got a contractor whose given us a number of about $70,000,” added Pastor Bass.

The church is currently shifting out of place.

“This building was built on a hill, and that river back there floods from time to time so the foundation has sort of shifted down towards the water. It’s been here for a good long while and it’s a pretty sturdy building but anytime a building starts to move, you want to get some work done,” said Pastor Bass.

The restoration doesn’t stop there.

“Once that’s done, we’re going to paint, replace windows, replace stucco,” he said.

Dr. Lela Butler, who has lived in Belton her whole life, has great memories at the church.

“I knew that place as a little kid, Mt. Zion was very hymn-like, that’s where I learned how to sing At The Cross, and Holy, Holy, Holy all of those regular hymns,” said Butler.

The restoration, becoming a tribute to those that came before us, and a sign for all who will follow.

“It brings a little life back to a community, we’re not taking away from, or adding to, we’re just bringing life back to what’s already there,” said Pastor Bass.

You can donate any amount of money for the restoration on the GoFundMe page, or in person by visiting the church at 218 N. Alexander St. Belton, TX 76513.

If you can’t contribute money, Pastor Bass says services are always welcome.

You can contact Pastor Teon Bass at (254) 939-5621.

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