Courtesy of Greater Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, Trenton, New Jersey

The Greater Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Trenton, New Jersey, will hold its “Building Upon Our 200-Year Legacy” church dedication ceremony on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.

The public is invited to join the celebration, located at 42 Pennington Avenue, Trenton, and led by the Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District, the Right Reverend Julius H. McAllister, Sr.

The mission of the church is “to expand our 200-year legacy of faith, justice, perseverance, and Black excellence by vibrantly worshiping and spreading the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ; empowering and equipping every generation to serve the spiritual and physical needs of our church and community,” according to the Greater Mt. Zion AME Church website.

What would come to be known as Greater Mount Zion A.M.E. Church started with a small group of believers as early as 1797, according to the website. The Greater Mount Zion A.M.E. Church has the distinction of being the oldest black church in the city of Trenton.

The initial place of worship by a group of free slaves was in a tent that was located on the site where the current Dr. Joan Cousin Apartment complex stands on Perry Street.

When the winter weather conditions prohibited worshiping in a tent, a coppersmith shop owner by the name of Mr. Joseph Milnor, a white man, allowed the slaves to worship in his shop.

In 1811, these early worshipers worshiped under the banner of The Religious Society of Free Africans of the City of Trenton. In later years, Mr. Milnor deeded the land upon his death to the free slaves. More information about the history of the church can be viewed here:

Greater Mt. Zion has made great strides over the last two years, including:

  • Initial renovations of the sanctuary
  • Kick-off of the Black Maternal Health Initiative
  • Establishment of a community outreach center providing food, clothing, school supplies and other services for the community

Two years ago, worship was held in a space that encompassed a gymnasium floor.

The congregation is grateful that God has blessed them to be able to begin the transformation of worship space so that the floors are carpeted, walls have been painted and restored, technology modernized and upgraded, and a display of the cross is adorned with the anvil, which represents the AME church beginnings and the strength of the church.

The Reverend Dr. Charles Franklin Boyer, pastor of Greater Mount Zion A.M.E. Church, is a third-generation African Methodist Episcopal preacher. He is the co-founder, with his wife Rosalee, of Salvation and Social Justice, a non-partisan Black faith-rooted public policy organization.

As the journey continues by building the sanctuary brick by brick, Pastor Rev. Dr. Charles Boyer encourages support of the church’s efforts by contributing to the “pew chair” campaign.

The four levels of tax-deduction giving include:

  • Friend $150
  • Supporter $250 – $500
  • Champion $750 – $1,500
  • Advocate $2,000 – $5,000

Thanks and gratitude for support will be digitally displayed during the celebration.

For more information about the dedication and how to sponsor a church “chair pew,” email Jeannine LaRue at

For information about services at Greater Mt. Zion AME Church in Trenton, NJ, visit

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