Bluefield, West Virginia
The origins of the Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church can be traced to a band of six dedicated worshippers who gathered for prayer in the home of Deacon Willie H. and sister Lillie Johnson at 405 Sussex Street in Bluefield, West Virginia on April 20, 1943. Having recently moved from nearby mining communities to Bluefield, the members of this group organized their home-based “prayer band” under the supervision of their pastor- Elder Paul Jones of the Midway Shiloh Temple in Keystone, West Virginia.


As the prayer band grew and developed, its members decided to organize the original Mount Zion Pentecostal Church in a rented building at 315 Reese Street on the north side of Bluefield. As with their church in Keystone, the new church became an affiliate of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., under the district supervision of the West Virginia and East Tennessee Council.

In March 1947, the council assigned Elder William Murrel as pastor, at the request of the new congregation. Under his leadership, the church prospered and began construction of a new masonry block building at 1509 Wayne Street. However, after a short time, Elder Murrel, an elderly man, resigned the pastorate to give way to younger leadership.
In July 1953, the council assigned a young minister named Clarence E. Moore to pastor the congregation. During his tenure as pastor, the Wayne Street building was completed, and the congregation began occupying the building for worship in October 1955.Under Elder Moore’s spiritual guidance, church membership grew and the congregation prospered through the 1950s and1960s. His leadership was instrumental in building from an early membership of thirteen to more than 300, with significant membership growth in the 1970s. Additional real estate was purchased in 1974; annexing two adjacent lots featuring a building intended to incorporate a new worship and teaching center.

Exponential growth of the congregation and the blessings of God soon paved the way for the church to abandon its ongoing building program on Wayne Street in the mid-1980s. During this time, the then-District Elder Clarence E. Moore was led to acquire a vacant property, just blocks from the site of the original Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church. This structure formerly housed Park Central High School – the city’s African-American high school prior to desegregation. In August 1985, the Park Central facility became the current Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church.

The Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church, located on six parcels of ground, now occupies a full square city block, touching four streets in all directions. In preparing the approximately 50,000 square-foot former Park Central facility for worship, the church converted a gymnasium/auditorium into its 1,200-seat main sanctuary. Additionally, the current facility features:

  • thirteen classrooms (averaging in size 22’x 34′)
  • a cafeteria capable of accommodating 300 persons
  • a multiple office suite
  • 13 restrooms (nine public, four of which are private)
  • shower rooms, and
  • three other areas capable of accommodating nine classes and/or assembly space.

In 1994, the church’s pastor, Clarence E. Moore, was elevated to the office of Bishop by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., and was given oversight of the organization’s Virginia State Council – District 28. The Virginia State diocese consists of 52 churches in Virginia and North Carolina.

Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church itself remains a part of the 24-church West Virginia & East Tennessee Council diocese – District 23 – where Bishop Aaron H. Redd, Sr. is the diocesan.

The Greater Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church is located at Pulaski Street and Park Avenue, in the heart of one of the nation’s most beautifully scenic areas. Nestled high along the picturesque Appalachian Mountain chain in southern West Virginia’s coal region, Bluefield is known as “Nature’s Air Conditioned City.” The striking landscape of this region has prompted visitors to affectionately refer to it as “God’s Country.”