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Singing extravaganza to benefit historic New Zion Baptist

Features Editor

New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Brundidge is a congregation deeply rooted in faith and in community.

The church sits on the grounds of the Zion community school/church, which some senior members

of the congregation attended.

On Saturday, New Zion will host a singing that will serve a dual purpose – to honor and memorialize those who received their first "formal" education on that site and also their baptism in faith and to help raise funds to upgrade the church to the glory of God.

The Rev. Herbert Reynolds, pastor of New Zion, said his mother attended school in the building that also housed the church on Sundays.

"The children would go to school in the building during the week and, then, on Sunday, church services would be held in the building," Reynolds said. "Of course, that building is gone and we only have worship services in our church. Because of the history of the church and these grounds, it has deep meaning for our congregation and for future generations. The building needs some upgrades and cosmetic work and that’s what we are about this weekend."

New Zion will host a Singing Extravaganza at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"We’ll have 30 churches participating," Reynolds said. "They will come from the Pike County area and across the state. Some of the churches will participate with their choirs and others with individuals. Each church will make a contribution to the renovation of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church and we will also take a love offering in support of the renovation."

Reynolds said, over the years, many people owed their academic and spiritually growth to experiences on the site of New Zion.

"We believe there are many who would like to see this church preserved and this site maintained," Reynolds said. "We invite everyone to New Zion Saturday night for the Singing Extravaganza."

Reynolds is an exemplary of those whose roots go back to the historic church, which dates back more than 100 years.

"You always want to come home," he said. "Brundidge is home for me and, after being away from many years, I wanted to come back to a place where I could be of help to others and make a difference. My wife, Loretta, encouraged me to come home and she was right in doing that."

After Reynolds graduated from Pike County Training School in Brundidge, he was ready for a change.

"I went to New York and that was quite a change for me," he said. "More change than I had anticipated."

His plan was to work and go to college, but he found that too difficult so he gave up college in favor of the workplace.

Reynolds said he took a test to qualify him for a position with the New York Police Department and posted one of the highest scores.

"I worked with the police department for two years and then moved to Maryland and worked in private industry for several years," he said. "Then I started my own business, HR Stamp and Seal Company, and stayed with it until we moved back home five years ago."

Once back in Brundidge, Reynolds immediately became involved in community activities and with its people.

Anywhere there was an opportunity for him to serve, he took advantage of it. Those opportunities came in his hometown and his home county.

Reynolds is chairman of the Brundidge Planning Commission and the full-time minister at New Zion. He is the chairman of the Pike County Board of Education and an instructor for the AIM (Abstinence in Motion) program, which is sponsored by Edge Regional Medical Center and the Charles Henderson Child Health Center.

"To be a part of the community and to do what I can to make a difference in my community and the lives of those who live here are the reasons I came home," he said, adding this change is even more satisfying than he anticipated.