Church History


Over a Century Ago

some of our ancestors found it a necessity to meet in an old log cabin on Highway 57 near Olive Hill School to have prayer service once a week. This was such a success and enjoyable occasion that they decided after some discussion among themselves that a church was needed; and it should be called Hyco Zion Baptist church.     In the year of 1881, a few church leaders decided that a more pleasant place to worship was needed in the Cunningham Township. So, they called their members and Rev. McGrue and decided to purchase some land for a new church. These members were: Rev. McGrue, Brother R. L Paylor and his wife Sister Annie Paylor, Brother T. F. Davis, Deacons Eddie Smith, Dick Winstead, Dock Barnett, John Smith, Jeff Garland, John Winstead, and Eddie McGhee.     On April 20, 1890, the members of the Hyco Zion Baptist Church gathered together with axes and saws and went into the woods to cut down trees for the new church. Friends form the community and members would give days of work until the church was built. Not privy to the transportation conveniences we have today, the members would walk to church with shoes in one hand and a child in the other. Once they were in sight of the church, they would stop and wipe their feet off with a rag and put their shoes on before entering.     Prior to services, a dedicated member would arrive ahead of time to ring the bell alerting everyone that church services were about to start. This was especially true when there was a funeral.     On October 23, 1919, more land was purchased for cemetery space.     In 1946, under the leadership of Rev. Otis Chestnut, a few more additions were made. The choir stand was changed and venetian blinds added to the windows. A new roof was put on along with new front steps. Rev. Chestnut also reorganized the choir, appointed an Usher Board and Pastors' Aid Club.  In 1963, Brother John Earl Pulliam was in the hospital, and while hospitalized he made a model of a new church. In 1964, Rev. W. M. Lea was called to pastor, and in seeing this church model, he asked, "Why are you saving this model? Why not build a church?" In 1967, a new brick edifice was built by Mr. Weldon Stanfied of Leasburg, NC, followed by new pews, carpet, a piano, Pastor's study, Baptismal pool, and kitchen facilities. Rev. and Mrs. Leas donated a stove and refrigerator to complete the kitchen. The church ground was graded, shrubbery planted, grass sown, hymn books & Bibles purchased and a choir called the Juniors and Stars was formed.     In 1974, Rev. W. M. Lea felt like his time at Hyco Zion had ran it's course and that it was time for him to move on. He told the members, "I am not going to leave you all without a pastor," so he recommended Rev. L. T. Stephens, who was accepted by parishioners. The first Sunday in April 1975, Rev. Stephens preached his first sermon as pastor to Hyco Zion Baptist Church. In 1976 we burned the mortgage, signifying that our church was paid for. Under Rev. Stephens' leadership, an organ, PA system, and new air conditioning system were purchased. Significantly, a steeple was erected on the church. A new choir named the LT Stephens' Inspirational Choir was organized in 1978.     On the third Sunday in May 1981, we celebrated our 100th church anniversary. Afterwards, Rev. Stephens tendered his resignation effective immediately. Meanwhile, Rev. Ronald Brooks had been hired to conduct revival. While praying to God to reveal the next pastor, it was revealed that Ronald H. Brooks was the man needed. When approached by the board, he said "Yes, if you want me as your pastor, I will gladly accept." On the first Sunday in October 1981, Rev Brooks preached his first sermon as pastor of Hyco Zion Baptist Church. Under his leadership, an outdoors eating shed, new air conditioning unit, new pew coverings, and new carpet were installed. Additionally, the church was painted, a new stove and refrigerator in the Fellowship Hall were installed as well as a gas furnace. Being mindful of our aging members and their difficulty accessing the Fellowship Hall which was in the basement, a new fellowship hall was erected in 1995. 

In 1995, Stanley C. Kearney

was introduced to Hyco Zion Baptist Church. After Rev. R.H. Brooks' resignation, the pastorship was passed to Pastor Stanley Kearney. Pastor Kearney and his wife Lady Benita officially became the new leaders of Hyco Zion Baptist church on June 20, 1999. Under Pastor Kearney's leadership, Children's' Church was initiated, Hyco Zion became incorporated, an Elder Board was formed, Men of Valour Choir established [because of the male members' own desire], five Associate Ministers preached their initial sermons, and our outreach ministry, Energize to Evangelize Outreach Ministry, Inc. was founded. Biblical based teaching and evangelism are the primary focus of our ministry. Hyco Zion Baptist Church, Inc. decided in 2009 to expand it's facilities and a building campaign was established. However, a devastating fire completely gutted the entire campus before construction began. We were able to salvage the stained glass windows and hope to incorporate them in our new building. Click here to read and see our story about the fire on July 3, 2010 that destroyed our entire campus.  Nonetheless, God has been gracious to Hyco Zion. During this time, many neighboring Pastors and congregants made donations to support our rebuilding efforts as well as offer use of their facilities. God touched the heart of Pastor Tim Bowes of East Rock Community Church who quickly offered us use of their facilities while we are temporarily dislocated and rebuilding a totally new facility. This was the perfect venue to host two churches with two different schedules. We will be returning to our home address in the very near future. 

Click below to view the story on WRAL TV's Website

God Will Provide


God, our members, sister churchs and our community came together and we have rebuilt our church. Thanks to all that made it possible!