A long tradition

About our Church

Our church history

One hundred and fifty five years ago, in 1862, the forefathers of Mt. Zion Harbor had a dream of a better life for themselves, their children and generations to come. According to unwritten history, a small group of Christian men and women banded together, going from house to house, to praise and serve God. Then in 1864, Mt. Zion Harbor was organized near Camp Alice Drive and Liberty Street. After a brief time there, they moved to Green Swamp Road, now known as McCray’s Mill Road. From there they moved to Eliza Branch at the Spring.


In 1873, Rev. True Whittler, the presiding elder of the Charleston District held the first Quarterly Conference and sent Rev. B. James as Mt. Zion’s first pastor.



In 1876, Colonel James D. Blanding of Sumter County granted a parcel of land for one cent, to be used by the congregation to build Mt. Zion Episcopal Church for public worship and Sabbath School only. Then in 1883, Colonel Blanding gave the trustees of Mt. Zion 2.2 tenth acres of land for $22.00. This property could now be used for public worship, church school and all community purposes as well as public school.



In 1913, on a cool crisp fall morning, the sexton sent his children to build a fire in the church stove, not realizing that the birds had nested there during the Summer. The nest set off a fire and the structure was burned to the ground. According to the mother of the church, Mrs. Pauline Bradley, they did not stop service that Sunday morning. Service was held under a tree in the yard. A hat was passed and an offering was collected to begin a new church.

Our church focus and values

Our focus as a church is to leave a footprint within our community and be true servants of God. Each of our ministries are designed to give a sense of comfort and family. We truly we believe that our strength is our people. We strive to make an impact  within our walls and outside of them throughout the community.

Meet our community

Our Member Stories

Our Pastor

Reverend Gwendolyn Thompson White is the daughter of Rev. Robert Thompson and the late Eartha R. Thompson.  She is married to Johnny L. White to this union are three children, Nicholas, John Robert, and Kandace and has 4 grandchildren Braylen, Khyrah, Kenyon, and Isaiah.  She is a lifelong member of St. Mark U.M.C. in Sumter.


She is a graduate of South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with and minor in Social Work.  She also holds a Masters of Education with a concentration in Counseling from Troy University as well as further studies toward a PHD from Walden University in Management.  She attended the Pastor’s School in the spring of 2016 and was licensed as a local pastor in June of 2016. She currently works as the Deputy Assessor for the Sumter County Assessor’s Office in Sumter S.C. for over 20 years.  Reverend White is a member of numerous church related and community organizations


In June of 2016 Reverend White was honored to serve the people of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Sumter. During her two years at this appointment the church has received the Bishop’s Five Star Award for 2 years in a row.  They has also begun many new and exciting ministries to move forward toward the mission God has given us to Make Disciples for the transformation of the world.


Reverend White’s favorite scripture comes from Philippians 4:13 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

Philippians 4:13

Our Ministries


  • Sunday school
  • Praise Dance
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Confirmation classes
  • Jr. ushers
  • Conference meetings and events
  • Acolytes

  • Evangelism Ministry
  • Hospitality Ministry
  • Lay Servants Ministry
  • Flower Ministry
  • Choral Ministry
  • Communications ministry
  • Family Ministry
  • Christian Education(Church School, Sunday School)

  • Health ministry
  • Marriage Ministry
  • Single/single again ministry
  • Care group ministry
  • Usher ministry
  • Men’s ministry (UMM)
  • Women’s ministry (UMW)
  • Older Adult ministry (Zippers)
  • Creative Worship ministry (praise dance, drama)