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Mt. Olive AME Zion Church is Waterbury, CT's Oldest Black Institution. 


In 1879, Rev. J. B. Smith of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in charge of Missions of the A.M.E. Zion Church, throughout the state, organized a Society in Waterbury.  The Society, which consisted of a small number of blacks, met in a rented hall on Bank Street.  Rev. S. W. Parker was appointed to the mission and remained for one year.  A succession of pastors followed:


  • Rev. W.B. Bowens (1881) 

  • Rev. Peter Ross (1882)

  • Rev. C.C. Ringgold (1882-1885)

  • Rev. J.G. Smith (1885-1886)

  • Rev. John F. Loyd (1886-1888)

  • Rev. Alfred Day (1888-1890)

  • Rev. S.E. Robinson (1890-1892)

  • Rev. G.H.S. Bell (1892-1896) 

  • Rev. Jasmes T. Gaskill (1896-1897)

  • Rev. G.H.S. Bell (1897-1900) 

  • Rev. S.C. Hutchins (1900-1901)

  • Rev. A. McCallum (1901-1904)

  • Rev. C.S. Whitted (1904-1907)

  • Rev. C. Fairfax (1907-1910)

  • Rev. J. Francis Lee (1910-1911) - Former Editor of Sunday School Literature

  • Rev. A.A. Perry (1911-1939)

  • Rev. S.W. Weller (1939-1950)

  • Rev. John H. Miller (1950-1960) - 74th Bishop in the Line of Succession 

  • Rev. J.E. McCall (1960-1964)

  • Rev. William T. Kennedy (1964-1971)

  • Rev. Charles Gordon (1971-1972)

  • Rev. Dr. Harrison D. Bonner (1972-2008)

  • Rev. Dr. Leroy O. Perry (2008-2014)

  • Rev. Derrill A. Blue (2014-2017)

  • Rev. Kelsey M. Hopson (2018-Current)


The pastoral appointments to Mt .Olive have been persons who were great spiritual leaders, those with foresight, executive ability and ambition. Keeping always to the spiritual high road, they have led the Mt. Olive congregation to great heights.  Out of that original rented hall, arose a great sanctuary dedicated to Christian worship.


Through the years, Mt. Olive has taken pride in the philosophy that the church, as much as, or more than, any organization must be involved in the community.  Christianity requires this commitment.  A hallmark of this church has been ever increasing outreach efforts to meet needs of the parishioners and the community at large.  Mt. Olive's beautiful edifice has been one which has accommodated activities for all age groups in the community. Most notably, has been Mt. Olive's Senior Citizens Center, Inc.  Mt. Olive A.M.E. Zion Senior Center, Inc., which has been touted as one of the most highly regarded senior centers in the state. 


Since 1975 it has served as a multi-purpose, comprehensive, interdenominational facility open three to five days a week to all seniors in the community.  In addition to this program, in 1981, a project led by Rev. Bonner and approved by the officers and members, resulted in the dedication of Mt. Olive Towers, an apartment building for the elderly.  The structure was funded by a grant from HUD and consisted of 118 apartments for the elderly and the handicapped.  Mt. Olive today enjoys an enviable, respected position in the community for its commitment to excellence in service.


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