archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Mount Zion Methodist Church

Fairfield, Drumore township, Lancaster county , Pa

from the book " History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania" by Ellis & Evans 1883

The Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church is situated on a hillock in Fairfield. It is a small frame structure, and was built in 1835. The carpenter work was done by Abraham Boyce. Alexander Shank, W. H. Potts, Nathen Blake, William Arnold, and their wives were the first members. The first trustees were Shank, Potts, Shade, Arnold and Barnett. The present trustees are James Cain, N. N. Hensel, Elias Hambelton, Matthias Harvey, and William Harrison Potts. The first preacher in charge was Lawrence McCoombs. The first sabbeth-school superintendent was W. Harrison Potts, and the present superintendent is John Adams.The members number fifty-two.

Mount Zion Church was built mainly thru the efforts of Alexander Shank, who emigrated to this County from Ireland in 1815. He was a Weaver by trade. Converted to Christ in the Methodist faith, he became an earnest exhorter, and was licensed as a local preacher. In his anxiety for a Church, he dreamed he was given a blank paper to present to a Mr. Caldwell for a subscription-heading and a contribution for church building. He stated the case to Mr. Caldwell, who headed the list with fifty dollars, and directed him to go to Gardner Furnac, a generous and eccentric Quaker, and secure a building lot. He did as directed and was successful. Calling on Joseph Smith for a contibution, Joseph said "Alexander, thee knows I do not believe in churches with paid preachers. " Alex replied, " We must have a fence around the graveyard. " Joseph answered, " I will give thee ten dollars for the fence. "

In Baltimore he noticed three well dressed gentleman in conversation, and presented to them his subscription-list. Looking at him for an instant, one of the party said to the others, " Let us give him ten dollars apiece, on the condition that he build as many bricks in the church as we give him dollars. It will be something to remember us by when we are gone " He raised five hundred dollars, with which was erected the plain little church, soon to be replaced by a new one. His constent feast of merry heart, his sincerity and piety warmed all hearts toward him, and is still affectionately spoken of by those who knew him as good old Father Shank.

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968


In the year 1833, several persons residing in the neighborhood of Fairfield who were members of Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, along with several others who joined them, decided they would or-ganize a Methodist Episcopal Church in the immediate vicinity. For two years they held services in the homes of various members of the church, being supplied by Local Preachers and Exhorters of the Denomination.

In 1835 they erected the first church building on a plot of ground deeded by Gardner Furniss and his wife to the Trustees of the "Fair-field Congregation of the Methodist Episcopal church."

The carpentry work was done by Abraham Boyce. Alexander Shank, W. H. Potts, Nathan Blake, William Arnold and their wives were the first members. The first Trustees were Alexander Shank, W. H. Potts, William Arnold, Mr. Barnett and a Mr. Shade.

The first preacher in charge was Robert Morrison, and the first Presiding Elder to preach in the church was Lawrence McCombs. The church proper was rebuilt in 1883. In 1894, the trustees de-cided to enlarge the building so often attended beyond the seating capacity, hence the annex and tower on the west side.

On January 1, 1950 a fire of undetermined origin completely de- stroyed this building and its contents. This was a tremendous loss to the congregation inasmuch as our Sunday School attendance was running well over one hundred and our other services were always well attended.

A building committee was immediately selected and plans were undertaken for the construction of a new sanctuary. This committee was composed of twenty-five members representing the Trustees, W.S.C.S., Men's Group, Church School and Youth Group. Mr. Wil-liam Wesley was elected chairman. Of this group, seven were ap-pointed as a Finance Committee with Mr. Charles McSparran chairman.

The Finance Committee organized a campaign to canvass the community, other Methodist churches in the Philadelphia Conference and our own congregation. Liberal donations were also received from neighboring churches of other denominations, other organizations and many other voluntary contributions.

After considering several plans for churches, the building commit-tee agreed to adopt plans similar to a church in the state of Washing-ton. Mr. A. Hensel Fink of Philadelphia was the architect and the plans were made available through the Board of Missions and Church Extension of the Methodist Church. Mr. Donald Risk, Quarryville, RD., was selected to supervise the building, and on April 15, 1950 the actual work was begun and was completed in the month of March, 1951.

The pastor is the Rev. John Dob Present Membership is 167

Church Services 11: 15 AM.

Records Location

Records prior to 1950 were destroyed in a fire that destroyed the original church 1950 to present are held by the church
A few records were found, click here to view
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