#FaithWorks: Groundbreaking Ceremony for AME Zion Church of Scotland

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By Special at AFRO

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place this weekend at an important historic site in Maryland. Zion Scottish African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Montgomery County was hand-built and opened in 1924 by black worshipers who established a new life as landowners. The Scottish community dates from the Reconstruction era and this church is the only surviving historic building, registered as a State Historic Site by the Maryland Historical Trust. It is a site of struggle, triumph and resilience. In addition to being a sanctuary, the building served as a hub for the community and a place for programs including food drives and group meetings.

The original timber frame structure, one of the last of its kind in the area, was nearly destroyed by a flood in the summer of 2019. Civil engineers have concluded that the church is now particularly prone to flooding due to construction of Seven Locks Road. on higher ground, just past the front door of the church. Following damage from repeated flooding, which left the building in imminent danger of collapse, the community was left without a shared place for fellowship and worship. The preservation of this historic site and the congregation’s continued use of its longtime home will require both extensive repairs to the damaged building and work on the site to prevent flooding in the future.

The inauguration celebration, hosted by the Reverend Dr. Evalina Huggins, marks the start of a new campaign, the 2n/a Century Project, which recognizes the historical significance of the church, while bringing together financial and social resources to ensure that Scotland and its church play a significant role in Montgomery County in the years and decades to come . With a campaign committee made up of descendants of Scotland’s original founders, civic leaders from across the region and other congregational members, this campaign will raise the funds needed to protect the landscape from flooding, restore the historic church and transform it into a multi-purpose fellowship hall, and also build an entirely new worship space that nearly doubles the existing seating capacity.

The Scottish community is getting organised, trying to publicize its efforts and the 2n/a Project of the century. This project includes three key phases, which are restoration, rejuvenation and regeneration. Restoration involves rebuilding the original historic structure to serve as a community service center for the next 100 years. Regeneration involves re-leveling the surrounding landscape to mitigate the risk of future flooding. The rejuvenation involves building a new, state-of-the-art AME Zion Church to enable the congregation to grow and serve its constituents well into the next century. Currently, the community is working to raise $1 million for the first phase of this plan, and the groundbreaking is the first step on that path.

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