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Currently, Zion Community Enterprise is a cohort participant in the Enterprise Community Partners’ Faith-Based Development Initiative (FBDI) which was specifically designed to provide comprehensive training and technical and financial assistance to faith-based institutions in order to design affordable quality senior housing opportunities, so people can live in decent housing with dignity.

As a background, Enterprise Community Partners provides grants to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) in order to enhance their capacity and ability to carry out affordable quality housing and community development activities that benefit low and moderate-income families and individuals.

The three members from the Zion Community Enterprise cohort development team participating in the Enterprise Community Partners’ Faith-Based Development Initiative are: Rev. Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Sr. (Pastor of Zion Baptist Church), Trustee James E. Brown (Member of Zion Baptist Church’s Trustee Ministry) and Brother David J. Saunders (Chairman, Zion Community Enterprise). It should be noted that Zion Community Enterprise was specifically established as a 501(c)3 in order to be the community development corporation (CDC) partner of Zion Baptist Church.

Zion Community Enterprise intends to be a self-administered and self-managed community-based development corporation (CDC) that will focus on the development of affordable quality senior housing opportunities in and around the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Specifically, Zion Community Enterprise will seek to engage in the development of appealing designs of affordable, quality senior housing that will meet the needs of many of our seniors living in the Washington Metropolitan Area. We will also strive towards becoming an advocate for affordable senior housing development opportunities in the Washington Metropolitan Area, with an active presence in all eight wards of Washington, D.C.

Accordingly, Zion Community Enterprise’s vision is to “repurpose” the existing Family Life Center property located at 4817 Blagden Avenue, N.W. into affordable, safe, and quality housing for seniors located in Ward Four while expanding the Genevieve N. Johnson Senior Day Care Center. Rev. Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Sr., the Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, firmly believes that in the Nation’s Capital, affordable quality housing for our seniors should be located in those communities that they have lived in and contributed to over their many years of life.

By working with our strategic partners at Enterprise Community Partners, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), Department on Aging and Community Living (DACL), ThinkBox Group, DC Green Bank, and Industrial Bank, as well as with the affirmation of the Zion Baptist Church membership, Zion Community Enterprise can take action to realize the full promise of providing our seniors with a variety of affordable quality housing options in Washington, D.C.

As part of Zion Community Enterprise’s strategic plan to become a key advocate for affordable quality senior housing community-based development opportunities in the Washington Metropolitan Area, we will adopt best practices and lessons learned in the affordable senior housing industry. Zion Community Enterprise will over time also perfect strategies that will help us to become an affordable, quality senior housing development advocacy specialist.

Lastly, Zion Community Enterprise will at all times demonstrate its commitment to affordable quality senior housing development initiatives, both individually and collectively with partnering stakeholders, by actively advocating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible. Zion Community Enterprise will intentionally strive to ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely.

Further details regarding Zion Community Enterprise’s efforts through the Faith-Based Development Initiative for the design, construction, and completion of the Genevieve N. Johnson Senior Residences will be provided from time to time.

Church Merger Project

From April 2018 to October 2019, Board Members Rev. Dr. Ella V, Redfield, Trustee James E. Brown and Brother David J. Saunders actively participated in the Church Merger Project that facilitated the transformation of Zion Baptist Church into a new organization which includes the integration of Zion Baptist Church and the former New Creation Church into one body known as Zion Baptist Church with a Washington, D.C. “Main Campus” and a Wheaton, Maryland “North Campus”.

Both Rev. Dr. Redfield (as the Pastor of New Creation Church) and Brother Saunders (as the Chair of the Trustee Ministry of Zion Baptist Church) served as members of the Special Church Merger Task Force Committee while Trustee Brown served in an advisory role. Empowered by the love of Christ, the Church Merger Task Force Committee was given the responsibility of: (1) assuming the ministry and property of New Creation Church located in Silver Spring, Maryland, (2) assimilating members of New Creation Church into the ministry of Zion Baptist Church, and (3) developing the current New Creation Church site into a multi-use facility for worship, community events, and commercial enterprises. Zion Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Sr. as the Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, charged the Church Merger Task Force Committee with the express purpose of (1) maintaining and promoting a vibrant Christion witness in the Silver Spring community, and (2) expanding the outreach and impact of Zion Baptist Church’s ministry endeavors.

To accomplish this merger between Zion Baptist Church and New Creation Church the Church Merger Task Force Committee developed a Transformation Plan in order to:

  1. Develop a church merger transition plan that aligned the ministry work of both locations;
  2. Assess and make recommendations on how the newly organized church as a result of the merger can deliver the Word of God to a 21st Century community;
  3. Assess and make recommendations on how to ensure that the official documents of Zion Baptist Church, including the Constitution and By-Laws, addresses the roles, responsibilities and operations of the new organization; and,
  4. Ensure that all legal and financial issues related to the integration of Zion Baptist Church and the former New Creation Church are executed in accordance with standard practices in the church merger from two entities into one organization.

Accordingly, the Church Merger Task Force Committee undertook the following action plan:

Exploration, Research and Analysis Phase

  • Prepared a briefing book the Church Merger Task Force Committee and reviewed all relevant materials developed by the Committee in preparation for the merger;
  • Visit other churches (of a similar congregational size) that have more than one site to ascertain lessons learned and best practices;
  • Compiled and reviewed an inventory of existing ministries from both locations to determine areas of similar ministries, different ministries and ministry gaps;
  • Worked with the Pastor and Deacon’s Ministry in order to finalize worship service times and format so that ministries will know what they will be responsible for covering; and
  • Worked to transform worship services and ministry at both locations to be the most powerful and spirit filled experience that speaks to multiple generations.

Ministry Retreat

  • Continued to work on change management strategies, role and responsibilities of clarifications and clarity of vision;
  • Presented information from the exploration, research and analysis phase;
  • Had ministry leaders begin to make recommendations on which ministries should remain in their existing form, which ones may be dissolved, and, whether new ministries are required;
  • Made recommendations on how ministries will integrate members from both locations including the worship ministries (i.e. – how will the Deacon’s Ministry serve in both locations, how will the Music Ministry cover both locations, etcetera); and
  • Developed work plans and timelines for transformation.

Congregational Engagement

  • Shared the ministry plans with the Board of Church Administration (BCA), Trustee Ministry and Congregation in order to receive their feedback;
  • Recruited congregational members to work in ministries;
  • Worked with the Deacon’s Ministry and others to reclaim members that may have separated from Zion Baptist Church during the various phases of transition; and
  • Provided tools for all members of the congregation to feel comfortable to invite others to visit Zion Baptist Church with the potential to join.

On October 20, 2019 Zion Baptist Church and New Creation Church congregations agreed to merge churches and become one church with two campuses known as Zion Baptist Church-Main Campus located at 4850 Blagden Avenue NW, Washington, DC and Zion North (formerly New Creation Church) located at 11005 Dayton Street, Wheaton, Maryland.

Currently, plans are now underway with conducting research on how to repurpose the Zion North Campus into a multi-purpose facility. Zion Community Enterprise will take on this responsibility as a part of its Community Enterprise Partners initiatives.