This is how Mr Sam King Treasurer of Mt Zion United African Church described the mission and vision of a Sierra Leonean  church in the heart of Philadelphia.

"The primary mission of the Church is to win souls for Christ within the city of Philadelphia and its environs.  We also believe that while we strive to win souls for Christ, it is equally important that we strive to meet the physical needs of others within our community.  Through the years the Church has served the community in varied ways.  The Church has honored requests pertaining to weddings, funerals, to name a few, and a host of other needs.  New immigrants from Sierra Leone in particular have made use of the Church’s services in their settling down processes.  Beyond the membership, the church has made its services available to non-members."

      Rev Joseph Abu


The primary need of the church is prayer.  We believe that prayer is part of meeting our needs.  We, therefore, ask that each one reading about us include our needs on your prayer list.  To be specific, we need prayers for a new building and prayers for our membership.

The church is currently looking out for a new building which should be able to seat at least three hundred people.  We have outgrown the current building which seats about sixty people at most.  We have an on going building project which has so far, yielded a substantial amount but, unfortunately, not enough to purchase a building.  We would appreciate financial assistance to this project.

We ask that all financial assistance be addressed and sent to:

           Mt. Zion United African Church
           5117 Chester Avenue
           Philadelphia, PA  19143


      Rev Billy Simbo

How the Church Came About

Mt. Zion United African Church, an affiliate of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, is located at 5117 Chester Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Mt. Zion United African Church started as a prayer group in the early 1990’s in North Brunswick, New Jersey.  Attracted by the large Sierra Leonean community in the area, and coupled with the desire to evangelize, Rev. Joseph Abu and Rev. Billy Simbo and a long time resident of North Brunswick, Mr. Edward Musa, put their evangelistic skills into practice.  Within a few short months, the prayer group outgrew the small apartment that had been their meeting place.  Their skillful use of evangelism won them so many converts within a short period of time that the group felt a need for a Church.  Thus, the idea to start a new Church began.

In 1993, the group purchased a church building in a small New Jersey town called Jamesburg.  The new community of worshippers named their church “Faith Community Church,” pastored by Rev. Joseph Abu and Rev. Billy Simbo, and Mr. Musa serving as board chairman.

In the summer of 1993, Pastor Abu moved to Delaware where he felt the urge to start a branch of the church in New Jersey.  With the assistance of Rev. Jessie Wellington and a well respected and long time resident of Philadelphia, Mr. Bidwell Johnson, these men evangelized and won converts among the large Sierra Leonean community.  Like the church in New Jersey, Mt. Zion started as a small prayer group and soon grew into a larger prayer group big enough to outgrow the donated apartment they used.  In 1994, the need for a bigger space became urgent and thus, a building was rented.  A few years later, the congregation outgrew that building which led to the purchase of a slightly bigger building located at 5117 Chester Avenue on the southeast end of the city of Philadelphia.
Even though the original aim was to minister to the Sierra Leonean community, the founders found their ministry reaching far beyond the intended community.  As the years have gone by, the Church has reached other immigrant communities.  Today, the church can boast of having Nigerians, Liberians, Ghanains and Americans among its membership.  The church remains open to other nationalities.  The current membership is about one hundred and fifty.

Sunday April 30, 2006 in Pictures

            Rev James Kabangai: Assistant Pastor Mt Zion UAC