The Historic Rural Center, in the Lampton community, hosted an Open House Tour and Program on Saturday, April 17. The program was part of the ongoing Smithsonian Exhibition: CROSSROADS: Change in Rural America now at the Marion County Museum & Archives at 200 Second St., Columbia.
The Rural Center, presently the Activity Center, under the direction of the New Zion United Methodist Church was built in 1949 through the support of The Woman’s Division of Christian Service of the Methodist church through its Board of Missions. At that time, the Board reviewed possible sites across the United States for a location of the first of its kind, a Rural Community Center, to serve a mainly black community. The Lampton community was chosen. Leontyne Price, a world famous Metropolitan Opera singer from Laurel, sang at the dedication of the building.
The program and tour on Saturday was organized by Joyce Stepney, a long time associate with the Rural Center. Those on the program were Ms. Stepney, Elder Paul Luckett, pastor of New Zion U.M.C., Franis Washington, Historical Sign Chairperson, Mary Pittman, Lampton Outreach Mission Activities Coordinator, Regina Whalum, Family Center Director and Carol Durham, Curator of the Marion County Museum & Archives. Also present was Jerry McCloud, NAACP representative. Discussions on historical reflections were enjoyed during the refreshment period. Rev. Geofery Stepney talked of the Boy Scout program over the years and Theresa Conerly shared reflections of the beginnings of the Woman’s Methodist Christian Service dream to support such a Center.
Alania Cedillo, Marion General Hospital administrator, and Charlotte Parker, assistant director of nursing, were on hand during the morning to offer health screening and appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Under the direction of the New Zion U.M.C. since 2009, the Center’s mission is to nurture members of all ages and denominations in surrounding communities. The Center looks to promote family oriented events and programs of support. The Family Center is an excellent source for literature and help in gathering information on a variety of family social and health needs. There is a Senior Citizens Congregate meal program, UMW meetings, youth rallies, retreats, movie nights, plays, training programs, health care programs, college alumus and political forums. The Center also serves to help those in need during and after extreme weather events.
The Center has been observing safety rules and regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic and looks to again serve the public across our area in providing spiritual ministry and a variety of programs in the future.
The Center is fundraising to help in repairing areas of the building with some damage from rain and wind recently. They are also looking toward updating some electrical and plumbing. Please contact Rev. Luckett at the New Zion U.M.C. if you would like to be supportive with resources for these ongoing projects.
Rev. Luckett's contact information is: 601-906-8965 email is: email@example.com