Reverend James H. Cantrell, a native of Chattanooga, TN., accepted the call to Zion as pastor in September 1997 and has been with the Zion family for nineteen years. Reverend Cantrell continues to support Zion’s emphasis on the spiritual and intellectual growth of her members and has extended her outreach in the larger community. His vision is to have Zion serve this present age through teaching, tithing, evangelism, and spiritualism.
Under his pastorate, Zion has increased her fellowship with other churches in the community, joined the Avondale Credit Union, the Amos Project (which works with the Volunteers of America on the Faith Community Partnership Program), and the Avondale Community Outreach Ministry. Pastor Cantrell initiated a Health and Wellness Ministry to address health and wellness issues among African Americans, including HIV/Aids education; a Dr. Martin Luther King Interfaith Vesper Hour (January 2005); an Adopt-A-Student Ministry for college students; a prior educational partnership with Burton Elementary School; a Candlelight Communion Service; and an Endowment Fund. Pastor Cantrell has received numerous awards including the 2014 Pastor of the Year from the Baptist Ministers Conference of Cincinnati and the 2014 Humanitarian Award from the University of Cincinnati.