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Cornelius News

Monument Association ‘exploring all options to protect and save’ Confederate statue

Donald Archer is chairman of Mt. Zion Monument Association

June 12. By Dave Yochum. The Mt. Zion Monument Association has responded to the request to move the Confederate Monument from the front lawn of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, saying members will explore “all options available to protect and save this significant part of the history of Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina.”

Here is the statement sent to us by the chairman of the monument association, Donald T. Archer: The Mt. Zion Monument Association has been charged with the preservation and upkeep of one of the most significant pieces of history in North Mecklenburg. A memorial to fallen soldiers that died defending their state and country. This memorial is most likely the only one in the state of North Carolina and possibly the Southeast that was funded and dedicated by fellow North Carolina soldiers in the early 1900s. In today’s politically charged climate, many people do not view this memorial as a significant and valuable piece of history. Due to this climate, the association is exploring all options available to protect and save this significant part of the history of Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina. Trustees of the Association receive no pay and volunteer their time and energies to maintain and preserve this rich history of North Carolina. The Association is not funded by any company, corporation, Church, or organization.

The co-senior pastors of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Angela Marlowe and Rev. Jonathan Marlowe, went public yesterday with their request (below) to move the 110-year old statue honoring Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War.

The request had been made before by clergy but never in a public way. The monument association is a private organization not associated with the church except by proximity and in some cases, simple membership in the church.

National movement in our own back yard

Monuments to Confederate soldiers and leaders are coming down across the South as America North and South reassesses its treatment of African Americans over many generations. The Cornelius statue has been vandalized twice in the past five years.


Mayor speaks out

Mayor Woody Washam issued this statement: “While the monument is a part of our history, it causes me great concern related to the current environment and that of our future. Unfortunately, this monument now delivers an offensive connotation to many in our community. I remain hopeful and confident that the current monument association (who owns the monument) will consider and ultimately make the right decisions to provide a positive message and direction for the future for all people.”

How to proceed?


The monument sits on private property deeded to the Mt. Zion Monument Association more than a century ago. The association members are generations removed from the people who erected it 110 years ago.

Monumental challenges lie ahead if it is to be moved: Who pays to move it? The members of the association are generations removed from those who erected it. Where could it go? It’s unclear if the governing body of the United Methodist Church will permit it go into the church-owned cemetery. At this point no one has stepped forward to take the monument or pay for its removal.

Letter from co-senior pastors of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church:

The Confederate monument and property is not owned by Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, nor is it affiliated with Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. 

The monument is owned and maintained by the Mt. Zion Monument Association, and it has been since its installation in 1909, when they installed it beside the church property.  


The Church has no authority to remove the monument.

In light of the recent events surrounding the killing of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis, and the many Black women, men and children before him, we’re seeing a moment of reckoning across the country. 

As United Methodists, we believe that in baptism, we are commissioned to resist injustice. Our founder John Wesley’s first rule encourages us to do no harm. Today, we are seeing very clearly the harm inflicted on Black people in our communities as a result of the long heritage of racism and white supremacy that pervade our society, as it has from our country’s founding. Policies are changing and confederate monuments similar to this one are coming down around the country. We call on the Mt. Zion Monument Association to consider the harm their monument causes to our Black brothers and sisters.   We ask them to listen to all the voices in our community, particularly the Black community of Cornelius, as they consider what to do with their monument.  We stand ready to assist them as they go about the hard process of listening to their neighbors.

—Rev. Jonathan Marlowe and Rev. Dr. Angela Marlowe