When the congregants of the New Psalmist Baptist Church attended services last Sunday, they had more to celebrate than faith and friendship. They are heralding a new era with the grand opening of The Holy City of Zion.

Well over 3,000 worshipers packed the street in front of Marian Drive Saturday for the opening of the newly re-located New Psalmist Baptist Church. The opening marks a major step forward for the church, which has replaced its former premises – built in 1996 – with a facility that would benefit not only its members, but the entire community.

“Today is the day, and may I say it gives me very great pleasure that we have come to this very historic day when this new building, the Holy City of Zion is officially open,” said the Rt. Rev. Walter S. Thomas Sr., New Psalmist pastor.

New Psalmist member Sade Smith was awestruck as she looked into the bookstore and then the enormous 4,000-seat cathedral. “It’s hard to believe that this is the place – God is good.”

Bishop Thomas greeted the congregation, which numbered in the thousands, noting the momentous occasion for praise and thanksgiving to God, who had made it all possible.

Acknowledging the church for its many contributions to the community were Gov. Martin O’Malley, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore County Executive Jim T. Smith, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-M.D.). U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D- M.D.) state Sen. Lisa A. Gladden and other dignitaries.

Bishop Thomas became pastor in April of 1975. In three years the church moved from Druid Hill and North avenues to Cathedral and Franklin streets. While in downtown Baltimore the church flourished as it built an entire lunch time congregation of downtown workers who belonged to churches all over the city and beyond. The next move was its spot in the Uplands community until the Oct. 16 opening. As documented in the history of the church, Bishop Thomas has led New Psalmist from level to level of spiritual development and has grown the church membership from 200 to 7,000.

Bishop Thomas’ messages of hope, deliverance and salvation have attracted people from varied backgrounds, cultures and faiths seeking to know Jesus Christ in a more real and personal way. As the memorable opening celebration continues, the congregation looks forward to ministering to the community with a variety of services and activities for people of all ages.