History

Zion scotlandHISTORY OF ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH

The people of Zion Lutheran Church have a deep and faithful history of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever they found themselves to be. Enduring difficult economic times and persecutions the founding members of Zion Lutheran left Germany to Russian, and then Russia to settle on the great plains of the Dakota Territory.

In 1883 Zion Lutheran Church in Scotland was dedicated. Zion Lutheran became a congregation of the American Lutheran Church in 1930 after a merger of several regional synods. It was a German speaking church at this time and remained so until 1939. It was then gradually changed to an English speaking church. Two rural churches merged with Zion. Friedenstal merged in 1939 and Odessa in 1950.

At this time the Odessa church was moved into Scotland and enlarged. The Odessa congregation, named Zion Lutheran Church of Odessa, was established in 1880 and was the first German Lutheran congregation in the Dakota Territory and established under the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa. In May of 1949, a new parsonage was dedicated and the enlarged church was dzion odessaedicated in May of 1951. The original church was later sold to Maxwell Colony to be used as a church and the building from Odessa was moved to Scotland.

At this time the women were organized into a Women’s Mission Study Group and the Sunday School added more classes. In 1957 more Sunday School classes were once again added. The women all became American Lutheran Church Women members and were divided into 5 circles. St John’s Lutheran of Wittenburg became a synodical congregation in 1958 and was served by Zion Lutheran.

Looking to the future with foresight, faith and prospect of growth, a building fund for a new church and Sunday School facilities was established in 1958. It was put on hold when the minister accepted another call. When the new pastor arrived, plans were revived. After many meetings a plan was finally agreed upon. Ground breaking was held on May 15, 1966 at the present site. On August 18, 1966 the cornerstone was laid. The new pipe organ was purchased and installed in 1966. On May 14, 1967 the old church was De-Consecrated before the new church was dedicated.

In 1970 members of Immanuel Lutheran of Kaylor joined Zion Lutheran. May 15, 1977 was a momentous occasion for the member of Zion. Ten years after the dedication of the new church, the mortgage burning was held. The new bell tower was also dedicated at this time. Zion continued to move forward as an active church making its presence felt in the community.

ZionIn 1988, Zion Lutheran became part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America after the merger of the ALC and two other national church bodies. Unfortunately, the dwindling population of rural America seemed to be affecting Zion also. Sunday School enrollment started to dwindle and instead of classes being added we started to combine classes. The result of this was that in 2003 the congregation voted to share a pastor with the St. Dysmas prison congregation of Springfield. At this time the parsonage was also sold.

In 2008, Zion took a leap of faith and decided they were still too large and active for a part time pastor. It was decided to hire a full time pastor and to build a new parsonage. The new pastor arrived in June of 2009. The parsonage was dedicated a few months later. At this time Zion is a thriving, growing congregation under the leadership of Pastor Jonathan Vehar. Its presence is being felt in the community and surrounding area and looks to the future with faith and excitement. The story of Zion Lutheran Church is one that continues to unfold, as they seek to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in a world that is ever changing. Yet, in every new time and place, they hold still to Jesus’ words, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20”

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