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History of Zion Lutheran Church

March 11, 1890 -- An organizational meeting was held under the direction of Rev. A.J. Enstam. The first name was "Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Merriam Park."

1893-1896 -- The congregation met at Brainerd, Woodruff, Union and Columbia halls, at a hall in St. Anthony Park, in Tatum Chapel and in homes, under the guidance of Rev. A. Sundberg. 38 baptisms were conducted and 11 people were confirmed.

1894 -- Primarily six families kept the church in existence, and 40 communicants were reported to the Minnesota Conference. Until 1900, meetings were held as regularly as possible under the leadership of several pastors and lay leaders.

1900 -- With donations from many, a small chapel was erected at Thomas and Fairview, on property donated by the Dickerman Real Estate Firm. Services were conducted every Sunday afternoon by Dr. P.A. Mattson. The congregation was composed of 22 adults and 38 children. There were 27 baptisms and four confirmations, and a Luther League was organized.

1901 -- Rev. A.J.  Frost replaced Dr. Mattson, and was called as the full-time pastor in 1902.

1905 -- The Senior Choir was organized.

1908 -- The Bon Ami Group was organized.

1911 -- Construction began on the present church building, on lots purchased with funds provided by Young People's Society. Church membership had increased to 190 adults.

1921 -- Construction was completed, and the property at Thomas and Fairview was sold. The name of the congregation was changed to "Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church." Membership was 225 communicants and 100 children.

1914 -- Fire damaged the interior of the church, after which several changes were made in the building.

1917 -- Pastor Frost resigned, and Rev. J.E. Linner began his ministry at Zion.

1919 -- A pipe organ was installed.

1920 -- A Junior Missionary Society was organized.

1921 -- The parsonage, at 1655 Blair Avenue, was built.

1922 -- The Women's Missionary Society was organized.

1924 -- Salem Lutheran Church of St. Anthony Park merged with Zion, and the Ladies' Aid was organized.

1928 -- An addition was made on the north and east sides of the building. The window in the front of the church was installed as a memorial to the parents of Elsa and Teckla Stjernquist.

1931 -- The congregation decided to have services only in English. The name was again changed, to "Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul." Church membership was 835 adults.

1932 -- Pastor Linner died, and Mr. Harold LeVander served the congregation until July 1, 1933.

1933 -- Rev. A.E. Olson began his ministry at Zion.

1935 -- A boy Scout Troop was organized.

1936 -- The Cameo Players were organized.

1939 -- An acoustical ceiling and light fixtures were installed, and repainting was done.

1941-1945 -- 205 young men from Zion served in World War II, and 10 of them gave their lives. The Dramatic club was disbanded in 1942 due to the War. When the War ended, Victory Thank Offering liquidated the $5,000.00 indebtedness.

1949 -- The Scandinavian Kitchen was built at the State Fair grounds. A Mother's Club was organized.

1950 -- The Scandinavian Kitchen was enlarged and improved, and an Explorer Scout Post was organized. Church membership was 960 adults.

1951 -- The parsonage was remodeled.

1953 -- A new church organ was purchased and installed.

1955 -- The balcony in the church was renovated.

1958 -- The ceiling in the church was renovated, a sound system was installed and interior painting was done.

1960 -- New hymnals were introduced. Church membership was 786 adults

1962 -- Zion Lutheran, as a member of the Augustana Lutheran Church, became part of the Lutheran Church in America. The Lutheran Church Women and Lutheran Church Men organizations were begun.

1963 -- Pastor Olson retired, and Pastor Reinaold G. Peterson began his ministry at Zion.

1965 -- The sanctuary was completely remodeled, including new pews, carpeting, altar and paraments. The mortgage was paid off in 18 months.

1966 -- The Scandinavian Kitchen was sold.

1968 -- The Parish House, at 1619 Lafond, was purchased.

1970 -- Pastor Peterson resigned, and Pastor Robert D. Johnson began his ministry at Zion. Church membership was 616 adults.

1971 -- Interior and exterior remodeling was done, including a new kitchen, a new roof on the church and parish house, and renovating the basement. Morning mid-week Lenten Services were begun, as Folk Singing Group was organized, the Junior Choir was reorganized and a Summer Canoe Camping Program was begun. 

1974 -- Pastor Willard Albertson began a "tent-making" ministry at Zion. The parsonage was renovated and repainted.

1975 -- Pastor Alberston resigned in October. Audrey Landquist was honored for serving 25 years as organist at Zion.

1978 -- Pastor Johnson resigned.

1978 and 1979 -- Vice Pastor Fred Ringhand and Council President Michael Tripple fulfilled the pastoral duties. Redecorating was done at the parsonage, including painting the basement and extensive work in the bathroom.

1979 -- Pastor Ernest Carlson began his ministry at Zion.

1980 -- The interior of the church was painted.

1981 -- A new organ was installed. The first annual congregational picnic was held in the spring. The congregation began using new hymnals, "The Lutheran Book of Worship."

1982 -- Insulation was installed in the ceiling of the church.

1984 -- New doors were installed on the church.

1987 and 1988 -- A remodeling and repair project was undertaken and completed. The project included rebuilding the tower, tuck pointing the downspouts, painting the exterior trim, grading and landscaping around the foundation, repairing and painting the basement walls, new carpeting in the sanctuary, new carpeting in the parsonage, a new sound system in the sanctuary and additional speakers for the organ, In 1988 the sanctuary air conditioning system was repaired and put into working condition.

1989 -- March 11 - A Service of Rededication was held on the 99th anniversary of the original date of incorporation and at the conclusion of the repair project in preparation for the Centennial year. Also, in 1989, the brass altar ware (candle holders, vases, offering plates, crossed and bookstand) was refinished.


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