Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1861 by a group of men and women who had recently settled in the Fremont area. To satisfy their need for a place of worship, this group, with the assistance of Pastor Beyer, constructed a building with money from their own pockets. The first structure was blown over by a windstorm. But this didn't deter the congregation from erecting another building.
In 1885, our present church was built. The sanctuary has been remodeled several times since then. In 1971, an educational wing was added for Sunday school and Bible study. The additions and improvements through the years have added to the legacy left behind by the first men and women who established our congregation.
Today we have more than 175 members of all ages. Throughout our one-hundred-sixty-year history, our congregation has started various ministries and missions in the Fox Valley area. We continue to nurture the souls under our care and reach out to the community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We have added two more histories for those of you who might be interested in a more detailed description of Zion's development through the years. The first history "God Provides Salvation" was compiled for the 150th anniversary of Zion in 2011. The second history "History of the Congregation" was written in German and appeared in the worship service which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the church building. The worship service took place on October 27, 1935. We have provided a translation from the original German.
"GOD PROVIDES SALVATION" (2011)
The first Lutheran settlers arrived in our area and settled along the east and west banks of the Wolf River in about 1852, shortly after Wisconsin became a state. These pioneers, mostly from northern Germany, settled on government lands in the Rat River district, which is now known as the townships of Wolf River, Winchester, Caledonia, West Bloomfield, and New London. The entire area was covered with thick virgin forests. There were no cities, roads, or railways. It took a person of strong will and courage to settle in such an area and make a living off the land.
As immigrants passed through Milwaukee on their way north in the early 1850’s, they were often welcomed to the area by Rev. Lochner, who stayed in close contact with them. Rev. Lochner would visit and also serve these new Lutheran settlers with the assistance of pastors Ahner, Steinbach, Wagner, and Brose. These first settlers had a very strong faith and found it a real hardship to live without a church, school, and pastor. They were very thankful whenever one of these traveling pastors came through the area. As a result of the visits by Rev. Lochner and the other pastors, the first Lutheran church in this area was established in 1854 in the vicinity of what is now Zittau.
Pastor Martin Stephen of the Missouri Synod was called by Trinity in Oshkosh and Immanuel, Rat River and was installed March 1, 1857. Then, on March 16, 1857, the "German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation, U.A.C." was incorporated in Oshkosh at the court house. The documents were signed by Rev. Martin Stephan, Frederick Brodhagen, William Krueger, David Bohn, August Metzig, Ferdinand Krueger, and the elders, John F. Zink and Frederick Klemp.
Immanuel, which was a newly-formed congregation, built a log church located on section 13, Town of Wolf River, formerly Town of Winchester, Winnebago County (this is about 1.5 miles south of Zittau). The new congregation also engaged a parochial school teacher, Theodore Eissfeldt, who would also substitute for the pastor. This school was believed to be the very first parochial school to serve members of the present North Wisconsin District of the Missouri Synod. The names of the confirmands reveal that the school served families from the Town of Caledonia to the Rat River. Immanuel’s first confirmation class was confirmed in 1859 with twelve members. The second class was confirmed on the third Sunday after Easter in 1861. Beginning in 1862, classes were confirmed annually at the newly formed Zion Lutheran Church.
In 1857, Rev. G. Fochtmann and Rev. Waldt, who were pastors of an opposing synod, began to visit the Rat River area, causing confusion among the Lutherans settled there. Rev. Waldt helped organize two other congregations also in the Rat River area: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (County Road MM) located one mile east of the original Immanuel Rat River, Missouri Synod and the other in Zittau, located one-and-a-half miles north of the original Immanuel Rat River. The newly-formed church by Rev Waldt in Zittau was also named Immanuel Congregation. Because of the confusion and lack of doctrinal unity, a few members living north of the original Immanuel Rat River church formed their own congregation and chose the name "Zion".
These events led to the establishment of "Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, U.A.C. Town of Caledonia, Waupaca County and Town of Winchester (now Town of Wolf River) Winnebago County, Wisconsin, situated on section 35 on the Waupaca-Winnebago County Road," (now known as Marsh Road). This is the title as recorded in the original constitution. Zion was incorporated on May 30th, 1861.
This marks the beginning of the North District, in which Zion was located. Immanuel Rat River congregations were now located in what was known as the South District. In the early 1860’s, within a four or five mile area, there were four Lutheran congregations in two synods. Soon there would be a third synod.
Zion (North District) decided to build a church and parsonage and to call a pastor together with Immanuel, Rat River (South District). Though two congregations, they considered themselves one organization in two units. Zion subscribed to the same constitution which had been adopted in 1857 by Immanuel, Rat River. The original one-and-a-half acres of land for the church property was purchased from Ferdinand Krueger and his wife, Friedericke on July 9, 1861.
The original church, constructed of logs, was built just west of the cemetery (where the school house stood some years later) and was dedicated on September 8, 1861. That same day the first pastor, Rev. John N. Beyer, formerly the pastor in the Town of Herman, Howards Grove, Sheboygan County, was also installed. (This is the date from which Zion observes its anniversaries.) The dedication and installation were conducted by Pastors Lochner from Milwaukee and F. Ruhland from Oshkosh. Pastor Lochner preached on II Corinthians 4: 1-6, and Pastor Ruhland, who up to now had served the congregations in this area and around New London, Bloomfield, and Belle Plaine as daughter congregations of Oshkosh, preached on Matthew 6: 24-34.
The first trustees of Zion were August Krenke, Ferd. Brodhagen, and August Quandt. The charter members were Fr. Krenke, Fr. Krueger, Wm. Klemp, Aug. Quandt, Carl Zitzke, Carl Borchardt, Wm. Krueger, Ludwig Drews, John Roloff, Albert Klemp, Fr. Drews, John Drews and Carl Drews. Decendants from several of the original families are still in the congregation.
The first recorded meeting of Zion took place on December 9, 1861. The very first resolution read: "Resolved that in case Teacher Eissfeldt does not wish to serve us any longer, that we then call teacher Barthel of Oshkosh." The second resolution stipulated that the teacher serve both the North and South Districts (Zion and Immanuel, at Rat River), and that the North District build the teacherage and stable. The third resolution said that an addition should be built to the parsonage. The sixth resolution stipulated that both districts meet separately each month, and jointly each quarter during the year.
At the first general meeting of both districts which was held on June 12, 1862, at Immanuel Church, Rat River, it was decided that Fr. Brodhagen be the delegate at the synodical convention in Watertown. The Synodical Report lists August Schmidt as the substitute delegate attending.
With cash money very scarce, the voters decided that each pay three cents for a minutes (record) book.
Since it was difficult to get a teacher, it was decided to engage Fr. Klemp, Sr. to teach in the interim. The next teacher, Theo. Wegener, taught from 1866 to 1868, three days per week in the North District and two days per week in the South District. All children in their sixth year were to be enrolled at Easter time.
The 350th anniversary of the Reformation was celebrated on October 31, 1867. The service was held in Fr. Krenke's woods. The ladies provided the food. All members helped prepare the necessary accommodations. Teacher Wegener and Mr. Ziem provided a U.S. flag (37 stars) and a suitable church flag which were carried by the children in the procession. Four dozen medals were distributed by the teacher. Festival hymns and memoirs were prepared by the pastor.
In April 1868, Teacher Wegener died at the age of 34. His widow lived in the teacherage until fall, when some members (Voigt, Groth, & Leitzke) offered to build a house for her and her five children. The congregation paid for the necessary materials. Mrs. Wegener died eight years later at the age of 41. Teacher Hy. Ziehldorf was the next called teacher in 1869.
In 1870, great anxiety and sorrow spread over the whole district. A severe epidemic of "black pox" broke out. Many became infected and many died. The beloved Pastor Beyer contracted the disease and passed away on July 9, 1870, at the age of forty-five. He was buried in Zion's cemetery. His survivors included his widow, three sons and three daughters. Soon after, his youngest son, Paul, followed him in death at the age of nine. Mrs. Beyer was buried beside him in 1904.
Pastor Beyer's successor was Pastor J.L. Daib. Pastor Daib and the members of Zion saw the results of Pastor Beyer's labors. They evaluated Beyer's work thus: "He worked and labored in these parts far and wide, in true faithfulness and great diligence with God's Word and God blessed this greatly." Pastor Beyer served the following congregations and preaching stations: (1) Zion, (2) Immanuel at Rat River, (3) St. Paul's west of Wolf River - Section 16, (4) St. John's, Schroeders Corners, (5) St. John's, Fremont Road, (6) New London, (7) Mosquito Hill, 5 miles east of New London, and (8) Greenville. He held 130 Communion Services, communed close to 3,000, baptized 83, confirmed 99, married 32 couples, and buried 26.
Zion and Immanuel held 42 meetings; others were not counted. The meetings began with a hymn, prayer, Scripture reading and discussion of an article of the Augsburg Confession. When a case of church discipline came up for discussion, a chapter of Walther's Rechte Gestalt was read and discussed for clearer insight and understanding of the matter at hand.
The minutes revealed the respect of the members for the evangelical spirit of Pastor Beyer. When Pastor Beyer received a call to LaPort, Indiana, in 1867, members in the area from West Bloomfield to New London assembled in a special meeting and pleaded that he should not leave the parish. The call was returned.
The concern that the members had for the schooling of their children is impressive. Classes were conducted four or five months of the year, which seems to be the "norm" at that time in all country schools.
Pastor J.L. Daib was installed on December 17, 1870. Zion Congregation and Immanuel at Rat River decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Missouri Synod, which had taken place in Rev. Selle's congregation in Chicago in 1847 with a special service. In 1847, the Synod was very small. However, after 25 years, the Synod had spread into 26 states and into eastern Canada. The minutes state that "since God has by His grace blessed us and kept us with the pure Word and Sacraments; we therefore thank and praise Him in a special Divine Service in April, 1872".
The congregation was also mindful of its duty to apply church discipline when necessary according to Matthew 18 without legalistic measures. Often a period of three to four months was given an offender for reflection.
In June 1872, Rev. J.L. Daib accepted a call to Trinity at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Pastor C. Markworth, who was pastor of West Bloomfield and had served Zion as vacancy pastor, became the third pastor, serving Zion for eleven years and eight months. Pastor Markworth served the following places, some regularly and some for shorter periods: (1) Zion, (2) Immanuel at Rat River, (3) St. John's, Fremont Road, Town of Caledonia (4) St. John's, Schroeder's Corners, Town of Winchester (5) St. Paul's, Wolf River, until 1877, (6) Fremont Village, (7) Manteufel or Clayton, (8) Amherst, 1873-1874, (9) Tomac, 1875, (10) Phil. Mill, Town of Mukwa, 1873, (11) Weyauwega, which organized February 25, 1872. Pastor Markworth, Weyauwega’s first pastor, served until 1875, when the West Bloomfield pastor took over.
At times, when the congregation had some very difficult internal problems to contend with it would call upon synodical officers and neighboring pastors for advice and guidance. Of course, not all meetings were successful due to the nature of the problem. One real problem was that the other Lutheran congregations would welcome and accept defecting members without question or release, even accepting members who were openly under bans according to Matthew 18. Protests by Zion went unheeded.
The years 1880 to 1888 were years of much stress and strife. Much of this was caused by Rev. Carl Althof, who publicly proclaimed many untruths about the Missouri Synod's teachings regarding predestination. This caused much bitterness in the entire community and eventually caused St. John's congregation at Schroeder's Corner to break up and join his cause.
Pastor Markworth had served this large area for almost twelve years, preaching three and four times each Sunday. The last three years, as apparent from the records, must have been quite difficult for him.
In the spring of 1882, the school room and teacherage were destroyed by fire. Pastor Markworth died suddenly from a stroke while attending a synodical convention in Watertown, WI in 1884. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". However, one bright spot must have been the decision by Zion in 1882 to build a new brick church, but this could not be carried out until 1885.
Zion was still plagued with many troubles. Rev. Althof had broken with the Wisconsin Synod and was going about destroying what others had built up with much labor. In 1884, Immanuel congregation at Rat River, the oldest one in these parts, disbanded, and the few remaining members joined Zion. Rev. Althof had therefore succeeded in breaking up two Missouri Synod congregations and introduced a third Lutheran Synod, no doubt to his own great joy.
The fourth pastor of Zion was Rev. L. Schuetz, who served from 1884 to 1896. In the first meeting, during his tenure, plans were made to proceed with the prior resolution regarding the building of a new church. On April 11, 1885, a parcel of land, one acre plus two square rods, was purchased from Albert Krenke for $25.00. The church was built where Zion now stands. A special service was held for the laying of the cornerstone.
The congregation was sorely tried when, on July 12, 1885, a storm completely demolished the almost finished building. At the very next meeting, the members who were present prayed to God for courage and strength to bear also this affliction in true humility, believing that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28. During the meeting, they decided to rebuild an even larger and stronger structure. A contract was given for $2,159.00. It was noted that as the last stone was laid, the last dollar had also been paid. The pastor's wife did all the cooking for the builders. The dedication took place December 5, 1885.
A change in the parish took place in 1885. Fremont Village organized St. Paul's Church. The members of St. John's, Fremont Road, and St. Paul's, Town of Wolf River, were encouraged to join the newly formed Fremont Village Church.
In 1892, Zion's parsonage got its final form by adding the two wings, east and west, and making it two-storied. It cost $1,009.14.
In 1895, with the installation of Teacher Kalb, the congregation adopted a detailed curriculum for its parochial school. In October 1896, Pastor Schuetz accepted a call. Pastor Theodore Bretscher of Birnamwood succeeded him as Zion's fifth pastor, serving from 1897-1909. During his tenure, a new teacherage was built in the Town of Wolf River, Section 1 on County Road (now known as Marsh Rd.) for $424.00. This replaced the original teacherage that burned down in 1882.
In 1903, two church bells were purchased for $180.00. One bell weighing 800 pounds and the other 350 pounds were designed to harmonize well. The congregation then purchased a second-hand pipe organ from Pastor Dovidat's church in Oshkosh for $175.00.
Pastor Bretscher accepted a call to Beloit, WI. Rev. August Mueller became the sixth pastor of Zion and served from January 1910 to 1927.
The Lord took from his labors the faithful teacher, C. Schliebe in May 1911. A special meeting was held and the congregation decided (1) to pay for the flowers ordered by the school children and the congregation, (2) the elders, two school trustees, and two church trustees were to be the pallbearers, (3) the two church trustees were to accompany the deceased to Watertown for interment, the trip being paid for by the congregation, (4) all doctor bills and funeral expenses also be paid by the congregation.
At a meeting on August 4, 1912, the location for the new schoolhouse was finally decided. The schoolhouse was built onto the confirmation room (which was the original log church), west of the cemetery. Marie Schliebe taught school from 1911 to 1916, followed by teacher Mehrstaedt from 1916 to 1921. The teacher's salary from 1916 was to be $500.00.
In 1925, a two-manual pipe organ was purchased from Hinners Company for $3,000.00. The congregation introduced one monthly evening service in English in March 1925. In October 1925, electric power was installed in the parsonage, and an electric motor and blower for the pipe organ was installed as well.
A peaceful release was granted to Pastor Mueller in April 1927. Rev. Enno Claus became the seventh pastor of Zion. He served only eleven months and was granted a release in February 1928.
The eighth pastor to serve Zion was Rev. W.C. Schaefer from Saskatchewan. He was pastor from June 3, 1928, to June 14, 1942.
In 1935, the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Zion church was celebrated. A Jubilee Service was held by Rev. H. Klemp for the morning worship service, and President H. Daib held a worship service in the afternoon.
In April 1936, the congregation, under the leadership of Pastor Schaefer, decided once again to call a teacher, after a lapse of fifteen years. Candidate Teacher Roemke accepted the call and served faithfully until 1944.
The teacherage was provided with electric lights in 1937. A major redecoration project was undertaken in 1939. The church was repainted and new lights and the stained glass windows were installed.
Pastor Schaefer accepted a call to Marengo, IL in June, 1942. Rev. H.R. Neitzel from Kennan, WI accepted Zion's call to serve as the ninth pastor. He served from August 30, 1942, to December 1945.
During this period the ladies of the congregation were encouraged to organize a Ladies Aid Society. More services in English were introduced (every second and fourth Sundays). In 1945, the envelope system was introduced, and the annual financial reports were printed.
After receiving a number of calls, Teacher Roemke persuaded a reluctant congregation to grant him a peaceful release to St. James in Shawano, WI. The call for a teacher was now sent to Teacher M.F. Hoffmann in Kaukauna, WI who accepted and was installed in August 1944 in a special service and reception. The school reports showed that forty-seven children were enrolled in the eight grades.
Pastor H.R. Neitzel was given a peaceful release to accept a call to Lutheran Child's Welfare Association in Addison, IL. Rev. R.D. Tornow of Beemer, NE accepted Zion's call, becoming its tenth pastor, and was installed in a special service on May 5, 1946. During Pastor Tornow’s time the basement was hand dug under the existing church building, and a new oil burning furnace was installed. Pastor Tornow was called upon in 1949 to serve the mission congregation located on the northeast side of Appleton.
The congregation continued to improve its property such as the cemetery, church building, school, parsonage and teacherage. Zion's members also contributed $2,515.00 to Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, WI, but later the donation was returned to the members.
Again, the congregation was saddened by the death of its beloved pastor, R.D. Tornow, when the Lord called him home to his eternal reward at the age of 58 on October 10, 1950. The congregation paid all hospital and doctor bills.
On November 27th, 1950, the members met to call their eleventh pastor, with Pastor G. Bernthal opening the meeting with a Scripture reading and prayer for the Lord's guidance. Pastor Emil Messerschmidt of Westfield, WI was called. He was installed on December 26, 1950, and served Zion until September 1954.
Zion congregation observed the 90th anniversary of its founding with special services of prayer, praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord for all His grace and the blessings He so abundantly supplied. On June 17, 1951, two special services were held, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Some changes and updates in the parsonage and teacherage were done at this time; these homes were now fully modernized.
Once again the congregation became vacant as Pastor E. Messerschmidt accepted a call to St. Paul's Church at Hamburg (Naugart) in September 1954. Rev. Paul Westmeyer was chosen as vacancy pastor, serving Zion until November 1956, when Rev. John Lucht from Saskatchewan accepted the call as the twelfth pastor.
In 1957, a lighted cross was placed on the front of the church, and tile flooring was laid in the church pew area. Pastor and Mrs. Lucht initiated a Sunday school program at Zion in 1958, starting with a cradle roll and nursery and kindergarten classes. The parking area of the church was blacktopped in 1959. In 1960, the Maas chimes were installed from Heid Music Company for $550.00. A new communion rail was purchased, the front steps in the chancel were remodeled, and the altar was moved back.
On September 17, 1961, Zion congregation thanked God for a century of blessings. This centennial celebration was observed in two morning services with Rev. W. C. Schaefer as the guest speaker, and one evening service with the Rev. Eldor Bruss, a son of the congregation, preaching the sermon.
A Wednesday evening service was also held on September 20th. Another son of the congregation, the Rev. Adolph Bruss, preached the sermon. Pastor John Lucht served as the liturgist. A centennial book, "100 Years of Grace 1861-1961" was produced under the direction of Pastor Lucht, Teacher Hoffmann, and the members of the Centennial Planning Committee.
At this time the congregation’s thoughts turned to the future of the Christian day school. The school building was in need of repair and consideration was therefore given to either renovate the present structure or construct an addition onto the church building. Action on this project was put aside for several years.
Early in 1962, after several years of deliberation, Zion went ahead with the purchase of new pews at a cost of $1,989.00. Dedication of the new pews took place in October 1962.
The question of incorporation also came up, and later that year the voters granted authority for Articles of Incorporation to be drawn up. In January 1963, these articles were accepted.
1963 marked the 50th anniversary of Pastor Lucht's service in the pastoral ministry. This milestone was observed with a special service of thanksgiving followed by a reception in the church basement. The seven-stick candelabras were donated to the church in 1964.
In August 1965, Teacher Hoffmann accepted a call to Tigerton, WI. The congregation decided to keep its day school going and proceeded to call a teacher. However, when it was obvious that a teacher was not available for the upcoming school year, Zion decided to wait a year and in the meantime seek a teacher for the 1966-1967 school year. In an effort to compensate for the children's loss of daily contact with the Scriptures, the Sunday school program was expanded to include all the children from kindergarten through eighth grade.
On March 1, 1966, Zion's parochial school was officially closed at a meeting of the congregation's voters. At the same time, Vacation Bible School was authorized for kindergarten through eighth grade.
In 1967, a new furnace was purchased for the church. Early in 1968, Pastor Lucht announced his plans to retire later that year. Since there was a shortage of pastors, Zion received a vicar from seminary. Willard Krueger accepted this position and began to serve the congregation in July 1968. At this time it was decided to celebrate Holy Communion once a month rather than every other month as had been the custom in the past.
Zion issued an official call to Vicar Krueger in February 1969 to serve as its thirteenth pastor. He accepted the call and was ordained and installed at Zion on June 8, 1969.
1969 was a busy year at Zion. Authorization was given for the purchase of new carpeting in the church. In July, a new Allen Organ was purchased for $3,469.25. This replaced the pipe organ which had enriched the worship services since 1925. Also, a committee was appointed to consider the construction of an education wing to the church building.
Rev. Lucht's retirement was observed with a special dinner in August 1969. The Lucht's moved into the teacherage which had been purchased from the congregation by a member of their family.
Early in the fall of 1969, Pastor Krueger was given permission to serve as vacancy pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church, Town of Lind, Waupaca, WI. At Zion's October meeting, a dual parish arrangement with Emmaus was considered, but the following month Zion voted against the idea.
In January 1970, authorization was given for construction of an education wing to be added onto the church. The committee began to contact architects and contractors.
In March 1970, Pastor Krueger accepted a call to St. Paul, Shawano, and Zion, Gresham, WI. The dual parish idea was once again considered at Zion as the congregation by itself was too small to support a fulltime pastor. With Emmaus in Waupaca essentially in the same situation, committees from both churches were appointed to discuss this possibility.
In April 1970, Zion and Emmaus became a dual parish and called one pastor to serve both congregations. In the absence of a pastor at Zion, Pastor Hanson from Greenville served Zion as vacancy pastor. After a number of calls were returned, it was decided to ask for a candidate from the Seminary. On October 19, 1970, Noel Koss accepted the call and was installed as Zion's fourteenth pastor in January of 1971.
In April 1971, approval was given to build an education wing onto the church at a cost of $28,000.00. A spring groundbreaking ceremony was followed by summer and fall construction. The dedication took place on December 12, 1971, with former Pastor Willard Krueger as the guest speaker.
In July 1972, a new church sign was constructed.
Pastor Koss accepted a call to Marysville, Washington, in January 1973. Pastors Westmeyer and Going, retired pastors at St. Paul's, Fremont, shared the vacancy at Zion until June 17, 1973, when Candidate Richard Mundt was installed as the fifteenth pastor at Zion.
A new cross was placed on the steeple in 1973. A mortgage burning ceremony took place on June 20, 1976, as Zion celebrated the full repayment of the debt on the educational wing addition. The congregation voted to proceed with the repair of the church's exterior walls in that same year.
In 1977, a committee of Zion members was authorized to do a study regarding the redecoration of the church interior. In February 1978, the redecoration project was given final approval and a bid of $32,470.00 was accepted. The redecoration began in early June and went throughout the summer months. Worship services were held in the basement of the church. On September 3, 1978, the first service was held in the newly redecorated church. Dedication took place on January 28, 1979 with Rev. Richard Drews, a son of the congregation, as the guest speaker.
In April 1978, the congregation accepted the revised rules and regulations for the Zion Cemetery.
Zion's Sunday school observed its twentieth anniversary in May of that year. Since the pastors resided at the Emmaus parsonage, members of Zion made the decision to sell Zion’s parsonage. The sale was completed in July 1978. The voters decided that a portion of the income from the sale would be put toward the cost of the church redecoration and the balance of $15,000.00 would be put into the Lutheran Church Extension Fund to be set aside for the purchase of a new parsonage should one be needed in the future. A chancel lamp was donated in memory of the Rev. John H. Lucht that year.
In July 1979, the Zion Worship Committee was formed to work with Pastor Mundt in evaluating various aspects of the worship service and the devotional life of the members. Earlier that year, Zion also joined four other area churches in sponsoring "The Lutheran Hour" on a local Waupaca radio station (WDUX) each Sunday morning.
In January 1980, authorization was given to purchase and install a sound amplification system in the church sanctuary and in the basement.
Zion observed its 120th anniversary on September 13, 1981. The Rev. Victor A. Bartelt from Elm Grove, WI was the guest speaker. In conjunction with this anniversary, the senior choir produced a record album of cherished anthems and hymns for the listening pleasure of its members, families and friends.
In April 1982, approval was given for a youth representative to be present at Zion's council and voters' meetings. The congregation purchased Lutheran Worship liturgy books. Zion participated in a three year commitment of $1,800.00 to Concordia College, WI for its Second Century in Christ campaign.
On June 26, 1983, Zion and Emmaus congregations held a surprise party to celebrate Pastor Mundt's tenth anniversary in the ministry following a mission festival held at the Weyauwega Fair Grounds.
Zion celebrated the 100th anniversary of its present church building with a Festival Service on September 29, 1985. A brief history of the church building was prepared. The loose plate offering for this celebration was given to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
In October 1985, approval was given to purchase 125 copies of the new Lutheran Worship hymnal. It was decided that these new hymnals would be used twice a month in our worship services.
Zion celebrated its 125th anniversary with two special services in September 1986. Two sons of Zion served as guest pastors at the service on September 7, 1986. Rev. Eldor A. Bruss from Marshall, MO, who was confirmed in 1945, preached the sermon. The liturgy was led by Rev. Richard T. Drews from Chicago, IL, who was confirmed in 1960.
Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, speaker on "The Lutheran Hour", from St. Louis, MO, was the guest pastor at the service held on September 14. The liturgy was led by Pastor Mundt. With so many people wanting to hear Dr. Hoffmann speak the church was bursting at the seams. People sat on the stairs going up to the balcony and more people sat in the basement. A catered dinner was served in the basement following the service.
A 125th anniversary book, "Led By God’s Love 1861- 1986" was produced by the 125th Anniversary Committee, with Mr. Orwald Tews serving as Chairman. Mr. Edward Tews, Mr. Aaron Bartel, Mr. Arthur Posselt, Jr., Mr. Alvin Krenke, and Pastor Mundt also served on this committee.
In August 1990, the Zion/Emmaus congregations gave Pastor Mundt and family a joint farewell reception and catered dinner as he accepted a call to Hemlock, MI. He went with our blessing to do the work he was called to do. Pastor Paul Hartwick served as vacancy pastor.
Pastor Edward Knuth accepted the call to become our sixteenth pastor and was installed at Zion/Emmaus on Dec. 9, 1990. A luncheon and reception followed the service at each church.
In October 1991, the voters of Zion approved the purchase of a cordless microphone. A decision was made in February 1992 to have the exterior trim of the church painted. This was a welcome facelift that greatly improved the appearance of the church. In January 1993, the "Greeter/Usher" program was initiated at Zion to assist the pastor as he was driving from Emmaus.
In October 1993, a discussion of women's voting rights was held. It received the two-thirds vote requirement, and Zion's Constitution was amended to allow women to become voting members.
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Grunwald were the custodians at Zion serving from 1944 to 1970. Upon their retirement, George & Hildegard Bartel accepted the duties as custodians until October 31, 1993. Both couples resigned after many years of faithful service. On November 1, 1993, custodial duties were taken over by Kevin & Candi Hoewisch and Alan & Jari Posselt. In March 2010, Kevin & Candi resigned their custodial duties, and Lori Friebel accepted the position.
The original carpeting in the education wing was replaced in April 1994 by a decision of the congregation. The walls were also painted and window treatments replaced.
On November 30, 1995, Pastor Knuth resigned his call which was accepted by Zion’s members. This left the dual parishes of Zion/Emmaus without a pastor. Rev. Mark Drengler of St. Paul's, Fremont, served Zion as vacancy pastor.
Following many discussions and meetings, members of Zion thought they could once again "hold their own" as a single parish. One concern remained, however: Would Emmaus be able to "stand alone" once again, too? In March 1996, after many meetings and prayers, Zion decided to become a single parish and call its own pastor. A request for a spring graduate from the seminary was prepared in April 1996. This request and call was withdrawn when Rev. John Schmidt from St. Mark's, Manawa, (Symco) made himself available. Zion then extended a call to Rev. Schmidt. He was installed on July 7, 1996, to become our seventeenth pastor.
As a "stand alone" parish once again, looking to curtail expenses and meet goals and obligations, the voters decided at the spring meeting in 1996 to have volunteers do the lawn care of the church and cemetery grounds.
In July 1996, voters decided to replace the cross on the exterior of the church as numerous attempts to repair it failed. The bell tower was also repaired from water leakage. In July 1997, approval was granted to repair or replace the steeple roof due to deterioration.
In January 1997, Sue Krenke was appointed to serve as Zion’s office secretary. Mrs. Beth Knuth had served this position from 1991-1995, and in 1996, Cathy Krenke was appointed to this position.
In 1997, Pastor Schmidt began serving as vacancy pastor at St. Paul’s, Fremont.
In April 1998, the altar candelabras and the Communion candles were converted to oil. The carpeting in the church sanctuary was replaced at a cost of $3,965 in January 1999 .
After many meetings and prayerful thoughts and discussions, Zion agreed to enter a dual parish arrangement on June 15, 1999, with St. Paul’s, Fremont. At the July 1999 meeting, voters approved a resolution stipulating that Zion would extend a call to Pastor John Schmidt to serve as the administrative pastor of the Zion/St. Paul parishes. At this meeting, a call committee representing Zion for Zion/St. Paul parish was approved.
In January 2000, crack repair and seal coating of the church parking lot was authorized to be done in spring. Striping for parking spaces was also approved. In April of that year, the sound system was upgraded, and in October, a pew refinishing/cushion fund was established.
In January 2001, a call was extended to Rev. Adrian Hanft from Our Father's Lutheran Church, Littleton, CO. He accepted the call and was installed on June 17, 2001, at St. Paul.
On June 10, 2001, Zion held a confirmation reunion, the first of two events to celebrate its 140th anniversary. Past confirmands were invited and recognized with a special dinner. Pastor Willard Krueger served as guest pastor. A confirmation "Year Book" was made available.
On September 9, 2001, the second 140th anniversary celebration was held. The theme was "Reflecting God’s Love" and Pastor Mundt was the guest pastor. Following the service, a noon meal and entertainment was held at Hahn-A-Lula Resort and Ballroom in Fremont.
At the voters' meeting on February 18th, 2002, Pastor Schmidt gave a brief overview of his plans to retire from fulltime ministry as of December 31, 2002, and offered some options that he would consider for part-time service to the dual parish.
Candi Hoewisch and Jari Posselt assumed the task of co-superintendents of Zion’s Sunday school program in October 2002.
On May 13, 2003, Zion approved a resolution to discontinue the dual parish agreement with St. Paul's, Fremont. Pastor John Schmidt continued to serve Zion while Pastor Hanft served at St. Paul’s. Also in May, Zion decided to support the local Hmong Ministry in the Fox Valley.
A resolution was approved to set up a committee consisting of the chairman and the elders that would set guidelines for the official call to be issued to Pastor Schmidt following the Councils’ recommendation at their September 2003 meeting.
In October 2003, Pastor Schmidt introduced the Baker family (Together in Mission Family) on Mission Sunday. Zion continues to support the Bakers in Kazakhstan.
Zion purchased a new organ at a cost of $13,065.00, plus the cost of the lift to place it in the balcony. This was done in February 2004. The Youth Group was approved in February 2004 to sponsor soup suppers before the midweek Lenten services as their fund raiser.
Pastor David Habermas served Zion from August 16, 2004 through December 31, 2004, as a vacancy pastor.
The North Wisconsin District office suggested that it may be possible to designate Zion as a mission congregation and then call a pastor to serve Zion as an outreach mission pastor. This arrangement would allow District funds to be applied to the full-time salary/benefit package of the respective pastor. After extensive discussion, a resolution was approved for Council to meet with the District’s representative to obtain a more complete understanding of the details concerning this arrangement.
At the December 2004 meeting, Pastor Duane Lueck from North Wisconsin District presented several options for Zion: 1) Zion proceeds on its own to call a pastor or request a vicar. 2) Partner with District in sharing a pastor to serve Zion and also work at mission outreach in our community. 3) Partner with St. Paul's, Fremont, or Emmaus, Town of Lind, Waupaca in calling a pastor. 4) Provide funding to Shepherd of the Hills, Greenville, for pastoral services. 5) Consider encouraging a member to seek training in Synod's special program for laypersons to become ordained ministers. After lengthy discussions and Councils' recommendation for further member discussion, groups were formed by age level, with Pastor Lueck leading those discussions. A resolution was approved to adopt Option #2 as Zion's first course of action.
Approval was given to ask seminarian student, Eric Voight, to lead our worship service on December 26, 2004, in Pastor David Habermas' absence. Eric Voight was a recipient of a higher education grant from Zion in 2000. At a special meeting, in January 2005, a resolution was approved to accept the contract with Pastor Schmidt as presented. This was to fill the pastoral vacancy at Zion.
The church Council met with families independently in order to ascertain their preference to either partner with St. Paul's, Fremont, or Shepherd of the Hills, Greenville, or to remain as an independent congregation. The consensus was for Zion to attempt to remain independent. It was also felt that Zion needed more member support and the need to extend invitations to area families, especially anyone new to the area.
In July 2005, Zion’s Council received information on Pastor Doug Reinders who would start a one-year Clinical Pastoral Education program in September 2005. Pastor Reinders would be available to serve Zion part-time beginning in August. It was decided that Pastor Reinders serve as vacancy pastor at Zion until August 2006.
A follow-up meeting was held between Zion and Shepherd of the Hills, at which time Zion's Chairman, Alvin Krenke, announced that the possibility of a partnership was "not feasible at this time".
Some changes were made in Zion's cemetery regulations in October 2005. Alan Posselt was in charge of having the work done on the new cemetery sign, which was funded through Franklin Reinhardt memorials. A cemetery directory was later placed on the back of the sign by the sextons, Darrell and Sandy Hartfiel.
In April 2006, Pastor Reinders expressed his desire to serve as Zion's pastor. A call was extended to him effective the next quarter, and he was installed on June 25, 2006, to serve as our eighteenth pastor.
In December 2006, Pastor Reinders and the elders started the annual tradition of contacting members via phone calls in order to stay connected to our members. This is done each fall.
In February 2007, Zion established a website, www.Zion-Fremont.com with the aid of LaDella Posselt.
Beginning in May 2007, worship services with Communion began to be held once a month on the first Monday night following the first Sunday of the month.
Five members from Zion including Pastor Reinders went on a mission trip to New Orleans, LA in January 2008 to assist with the rebuilding of homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A group of volunteers from Zion went to Oshkosh to help with the aftermath of damage from the June 2008 flooding.
In October 2008, as part of Zion's Mission Festival, students from Peace Lutheran Outreach at UW-Stevens Point spoke and answered questions after the worship service. A craft and bake sale was held in conjunction with the Mission Festival and Harvest Dinner. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised were shared with the Peace Outreach at UW Stevens Point.
Zion held its first contemporary worship service led by Phil and Judy Cassler, March 29, 2009. This service continued to be held at 11:00 a.m. following the regular morning worship and Bible study the last Sunday of each month. In February 2011, the service time was moved to 10:30 a.m.
Four members from Zion including Pastor Reinders went to Greensburg, KS on a mission trip from April 18-25, 2009. The group did home repairs as a way to help the community recover following a devastating tornado.
Seven of Zion's members including Pastor Reinders spent a week in February 2010 in Galveston, TX doing volunteer mission work. The group worked on three homes which were damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 2008.
In March 2010, Game Night was introduced at Zion where members and guests can get together the first Thursday each month for games, fellowship, and snacks.
After much thought and discussion, the congregation decided to move forward with plans to repair the deteriorating bell tower and steeple. Plans also included an addition with an elevator and restroom in a larger entry area at the south end of the existing building. The cost of the total construction project was projected to be approximately $369,000 including the architect fees. Aaron Bartel & Art Posselt, Jr. served as leaders on the Building Committee.
Replacing the bell tower and steeple began in April 2010. During this construction, it was discovered that the larger bell actually weighed 1200 pounds and that the smaller bell weighed 750 pounds. These are the same bells installed in 1903.
In May 2010, eight members of Zion received training from the North Wisconsin District of LCMS to become certified as a Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) member. Should a disaster strike, this training enables these team member volunteers to enter a disaster area and give assistance in a shorter response time where needed.
In June 2010, 22 members attended CPR and AED training and became certified.
Construction of the new addition to the front of the church began in August 2010 and was finished in November of the same year. The new addition was dedicated on December 5, 2010. December 5th is the same date that the church building was dedicated in 1885.
In 2011 the congregation celebrated its 150th Anniversary under the theme "God Provides Salvation." Former pastors, Willard Krueger, John Schmidt, Noel Koss, and Richard Mundt, preached at the special services held from June to October. Pastor Tim Wenger, 3rd Vice President of the North Wisconsin District, was the guest preacher at the special service in June.
Four members of the congregation went to Joplin, MO to help in restoration efforts in the aftermath of a large tornado. They went to Joplin in 2011 and again in 2012.
In July of 2013 several children went to the National Youth Gathering held in San Antonio, TX with a group from St. Paul’s in Fremont. Later that year, three members went to Minot, ND to help restore homes that were destroyed by a flood.
The Events Planning Committee was officially formed. It assumed responsibility for planning special events for the church.
A special Advent service followed by a meal was added in December 2014. It was the first time an Advent service had been held in many years.
In 2015 a group of four went to Norfolk, NE to assist Orphan Grain Train in its mission to ship humanitarian aid to various places around the world. Trees were purchased with memorial money and planted along Marsh road to provide shade for the cemetery.
An LP tank was donated by a member of the congregation. The church has more flexibility to purchase LP gas at a cheaper cost.
The area under the altar was cleaned up and insulated. An old fuel oil tank was removed and insulation installed. This was done to reduce heating costs.
The congregation purchased the Concordia Organist as a backup to the church’s organists.
In 2016 the congregation decided to update the children’s playground equipment with funds from a memorial.
The congregation also celebrated its 155th anniversary. A special meal was catered in to mark the occasion.
A group of four people went to Columbia, SC, in 2017 to help restore homes ruined by flooding.
In 2018 a group of three went to Houston, TX to help people recover from a hurricane which caused widespread damage.
Youth went to Minnesota to participate in the Synod’s national youth gathering held in 2019. The gathering is held every three years. A group of four went to North Carolina to restore homes destroyed by flooding as the result of a hurricane.
In 2020, a group went to Washington D.C. to participate in the March for Life. The March is held each year to support life and protest the practice of abortion.
The nationwide Covid pandemic caused our congregation to hold small group Communion services from March to the beginning of May. Weekly Bible study continued during this time. A weekly service was recorded and placed on the congregation’s website. Regular worship services resumed in May and were conducted as they had been before the pandemic.
In October, new asphalt was put on the parking lot.
The congregation celebrated its 160th anniversary in 2021. Former pastor, John Schmidt, was the guest speaker at the service on July 18th. The congregation gathered for a meal following the service.
A Safety Committee was officially formed. It assumed the responsibility of putting in place procedures to follow in the event of a crisis.
Pastors Who Served Zion:
Martin Stephan, March 1857-1859
F. Ruhland, 1859-1861
1. John N. Beyer, Sept. 1861-July 1870
2. J.L. Daib, Dec. 1870-July 1872
3. C. Markworth, 1872-1884
4. L. Schuetz, Sept. 1884-Oct.1896
5. Theodore Bretscher, 1897-1909
6. August Mueller, Jan. 1910-Apr. 1927
7. Enno Claus, Apr. 1927-Feb.1928
8. W.C. Schaefer, June 1928-June 1942
9. H.R. Neitzel, Aug.1942- Dec. 1945
10. R.D. Tornow, May 1946-Oct.1950
11. Emil Messerschmidt, Dec.1950-Sept.1954
12. John H. Lucht D.D., Nov. 1956-June 1968
13. Willard L. Krueger,
Vicar July 1968-June 1969
Pastor, June 8, 1969-Mar.1970
Hanson, vacancy, Apr. 1970-1971
14. Noel D. Koss, Jan. 1971-Jan.1973
15. Richard E. Mundt, June 1973-Aug. 1990
Hartwick, vacancy, about 4 mos.
16. Edward Knuth, Dec. 1990-Nov. 1995
Drengler, vacancy, Dec.1995-June 1996
17. John17. John Schmidt, July 1996-Jan. 2005
Adrian Hanft, (w/St. Paul’s) June 2001-Feb.2003
Habermas, Retired, vacancy, Aug. 2004-Dec.2004
John Schmidt, Retired, vacancy, Jan 2005-July2005
Doug Reinders, vacancy, Aug. 2005-June 2006
18. Doug Reinders, June 2006 -
Past Teachers of Zion:
Theodore Eissfeldt, 1857-1861
Fr. Klemp, Sr., 1862
Theodore Wegener, 1866-1868
Hy. Ziehlsdorf, 1869-1873
J.C. Bock, 1874-1877
I. Lehnigk, 1877-1882
J. Hammer, 1887-1893
B. Kalb, 1895-1900
C. Schliebe, 1900-1911
Marie Schliebe, 1911-1916
F. Mehrstaedt, 1916-1921
E. Roemke, 1936-1944
Martin F. Hoffmann, 1944-1965
Geschichte der Gemeinde (1935) Original.
(Translation provided below)
"Bis hieher hat uns der Herr geholfen." So sprach einst der Prophet Samuel, als Gott den Kindern Israel abermals einen Sieg ueber ihre Feinde gewaehrt hatte. Und er setzte einen, Stein zum Andenken an diese Huelfstatt Gottes. Kinder und Kindeskinder sollten beim Anblick dieses Steines an Gottes grosze Taten denken.
Wir, die Glieder der Ev. Luth. Zions Gemeinde, koennen bei Gelegenheit unseres heutigen Jubilaeums auch in diese Worte Samuels einstimmen. Wir wollen bei unser Jubelfeier dem Herrn einen Denkstein setzen. Zwar in etwas anderer Gestalt als Samuel, naemlich, in der Gestalt einer kurzen Geschichte unserer Gemeinde.
Ueber die ersten Anfaenge unserer Gemeinde haben wir nichts Schriftliches vorfinden koennen, und so haben wir uns auf muendliche Ueberlieferung verlassen muessen. Wir haben aber nichts angenommen, was nicht genuegend bezeugt und bestaetigt war.
Die ersten deutch-luth. Ansiedler kamen in diese Umgegend etwa im Jahre 1854. Bald folgten mehr. Dichter, ununterbrochener Urwald bedeckte damals die ganze Umgegend. Staedte, Wege, Eisenbahnen gab es noch nicht. Es erforderte einen Heldenmut, in eine solche Wildnis einzudringen, und ihr ein Leben abzudringen.
Diese ersten Ansiedler waren aber auch Glaubenshelden. Sie empfanden es als einen groszen Mangel, dasz sie ohne Kirche, Schule und Seelssorger dahinleben muszten. Welche Freude, als da der erste luth. Reiseprediger sein Erscheinen machte! Es war dies Pastor Fr. Lochner von Milwaukee.
Sein Nachfolger war der treuverdiente Pastor Ruhland, der damals seinen Wohnsitz in Oshkosh hatte. Er erwies sich als ein Mann der seinem Heilande mit ganzer Liebe und Treue ergeben war. Die Jahre seiner Amtstaetigkeit sind mit reichem Segen gekroent. Aber es was noch immer eine Predigstation. Eine organisierte Gemeinde bestand noch nicht. Aber im Jahre 1861 trennten sich eine Anzahl von der Gemeinde zu Zittau wegen Lehruneinigkeiten, und wurden sogleich organisiert. Die ersten Trustees der neuorganisierten Gemeinde waren: Aug. Krenke. Ferd. Brodhagen. Aug. Quandt. Unterschrieben haben die erste Konstitution die folgenden: Fr. Krenke, Fr. Krueger, Wilhelm Klemp, Aug. Quandt. Karl Sitzke. Karl Borchardt, Wm. Krueger, Ludwig Drews, Joh. Roloff, Albert Klemp, Fr. Drews, Joh. Drews und Karl Drews.
Zugleich wurde nun auch Land von Ferd. Krueger gekauft. Dies war am 9 Juli, 1861. Nun wurde auch gleich eine Blockkirche gebaut, die auf den gegenwaertigen Schulplatz stand. Da nun Pastor Ruhland viele Plaetze zu bedienen hatte, so wurde es fuer gut befunden, eine neue Parochie zu gruenden. Pastor Beyer wurde in diese neue Parochie berufen. Town Caledonia wurde als Wohnsitz des Pastors erkoren. Pastor Beyer diente diese Parochie von 1861-1870. Da es den allweisen Gott gefallen hat Pastor Beyer, infolge der schwarzen Blattern, von der streitenden in die triumphierende Kirche zu versetzen, so wurde Pastor Daib berufen, der diese Parochie ein und dreiviertel Jahre bediente. Als Nachfolger wurde Pastor Markworth berufen. Er diente dieser Gemeinde etwa 17 Jahre. Er starb als er zur Synode zu Watertown war, und wurde auch dort beerdigt. Hierauf folgte Pastor Schuetz. Wegen des schnellen Wachstums der Gemeinde, wurde die Blockkirche zu klein. Es wurde beschlossen eine neue Kirche zu bauen. Es wurde jedoch fuer gut befunden die neue Kirche zu verlegen, und zwar da, wo sie jetzt steht. Im Fruehjahr began die Arbeit. Das Gebauede nahte Vollendung, als ein groszer Wind dasselbe umwehte am 12 Juli 1885. Die Gemeinde machte sich wieder daran ein Gotteshaus zu bauen, und zwar ein Groeszeres. Als der letzte Stein gelegt wurde, war auch der letzte Dollar bezahlt. Die jetzige Kirche wurde am 5 Dec. 1885 eingeweiht. Nun wurde Pastor Brettcher von Birnamwood berufen, der dieser Gemeinde fuer 12 Jahre treulich diente. Dann wurde Pastor Aug. Mueller berufen. Er war ein treuer Hirte dieser Gemeinde etwa 17 Jahre. Und da er sein Amt niederlegen muszte wegen Krankheit, berufte die Gemeinde Pastor Claus, der nur 11 Monate der Gemeinde diente. Als Nachfolger wurde Pastor W. C. Schaefer von Canada berufen.
"Weiset meine Kinder und das Werk meiner Haende zu mir." Dies Gebot Gottes zu befolgen war in den Anfangsjahren der Gemeinde nicht leicht, aber trotzdem haben sie doch eine Schule aufrecht erhalten. Schon in den ersten Jahren hielten sie es fuer unbedingt noetig, eine Schule und Schullehrer zu haben, damit ihre Kinder gruendlich erzogen werden koennten in das Eine, das Not ist. Die folgenden waren Lehrer fuer diese Gemeinde: Backus, Wegner, Zielsdorf, Bock, Lehning, Hammer, Kalb, Schliebe und Mehrstaedt. Nach dem treuen Lehrer Mehrstaedt wurde kein Lehrer berufen. Bis auf den heutigen Tag haelt der Ortspastor Sommer — und Samstagschule. Aber lasst uns alle den lieben Gott bitten dasz er den Tag erelien moechte, da wir wieder sagen koenen: "Wir haben einen Schullehrer."
Auch bestehen, seit Jahren, in dieser Gemeinde eine Bibelklasse, Singchor und Christenlehre. Moege Gott sie bei uns behalten.
Laszt uns Gott bitten, dasz er seine schuetzende Hand ueber uns halte bis seine streitende Kirche in die triumphierende Kirche eingeht.
History of the Congregation (1935) Translation
"The Lord has helped us to this day." So spoke the prophet Samuel long ago when God had once again granted the people of Israel victory over their enemies. And Samuel set up a stone in remembrance of God’s help. The Israelites' children and grandchildren would remember God’s great deeds as they looked at this stone.
We, the members of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, are also able to join in Samuel’s words on the occasion of our anniversary. We want to set up a stone of remembrance to the Lord with our anniversary celebration; of course, in a way different than Samuel’s, namely, in the form of a short history of our congregation.
We have found no written record about the beginning of our congregation, and so we must rely on oral tradition. We have included nothing that wasn’t sufficiently witnessed and verified.
The first German Lutheran settlers came to this region around 1854. Soon more followed. Thick continuous virgin forests covered the entire region then. There were no cities, roads, and railways. To penetrate such a wilderness and exact a living from it required a courageous spirit.
The first settlers were heroes of faith. They considered it a great hardship to have to endure life without a church, school, and pastor. What a joy it was when the first traveling Lutheran preacher, Pastor Fr. Lochner from Milwaukee, appeared.
His successor was the faithful Pastor Ruhland, who in those days had his residence in Oshkosh. He proved to be a man who was devoted to his Savior, with much love and trust. His years of service were crowned with rich blessing. Zion was still a preaching station. An organized congregation didn’t exist yet. But in 1861, a number of people left the congregation in Zittau because of a lack of doctrinal unity and immediately organized a congregation. The first trustees of the newly-organized congregation were: Aug. Krenke, Fred. Brodhagen, Aug. Quandt. The following signed the 1st constitution: Fr. Krenke, Fr. Krueger, Wilhelm Klemp, Aug. Quandt, Karl Sitzke, Karl Borchardt, Wm. Krueger, Ludwig Drews, Joh. Roloff, Albert Klemp, Fr. Drews, Joh. Drews and Karl Drews.
On July 9, 1861, land was bought from Ferd. Krueger. A wooden church was also built, which stood on the present location of the school. Since Pastor Ruhland had to serve many sites, it was necessary to establish a new parish. Pastor Beyer was called to this new parish. The town of Caledonia was chosen for the residence of the pastor. Pastor Beyer served this parish from 1861-1870. It pleased the Almighty (all-wise) God to take Pastor Beyer, who died of the Black Pox/Small Pox, from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. So, Pastor Daib was called. He served this parish 13 years. Pastor Markworth was called to succeed him. He served this congregation 17 years. He died while at the synodical convention in Watertown and was buried there. Pastor Schuetz followed him. Because of the sudden growth of the congregation, the log church became too small. It was decided to build a new church. However, it was necessary to delay building the new church where it now stands. Work began in the spring. The building neared completion when a strong wind blew it down on July 12, 1885. The congregation again prepared to build a house for God, a bigger one of course. As the last stone was laid, the last dollar was spent. The present church was dedicated on December 5, 1885.
Now Pastor Brettcher, from Birnamwood, was called. He faithfully served this congregation for 12 years. Then Pastor Aug. Mueller was called. He was a faithful shepherd of this congregation for 17 years. He had to resign his office because of illness. The congregation called Pastor Claus, who served the congregation only 11 months. Pastor W.C. Schaefer was called from Canada to succeed him.
"Let my children and the work of my hands point to me." This command of God wasn’t taken lightly in the beginning years of the congregation evidenced by the fact that the congregation maintained a school. Already in the beginning years they considered it as an absolute necessity to have a school and teachers so that their children would be instructed in the one thing that was necessary. The following were teachers for the congregation: Backus, Wegner, Zielsdorf, Bock, Lehning, Hammer, Kalb, Schliebe, and Mehrstaedt. No teacher was called after Mehrstaedt.
At the present, the vacancy pastor (Sommer) runs the school and Saturday school. Let us all ask dear God to take control of the present situation so we can again say, "We have a schoolteacher."
Also, for many years this congregation has had Bible class, choir, and Christian instruction.
May God preserve these among us. Let us pray to God that He would keep His protecting hand upon us until His Church Militant becomes the Church Triumphant.