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Zion United Church of Christ celebrating 125years of service, history

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

Zion United Church of Christ, Troy, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. A committee was organized in March and they have been planning events all year long.

“Evangelische Zions Kirche” was founded in the summer of 1887.” Many of these persons came to Lincoln County directly from Germany a few years previously.  Several families had come from the same rural community in the territory of Hanover, Germany. Many were acquainted with one another in the “old country.” Eighteen individuals representing “heads of families” built a small church at the end of Mound Street in Troy for the cost of $2,000. This building was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1887. These members were of German heritage and the German language was used in worship until 1919, when they changed to English.

Speaking little English, they found themselves in a community (Troy) where nearly everyone else was “English speaking.” For several years, some of these German immigrants made the lengthy journey to Anderson Hill, (a chapel on the hill at Moscow Mills) where “Evangelische Zions Kirche” grew out of, having worshipped with the original “Friedens Evangelische Kirche” in Lincoln County since 1871. But “Gottesdienst” (worship) at Anderson Hill was only once a month, when the pastor from “Evangelische St. Paulus Kirche” would come from Old Monroe.  Moreover, in those “horse and buggy days”, a seven or eight mile trip to attend Divine Worship was no easy thing.

Rev. Laura Mignerone was installed on April 29, 2012 as Zion’s newly called pastor. Zion United Church of Christ has a rich heritage and fosters many of the progressive commitments of the United Church of Christ. Bob and Velma Dunard donated sanctuary banners lending beauty to the sanctuary and lifting up the celebration theme, “Looking Back With Thanksgiving, Looking Forward With Hope, 125 Years In Christ’s Service.”

To start the year of celebrating and remembering. Nancy Wyhs helped the young children and encouraged the congregation to place a dot on the map of the world showing where church members had family ties.  Needless to say most all of them came from Germany during the 1800’s.

Throughout the year, members of the congregation have been sharing personal “historical memory moments” during worship.

Art Muenstermann shared his memories of growing up in Zion Church and raising his daughters in the church. Many members of his family continue to reach out in the world and share with others, having had their spiritual foundations firmly established at Zion UCC.

Donna Dunard shared the history of “The Sausage Dinner” from its beginning, March 21, 1976. Zion’s Annual Sausage Dinner continues to be an important part of Zion’s mission and fellowship each spring.

Velma Dunard took members back to Friedens UCC at Moscow Mills (a sister church of Zion) where she was raised, helping Zion to remember its ties with Friedens. A strong connection continues to remain between these sister churches, even after they stopped sharing a pastor in 1978.

Russell Hardy shared some emotional moments with Zion recalling memories of being raised in the church and the many family ties he has since Zion church was organized.

Members were enlightened by the stories Mary Anne Kemper shared from the “The Ladies Aid” as recorded in an old book of minutes.

Later this September, Doctor Eugene Brockmann will share the history of the renovation of the sanctuary in 1980. Velma Dunard will share memories of the October apple butter tradition which continues as an annual event. The last will be Bob Dunard sharing his family’s ties to Zion Church.

A new “Additional” section for the original Zion UCC cookbook has been compiled consisting of favorite recipes from the congregation.  This addition also includes recipes from previous pastors and their wives. The original book and/or the addition are available for purchase by calling the church office…636-528-4846.

New Zion UCC shirts were made for members to purchase. The backside depicts the steeple from our first church on Mound Street in 1887 and the other steeple from the present church on Main Street built in 1926.

Members wore these shirts July 8 as they sat in front of the  church and enjoyed the Lincoln County Fair Parade on. The folks in the picture to the right walked in the parade and handed out 900 bottles of cold water to the many thirsty parade watchers.

On August 26 members enjoyed an outdoor worship service and an old-fashioned potluck picnic at Cuivre River State Park at the Shelter House.  This was a unique and meaningful worship service. The weather was beautiful.  Many children enjoyed the bouncy house, water balloon toss, and many other games while the adults enjoyed a game of bingo. To top the day off members received a much-needed rain just as the last car was packed up.

The next event was a journey Sept. 16 to Friedens Evangelische Kirche at Anderson Hill, Moscow Mills, for morning worship service, remembering our forebearers who worshipped here prior to 1887.

The traditional “Apple Butter Making” will be Oct. 12 and 13. This is always two full days of hard work but all enjoy plenty of food and fellowship. It takes 80 or more people to complete this process. Volunteers  cook about 60 bushels of apples.  If you are interested in purchasing some apple butter, please call the church office 636-528-7550.

On Oct. 18 the church will be open to the public for the Lincoln County Historical Society meeting.  On Oct. 28 members will pull out hats and remember the days of looking around those big hats during service trying to see the front of the sanctuary.

Zion’s big celebration day will be Nov. 18.  Events will begin with a 10:30 a.m. worship service where many memories will be shared.

The Garden Club House Tour will highlight a stop at Zion church on Dec. 8.  Please plan a visit and enjoy the beautiful sanctuary and “winter wonderland” in the fellowship hall.

To complete the year the church is writing a historical book that will include complete history, events and activities. This will be for sale the first part of 2013.

God is Still Speaking at Zion UCC, where we are looking back with thanksgiving, and looking forward with hope as we celebrate 125 years in Christ’s service—and many more to come!

Courtesy of Velma Dunard, Chairperson Zion’s 125th Celebration Committee.