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Zion Congregational Church 1914 - 1954
In 1954, a booklet was produced in honor of the fortieth anniversary celebration of this church. It contained many photos, and this short history of the church and its work.
The church located at the corner of NE Fremont and 9th. It is now the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
This Anniversary Booklet Is Dedicated
To Those of the Past. . . . The Fathers and Mothers who organized this Church, kept the Faith, and who have now gone to their Eternal Reward.
To Those of the Present. . . . Who have inherited a glorious past, and are now preserving the Faith of their Fathers so that it may be proclaimed to all men everywhere. To Those of the Future. . . . Who shall continue to build on the strong Foundation which was laid forty years ago, and who will never abandon the Faith until all the kingdoms of the world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A Brief History of Zion Congregational Church
OF PORTLAND, OREGON
The Zion Congregational Church was organized on April 13,1914, in the home of Brother Conrad Heizer. The officers which were elected at this first meeting were as follows: Chairman John H. Krieger; Trustees George Hinkel, John Hohnstein, and William Lind; Deacons Conrad Repp, Peter Schnell, and George Weitz; Secretary Henry Schwarz; Treasurer John Weber; and Organist Christina Schnell. Reverend John Hopp was called to be the first pastor of new congregation.
This small group of men and women launched out in great faith, determined to serve their Lord and their community well. They purchased the present site of the church on the corner of 9th & Fremont Streets, and the work of building the church began immediately. The Congregation, in the meantime, was having the worship services at the Mennonite Church on 6th & Fremont Streets. Work on the new church progressed so rapidly that the cornerstone could be laid on Sunday, July 19. From that day on, the worship services were held in the new basement, until the rest of the building was completed. Through the grace of God and the tireless efforts of these willing people, the church was completed at a cost of $11,391, not counting the many hours of labor which were donated by all. The long-awaited day came on November 8, 1914, when the beautiful Zion Church was dedicated to the glory of God and the service of man. The parsonage was built in the same year at a cost of $1,579. A beautifully toned bell, which ha s called the people to worship these many years, was purchased, and it was dedicated on April 9, 1915.
Great opportunities lay ahead for the new congregation. New immigrants continued to arrive from the Old Country, and many of our people who had earlier settled in the Mid-West w e r e now beginning to move out to the beautiful Northwest. The congregation continued to progress and to grow in numbers. During the course of the years many improvements and additions were made to the church. Wall to wall carpeting has been laid in the church three times. In 1929 a beautiful pipe organ was installed at a cost of $3,330. Sunday School classrooms were built in the church basement, and a sound proof nursery was added at the rear of the church. A public address system was purchased and tower chimes have been installed. The church was twice privileged to be host to the General Conference, once in 1927 and again in 1953.
The past year and a half has seen 100 new members enter the fellowship of our church, so that we have a present membership of 350. The morning service is entirely in the English language, since the first of the year, and the attendance is very good. Although we have a very beautiful church structure, with a warm worshipful atmosphere inside, its facilities are getting to be too inadequate for the various organizations and activities of the church. A building fund was created last year, and we hope and pray that in the next year or so we will be able to build a much needed educational and social annex.
The Charter Members who are still living and who are members of our church atpresentare: Mrs. John Albrecht, Jacob Bastron, Conrad Helzer, Henry Helzer, Mrs. Balzar Herder, Lucas Herder, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Hohnstein, Mrs. John Kniss, Mrs. Otto Kruxnholz, Mrs. William Lind, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Miller, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Miller, Mrs.George Scheideman, Jacob Schleuning, Mr. & Mrs. Conrad Schlitt, Peter Schlitt, George Schmeer, George Schmeer, Mrs. Peter Schnell, Henry Schwarz, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Schwarz, Mrs. John Weber, and Mrs. Henry Weidenkeller. Church Statistics
During the forty years history of our church there were 814 baptisms, 875 catechumens, 460 marriages, and 384 funerals.
The Zion Choir
The Zion Choir has rendered a blessed service to the worship of the Lord during the many years of its existence. The church has had a choir since its founding, but it was years later before it was fully organized with its own officers and treasury. It purchased new choir robes this year and donated the old gowns to one of our own churches which was in need of them. The choir, in its lovely gowns, adds beauty and dignity to the service as they raise their voices in songs of praise to the Almighty God. The faithfulness and devotion of the choir members to the ministry of music has always been appreciated by the pastors and congregation alike. The choir presents a Spring Concert and a Christmas Concert every year, which are enjoyed by all those who love good music. At present it consists of 32 members, and is under the directorship of Mr. John R. Brewer, with Mrs. Anna Ray Grant as organist.
The Zion Sunday School
The Zion Sunday School came into being when the church was organized in 1914 with Henry Hopp as its first superintendent. It has made more progress in the past forty years than any other organization within the church. It has a present enrollment of 194 which is being served by a staff of 18 consecrated teachers and officers. There are 13 separate classes which meet according to departments for their morning devotions, and then go to their individual classrooms for further instruction and classwork. The Sunday School uses graded lesson material throughout, and had its first Daily Vacation Bible School last year, with an enrollment of 112. The Sunday School not only pays for its own material and supplies, but also contributes regularly to missions, as well as to the financial program of the church.
The Zion Prayer Meeting Group
The Zion Brotherhood was organized the same time as the church. The first meeting was held in the home of Brother Henry Hopp, but after that they too met in the Mennonite Church until the Zion church was completed. Although this group started with but 27 members, the Lord was able to use this small group of faithful Christians as a means for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. A week of prayer was held in January 1915, and the results were so gratifying that it was continued for an additional four weeks. When the meetings ended, more than 60 people had made a decision for Christ. Throughout the years God has used this group to help others come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. At present our Prayer Group consists of 70 members who still meet three times a week for meditation and prayer in the German language. The present Elders are Brothers Peter Klaus and Conrad Schlitt.
The Zion Christian Endeavor
The Zion Christian Endeavor was organized May 4, 1914. It has been a very vital and active part of our church. It has helped in every phase of the church work and through the years has contributed much to the financial program of the church. The first piano in our church was purchased by the C. E. group, as well as the grand piano which is used at present. The C. E. was at its zenith in the 1930's but since World War II has been steadily decreasing. It still meets every Sunday evening at 6:30, and its programs are both instructional and inspirational.
The Zion Ladies Aid Society was organized on June 4, 1914, at the home of Mrs. Margaret Krieger on 8th Street, with 25 ladies present. The first officers to be elected were Mrs. Maria Weitz, President; Mrs. Magdalena Walker, Secretary; and Mrs. Margaret Krieger, Treasurer. This small group of faithful Christians placed their faith and trust in God, and with a song in their hearts they undertook to work for and support the church. Down through the years this organization has supported the church financially, and has also contributed very generously to missions and charity. The Ladies Aid purchased the material and made the first robes to be worn by the choir, and has also contributed to the new choir robes being worn now. It has made many improvements on the church proper, and has added facilities to the church as they saw the need. Several years ago they paid for the complete remodeling of the parsonage kitchen. Last year they undertook to finance one of our South American Students at our School of Theology for five years, and donated $500 to our Building Fund. From a group of 25 in 1914, it increased to 125 by 1919 and to 150 by 1929. The present membership is 114, three of whom are charter members.
The Zion Daughter Club
The Zion Daughters Club was organized on May 12, 1914, in the home of Anna Miller as the Zion Busy Bee Club. The first officers elected were Lydia Sauer, President; Christina Schnell, Vice-President; Christian Kniss, Secre-tary; Pauline Schnell, Treasurer, with Emma Hinkel as organist. In 1917 the group was renamed Zion Young Ladies Society, and later took on its present name of Zion Daughters Club. The club consists of 50 of the younger ladies of the church and community and meets the second Monday of the month. A special Devotional program is planned for each meeting which is followed by a social hour. The club has promoted many projects to help raise funds which are used to help beautify the church and add to its facilities. Along with purchasing flowers for the Sunday Morning Service every Sunday of the year, they also purchased a communion table and a set of floor candelabra last year.
The Zion Fellowship Club
The Zion Fellowship Club is one of the newer organizations of the church, having been organized May 27, 949. The first officers of this group were Wayne Lincoln, President; Mrs. Marie Lister, Vice-President; George Pfenning, Secretary; and Charles Speck, Treasurer. At present this group consists of 64 younger married people, and meets the third Monday of the month. Its object is to promote an earnest Christian Fellowship among its members, to increase their mutual acquaintance, and to cultivate a sense of service to the church and community. They have outside speakers, panel discussions, and an occasional movie at their meetings, and always conclude the evening with a social hour, during which time refreshments are served. They have done much to contribute to the church, both financially and otherwise, and have also contributed greatly to missions and charity. They aided in organizing the new Youth Fellowship Club and are its financial sponsors at present.
The Zion Youth Fellowship Club
The Zion Youth Fellowship Club is the newest organization in the church, having been organized on March 7, 1954. This group came into being out of the concern which many members of the church had for our youth. They realized that the Christian Endeavor was not meeting the needs of the teen-agers and that the one hour a week spent in Sunday School was not sufficient for Christian training. This group consists of boys and girls in their early teens and meets the first and third Sunday of the month at 5 P.M. The meetings consist of devotions, Bible quizzes and discussions. Every other Sunday the group goes into one of its homes, after the devotional service, for recreation. Refreshments are served after each meeting. The older Fellowship Club is financing this group, and two young married couples, in addition to the pastor and his wife serve as supervisors and counselors. The officers are Mark Miller, President; Jerry Klein, Vice-President and Karen Drier, Secretary-Treasurer. The counselors are Wally& Patsy Herder, Ernie & Elma Klein and Reverend & Mrs. Geier.
List of Contributors
The Zion Congregational Church wishes to thank the following firms and individuals whose financial contributions helped to make this Anniversary Booklet possible .
Mr. Collyer T. Potter
Mr. & Mrs. Peter Schnell
Mr. & Mrs. William G. Spady
Sunny Brook Farms
Reid's Signal Service
Mr. & Mrs. John Schnell
John C. Sinner
Bauer's Barber Shop
Clarence Walker Flowers
Dr. Fred Ebel, Dentist
Electric Appliance & Repair Co.
Mr. & Mrs. Earl Repp
American Oil Company
Budget Basket Food Center
Paramount Printing Company
Mr. & Mrs. Ernst Klein
Jack Pfenning & Son
Mr. & Mrs. Henry P. Pfenning
Mr. & Mrs. George H. Pfenning
Erv Lind Flowers
Layrite Linoleum Company
Mr. & Mrs. Jack Deines
Mr. & Mrs. John Deines
Lydia's China Shoppe