Leader hopes special events will help bring new members
At 58, Troy Jackson believes he is “almost the youngest member” of the church council at Zion’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. It’s a sign that the church needs to welcome younger members, he said.
Zion’s Lutheran is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. On Sunday, July 24, about 100 people attended an ice cream social followed by an hour-long concert played on its 134-year-old pipe organ.
Jackson, a member since 1984 and president of the church council, said the turnout pleased him. The church has between 75 and 100 members but weekly attendance has been shrinking and the COVID pandemic hurt a great deal. He is hopeful that special events in recognition of the church bicentennial will bring new faces to visit and consider joining the church, located in Pershing.
Jonathan Hampton played 12 numbers on the organ, including two sing-alongs. Built in 1888 for a Richmond church, the organ has been providing music at Zion’s since 1933.
The next special event will be a visit from the Indiana-Kentucky Synod Bishop Bill Gafkjen on Aug. 21. The 10:30 a.m. service will be followed by a pitch-in lunch.
The synod recently recognized Zion’s as its oldest congregation.
On Sunday, Oct. 9, the church will have an Octoberfest in honor of its founding by settlers of German ancestry on Oct. 5, 1822.
The church didn’t have a full-time pastor until 1841, said Phyllis Mattheis, a 65-year member who is its historian. Previously, itinerant preachers from western Ohio led worship services.
Zion’s is part of the National Road Ministry along with St. Paul’s Lutheran of Richmond. Sunday services are led by that church’s pastor, the Rev. Charles Miller, and by Pastor Cliff Nunn from the Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center of Richmond.