Zion Lutheran Church was organized on December 1, 1901, after 30 years of labor by various area pastors. Lutheranism, strong among families of Preble, Root, and Union Townships of Adams County, grew slowly in the town of Decatur as rural families retired to the town after 1870.
Rev. Fritze, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church-Fuelling, organized the nucleus of the church in Decatur in the early 1870’s. After his death in 1877, the Fritze family moved to Decatur and asked Rev. Hahn to continue services at their home and also at the Westerfield Home, the Courthouse, and then at the old Christian Church at the corner of 4th and Monroe Streets. Over the following years, the Lutherans in town were served by Rev. Spiege of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church-Preble, and Revs. Berg and Heinze of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church-Fuelling.
Rev. J. H. Klausing, Zion Pastor: 1901-1909
In 1890, Rev. J.H. Klausing of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church-Preble started serving the Lutherans in town. Through his persistent efforts and those of Henry Lankenau, a former teacher at St. John’s Lutheran Church-Bingen, the church was finally organized on December 1, 1901 with 20 members signing the constitution. In the same meeting, Pastor Klausing was called as the itinerant pastor of the newly organized congregation.
The first church building, in 1903
In May, 1903, the first sanctuary was dedicated to the glory of God at the corner of 11th and Monroe Streets. Over the years, as the Lord has blessed the congregation with growth, the congregation has expanded its ministry campus to include a new sanctuary, school, and Family Life Center.
Procession from former church to new sanctuary on Dedication Sunday, December 1, 1968
At the present time, the congregation consists of over 1000 baptized souls and over 800 communicant members. “Everyone Everywhere Sharing Christ!” is the mission statement adopted by the congregation in November, 2004. This has been the focus of Zion’s ministry for over 100 years, and it will continue to be its focus in the years to come.
Zion has been placed by God in the city of Decatur to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of her members and the residents of the community through public worship, Bible study, and the ministry of its preschool and day school.
The future lies only in the hands of our gracious God; therefore, no one knows where God will lead us. But this we do know—our Lord has been faithful to His people at Zion Lutheran Church and School for over 100 years, and He will continue to be faithful to His promises in the future.
To Him alone be all the glory and praise!