A Brief History of Zion
Part III -- 1943-1968
The Congregation Matures

Part I -- 1882-1911 | Part II -- 1912-1942 | Part IV -- 1969-91 | Part V -- 1992-Present

1943 - Pastor Hafermann is installed January 3. Mid-week Lenten services are moved from Friday to Wednesday evenings. The first Vacation Bible School is inagurated in the summer.

1944 - The corporate name of the congregation is changed from Die Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Zions Gemeinde to "The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Peoria, Illinois." An early 8 am service is begun in July, with Sunday School following at 9:15, then a second service at 10:30. There is new landscaping and re-decoration, and the mortgage is burned as part of Zion's 50th Anniversary celebration. Guest speakers include former Pastor Altpeter and a son of the congregation, Pastor H. E. Bruns.

1946 - WMBD Radio broadcasts the March 3 worship service. The church ceiling is insulated.

1947 - The Parsonage is improved yet again. A Committee to plan for a new parish hall is formed. Zion joins with St. John Lutheran Church outside Bartonville to plant Faith Lutheran Church across the Illinois River in Sunnyland.

1948 - Pastor Hafermann accepts a call to Dubuque, Iowa, leaving August 8. Pastor Harold Knappe accepts Zion's call and preaches the first time September 26. John Meyer is the third son of Zion to be ordained into the Holy Ministry. An Altar Rail, dedicated in memory of the five Zionites killed in World War Two, is installed.

1949 - The lot north of the Parsonage is purchased for future expansion.

1950 - The interior of the church, both Basement and worship areas, are redecorated. The electric candelabra are converted to wax candles. Oh, and more Parsonage improvements, too.

1952 - An Information Committee is appointed to investigate future development of congregational properties and the costs for a parish hall. Henry H. Hafermann, who was in high school and college while his father served as Zion's Pastor, is ordained. Much of his ministry will be as a Chaplain in the United States Air Force.

1953 - The congregation votes to celebrate Holy Communion the first Sunday of each month and on Maundy Thursday. A plan to build a new Parsonage and remodel the old one for classrooms is accepted by the congregation, then scuttled by the Church Council because costs are deemed excessive. Another planning committee is appointed.

1954 - On June 14 Clare Biegler is ordained at Zion, the fifth son of the congregation to enter the Ministry. Tentative plans for a Parish Hall and a new parsonage are approved by the congregation.

1955 - The congregation approves the raising of $80,000 for the new Parish Hall and Parsonage. Groundbreaking happens August 16, 2 days after construction is approved. The cornerstone is laid November 27. The main floor is designed for 6 classrooms, with the ground level able to seat 250 at banquets.

1956 - The Parish Hall is dedicated on Reformation Sunday as Zion celebrates her 62nd anniversary over the next month. Honored speakers include Pastor John Meyer (a son of Zion), Pastor W. E. Bartell (Vice-President of the ALC Illinois District), Dr. William Knappe (Pr. Knappe's father and former pastor at Bethel, Bartonville), Dr. Bernard J. Holm (President of Wartburg Seminary), and Pastor H. C. Hafermann (former Pastor at Zion).

Three stained-glass windows that were in the Sacristy now adorn the new Courtyard entrance to the Upper Parish Hall. The old Parsonage is purchased by a family of the congregation and rolled three lots north up Easton Avenue, where it still stands.

1957 - Zion hosts the American Lutheran Church Illinois District Convention.

1958 - George Freidinger is the sixth son of Zion ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

[The Service Book and Hymnal]1959 - Zion begins using the new Service Book and Hymnal which replaces the Common Service Book and Hymnal of 1918. The furnace is converted from oil to natural gas.

1960 - The American Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church merge to form The American Lutheran Church.

1961 - The Parish Hall is painted inside and out, the Parsonage exterior is redecorated, and an enclosed breezeway between the Parsonage and Parish Hall is built. A Memorial cabinet containing Zion's first Communion vessels and a Book of Memorials is dedicated in the Narthex.

1962 - In April Pastor Knappe accepts a new call to Long Lake, Illinois. Pastor Hermann Schmitt comes from Wells, Minnesota, to accept Zion's call in August.

1963 - The Missionary Society and Ladies' Aid are dissolved and incorporated into the Circles of Zion's new American Lutheran Church Women auxiliary. A new entryway with fewer steps to the Narthex is built.

1964 - Kneelers are installed in the Nave.

1965 - The church Balcony is refurnished by members of the congregation.

1966 - The Sanctuary and Nave are redecorated, as is the Parsonage. Pastor Schmitt accepts a call to Corpus Christi, Texas, in August. Pastor Henry A. Flessner from the Milwaukee Deaconess Motherhouse, accepts Zion's call and arrives in November. Individual communion glasses are purchased as a memorial and replace the Common Cup.

1968 - A new 62-car parking lot across Hayes Street is completed on four lots purchased the prior year.

The Brief History continues with Part IV -- 1969-1991: Zion in the Midst Transition.

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Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
1534 S. Easton Avenue
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150
zion.elca.peoria@ecunet.org

Copyright © 2005-2011 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria. All rights reserved.
Created -- 1 February 2005
Last Revised -- 30 August 2011

URL: www.zionpeoria.org/history3.html