A Brief History of Zion
Part IV -- 1969-1991
Zion in the Midst Transition

Part I -- 1882-1911 | Part II -- 1912-1942 | Part III -- 1943-68 | Part V -- 1992-present

1969 - Zion's Diamond Jubilee Celebration begins on Palm Sunday afternoon. Pastor Decker, a spry 92 years old, brings greetings and son-of Zion Pastor George Freidinger preaches at the Confirmation Reunion service. Pastor Flessner accepts the call of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Streator, Illinois. Pastor Eimo Hinrichs, Chaplain at the Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, serves as Interim Pastor almost to year's end.

More 75th Anniversary events in the Fall bring the rest of the still-living former Pastors of Zion -- Henry Hafermann, Harold Knappe, and Hermann Schmitt -- and three more of Zion's sons in the ministry -- Pastors Heye Bruns, Clare Biegler, and John Meyer.

Zion's first part-time Parish Secretary, Betty Strickler, is hired, while Arnold Schoenheider continues to take care of printing bulletins and other office tasks. Lexan® covers are installed over the stained-glass windows to provide protection from weather or vandalism.

Pastor John M. Kordewich from Baltimore, Maryland, accepts Zion's call and arrives in December.

1970 - Mrs. Jerry Kordewich (the pastor's wife) spearheads a group of ladies who make Chrismons for use as part of the Christmas decorations. At Pastor's suggestion, the church Basement is converted into a Parlor. The first Congregational Christmas Card is hung in the Narthex. Zionites are encouraged to make their Christmas greetings to each other using this card, and make a special offering of what they would have spent on cards and stamps. This offering is then used for special benevolent or charitable purposes.

1971 - Zion's Senior Citizen's Activity Center, one of the first in Peoria, is inaugurated in September, offering crafts (including ceramics), service projects (yes, lots of sewing), films, speakers, games, fashion shows, parties, and bus trips -- some of which will travel to neighboring states. Arnold Schoenheider is honored for 50 years of service to Zion.

1972 - Zionite Bernie Kagel, whose drawings and stories have blessed the congregation for years, creates "The Prince of Peace Symbol" medallion. A furnished Nursery for young children is built in the Basement.

1973 - The first Temple Talk is delivered.

1974 - The Bethel Series, a 2-year Bible Study, is introduced by Pastor Kordewich and is also taught by lay Zionites. Lay members also begin formal visits to home-bound members of the congregation. Diminishing attendance causes a return to one Sunday service at 9 am, with Sunday School following. A sound system is installed in the Nave.

1975 - Zion's red tile roof is replaced and louvers are installed in the Bell Tower. The Sanctuary is redecorated, the basement windows are covered, and new siding is put on the Parsonage and garage.

1976 - Photos of Zion's Confirmation Classes since 1893 are hung in the new interior basement walls. The first-ever Congregational Retreat is held to discuss Zion's future. A Learning Center is dedicated to the memory of Gerald Southy, a life-long Zionite who died from the effects of diabetes at age 37.

1977 - PARC (the Peoria Association for Retarded Children) honors Zion's Senior Citizens' Activity Center for its volunteer efforts.

[The Lutheran Book of Worship]1978 - The congregation celebrates Pastor Kordewich's 25th Anniversary of Ordination. The new Lutheran Book of Worship replaces the Service Book and Hymnal. Parish Secretary Betty Strickler retires and is replaced by Pat Miller.

1980 - A Library constructed in the Upper Parish Hall is dedicated to the memory of Richard and Cynthia Stamerjohn, who were killed 3 years earlier in a motorcycle accident while stationed in North Carolina. The Prayer Chain is established. Rose (Schoenheider) Wilkinson retires as Organist and Choir Director.

1981 - Arnold Schoenheider is honored for 60 years of service to his Lord and the people of Zion. Wanda Lane, who has been substitute organist for several years, becomes permanent organist, with Millard Shaw directing the Choir. The age of First Communion is lowered from Confirmation to 5th Grade, following the practice first recommended by the ALC in 1970. Zion and First English Lutheran Church lead the effort to establish a mission congregation in northwest Peoria. The mission developer is Pastor George Freidinger, a son of Zion.

1982 - Wearing its new green robes, the Choir present its first Cantata. The mission in northwest Peoria organizes as Zion's third daughter church, Peace Lutheran Church.

1983 - Bulletin racks are built and installed in the Narthex entryway by men of Zion. Pastor Kordewich concludes his service at Zion on Reformation Day, and takes a new call to Marseilles, Illinois. Pastor Eimo Hinrichs, Chaplain at Zeller Mental Health Center, serves again as Interim Pastor.

1984 - Pastor Steven D. Berke from St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Warrenville, Illinois, is installed as Zion's pastor August 26. Zion celebrates her 90th Anniversary in October.

1985 - The 2-year long Crossways Bible Study is begun for the first time. The parsonage yard is fenced.

1986 - A center handrail and carpeting are installed on the steps to the original Church entrance. A Task Force is established to investigate a Day Care/Pre-School outreach ministry.

1987 - A Commemorative Service in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sponsored by the South Side Pastor's Association, is held at Zion on January 8. New carpeting is installed in the Parlor and women's lounge, and new windows are installed in the Upper Parish Hall.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Child Care and Pre-School opens August 24. The congregation votes in favor of new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a product of the merger of The American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

1988 - The Divine Drama, a shorter 30-unit Bible Study from Crossways International, is offered for the first time. A color pictorial directory is published.

1989 - Pastor Berke leaves in June, having accepted a call to Greeley, Colorado. Pastor Paul Park, a Chaplain at St. Francis Medical Center, serves as Interim Pastor.

1990 - Pastor Dennis R. Scoville from Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Muskegon Heights, Michigan, is installed as Zion's pastor on February 11.

1991 - Wanda Lane resigns as organist. During the search for a replacement a rotation of Zionites is established. Gloria Libby is finally named Principal Organist, with Mel White and Millard Shaw also playing on a regular basis along with Wanda Lane. Pastor Scoville celebrates the 25th Anniversary of his Ordination. Former Zionites Ric Creasy (a grandson of Pastor Altpeter) and Nancy Claude of Peace Lutheran Church present the first "Guitar Service" in October, using the Cornell setting of the Lutheran Book of Worship liturgy.

The Brief History continues with Part V -- 1992-present: Zion's Second Century.

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Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
1534 S. Easton Avenue
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150

Copyright © 2005-2010 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria. All rights reserved.
Created -- 1 February 2005
Last Revised -- 2 October 2010

URL: http://www.zionpeoria.org/history4.html