A Brief History of Zion
Part V -- 1992-present
Zion's Second Century

Part I -- 1882-1911 | Part II -- 1912-1942 | Part III -- 1943-68 | Part IV -- 1969-91

1992 - Pastor Scoville departs in January to accept a call to St. Petri Lutheran Church, Flanagan, Illinois. Pastor Eimo Hinrichs serves again as Interim Pastor as the Call Committee goes about its work. Millard Shaw retires as Choir Director and is replaced by Junior Choir Director Karen Leggott. Zion's Child Care and Preschool hires its first co-op worker through Limestone High School.

Newly ordained Pastor Steven P. Tibbetts, a recent graduate from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in California, is installed in October as Zion's thirteenth Parish Pastor by Bishop John Kaitschuk of the ELCA Central/Southern Illinois Synod. New oil candles for the Sanctuary are dedicated in Advent.

1993 - The LBW setting for Vespers is introduced for Wednesday evening Lenten Services. 100 years after Zion's first confirmation, confirmation instruction is suspended because there are no children of that age. Parish Secretary Pat Miller retires and Luella Johnson joins the staff. Karen Leggott resigns as Choir Director and, except for special occasions, the Choir goes on hiatus.

An all day Prayer Vigil for the community on October 11 is highlighted on two Peoria TV news broadcasts. The original play "Choir Practice," telling the stories of popular hymns, kicks off Zion's Centennial Celebration in November. The first youth is elected to the Congregation Council -- 16-year-old Jeremy Noel. Paraments in all the liturgical colors for the Sunday School Altar begin to be dedicated as the seasons change.

1994 - A color pictorial directory is published. The Upper Parish Hall is remodeled to accommodate new regulations affecting the Day Care & Preschool. The Ash Wednesday Prayer Vigil is highlighted on all 3 Peoria TV news broadcasts and is written up in the national ELCA publication Voices of Congregational Life. A full Passover Seder is held in the Lower Parish Hall on Maundy Thursday.

An Anniversary Quilt is sewn by several Zionite women and hung in the south wall of the Nave, paired with a quilt on the north wall made by Zion's Ladies' Aid shortly after World War I. The Women of Zion go "inactive" as a Women of the ELCA unit, though monthly Bible Study and Quilting continues. A personal computer is installed in the Parish Office; shortly afterwards the mimeograph expires and is replaced by a photocopier. Vacation Bible School is offered in the evening for the first time. The Kitchen is re-dedicated in honor of Lillian Whitby, who has presided there since the Parish Hall was built.

Zion celebrates her 100th Anniversary on Reformation Sunday with a Festive Eucharist. Pastor Knappe preaches, Pastor Berke gives the Children's Sermon, Pastors Flessner and Hank Hafermann (the son of Zion's Pastor Hafermann) serve as lectors, and Pastors Hinrichs and Hafermann assist with Communion. Rose Wilkinson plays the organ for the service and later during an Organ Concert with the three Zionite organists. Pastor John Kelley, Assistant to the Bishop of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod, ELCA, addresses the Banquet, during which a letter from Pastor Hermann Schmitt is read.

1995 - Confirmation classes for youth return. Daytime Lenten services are added to the Wednesday schedule. The Sunday School recesses for the summer, though the adult Sunday Forum continues. Zion's pastor offers Holy Communion for the first time at the weekly worship service at The Lutheran Home. Principal Organist Gloria Libby resigns. Sharon Jackman is hired as Organist and Choir Director.

1996 - The Zion Centennial History Book, researched and written (with help from others) by Virginia Norvill, is published. Sharon (Jackman) Barton resigns as Organist/Choir Director when her new husband takes a job out of town. Mel White, Millard Shaw, and occasional substitutes handle organist duties as Zion searches for a permanent organist, while the choir disbands except for special occasions.

1997 - Zionite Elizabeth Biegler, RN becomes Zion's first Parish Nurse through the program of OSF St. Francis Hospital. Zion is a founding host congregation for the Greater Peoria Interfaith Hospitality Network, assisted by other congregations in offering shelter in the church for homeless families. Pastor Tibbetts preaches at the Peoria Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service. After several months of financial struggles, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Child Care and Preschool closes its doors two days before the 10th Anniversary of its opening.

1998 - Zion's Sunday School and summer-time Vacation Bible School are suspended. In February Zion hosts an Ultreya of the Heart of Illinois Via de Cristo, which holds its first renewal weekends that spring.

1999 - In June the Summer Chapel is created in the Upper Parish Hall, enabling the congregation to worship in air-conditioned comfort. The Fellowship Hour and new Parlor furnishings are moved from the Basement to the Upper Parish Hall in the Fall. Pastor Tibbetts is elected fourth Dean of the Synod's Northern Conference in the Spring. In September he is appointed Interim Pastor at Grace and Peace Lutheran Church in Peoria. The sanctuary roof and Parish Hall furnace are replaced.

2000 - An evening eucharist celebrating the weekday festivals of the Epiphany and the Ascension -- held jointly with Grace and Peace Lutheran Church -- is introduced. Zion purchases Lutheran Harmony as a supplemental hymnal.

2001 - The celebration of Holy Communion increases to include all Sundays of Easter and Advent. Padded chairs are purchased for the Summer Chapel, which is also made more worshipful by the decoration of the Upper Parish Hall windows with Christian symbols. Zion discontinues serving as a host congregation of the Greater Peoria Interfaith Hospitality Network while continuing financial support. With the conclusion of Pastor Tibbetts' Interim at Grace and Peace Lutheran Church in February, Zion's Ascension Day and Epiphany services are held jointly with Bethel and St. John's Lutheran Churches of Bartonville.

[Walt Wangerin and Pr. Tibbetts at OutSpoken Rally]2002 - Midweek Lenten services are held jointly with Bethel Lutheran Church, with late-morning services at Zion and evening services at Bethel. Zion's 1927 Hinners Pipe Organ is re-wired and converted to solid-state operation. Author and Lutheran pastor Walter Wangerin, Jr. comes to Zion as part of his OutSpoken for Lutheran Vespers tour. Chair lifts are installed for the Narthex and Parish Hall stairs, and the Narthex itself is newly carpeted and decorated.

Communion frequency is increased to include the Sundays of Christmass and the Common Cup, using intinction, is restored. Adults begin serving as Acolytes. Scarlet paraments for Holy Week are purchased. Brunch and Bible Study, a series of short Bible studies meeting in a member's home, is introduced. The Parish Nursing program discontinues its affiliation with OSF St. Francis Hospital.

2004 - Zion celebrates her 110th Anniversary on Reformation Day. Episcopal Bishop Keith L. Ackerman of the Diocese of Quincy preaches and, though the ELCA-ECUSA full communion agreement of 1999, is the first non-Lutheran in Zion's history to preside at the Lord's Table. The stained glass windows receive new Lexan® covers, strengthening, and repainted trim. The Prisoner and Family Ministry of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois opens an office at Zion headed by Karen Wong, AIM. After several years with a rotation of member and substitute organists, pianist Margaret Li is hired to accompany Zion's worship, with substitute organists used for special festival worship services.

2005 - Zion adopts the weekly Eucharist as its norm. Bishop Warren Freiheit of the ELCA's Central/Southern Illinois Synod is celebrant and preacher for the Ascension Day service. LSSI consolidates its Prisoner and Family Ministry offices into one in Springfield. Pianist Margaret Li leaves to continue her education; Millard Shaw, Mel White, and Rose Wilkinson cover organist duties as a search is re-opened. A digital piano is purchased for use in the Summer Chapel. The stepped Hayes Street entrance to the Lower Parish Hall is remade into a ramp for handicapped accessibility.

2006 - A color pictorial directory is published. The Chancel is repainted and redecorated. The Thanksgiving Eve Communion service is moved to the Summer Chapel.

2007 - Wednesday Lenten services are moved to the Summer Chapel, which received copies of the Lutheran Book of Worship from First English Lutheran Church. An amplified sound system is installed for the Summer Chapel. Informal conversations and a 3-week Sunday Forum series lead to a task force to investigate whether or not the congregation could, in conjunction with support from the Northern Conference, issue a call to Karen Wong, an ELCA Associate in Ministry and member of Zion, to continue prison ministry based in the Peoria area. Pastor Rick Mason at Christ Lutheran Church, Prattville, Alabama, who was baptized at Zion as an infant, preaches on Reformation Sunday.

2008 - Zion participates in 40 Days of Prayer for Peoria initiated by Peoria's Mayor, including leading Vespers one evening with St. Andrew's Anglican Church. Ash Wednesday is added to the joint Lenten services offered with Bethel Lutheran Church in Bartonville, with late-morning services at Zion and evening services at Bethel. The congregation steps up as Pastor Tibbetts undergoes successful surgery for prostate cancer during Easter-tide. New candelabras and candlesticks are dedicated to adorn the Altar. A week-long evening Vacation Bible School for Adults is held in the summer.

The congregation establishes a Prison Mission when it calls Karen Wong, AIM, as part-time Missionary to Prisons -- with the financial support the Northern Conference and several of its congregations. She is installed by Bishop Warren Freiheit of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod during the Ascension Day service. The Mission establishes Project Return of Peoria and partners with Lutheran Social Services of Illinois to keep chaplaincy services at the Federal Work Camp for Women in Pekin. The first two Project Return Teams are commissioned in Advent.

2009 - Zion again participates in the 40 Days of Prayer for Peoria, with Pastor Tibbetts leading Vespers one evening. The Palm Procession for Passion Sunday is featured in a front-page article of the Peoria Journal Star. A pulpit and lectern are added to the Summer Chapel furnishings.

2010 - Wooden pews are moved from the balcony into the Summer Chapel.

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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: www.zionpeoria.org/history5.htm