Alton Bluffs

 

"Evangelische Zions Kirche" was organized the summer of 1887, by eighteen "heads of families": Herman Twellman H.F. Wuelbern Nic. Ebert J.H. Meier H. Landvermeier Heinrich Wiemann H. Muenstermann F. Fehsenfeld L. Als H. Busch F.W. Harbaum D. Nagel A. Foerkel J. Lambertus G.H. Niehaus F. Niehaus M.Keck H. Haverkamp Many of these persons had come to Lincoln County, Mo., directly from Germany a few years previously. Several families had come from the same rural community in the territory of Hanover, and had been acquainted with one another in the "old country". Speaking little English, they found themselves in a community (Troy) where nearly everyone else was "English speaking". For several years, some of these German immigrants made the lengthy journey to Anderson Hill, where "Evangelische Friedens Kirche" had been established in 1871, in order to worship in their accustomed manner. But "Gottesdienst" at Anderson Hill was only once a month, when the Pastor from "Evangelische St. Paulus Kirche" would come over from Old Monroe. Moreover, in those "horse and buggy days", a seven or eight mile trip to attend Divine Worship was no easy or simple thing. In July of 1887, with the help of the Denominational Mission Board, and under the leadership of Pastor Max Schroedel, the eighteen men whose names are at the head of this page established Zion Church. They were of modest means and circumstances, but somehow they managed to erect a little brick church, about 25 feet wide and 35 feet long, at the end of Mound St., in Troy. This building, which was dedicated on Thanksgiving day, 1887, cost approximately $2000. And was used between the years 1887 and 1926. This building no longer stands, although the "namestone" which once stood over the door of that church may now be seen securely mounted at ground level at the Main Street side of our present church. Before long the congregation of Zion Church began celebrating the Rites and Sacraments of the faith. The first child of a member to be baptized was Heinrich Wilhelm Niehaus, on October 2, 1887. The first Confirmation Class was confirmed in 1889. The second class was confrrmed in 1891. In 1912 the 25th Anniversary of Zion Church was observed.

The records list a generous offering of $50. (This was in the day when a "normal" Sunday offering might be no more than $1.50). 1919 English language services were introduced, and men and women began to sit "together" in the church. (previously, the men sat on one side, the women on the other.) In 1923, the local church constitution was first printed in English, with certain changes which made provision for "individual memberships". Until 1923, church membership was figured only on the basis of "heads of families". During the pastorate of the Rev. Clyde Koehler, it became evident that an enlarged and improved church facility was desirable. The old church needed repairs, and appeared to be too small for the growing congregation. After some discussion, and perhaps, even a bit of controversy, it was decided to secure property on South Main Street, consisting of a large house (the house just south of the present church) and several acres of land. In May of 1926, a cornerstone laying service was held for our present church. The old church and parsonage were sold to Mr. Fritz Wiemann. Construction of the present church was completed by the fall of 1926, and a Service of Dedication was held-near the Thanksgiving season. Total cost, including furnishings, was about $30,000. At the time the membershipwas comprised of about 100 individuals. The house just south of the church was used as a parsonage, up until 1931, when it was sold because of financial difficulties during the Great Depression. In 1937 the 50th Anniversary of Zion Church was observed during the month of October. By January of 1943 the indebtedness of the church had been eliminated. The official minutes of the congregation for the Annual Meeting of January 2, 1944, for the first time refer to the church as "Evangelical and Reformed", in recognition of the merger of the Evangelical Synod of North America with the Reformed Church in the United States, which had taken place in 1934. When the Evangelical and theReformed Church joined with the Congregational-Christian churches to form the United Church of Christ in 1957, our Zion church soon began to use the new denominational designation.

Today we are officially incorporated under the laws of the 'State of Missouri as "Zion United Church of Christ", representing a union of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Congregational streams within Protestantism. During the winter of 1949-50, the present parsonage was completed, at a cost of approximately $8,000. A Baldwin church organ was acquired in 1953, at a cost of nearly $3,000 installed. In 1954 the church cemetery was placed on perpetual care. During the summer of 1960, the interior of the church was thoroughly renovated at a cost of nearly $25,000. (Note the inflation! The present church cost only $30,000, when constructed from the ground up in 1926.) A special re-dedication of the church was held during the month of October 1960, upon the completion of the renovation. Since 1887 Zion Church has been Served by the following pastors: 1887-1895 Max Schroedel 1895-1900 Carl Fauth 1900-1903 Aug. Bender 1904-1906 K. Pfeiffer 1907-1908 Pastor Leibe 1908-1911 Paul Quander 1912-1915 R.c. Lucke 1915-1919 H.E.Koenig 1919-1923 Clyde H. Koehler 1924-1926 A.E. Klemme 1927•1928 Henry Henning 1929-1931 W.H. Sabbert 1936 Roy Stock 1936-1940 A. Habermehl 1940-1948 Karl Albers 1950-1957 William V. Tollas 1958-1963 Richard Brueseke 1964 C.J. Surkamp 1965 K. F. Roedder 1965-1972 M. W.Nowack 1972-1977 Dwight E. Borden 1977-1978 W.L. Graves 1978-1981 Stephen A. Hall 1982-1983 Bruce Gosser 1983-1984 R. Grunewald 1984-1991 Robert F. Hicks 1991-1992 Dale Krampe 1992-1999 Don D. Hartmann 1999-2000 Drew Morris 2005-2010 Craig Blaufuss 2012-2015 Laura Mignerone During most of these years, Zion Church has been a pastoral charge with Friedens Church, Moscow Mills, with one pastor serving both churches. In 1978 Friedens and Zion split their yoked relationship to call separate pastors. Zion Church has seen certain of its daughters and sons enter full-time Christian service: Herman Fehsenfeld - parochial school teacher Frieda Muenstermann Burg - Deaconess Sister Hilda Muenstermann Bleikamp - Deaconess Sister The Rev. E.K. Schneider - Pastor, Cedar Rapids, Iowa The congregation of Zion church still continues to serve God on the strength of its previous history and its hopes and aspirations for the future.