Zion Lutheran Church Begins
Zion Lutheran Church in Hiawatha began as a Mission of the Iowa District East in 1949, and was identified simply as “The Church of the Lutheran Hour.” A one room school house was moved to the present location to serve the needs of this new mission.
Congregation Officially Organized in 1954
The congregation was officially organized in 1954, and was served by several vicars. In June of 1955, Rev. Ralph Underwager was called to serve both Zion in Hiawatha and St. Paul’s in Mt. Vernon as pastor.
Ground Breaking For New House Of Worship
On October 14, 1956, ground breaking took place for a new house of worship.
Rev. Gilbert F. Meseke Installed As First Full Time Resident Pastor
The first Sunday in October of 1958, Rev. Gilbert F. Meseke was installed as the first full time resident pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. In February of 1959, the congregation began construction on a parsonage. This building stood in the area of our current family life center and was torn down to make room for the building program of 2000-2002.
Zion Completes Major Renovation and Addition
On January 12th, 1969, Zion completed a major renovation and addition. The sanctuary literally reversed directions and a fellowship hall, office space, kitchen, and additional classroom space were added. Building costs were approximately $160,000. Pastor Meseke left Zion in August of 1969.
Rev. Karl W. Hanke Serves The Congregation
Rev. Karl W. Hanke served the congregation for the period from 1969 until June of 1973.
Bob Reed Develops Our Adult Education program.
During the time from 1969 until 1972, we were fortunate also to have Bob Reed with us. At the time he served part time with the District as Director of Christian Education and part time with Zion. His role was to help us develop our Adult Education program.
Rev. Larry E. Brelje Installed As Pastor Of Zion
On October 14, 1973, Rev. Larry E. Brelje was installed as pastor of Zion. As our fourth pastor, Rev. Brelje would serve the longest at Zion, serving our congregation until May 22 of 1994. During the ministry of Pastor Brelje an important new ministry at Zion would begin. In 1981, Little Lambs Christian Preschool began its ministry.
Little Lambs Emphasizes Ministry To Children
Little Lambs has had several directors. Coralee Williams (1981-1991), Mabel Schmidt (1992-1997), Marcie Jedlicka (1997- 1999), Mrs. Peggy Seeber (Staff 1990-1999, director 1999 – 2014), and our current director Mrs. Kari Boyle (Staff 2002-2011, director 2014 – present). Little Lambs enrolls children ages 3-5 and continues a tradition of Zion emphasizing ministry to children as a mission tool of the church.
Rev. H. Allen Krueger Installed As Fifth Pastor Of Zion
In October of 1994, Rev. H. Allen Krueger was installed as the fifth pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. During his ministry, Zion formed a long range planning committee to investigate facility expansion at its July 1997 voters’ meeting. Pastor Krueger served the congregation until August of 1997, but the congregation continued planning.
Rev. Daniel L. Krueger Begins Serving Zion
Rev. Daniel L. Krueger has served Zion from May of 1998. In March of 2000, Zion broke ground for a 2.4 million dollar expansion that was dedicated in April of 2002.
Rev. Daniel Q. Johnson Begins Serving Zion
Rev. Daniel Q. Johnson, father-in-law of Rev. Daniel L. Krueger, assists Zion from July 1999 to April 2011.
Benjamin Venteicher Installed As First Full-Time Director of Christian Education
In April 2010, Benjamin Venteicher was installed as the first full-time Director of Christian Education at Zion. His role for nearly seven and a half years had been to develop a Small Group ministry, primarily for young adults, as well as enhancing the educational programming at Zion for all youth and children. On Sunday September 24, 2017 Zion held a Farewell Potluck for the Venteicher Family as Ben accepted a call to Messiah Lutheran Church in Hays, Kansas.
Darci Russell Installed As Second Full-Time Director of Christian Education
After serving as DCE Intern through much of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from the derecho, Darci Russell was called to serve as Director of Christian Education at Zion. Installed in September 2021, she has worked with many age groups in her role, including Zion Families Together, Zion Youth, Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Studies, and Little Lambs Christian Preschool.