A Brief History of Zion Lutheran Church
Zion was founded in 1898 in Bridgeville as Zion Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s German Church. The original founders — composed of German Americans including the Erbrecht, Oelschlager, Schmidt, Herman, Myers and Gastgeb families —met in local business establishments until they could build their own church building. The cornerstone for this first building was laid in the year 1900 on Prestley Road in Bridgeville (at what is today 347 Prestley Road, near the corner of Washington Ave. and Prestley Rd., behind Shouf’s Café).
The congregation persevered and grew through the WWI, Depression and WWII periods, moving from German-language services only, to services in English. Through the years, the congregation was led by a host of faithful and dedicated pastors, of which the longest serving was Pastor Dietrich, who held the pastorate from 1957-1974.
During his tenure in the 1960s, plans were begun for a new building to be constructed on farmland at our current location — 3197 Washington Pike. Congregational members served on the Building Committee, which sought to build a church structure that would express the bold, forthright nature of Zion’s church body — The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — and attract the attention of community members, making them want to explore the inside and discover the Truth that we believe and teach.
After years of prayer, hard work, planning and fundraising by the congregation, ground was broken for the new building in November 1966. Construction was completed a year later and the cornerstone was laid on Dec. 10, 1967. First divine service and Sunday school session held Dec. 17, 1967. On January 28, 1968, the service of dedication was held.
Thanks be to God!