Zion Lutheran Church

Zion Lutherean Church, located one half mile west and three miles north of Ocheydan, was formally organized as a congregation in 1887. The incorporated name Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was adopted.

Lutheran settlers came to Horton Township in 1882, which was two years before the railroad was built across northern Osceola County. These pionners were not only interested in establishing homes but were also concerned about providing spiritual guidance and counsel. Rev. J. Hessee from Hull, Iowa, was sent to serve their spiritual needs. The first service was conducted on a weekday in the Methodist Church, located two miles south of the present church. Later services were held in schoolhouses and private homes.

The congregation continued to grow and to prosper, and so on April 17, 1887, the congregation was organized. A call was assigned to candidate John Schinnerer, who accepted the call and was installed as pastor of Zion. This was done in the public school in Ocheydan.

The new pastor served several places. From three to four thousand miles were covered annually over the prairie trails with horse and buggy, and in winter with horse and cutter. The pastor also taught some of the day school classes four times a week, all of this for a salary of $350 per year.

In 1888, the congregation erected its first church. It had an attached four room parsonage and was located between the present parsonage and educational unit. The congregation continued to grow. In 1901, several members asked for their release from Zion in order to organize a congregation in the town of Ocheydan and erect their own house of worship. This request was granted, and a daughter congregation was founded.

The congregation desired a new place to worship, and in December, 1901, the plans for a new white frame church were accepted. On April 20, 1902, the cornerstone was laid, and on August 31, the new church was dedicated to services of the Triune God. This simple, imposing landmark served several generations of the active, growing church.

When the new church was built, the first church was converted to a school. This building served as a school until the year 1962, when it was dismantled to make room for a new educational wing.

The Walther League, now known as Lutheran Youth Fellowship, was organized for the benefit of the young people, and Sunday School classes were started for the children.

Through the years improvements were added to the church property, such as electricity, an electric reed organ, enlargement of the cemetery plot, and redecoration of the church interior. In 1915, a new nine room parsonage was built. The old parsonage was sold and moved to town.

German was the language of the people, but gradually the English language was learned. The use of the German language was discontinued in July, 1937. Since all voters' assembly minutes had been written in German, they had to be rewritten in English.

At noon on Sunday, October 10. 1937, a fire of undetermined origin was discovered in the church steeple; and although the furnishings were saved, the church was destroyed. The furnishings were stored and later used in the new church, which the congregation made plans to build immediately. The basement was completed as soon as possible, and the church services were held there until Septemeber 25, 1938. when the new church was dedicated to God's glory.

Seeing the need for a new schoolrooom and better Sunday School facilities, it was decided to build a new educational wing to the south of the preset church. Plans were made, and the new unit was dedicated October 21, 1962, at which time the 75th anniversary of the church was celebrated. New chancel furniture was installed in the church and dedicated at the same time

A Reuter organ, which was purchased in 1942, was in need of repairs and it was decided to purchase a new pipe organ in 1974, which was placed in teh balcony.

In 1987, the congregation celebrated its centennial year. It was a milestone along the path the congregation is traveling.

Taken from the Ocheydan Centennial Book July, 1991

Osceola County Iowa Genealogy - The IAGenWeb Project