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Who are we?

     We are a congregation of 350 confirmed, communing members that builds its life in the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. From there, we reach out to our community and our members with ministries of education, fellowship and service.

     As a congregation of the Evangelical Luthern Church ofAmerica, we confess that the church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming and sanctifying activity in the world.

     We invite you to explore that mission with us, to be nurtured at the Lord’s Table and to be sent out in the Lord’s name.
 
Location
     We are located at the corner of Mauch Chunk and Greenwood streets in Tamaqua, Pa. 18252. Our mailing address is 101 Greenwood Street. Click here for a map.
 
Our  mission
     Zion proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament as Gospel messengers. We seek to be instruments through which God transforms lives and strengthens relationships.
 
Our vision
     Zion follows God’s word from Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A town built a hill cannot be hidden … in order to let our light shine before others,that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.”
 

Our beliefs and values

     As Christians, we believe

• God, manifest as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the center of our faith.

• Jesus saves us and wants to save all people from sin and death, giving life now and life that lasts eternally.

• living in faith and following God is a lifelong journey and is nurtured through worship, fellowship, study, ministry and mission.

• God wants us to spread His Word so that the lost may be found.

 As ELCA Lutherans, we believe

• salvation comes to humankind as God’s grace-filled gift to us, received through faith in Jesus Christ.

• church is where the Word (Gospel) is rightly preached and the sacraments are rightly administered.

• through baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are adopted by God as one of His own forever.

• we have a message that reaches people today: Your identity is not something you earn, but rather it is a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

• our service to others and to the secular world is a product of our faith.

• we have freedom of conscience when it comes to the many social questions and debates of our day (such as homosexuality, abortion, Second Amendment rights, gambling, etc.). Through the office of the Presiding Bishop, the ELCA issues social statements to act as guideposts for church members.

We at Zion value

• our community

• the power of the Gospel and the importance of sharing it

• faithful and inspired worship

• our heritage

• our members

• appropriate conflict resolution

• personal accountability

• ethical behavior

• teamwork

• compassion

• respect

Driving the community forward

     Since its birth in 1876, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church has been a vital part of the Tamaqua community providing valuable services to the spiritual and social needs of our area.

Our history

     In 1876, following a split with the German speaking church, the Zion congregation moved to a structure on Dutch Hill that Lutherans had shared earlier with a Reform congregation. In 1901 the congregation purchased and renovated a building at the corner of Schuylkill Avenue and Mauch Chunk Street.

       In 1916, plans began for the current structure at Greenwood and Mauch Chunk streets. Excavation began in 1925 under the watchful eyes of the Rev. Dr. George A. Gebert. Three years later, the new church was dedicated in the midst of the Great Depression. “This is his [Gebert’s] dream fulfilled,” said a speaker at the dedication.

      Poor economic times and World War II hindered the completion of the building. The congregation worshiped in the social hall in the ground floor for the next 20 years.

       In 1944, Rev. Charles Schlitzer came to Zion and work resumed on completing the upstairs area of the church. In 1948 the magnificent sanctuary was dedicated. By 1960, debt on the structure had been liquidated.

      Throughout the years, heating systems have been replaced, new roofs installed, sound systems installed, a handicapped entrance and lifts added and interior renovations completed. Most recently, the social hall area where the congregation worshipped for 20 years has been equipped to host a relaxed, contemporary Saturday evening service.
 

Ministries serve both the community and world

     Throughout the congregation’s history, its members have provided strong leadership in a wide variety of community and neighborhood organizations such as:

  • fire companies,
  • playground associations,
  • sports booster clubs,
  • civic and service clubs including the Lions, Elks, Rotary, Business and Profession Women and the Historical Society.
  • school board and library board.

     Additionally we have established community outreach activities as the

need arose, such as:

  • the Meals on Wheels program in Tamaqua
  • the community’s first youth soccer program.
  • the Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network,(TAFFN) a group of lay leaders from community congregations which sponsors the annual Community Advent Breakfast and the annual Hunger Walk. Recently it initiated Step-Up Tamaqua, citizens concerned about the local addiction issue.
      In addition, free meals are provided after Saturday evening communion services once a month and a free New Year’s Day pork and sauerkraut dinner is well-attended by the community. Twice-a-year Goods ‘N Stuff rummage sales provide gently used, low-cost items for sale. Food collected several times a year is distributed to member families in need as well as food banks. An annual Trunk or Treat Safe Halloween event is held for all the children of the community.
 

 Shepherding the spiritual well-being of the community

     In addition to Zion’s commitment to community service, the congregation continues to provide an open, welcoming environment to members and non-members alike. Baptisms, weddings and burials have been performed without regard to membership status. Following our first Trunk or Treat Safe Halloween event, one Tamaqua resident said of Zion, “Oh, that’s the church moving the community forward.”
 
Leadership Team
     Our leadership team recognizes the authority of God, and realizes that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We desire to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Our passion and goal is to equip believers for the work of the ministry until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pastor Cindy White felt called to ministry at a young age. Women were unable to become ministers at the time, so she pursued a bachelor’s degree in social work from Temple University. She worked in that field for 25 years, married and had three children. She never forgot her call to ministry, so she enrolled in Gettysburg Seminary in January 2013. She has been officiating for Zion’s Saturday night services for three and a half years, serving as Zion’s intern for 18 months. Pastor Virginia Goodwin was her supervisor. Vicar Cindy has been serving as the full-time synodically appointed care-giver, as per the Bishop, since June 2016. Her ordination will be early this spring.
 
Pastor White’s welcome message.
 
Pastor White’s Ordination Service
 
Tour the Zion facility. Click here.
 
“I have experienced great hospitality and the love of Christ in the members of Zion and the people in the Tamaqua Community. I have witnessed many great things happen as a result of trusting in God over my years serving Zion. I expect many wonderful things to come, especially growing our worship community and expanding our concepts of mission.

All are truly welcome to experience God’s amazing grace and hospitality when they come to worship with us. We are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation during 2017. We are having special events you won’t want to miss. Please come and see all we are offering in Christs name at this beautiful church.”

Pastor Cindy White  

 

Congregational Council

Frank Rudy, president
Vacant, vice president
 
Darlene Fetterman, 
    secretary
Ann Marie Hadesty,
    financial secretary
David Gensure, treasurer
Sam Caley, member
Paul Fegley, member
Ernie Henritzy, member
Bob Maue, member
Bonnie Painter, member
Tiffany Warden, member
Gerry Zeigler, member
Staff
Melody Gensure, parish
    administrator
Sandy Mehalko, worship
    leader
Kim Eckert, cleaning sexton
Sandy Graham, event sexton
 

Team leaders

Mark Valentine, property
Bob Jones, finance
James McRoberts, Christian
    education
George Taylor, outreach
Deb Davies, confirmation,
    first communion